Good accounting recruiters can jump-start a job search that's stalled at any stage. But how do you go about attracting the best recruiter possible? Well, it doesn't happen overnight.

Here's a step-by-step guide to the prep work that’s needed.

1. Start your job 'search'

To get noticed by top accounting recruiters, you need to “talk the talk” — or to be more precise, you need to use keywords, which are the search terms people type into a social media network, search engine or applicant tracking system to find what they’re looking for. Start with an online search for your job title and similar positions in your geographic area. Make a note of the words repeated across job postings. These can be related to your skills and experience, software and hardware you’re familiar with, or licenses and certifications you have. Don’t exaggerate, but don’t be modest, either. Once you’ve identified your keywords, go to Step 2.

2. Reformat your resume

Develop a good sense of current resume trends. For example, accounting professionals tend to create resumes with some sections neatly compiled into tables. But many of the latest applicant-tracking systems can’t read table content. So to help your resume appear higher in searches and get noticed by accounting recruiters, follow this pattern:

  • Summary: Explain your skills and experience using the most common keywords you found in your online job search. Distinguish yourself with detail and strong verbs, not clichés and buzzwords.

  • Strengths: List your strengths using those same top keywords, plus your other skills and experience — but not in a table. Include the accounting software experience you’re familiar with, like Peachtree or ADP, plus general terms such as “reconciliation.”

  • Highlights: List four to six impressive points in a bulleted format. For example, mention large employers, big-name clients you support, or specific, quantified achievements like “Reduced monthly invoice processing time 20 percent by refining vendor invoice batching and coding processes for AP.”

  • Experience and education: Though it seems counterintuitive, these are less important than the opening elements. However, they still need to be loaded with keywords.

3. Create a stand-out job board presence

Copy and paste each element of your keyword-loaded resume into the appropriate sections of your job boards and social media profile. Put your summary, strengths and highlights in the online “Summary” section, editing the text if necessary to meet character limits. Then add appropriate keywords into any “Skills” section. This point is critical to getting noticed in searches. Finally, include your interests. You never know which recruiter might also love running or Sudoku. Some sources suggest making your LinkedIn profile somewhat different from your resume. But in a conservative field like accounting, it’s best to play it safe.

4. Practice the meet-and-greet

Ask a friend or mentor to listen to your elevator pitch while you get comfortable explaining your accomplishments. Or use your mirror. It provides the most objective feedback on body language, expression and eye contact. These qualities show a recruiter you’re interested and enjoying the exchange (or not). Avoid crossing your arms or legs, which gives the impression you’re pulling back or closing down, and try to maintain eye contact. If it doesn’t feel natural, practice helps make it that way.

5. Now, meet your recruiter

Your new resume and online presence may already attract accounting recruiters, but don’t stop there. Submit your resume to recruiting firms, and attend accounting job fairs and industry conferences. Brush up on how to make a good first impression at industry events. Then make sure you know how to work with them once you’ve met them.

In today’s competitive, multimedia world, it’s not easy to get noticed by top recruiters. So don’t leave it to chance. Use these tips to polish your pitch and presence, then win over your new career ally.

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