Are you looking for your first — or next — great accounting job?
The job outlook for accounting is strong and there’s a wide variety of accounting roles to fill. It’s still a competitive landscape and you want to do all you can to stand out and keep your resume out of “the pile.” There are certain skills and types of experience that will give you an edge over other applicants and improve your odds of getting the callback. Include as many of these as you can in your resume, and you’ll be on your way.
It may seem like all you need are your credentials but you’ll put yourself at a big advantage if your accounting resume includes these seven things:
I know, I know. But you do need to include your credentials on your accounting resume. For some positions, an accounting degree is a non-negotiable requirement. For others, a CPA or other qualification may be required.
Make sure to include any continuing education you’ve completed or even credentials outside of accounting. If you have a business credential or something else that will help you bridge the gap between spreadsheets and day-to-day operations, it will help employers see that you have diverse skills.
2. Software Expertise
The days of balancing the books by hand are long gone. Companies depend on accounting software and other digital tools to get the job done. If you’ve got experience or certification in relevant software, make sure you mention it on your resume. Knowing that you’re up to speed and won’t require training on the software is a big perk for employers, who are already spending a significant amount of time and money to bring in a new employee.
If you’ve narrowed down the employer or industry you want to work with, you may want to do some research and find out which software programs are most popular. Familiarizing yourself with these programs can set you apart from the competition.
3. Tech Comfort Level
In addition to software-specific experience and certification, your overall comfort level with technology is a good thing to highlight in your resume. Accountants are using technology more than ever. They use it to communicate within the company, work with clients, store documents, and manage their tasks.
Employers want to know that you’re comfortable with a range of tech tools as well as comfortable learning new ones as they come along. Include any relevant programs you know and use so employers can see that you have range and are capable of adapting to technology.
Given how much accountants rely on the tool, we can’t mention software and technology without talking about Excel. Excel is an accounting fundamental. Being skilled in Excel will not only earn you points with potential employers it will also earn the respect of others in the accounting department.
If you’re experienced or certified in specific areas of Excel, highlight this in your resume. If you haven’t got that experience, consider taking Excel training to prepare for the job, and boost your resume’s impact.
5. Business Knowledge
Did you work in a different industry before going into accounting? Do you have an undergrad degree or a minor in business? Make sure you emphasize your business skills, education, and experience in your resume. More and more, the accounting function is involved in operations and helping to make strategic decisions.
Accountants who understand business on multiple levels have a huge advantage. They can see not only the numbers side of things but the strategic, day-to-day decisions that need to be made using those numbers. Business knowledge increases your value to the company because you can more clearly communicate what the numbers really mean.
6. Communication and Teamwork
And speaking of clear communication, your ability to work well with a team and communicate with others is a huge asset to any company. Despite stereotypes of the isolated accountant in the corner, accountants work closely with other departments and need to convey complex issues to non-accountants through a variety of channels.
Any roles where you’ve exhibited great teamwork and communication within your team or between departments would be good to highlight in your resume. If you’re new to the workforce, include specific coursework focused on communication.
7. Career Aspirations Within the Company
As an industry, accounting has great opportunities for career advancement and growth. Your new employer wants to know that you have ambition and would like to grow with the company. Tell your story and let them know that you want to learn and grow, bringing even more value to the table for them. Just make sure they know it’s not a stepping stone.
With the cost of acquiring and training new hires, companies want to make sure you plan to stay awhile. As you share your career aspirations, try to lay out a path that would keep you with the company, so they don’t get the feeling you’re moving up and moving out.
With these seven bases covered in your resume, you’ve got a great chance of getting the call, the interview, and the job. So, what’s next? Keep working to grow and develop in these areas to keep your accounting career on the fast track.