As an accountant your CV should not only be an accurate representation of your experience, qualifications and suitability for a role but also you as a professional and your soft skills. Ensuring that you thoroughly review your CV before sending it prospective employers can, in some cases, make the difference between you being selected for an interview and being overlooked for the role. So how do you create a winning CV?
While accountants applying for senior roles are likely to have reams of experience, it’s important to remain succinct. The golden rule is to keep it under three pages. For professionals in the latter stages of their career that can appear to be quite a feat, so how can you find the balance between informative and punchy? Firstly, make sure to place emphasis on directly relevant experience and only briefly mention less significant roles. While it is also important to highlight all of your professional qualifications, there is little need to list individual modules or grades – they aren’t likely to swing things in your favour but will take up valuable space that could be used more efficiently.
Every time you apply for a role you should specifically tailor your skills and experience to relate to the position’s specific requirements. Try to view your ‘standard’ CV as framework for you to build upon, rather than a finalised product. Given the need to be concise, the version you submit for one role may not necessarily cover all of the requirements of another, even if they have the same job title. For example one organisation may stress the need for experience in a leadership position, while another may favour creative decision making skills. So it is important to make sure you adapt your resume to include relevant skills and examples to meet each role’s individual specification. It will likely be fairly obvious to a prospective employer, or indeed a recruitment agency, if you send out a generic CV and, generally speaking, suggests you aren’t particularly interested in a role.
Broadly speaking we know what a management accountant does and so will your potential employer, so a list of responsibilities may not be that useful. A good CV is a marketing tool and should highlight what distinguishes you from the pack. A strong set of achievements under each role could therefore really paint the picture of your contribution and your potential. A strong recommendation would be to include some bullet points of responsibilities along with some specific, tangible, measurable achievements.
Formatting is also crucial. Your CV should look both professional, and attractive, so keep the font and text size consistent throughout. Make sure that all of the most important information is at the top of the first page, and improve readability by breaking up long sections of text by using bullet points and tables where possible. The remits of a management accountant’s role means that employers are unlikely to be looking for creatively designed CVs, but ensuring that its layout is engaging is still important. Perhaps the most important, if slightly obvious, tip is to thoroughly check your CV for any grammatical errors. Basic spelling errors and typos are incredibly easy to make, however they look highly unprofessional and will harm your chances of being considered for a role, so ensure that once you’ve checked it, you get someone else to read it through thoroughly. It’s also important to make sure that your CV uses concise language and avoids long complex sentences which aren’t particularly engaging.
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