Rejection breaks the strongest of us. Sending your Finance & Accounts Resume over and over again to every possible firm you can lay your hands upon is perhaps the most disheartening experience for any professional.
Your friends are getting shortlisted left and right, but your resume keeps getting rejected, even when you have better qualifications. Ever wondered why it is so?
What can you do to be assured that you get shortlisted every single time? How can you overcome the cutthroat competition & catch the recruiter's eyes?
The key to success lies in that document that you send across every possible platform made to assist a human in need of a job.
This guide to writing the most articulate Finance & Accounting Resume will walk you through the process of getting shortlisted for the most coveted of Finance & Accounting jobs, the one you’ve always wanted!
We believe that you don't have to work day in and day out at the same place for years before you secure a promotion from, say Finance Associate to Finance Manager. A bit of diligence coupled with some of our advanced Finance & Accounting CV tricks will assist you in achieving the jobs which you deserve & have dreamt of.
This guide will walk you through the following steps of making a perfect CV:
Below is a sample Finance & Accounts Generalist resume that was made using our online resume builder. View the Finance & Accounts Generalist resume samples and go through some sample resumes of Finance & Accounts Manager or Finance & Accounts Associate.
The right pane previews the original resume, and on the left side is the final version of the Finance & Accounts Generalist resume.
People generally consider HR recruiters the most cruel or the most stupid people on the face of this earth? How were they not able to notice your higher degrees and shortlisted the other guy who had lesser qualification? Before you put any more labels on the poor HR recruiters, spare a thought for this: what if they never even got a chance to glance your resume?
This may happen more often than you think. Companies generally upon exceeding a particular limit of applications ( which happens every single time for a good Finance & Account Job Profile), tend to deploy Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to filter out the resume applications. HRs at almost all MNCs (and it includes the one you’re targeting) swear & live by the ATS.
Before we get on the road of comprehensively talking the ATS, here are a few things regarding the format of your Finance & Accounting resume which will help you crack the ATS & win your dream job.
- Margin not less than 0.5", Font size not less than 10
- Prioritising Sans-serif fonts like Calibri, Tahoma & Verdana over Serif fonts like TNR
- A general idea is to have 1 page for every 10 year of work experience
- When JDs don’t specify which format, go for a .pdf with minimal formatting
- Infographic resumes are a strict no-no, at least for fresher & middle-grade professionals when the number of people applying for a particular post with you is very high
Although tips on writing contact details would seem a frivolous business to many Finance & Accounts applicants, but the tiny speck of detail carries as much importance in your CV as any other section. Your resume will get sidelined in a second if the ATS will not be able to parse your contact details.
US resumes generally follow a common format for mentioning contact details. You need not write your entire address down to the street you live in. Think about it, what has the HR recruiter got to do with the street you live in? He may never be seeing your CV ever again. In case they want your full address, they’ll ask for it. In other cases, just jot down your city/area.
It is advised to have a professional email-id. If you are still using your college email-id or the one that claims that you are a cool dude that would just reflect that you still haven’t grown up. The first impression is the last impression thing should be taken seriously in this case.
Provide an external link for your LikendIn or any other social media profile if there is a defined need for it or if you are absolutely certain that it would boost your chances before the recruiter moves on to the main part of your Finance & Accounting Resume.
Also, before doing that, do ensure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date & well maintained. Also, be a bit JD specific. For e.g if you are applying for a job in the entertainment industry, adding your IMDB account can turn the tide in your favour. A Skype Id should be put on the CV only if you are applying for a job from a remote location. Every bit of space on your resume counts.
-Just mention your city or area code. Refrain from writing you complete address or multiple addresses until & unless you are asked to do so.
-Use a professional email-id. Try not to use anything that is a memento of the days gone by.
- Skype/IMDb/LinkedIn: Update external links on your CV only if you are sure that it would help your chances and you have a well maintained profile. Also, the choice of these links should be specific to the job which you are targeting.
3. Job Title
What are you? A Finance & Accounts Executive, a Finance & Accounts Manager or a Finance & Accounts Director? More importantly, which one of these do you want to be?
Job Titles should be used to make your aims & intentions clear to the recruiter.
If you have years of experience as a Finance & Accounts Executive and now you want to go one step further, write Finance & Accounts Manager on your profile. No one will penalise you for it. At the same time, be true & realistic.
Don’t go on writing Senior Finance & Accounts Professional when you have only 6-7 years of experience.
Job titles are generally written just below your name at the top of your Finance & Accounts Resume, which in itself testifies the importance of this tiny bit of detail. It generally is your previous profile or the next one which you are targeting, but this becomes a tricky task when you are looking to switch industries or profiles. If you only write your last job profile, you might not even be considered for the new job, and if you just write the targeted job profile, you may be labelled a liar.
Sounds complex? Don’t worry. We have done the research for you. Try to find some keywords from the JD of your targeted profile & try and align it with any of the past professional experiences from your entire CV. A bit of permutations & combinations later, we are sure you’ll come up with just the right thing.
Whenever you face the dilemma of what to write and what not to write in your Finance & Accounts Professional Resume just close your eyes and put on the recruiter’s shoes and ask, what does the recruiter want to see?
What does he now? He wants to know what benefits will his company have from hiring you? Your job is to comprehensively & subjectively tell him exactly what he wants to hear. Thus we have a new addition to our No-No list, an objective summary section for your 2018 Finance & Accounts CV.
You may be wondering behind the logic of rejecting an objective summary section, when the rest of the CV is generally written in one line points.
The answer lies in the question, why do we include a summary in a Finance & Accounts Generalist Resume?
The idea is to provide the HR recruiter with a comprehensive but brief account of your professional career. And thus it won’t be a great idea to sport an objective summary section in a resume, which is required to pass the 10 second test (yes yes, we’ll discuss it in detail later). Essentially, the summary of an objective Cv should be a subjective one. Period
In case you are a senior Finance & Accounts professional, it may be tricky task to come with a 6-7 line summary for a 20+ year career. The dilemma of what to write & what to skip is a testing one.
But again, remember the talisman. Yes, the HR recruiter’s shoes. Go through the JD, and narrow down on the skills required by the firm.
Scan your Finance & Accounts Senior Resume & see if you can align these skills with some of the things which you have done in the past. Rephrasing & paraphrasing skills will play an important role in this regard. You have to present the points in the way in which the HR recruiter wants to see it. To put it in short, it should seem that this job was made just for you.
The aim of writing this guide to a Perfect Finance & Accounts Resume is to help you bridge the gap between you current Finance & Accounts Resume and the JD of the job which you want to secure. That process begins with writing the summary for your resume.
You can give this tool a try where you can copy a JD and ask the tool to analyse the frequency of the words used there. This data can be utilised to create a word cloud. This comes in very handy while designing the summary section for any Professional Resume. You can avoid mentioned specific achievements in your summary section. You can mention the under their respective word profiles. Instead go for the skills you have deployed to achieve desired ends for the companies where you have worked.
Below is a sample summary of a Finance & Accounting Generalist Resume:
13+ years experienced, dynamic & detail-oriented Production Lead & Reconciliation Specialist with a proven track record of deploying exceptional investigating skills to resolve discrepancies, rectify systemic imbalances and successfully attain SME status. Employs extraordinary analytical skills to excel in Value Clearance and pro-actively leads teams for achieving effective reconciliation & settlement of accounts. Proficient in liaising with internal stakeholders & offshore units to initiate measures for optimizing productivity & workflows. Highly skilled in deploying tools for work allocation & training employees, and adept at formulating & implementing plans to efficiently meet organizational goals.
Now let us discuss the basic Key Skills that can help you create the best Finance & Accounts Generalist Resume:
Remember the research bit we talked about? Here is the section where you can dump all the data you acquired during the research. But you have to do it smartly.
Prioritising skills according to the JD, mentioning only those skills which naturally align with your professional experiences are some of the tricks you have to keep in mind while formulating the Key Skills section for a Finance & Accounts Generalist CV. Key Skills are the biggest weapon you have against the multi headed opponent, the ATS. Also they play a major role in getting you through the 10 second test and create a great first impression on the recruiter.
The entire process of shortlisting the best Finance & Accounts CVs with the help of different ATS software is based around keywords. A quick bit of online research can help you come up with enough keywords for a good Finance & Accounts resume.
The transition from good to best comes with the skill to rephrase the points in your work–ex in such a manner the keywords appear in them in a coherent manner and not appear as if they have been stuffed in them deliberately.
Also, as mentioned earlier, the art of prioritizing, if perfected, pays great dividends.
To perfect the art of prioritising the required content, you need to anticipate & think like a recruiter. Narrow down the terms/tools/skills/phrases which seem inherent for the job profile.
ATS is at the end of the day operated by humans. At time HR recruiters tend to filter resumes based on any particular skill or tool required for the job. It is your job to be ready with all the weapons you possess to tackle the ATS challenge.
Another very important thing to be kept in mind is that soft skills don’t count as key skills. No one searches for terms like ‘creative’ & free- thinker’ for a Finance & Accounts Job Profile. Thus, while creating the perfect Finance & Accounting CV these soft skills make it to the last position on the prioritization order.
You can just make a collection of numerous key words & core competencies pertaining to your job profile and industry and keep swapping them in and out of your Finance & Accounts CV depending on the job profile you are targeting.
Sample key skills for a Finance & Accounts Generalist's resume:
Here comes the most important part of your resume. Although it may seem wrong to judge a person’s over 15 years of experience from a 2 page resume, but alas that is the norm.
A lot of research has to be deployed about the Finance & Accounting Industry to frame your points in the best possible manner. You need to know about the industry norms around functional resumes or reverse chronological resume ones.
Don’t worry. Don’t worry. We have already done the research bit for you.
There is a coon order that needs to be followed to be in sync with the ATS. Mention the employers name/company’s name first, followed by your job profile/title. Follow it up with the duration for which you worked in that particular company. Avoid mentioning the specific dates. Just the month & year of joining and leaving would do. In case of your current company, you can write ‘present’ or ‘still working’ after the month & year of joining. Also, it is imperative that you write the location where you were working.
Now let us talk about framing your points for your Finance & Accounting Resume.
Always remember two things while framing these points. First that the points should be succinct and should never exceed a single line. Second is the Princeton formula to frame points. A+P+R=A
action/power verb (begin every point with a power verb) + project (what you did) + result (why you did) = Accomplishment (what was the outcome)
It is imperative that this template is followed while framing points for your Finance & Accounting Resume’s Work Profile. Points should always begin with a power verb. This helps enhance the impact of the points and also boost your ATS score. Following this template also helps keep the information concise by weeding out the fluff.
Generally, we’d advice you to first prepare a rough draft of your CV. At this point the First Draft, or the Master CV as we like to call it, may exceed 2 pages. Once we process past the first stage, these words are used to polish you Finance & Accounting CV.
Two things should be kept in mind here:
A) Buckets/Subheadings: Once you have framed one liners for a particular work profile, it may end up having 10+ odd points. Looks like a random cluster, doesn’t it? Now go through these points once again. Try to group similar points or points pertaining to a particular skill or end-goal. It will make the recruiter’s job easier and he will love you for it. A look at the sub heading will tell him what is written inside that bucket. It is very important to align the buckets with the key skills & the key words pertaining to the targeted job profile.
Here's a snapshot to further clarify the role of buckets. Below are a bunch of odd points pertaining to the professional experience profile of a Finance & Accounting Generalist Resume. About every Finance & Accounting Resumes that we come across have been along similar lines:
Doesn’t it look like just a random bunch of points thrown into the cauldron, expecting something to happen on its own? All these points are framed perfectly but still are failing to make the desired impact. How can you make them appear better? Buckets is your answer. Have a look for yourself.
Financial Planning & Governance
BDC Strategy & Accounts Management
Process Transition & Optimization
The points are still the same, but simply grouping the points together under different relevant sub headings can make so much of a difference.
To further simplify the job of the HR recruiter, you should highlight/bold a few key words or important figures, within these buckets. According to resume experts, this simple addition makes your Finance & Accounts Resume better than your competitors.
B) The Cause-effect Balance: We have emphasised upon incorporating those 4 parameters in each point. The perfect way to accommodate all 4v is by executing the Cause-effect balance.
To begin with, the power verbs aren’t random words which we don’t use in daily life, but they should go with the other three factors. The flow between the skill you possess and the impact it delivers should be natural & organic. Trust us, although it requires a lot of effort, but if you manage to deliver the perfect balance throughout your Finance & Accounts Resume, it is will definitely save you a seat on the shortlisted list.
To have an idea of how this balance looks like, scroll up and have a look at the points above. You can notice the flow that exists from the role to the impact.
You can also have a separate ‘Key achievements’ section at the end of every job profile. It can act as a game changer because many recruiters may get fascinated by the numbers you have achieved. The underlining point here is that just stuffing keywords in the resume may get you through the ATS but won’t win you a job. Overall coherence is a pre-requisite.
7. Enhancing the Impact of your Educational Qualifications
You may think that how is the educational section going to make an impact on your Finance & Accounts Resume, when almost everyone applying for a Finance & Accounts Job Profile will have similar qualifications. But, the market my friend, isn’t as simple as it seems.
ATS has it’s little games going on here as well.
The details obviously remain the same. We’ll just guide you to make sure that you don’t bungle that up as well. Keep it simple & legible. Here is how we’d suggest going about with it.
M. Com. | Penn State | '16 - '18
[Sidenote: Although we have a separate section to talk about the nuances of an ATS, we’d like to emphasise a point here. ATS employed by different programs are designed differently. Owing to whatever discrepancies, many ATS can’t differentiate between Master of Commerce, Masters of Commerce, M. Com., M.com and any other possible variation of the same thing. To avoid taking any chances, just pick up your bible. No, not the one that you got from the church, but the JD of the given job profile. You can just refer to it an follow the same nomenclature as it does. And trust us, not even half the people do this simple thing. These nuances are sure to give you an edge over other applicants.]
To further validate our point, have another look at the sample education section of a Finance & Accounts resume above, and then look at the following:
Masters of Commerce
Penn State University | '16 - '18
Prepared a thesis report on 'Taxation as part of Democracy' for eventual publication in the Journal of Taxing & Accounts Management
Declared as the first runners-up in the 'Finance Case Study Competition '17 at Harvard
It is quite evident that which one would deliver a better impact. These are the things that will get you over the line, because the other person couldn’t think of this or simply just because he didn’t chance upon our website.
8. Tips on Additional Sections in a Finance & Accounts Generalist Resume:
We have time and again through the course of this article discussed about the break-up of a resume into 4 broad sections. For e.g. you can have a Technical Skills section in addition to the Key Skills section. Or you can have a certifications section in addition to the education section. After all these are two different things.
Can you mention your hobbies on your Finance & Accounts Generalist Resume? Here again, a bit of research can do wonders for you. Go through the company website and surf a few news links.
At times there are companies who promote any particular skill/hobby under some CSR initiative or maybe participate or organise events related to another. In that case if any hobbies of yours align with those on the company’s priority list, then jotting them down on the CV won’t hurt.
But come on, let’s be a bit pragmatic. This isn’t going to happen every single time. In that case the most practical approach would be once again to try & think like the HR recruiter.
Let us clarify this point through an example:
Photography, Debating, reading books
Above is an example of hobbies/interests section of a Sample Finance & Accounts Generalist resume. Generally people just write down the hobbies just like that. And what ipact wil they have on the recruiter? Unless your hobby says lion hunting, he won’t even spare a thought for them.
But now have a look at this:
HOBBIES & INTERESTS
Owner and administrator of the 'ABC Photography' FB Page with a following of 1k+
Secured first position in the Premchand Parliamentary debate out of 32 seeded teams in ‘15
Feel the impact?
The bottomline is that simply adding the Hobbies/Interests section while making a Professional Finance & Accounts Resume, just for the sake of having a hobbies section won’t help.
If you really wish to demonstrate your interests along with your professional achievements, go ahead and showcase how they’re important for you. Just writing ‘debating’ under a Hobbies section adds no value. Add a line to further ehance its impact.
Yes Impact is out mantra. Whatever you are putting on this 2 page document, should make an impact. If it doesn’t then it doesn’t deserve a place on your about to be Perfect Finance & Accounts Resume.
If you have completed any training or certification courses, then you must add them to your CV. They are as important as and at time more important than any other professional qualification that you possess. But then again, just writing down the name of the course degrades the impact it can create. For every certification you possess, don’t fail to mention the name of the certifying authority along with the year.
You can have multiple additional section like Publications, Patents, Memberships, depending on the JD & the company which you are targeting.
We have witnessed a trend where people tend to club all their Awards & Achievements in a separate section at the end of their professional experience section. The problem with that is again the same. The lesser impact.
All your achievements through 5-6 different Finance & Accounts profiles clubbed into one section will end up like a hotchpotch list. We suggest that to maximize the impact of every single achievement, mention them under their relevant job profiles. You can club them together under a ‘Key Accomplishments’ bucket.
9. Professional Tips on cracking the ATS for your Finance & Accounts Resume:
The most talked about entity throughout this guide has been this mysterious ten headed ATS. But like any other difficulty, the ATS too, if mastered, will add to your strength and act as a propellant to boost your chances of getting shortlisted.
While creating a Perfect Finance & Accounts Resume it is imperative that you keep both the perspectives in mind. That of the machine ATS & that of the human HR person. Never forget that the one operating the ATS is a human. With that in mind, let us try and figure out how exactly does this little devil work.
The software will first of all remove all the formatting from you Finance & Accounts Generalist Resume. Hahahaha. Yes. Yes. All those hours of working on the MS Word down the drain. That is why we had said in the very beginning of the profile that format is secondary when creating a Good Finance & Accounts Resume. But don’t ignore the formatting altogether, because the recruiter sitting with your CV in his hand may not like just black data on a white sheet of paper.
During the second step, it will be looking for specific keywords. Where do we find these key words? The JD, where else?
Almost everything written in the JD (which also has been created by the same HR professional) can be considered a keyword when it comes to it. ATS breaks down the resue into individual categories of Education, Contact Details, Key Skills & Work Experience. The skills & key words are then tallied against your resume & the value of your resume is determined.
Your resume will have ten times more chances of making the cut if your resume has these relevant skills & key words.
This is the basic workflow of the ATS. Now what are the sure shot ways of not only making through the ATS every single time but getting ranked higher than the competition?
Now that we have walked you through the Dos & Don’ts of a Professional Finance & Accounts Resume, it is time for some pro tips.
Beginning by creating a Master CV is the best way to go about it. It serves multiple causes.
First of all it has all the data you need and you don’t have to keep switching windows every time you have to write something. Just collate all the important things in the Master CV, and don’t worry about exceeding the two pages at this stage. You can keep updating data into this and refer to it every time you have to update your CV.
You can hand pick points from your master CV every time you have to build a new resume and tailor it to best fit the JD of the job which you are targeting. Do you know the best thing about the master CV? No one is going to see it save you. Just put all the data in and then weed & rephrase according to your needs.
The master CV can also play a very important role in the last stage of the recruitment. The interview.
The interview runs in line with your resume. And guess what, you already have the document with descriptive answers pertaining to every point mentioned in your resume. The Master CV. It may sound atrociously simple, but it happens. People at times are unable to do justice to their own CVs. And as we said, the job doesn’t end at just passing the ATS. It is to secure the job.
Research. Lots of it.Research is something that will take you a long way in ensuring that you secure the most sought-after jobs. Research may involve going through multiple JDs or researching the ins and outs of the targeted firm. It is your job to make them believe that you were cut out for this job only and that there can be no one else better than you at this.
A few other nuances can also be kept in mind while building the best Finance & Accounts Resume.
Don’t use first-person pronouns. Begin with power verbs. Go easy with the articles (a/ an /the). Don’t put full stops at the end of bullet points.
Exclude personal details (age, religion, marital status. It isn’t required in most of the cases and at times recruiters are prohibited from asking you your personal details). You can mention your personal details only if it has been asked for explicitly.
And lastly, proofread. Over and over again. Grammatical errors are something no recruiter wants to see. After all, he isn’t a school teacher. What impression will he have of a person who can’t even make a one-page document, about himself in an error-free manner?
Don’t feel shy in asking for help. Ask your friends & other experts to have a look at your resume. Some one may have an eagle eye and help you weed out the last piece of error from your resume.
Try and be coherent. These should be flowing in the document, from skill to impact. The recruiter should be drawn in to read your resume. His ride should be a smooth one, and not full of fits & starts. Try and build a link between the words bolded, buckets used & the key skills mentioned.
To summarise the key points of building a professional Finance & Accounts Resume, build a resume template which you can customize according to your needs and the JD. You have your Master CV to help you do it.
You must know how to sell yourself. Begin with the job profile and the roles you assumed and gradually move on to the impact you created. Make them believe that you can ake the same impact for their firm as well.
And in case you still have questions or tips on how to make a great Finance & Accounts Generalist resume, go ahead and give us a shout in the comments !