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3 Essential Resume Hacks Every Accountant Should Know

When a candidate applies for a job, what do you think is the average amount of time a recruiter takes to review their resume?

Would you believe it’s just 7.4 seconds? And that’s improved 23% since 2012!

That doesn’t give you much time to make an impression, so you better make sure it’s a good one. Here are three essential tips for making sure your resume stands out when you apply for that next accounting job.

Make It Relevant

If you’re using the same resume to apply for every job, you’re putting yourself at an immediate disadvantage. Employers are looking to fill a specific position, and your resume is likely just one of many that has been submitted. Few are going to take the time to carefully parse your resume to see if it’s applicable to what they need. They’re more likely to just skim it and move on.

That’s why Glassdoor’s Peter Yang recommends having a few different resumes:

Resume editing isn’t a one-and-done deal. In fact, you’ll often need more than one resume at your disposal so you can submit the most appropriate one to the job you’re applying for. This is why professional resume writers often craft multiple resumes for a single client.

For example, suppose that you’ve had working experience in both finance and accounting, but you’re currently applying for a job that is strictly finance. You’ll definitely make a stronger impression and appear to be a better fit by emphasizing your finance-related accomplishments while downplaying your accounting experience on the resume you submit.

Be sure to read his other tips as well.

Make It Presentable

Don’t make the mistake of having a resume that is relevant but a pain to read. Again, most hiring managers aren’t going to take the time to slog through a bad resume, and that applies to the form of the resume as well as the content.

In fact, Donna Svei reports that a poor resume format is the number two reason that employers reject a candidate’s resume:

When the readers DISLIKED a candidate’s resume it was, in order of importance, because:

1. They lacked experience.
2. The resume had a poor format.
3. The resume lacked information.
4. They didn’t present their achievements.
5, They sent a poor cover letter.

When the readers LIKED a candidate’s resume it was, in order of importance, because:

1. They had experience that was relevant to the job at hand.
2. The readers liked the format of the applicant’s resume.
3. The applicant met the qualifications (things like education, etc.) for the job.

There are countless websites providing a virtually endless range of resume templates, so there’s no excuse for having an ugly resume. Just Google “resume templates” and get started.

Make It Short

No one has the time or the desire to read your life story and try to figure out how that makes you a good candidate, so always keep your resume to a single page. (This should be easy if you’ve already worked hard to make it relevant to the position you’re applying for.)

Shane Pike, CEO of, explains why:

The goal of your resume is not to get you the job — it’s to get you an interview. The goal is not to make an iron-clad case that you’re the person they should hire — it’s to make them interested enough that they want to talk to you.

A resume that drones on with meaningless details about every position you’ve ever had is likely to end up in the trash sooner rather than later. Employers just don’t have time. Keep it specific to the job you’re applying for, and keep it short.

There are obviously exceptions to this rule, but there aren’t many. If you decide to violate it, be sure you’re right.

And maybe more important than all these hacks is this one: Get some good advice before you apply — ideally from people with experience hiring accountants. Show them your resume and your cover letter and heed their advice. They can often see things that you missed and help you make the impression that wins you the interview!

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