Top Tips to Make Your Accounting Resume Rock

As an accounting student, you already made the decision to pursue a degree in accounting. Now you are approaching graduation and will soon join the workforce. What are your chances of getting a job in accounting? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2010 to 2011, the employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow 22 percent from 2008 to 2018.

One of the first orders of business in pursuing a job is completing a rock-solid accounting resume that can open the door to interviews.  

Writing a resume brings a set of challenges; namely choosing what professional and educational stats to include or leave out. What can you do to produce a resume that showcases your skills and talents?  Are you confident about sending it out?

Tips to a Winning Accounting Resume

    Identify Accounting Skills

Note the accounting competencies you acquired as a student, such as courses in financial accounting, taxation, accounting information systems, and cost accounting.  Describe capabilities, for example, with bookkeeping, end-of-period closing process, preparing financial statements, budgeting, completing bank reconciliations, and financial analysis

    Summarize Job Experiences

 Summarize your full-time or part-time job experiences by highlighting (if applicable) your ability to manage, organize, create, train, plan, supervise, or recommend improvements, even if it is not directly related to accounting.  For example, if you worked as a cashier, note items like promoted to senior cashier, trained new cashiers and/or recommended improvements in internal controls regarding cash. 

    List Technical Skills

Highlighting a proficiency in Microsoft Excel®, PowerPoint®, and/or QuickBooks® can be another great way to demonstrate your capabilities and set you apart from others.

    Include Leadership Abilities and Honors

Have you served as an officer of a club or organization, captain of a sports team, or editor of a publication?  Including this information can help to demonstrate your teamwork abilities and leadership skills.  Did you receive any honors, recognition, or awards?  Make certain to include items like Dean’s List recognition; or leadership in a club or class.

    Note Memberships to Professional Organizations

Include memberships to career field-related professional organizations in your resume. If you are not a member of an accounting, business, or professional organization, it’s easy to join. The Institute of Management Accountants offers membership to students for an annual fee of $39.  This is an ideal way to stay current with accounting issues, to network with accounting professionals, and to demonstrate to a hiring organization that continuing professional education and knowledge is important to you. 

    Don’t Forget Hobbies and Volunteerism

Including relevant hobbies and volunteer activities can illustrate that you lead a vibrant, healthy, and charitable lifestyle.  Volunteering at an association event or contributing content in a newsletter can make you a more interesting candidate to employers; plus, it’s great for in-field networking.

    Add Social Media Networks.

 Social media has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years.  Within your contact information, include a LinkedIn profile (create it if you did not have one) and perhaps go one step further and add a Twitter or Facebook® handle or Skype and instant message names. Including this information shows that you are technologically savvy.


More Helpful Career Prep Tips for Accounting Students

    Loop in a Well-written Accounting Cover Letter

Cover letters are like the frames to a piece of art.  The artwork may be okay by itself, but the added frame provides another dimension and makes the art stand out.  In a similar way, the cover letter adds value to a resume and to your presentation to a hiring manager.   When you write a cover letter, you should, whenever you can, address it to a specific person, note why you are sending it, match your skills to the specific job requirements, and conclude by asking for an interview.

    Review, Review

Nothing is worse than sending a cover letter and resume with typos.  Proofread your letter and resume at least twice before sending or handing them out.  Ask someone else to proofread them also.  Consider contacting a few references (your accounting professor, for example) for feedback.  This would also be a good time to ask the references if you can use their name for a recommendation.  As an alternative, you can go to a number of resume websites for help, such as, a website that creates, shares, and stores your resume online for free. 

    Accentuate the Positive

Demonstrate enthusiasm and a positive attitude by using the active voice in your writing.   This can help make what you say more engaging to readers.

There is no guarantee that following the above tips will get you an interview or a job.  However you can rest assure that you are doing the right things to achieve success in getting hired today or in the future.

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Morris Gartenberg is an adjunct instructor for Rasmussen College-School of Business at the Fort Myers, FL college campus; where he teaches accounting degree seeking students. He has more than 25 years of experience as an accounting practitioner, instructor, and writer/editor. Morris holds a MBA degree with a finance concentration from Long Island University and a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

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