*Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Dec. 10, 2010. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2014.
As an accounting student, recent graduate or young professional, you've already made the decision to pursue a degree in accounting.
Now or very soon you will soon join the workforce to start your career.
However, one of the first orders of business in earning a position is completing a rock-solid accounting resume that can open the door to interviews and job offers.
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?
To help, we've laid out a few accounting resume tips for you to review so you can be sure.
Tips to a winning accounting resume
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Include leadership abilities & 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.
5. 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.
6. Don’t forget hobbies & 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.
7. Add social media networks
Social media has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Within your contact information, make sure to include the link to your LinkedIn profile. Including this information help you showcase even more of your skills and experience while also showing that you are technologically savvy.
More helpful career prep tips for accounting students
1. 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.
2. Review, 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 Emurse.com, a website that creates, shares, and stores your resume online for free.
3. 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.
Make it happen
There is no guarantee that following the above accounting resume 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 and that earning your degree was worth it.
Let us know in the comments below why you decided to pursue a career in accounting!