Putting together your resume is a time-consuming exercise, but one that is incredibly important and worth doing well. In order to secure the best role and beat the competition, you need to present your experience in the best way possible in order to secure an interview.
On average, recruiters spend around 5-7 seconds reviewing a resume before deciding whether to accept or reject the candidate. So you need to create impact (I say that word a lot).
I meet a lot of candidates, the majority of which have excellent experience but often their resume is not a true reflection of how good they are.
This is the advice I give them.
The first step
- Put your current resume to one side and on a blank piece of paper, (or whatever works for you), write down your value proposition – what you feel you have to bring to your next employer. Think about your technical and soft skills, your work ethic and what you are passionate about.
- Don’t consult your resume. Note down how you would describe the ‘purpose’ of your role – how would you describe your experience if someone asks you what you do.
- Then note down the important parts of your role, what takes up most of your time.
- Then what you are most proud of, what did you enjoy, what value did you add in each role.
Putting it together
- It is really hard to look at your resume and change it around, so the best way to put it together is start again, using your notes from above. Your resume should not be a list of everything you have ever done. It should be specific about you and your most important experience and achievements.
- Be concise, but give enough information to explain yourself. Think about what you are trying to say, what you are talking about on each point and what you are trying to say about yourself.
- If you have significantly contributed to your business, or your client, tell the reader about it. Not just ‘received an award’ but specifically what piece of work did you do, what impact did that have on the business - did you save time, save money or identify an opportunity for business growth?
The next role
- Write down what role you want, what skills and experience you think your next boss would be looking for, and ensure this is demonstrated in your resume, and your value proposition.
- If you have had a long career, your resume should be no more than 4 pages long. This is achievable if you only talk about the most important parts of your experience and achievements which can leverage you to the next role.
- A resume which is a one-pager is likely to be too brief and not explain enough about your experience and achievements to make an impact on the reader.
- Be more detailed on your most recent experience, and then list roles which are more than 10 years ago.
This is your opportunity to showcase your experience, so make the most of it.
There are many ways to present your resume, and many different opinions in terms of format. I have provided a template that I believe to be the most effective way for accountants to display their experience, and can be used in other industries. Click below to view a template.
- cv_template download