Career Tips: Creating a Killer Resume

If you want to land that dream job as an accountant or CPA, you’ll eventually need to have a killer resume that makes a lasting and professional impression. Creating such a resume can be tricky, but, by putting yourself in the hiring managers shoes, you can discover the qualities that make some resumes more memorable than others. Follow these tips and you can make your resume stand out from the stack without changing the paper size!

The first thing you’ll need to understand is that there are thousands of resume styles. It’s up to you to tailor your resume to fit your individual circumstance. When deciding on a resume style, consider the type of job you are applying for, your professional goals, and any accomplishments your potential employers would find attractive.

Organization and layout are just as vital as content. It’s best to follow established conventions and ensure your resume package has the expected ingredients, including:

  • Cover Letter
  • Contact information
  • Clearly stated objectives/goals
  • References

If your resume has these basics, you’ve got a good start. But, to really make your resume shine, you’ll want to follow the next three steps.

Part 1: The Cover Letter

Your cover letter and resume should work together to advertise you to potential employers. With this in mind, you may want to format the cover letter in the same style as your resume. For example, you should place your name and contact information at the top of the page on both the cover letter and the resume. If you center the information on your cover letter, or use a particular font, you will want to center the contact information or use the same font on the resume. The principle to keep in mind is consistency.

Use the cover letter to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position, your knowledge of the company you wish to work for, and the reason you feel you’d be a good fit. Don’t be afraid to use humor, or to illustrate your unique personality. An intriguing cover letter will entice the reader to seek more information about you.

Part 2: Resume Content

Once you’ve decided on a general style for your resume and cover letter, you’ll want to begin organizing your information into categories. General categories to include are: Objectives, Education, Experience, Honors, Leadership, Skills, and Travel. Try to think of categories that will be of value to your potential employer, and trim out unnecessary information.

This category is your best chance to highlight the incredible skills and experience you’ve gained. You want your resume to show not just a list of your past jobs, but what you accomplished during your employment. Employers are interested in the unique attributes you brought to the position, not just your tasks. If you were a clerical worker, avoid listing: filed papers, answered phone calls, and made coffee. They’ll assume you did all of those things. Instead, say what you learned and dont be scared to elaborate on anything spectacular you accomplished. Also, when listing your past jobs, don’t underestimate the experience you gained by working at your dads car wash!
Roger CPA Review campus representatives have an advantage in this category. With the invaluable experience they gain in public speaking, leadership and teamwork, our campus reps stand out from the crowd.

Using Numbers
Numbers are a key ingredient to a killer resume. They help the reader assign an exact value to your accomplishments. Potential employers will want to see exactly how much money you raised for Cancer during the Walk-a-Thon in 2006, or how many articles you wrote while interning for the Times. Data like this clearly illustrates your success and substantiates your accomplishments in a concrete way.

Keep it Simple
Don’t use buzz-words like “industry leading” or “cutting edge.” Stay away from overly complex or vague words like “assisted,” “interfaced” or “collaborated.” Instead, describe exactly what you did. Let your experience speak for itself. Your vocabulary won’t get you that job with a CPA firm, but it might keep you from getting it.

Part 3: The Format

Stay Focused
There is nothing fun about looking at 10-point font all day, so keep your resume sharp, organized, and crisp. Employers aren’t looking for a word scramble. Clearly label your sections with corresponding fonts, sizes, and margins. Keep punctuation consistent throughout and try to keep your resume to one page. If you absolutely cannot do that, there is no rule against it, but one page is usually enough. If you find your resume extending into two pages, take a hard look at your first page and ask yourself if every skill you’re describing will be useful to your potential employer.

Give ‘Em What They Want
Resumes dont need to be in chronological order. If you are applying for the position of Sales Associate and you have had previous experiences in the field, put those descriptions near the top of your resume. Remember: give the reader what they’re looking for as quickly as possible.

The way your resume looks can be almost as important as what it says. If your resume is ugly, it won’t encourage anybody to read it. On the same token, you don’t want to go crazy with designs or colors. Feel free to experiment to get it right. Just for fun, play around with different formats or designs, but be conservative with the font choices. Fonts should be clear and readable above all else. No comic sans, script, or overly ornamental text!

Final Review
Finally, get a second, third, and fourth opinion. Before sending your resume to all the Fortune 500 companies on craigslist, re-read it! Check for typing and syntax errors. You may even want to alter the format for specific jobs. Send your resume to friends and family for review. Shoot an email to someone you may know in the industry whod be up for helping you out. You may be surprised how many professionals love to share their opinions.

Resume building is the first major step in learning to market yourself. The biggest factors to remember are simplicity, consistency, and transparency. By using the tips we’ve outlined above, you’ll be able to craft your own killer resume, and land your dream job as a CPA.

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