If you’re an accounting professional looking for a new career opportunity, you’ve probably heard that the job market is looking very good! With the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that job growth for accounting professionals will grow faster than the national average over the next decade, your professional future could be very bright. This may lead you to believe that finding a job won’t be difficult, but that isn’t necessarily the case. While there may be plenty of job openings out there, you still need to make a good impression by having an excellent accounting resume.
“Even though the market is making gains and the amount of opportunities is growing, accountants still need to provide employers with an impressive resume in order to be considered for a role,” explains Laura Gutierrez, a Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division. “This means you need to not only have a resume with a simple, to-the-point format, but one that also demonstrates what you can bring to the table based on your experience level.”
Depending on what stage you’re at in your career, there are different ways to highlight your experience on your resume. Whether you are a junior-level accountant or a more seasoned professional, look no further! Here’s what you should be prioritizing on your accounting resume:
Education: If you’re just starting your career, you might not have much experience to write about. “Since there won’t be much experience to judge you from, employers will rely on your education to give them an idea of who you are,” says Stephanie Spellman, a Senior Associate in The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division. “In the education section of your resume, be sure to list where you graduated from, your GPA, the amount of time you were there, and any relevant organizations you were part of.”
Skill-level: Advances in technology have made it so that the more tech-savvy you are, the more likely you are to land a job. This is especially true if you aren’t as experienced, since employers do expect younger professionals to be more familiar with new and various accounting systems. “Since younger accountants have been around technology for most of their lives, the expectation is that they’re more familiar with newer accounting programs and tech than their more experienced counterparts,” explains Laura. “If you’re a junior-level candidate, listing proficiency with programs such as Microsoft Excel will make your accounting resume stand out more.”
Certifications: To keep up with the evolving accounting landscape, one thing many employers are looking for candidates with specialized certifications. If you’re just beginning and already have a CPA, your chances of getting your accounting resume noticed will increase. However, even just listing that you’ve passed a couple parts of the CPA will stand out in the eyes of the employer.
Education: As you progress further in your career, you won’t need to be as detailed about your education. Laura warns, however, that not including some specifics could be a red flag for employers reviewing your resume. “If you’re an experienced accountant, employers mainly care about the school and, in particular, the years you attended,” says Laura. “If you don’t include that on your resume, a potential employer might think that you’re trying to hide something.”
Experience: With more years of professional experience under your belt, the type of experience you have is what a potential employer will be paying attention to the most. “If you’ve been working in the field for five years or more, your experience is the most important thing to highlight on your accounting resume,” explains Stephanie. “It gives them not just a summary of what you’ve been doing throughout your career, but also a better idea of what you can bring the table should they make you an offer.”
Certifications: According to Laura, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to land a job unless you have advanced accounting certifications. “If an employer doesn’t see certifications on your resume, that not typically takes you out of the running pretty quickly,” says Laura. “In particular, most roles do require you to at least have your CPA. If you don’t have it, you’ll need to rely much more on skill-level and experience to help boost your chances.