Key elements every successful accountant CV should have

By Robert Half 31st May 2018

Returning to your accountant CV after several years of being comfortably employed can leave you feeling like a fish out of water. Your skills and experience will have evolved, and CV requirement may have altered since you last submitted it for applications.

There are certain elements that every successful accountancy CV should have, including optimum length, correct approach and more effective ways to sell your skills. Reach success by making sure you’ve hit the following points:

•    Skill matching

Review the job description and try to isolate the skills that this specific employer may be looking for in accountant CV applications. Match your own list of skills to the ones your prospective employer is looking for and position them in prominent places so that anyone scan-reading will pick them up easily.

•    An optimum length

Accountant CVs submitted for staff-level or executive roles are considered ideal when they hit a 2-page length. Overall, a CV length should never extend over four pages.

•    An honest approach

According to a study by Robert Half, 62% of employers have eliminated a candidate from the job interview process because background checks revealed over-exaggerated claims on a CV. 

To effectively sell yourself without resorting to exaggeration, you can try accentuating your skills outside of work or teaming your accountant CV with a strong personal statement.

•    A soft skill showcase

Employers will also be looking for a range of complementary accountancy soft skills. Take as many opportunities as possible to showcase tasks and projects which have required qualities like good communication, workflow agility, collaboration and resourcefulness.

•    Use of active verbs

The words you choose on your accountant CV say a lot about you and send subconscious messages to potential employers. When listing out your tasks and writing your personal statement, incorporate the use of active verbs to strengthen your appeal and make your CV stand out. For example:

Instead of generic verbs like ‘led’, ‘managed’ or ‘provided’, try stronger, more active verbs like “spearheaded” or “drove”. It also helps to try and position your active verbs at the beginning of the sentence to increase reader engagement.

Additional accountant CV tips 

• Ask someone to check your CV for spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes

Spelling and grammar mistakes on an accountant CV are unfortunately inevitable. One in three CVs are sent with a spelling or grammar mistake, so ask a friend to proofread it for you before you commit to sending.

• Don’t be afraid to follow up if you haven’t had a reply

If you’ve applied and haven’t had a reply yet, there’s no harm in reaching out for an update. It’s typical to leave a minimum of 11 days before contacting a prospective employer—try to stick to conventionally professional channels like LinkedIn or phoning directly.

For more advice on perfecting your accountant CV, contact the Robert Half team today and let us help you find an accounting role.

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