How to Write an Accounting Resume

how to write an accounting resume | santa fe & albuquerque NM

 

Your resume is often an employer’s first introduction to you as a job candidate. And first impressions matter. When the hiring manager is impressed with your resume, you go in the “yes” pile. When they’re not, your application is quickly discarded.  

Whether you’re putting together an entry level accounting resume or one that includes decades of relevant experience, you should do it in a way that summarizes you as a candidate in an impactful but concise way. This single document is one of the most important parts of the job process, so you want to get it right.  

What should you include on your accounting resume? How should it be organized? Read on for a closer look at what should be included and for more accounting resume tips to help you stand apart from the competition.  

What Should Be Included on an Accounting Resume?

While there is no set of rules for how an accounting resume should be laid out and what it should include, it’s wise to make sure you include a few key items. They include: 

  • Career Objective – a short section discussing why you’re the right candidate for the job and what you want to accomplish in your accounting career 
  • Work Experience – a list of your past relevant jobs along with a description of your duties and accomplishments 
  • Education – the education and/or degree you’ve received, when you attended, and your GPA 
  • Certifications – any certifications or accreditations related to accounting 
  • Skills – the hard accounting skills you possess, such as familiarity with accounting software 
  • Contact Info – your email address, phone number, and any other contact information you want to share (social media profiles, website/portfolio, etc.) 

Accounting Resume Objective Examples 

The career objective will usually appear at the top of your accounting resume. This is a short blurb – two or three sentences at most – that summarizes your experience and skill set, and may include a point about your overall career goals.  

Here are two examples of accounting resume objective sections:  

“Highly motivated accounting professional looking for a fast-paced entry-level role in which I can contribute my skills to a company that helps me to develop my career.” 

“Seeking an accounting manager role with [ABC Accounting Firm] to further grow my supervisory experience, in a position that welcomes my leadership and financial analysis experience while fostering my professional development at the same time.” 

Writing a Resume With No Accounting Experience

What if you don’t have ten years of experience in the accounting field to include on your resume? Putting together a compelling entry-level accounting resume can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. It’s about knowing what to include that has the most value. When you don’t have a long work history, the things that have the most value are internships, other work experience with relevance, and relevant projects.  

Internships 

Most accountants are required to complete an internship or externship to receive their accounting degree. This is a key point to make on your resume. Be sure to discuss what you learned in the internship, what you achieved, and how that experience will benefit you in the job you’re applying for. 

Work Experience with Transferable Skills  

Do you have past work experience that will benefit you in your accounting career? It doesn’t necessarily have to be related to accounting. Perhaps you worked in a customer service role – those people skills can help you greatly when interacting with your peers, supervisors, or the public as an accountant. If you worked a cash register, the skill of keeping track of money and balancing the drawer is something you might consider including on your resume.  

Relevant Projects 

Did you complete relevant projects that could inform your skill in accounting, perhaps in school or during an internship, or during other jobs? Include these on your resume. Just be sure to link these experiences directly to your accounting skill set and be clear about how the project served you. 

Writing an ATS-Friendly Accounting Resume

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software system that scans resumes for relevant keywords. This makes the life of a hiring manager or recruiter much easier – rather than scanning through hundreds of resumes manually, the system finds the most qualified candidates for them. If your resume is compliant and friendly with these systems, it stands a much better chance of making its way through the algorithm and getting in front of the eyeballs of the hiring manager.  

Luckily, you don’t have to be an expert in applicant tracking systems or be a master coder to make your resume ATS-friendly. All you have to do is follow some best practices to give your resume a better chance. These best practices are: 

Include Relevant Keywords 

There are all sorts of keywords in the accounting realm that you could choose to include. The trick is reading the job description closely to discover what kind of keywords are there. Then, when you apply with a resume that includes some of those keywords, you’ll be seen by the ATS as a match. 

Here are just a few relevant accounting keywords you might include on your resume: 

  • Accounting Systems 
  • Accounts Payable 
  • Accounts Receivable 
  • Assets 
  • Audit 
  • Budgets 
  • Cash Flow Analysis 
  • Compliance 
  • Controls 
  • Estate Planning 
  • Financial Accounting 
  • Financial Compliance 
  • Financing 
  • Forensic 
  • GAAP 
  • GAAS 
  • Income Tax Planning 
  • Management Accounting 
  • Payroll Management 
  • Profit and Loss 
  • Reconciliation 
  • Remittances 
  • Revenue Forecasting 
  • Tax 

To be clear: You don’t need to include all of these keywords in your resume. In fact, that would take away from readability, and the hiring manager might even guess that you’re trying to stuff as many keywords into your resume as possible. Instead, consider the role itself and what keywords the job description contains, and match as necessary. 

Avoid Headers & Footers 

Most applicant tracking systems can’t read items within the header or footer section of a resume. If you place crucial information in a header or footer – your contact information, for example – the ATS might miss it completely. If that happens, the hiring manager won’t be able to contact you even if they wanted to. The best thing to do is avoid using headers and footers entirely when creating your resume.  

Use a PDF File Format  

Most job applications will clearly provide a list of acceptable file formats when you’re uploading your resume. Most tracking systems can accept PDF file formats, but not all can. If PDF isn’t listed, use a .doc or .docx file type. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to stick with PDFs – they’re the best format for preserving your data and making sure no one else can modify your resume, accidentally or otherwise.  

Customize Resume for Each Job

Remember the list of relevant keywords from earlier? It’s very useful when you’re customizing your resume for the specific job you’re applying to. Including the relevant keywords based on the job description allows you to stand out, and it’s an easy way to make the resume you’re supplying fit the job description in the best way possible.  

How Long Should An Accounting Resume Be?

You may be wondering how long your accounting resume should be. The general rule of thumb to follow is this: Keep your accounting resume to one page. This increases readability not only for the hiring manager who eventually sees it, but also for the ATS. If you’ve worked multiple accounting jobs in the past or have an extensive work history, it can be difficult to parse your resume down to one page – you’ll need to make some tough decisions on what to exclude. You can also try shortening descriptions or even adjusting the page margins slightly if necessary. 

How to Organize the Sections of a Resume

There are multiple ways to organize the sections within your resume. The three main methods are: 

Reverse Chronological

This is the most common way to organize your accounting resume. Your contact information will be listed first, then your resume objective. Next comes your work experience, listed in reverse chronological order – your most recent job first, then going backwards in time from there. After that, you can list your skills, education, and any additional sections. 

Functional

In a functional resume organization, you’ll list the skills section right after the objective, and then list your work experience in reverse chronological order after that. In this way, your resume focuses mostly on your skill set, not on your work history.  

Combination

The combination resume order is a combination of the above formats. It gives you some flexibility on where to put sections depending on your preferences.  

What Skills Should be Included on an Accounting Resume?

When it comes to the skills section of your resume, you might not be clear on what to include aside from the actual accounting skills you possess. And they are, of course, important. But soft skills are essential, too. Here’s what to include in the skills section: 

Hard Skills

Hard skills mean the raw, technical skills you’ll use every day as an accountant.  

Standard Principles of Accounting

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) are the standards that accountants live by. Your resume should demonstrate that you know these principles inside and out. There are also the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which govern how particular types of transactions and events should be reported in financial statements. 

Proficiency with Accounting Software

What programs you’re familiar with as an accountant should be listed on your resume. QuickBooks, FreshBooks, are NetSuite ERP are just a few examples. 

Soft Skills

Just as important as your technical skill set are your soft skills. These are the less tangible, personality- and character-based skills that really set you apart as a candidate. If you don’t want to list soft skills under the skills section, incorporate them organically into your work history descriptions or resume objective.  

Critical Thinking

Accountants need to be able to think critically to solve problems and come up with creative solutions. The way you think about situations and how to resolve issues is very important, and something a hiring manager wants to see.  

Attention to Detail

When it comes to accounting, the devil is in the details. The best accountants are highly organized and pay attention to every detail – make it clear on your resume that you are detail-oriented. 

Exceptional Verbal & Written Communication

Accountants need to be able to communicate effectively to their peers, supervisors, stakeholders, and even members of the public. Your resume itself is a great example of your written communication skills. 

Find an Accounting Job in Albuquerque or Santa Fe Today

Are you interested in finding top accounting jobs in the Santa Fe and Albuquerque areas? Turn to the leading accounting staffing and recruiting agency in New Mexico: The Hire Firm. We’ve been matching qualified accounting professionals with great employers for nearly three decades.  

Contact a member of our recruitment team today to get started.

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