By Jim Wong, CPA | August 13, 2014

Now is the time to distinguish yourself among your peers with a remarkable resume.

As the business world continues to evolve into a digital space, job seekers in every profession have to be on top of the latest and greatest technology, trends and topics in order to set themselves a part from the competition. For accounting, finance and IT professionals this is no different which is why it’s important to balance thinking outside the box with keeping a conservative approach when vying for that next Project Accountant, Financial Analyst or ETL QA Tester role.

Optimizing one’s resume is a great avenue for accomplishing this dichotomy.

Whether you’re in the hunt for a job because you want a change from your current role, or because you’re currently unemployed and need something ASAP, take the time to properly navigate your search no matter your situation. Enhancing your resume is a good place to start.

So, follow these 10 Tips for creating a resume that won’t get tossed aside or deleted:

1. Include key words.
Use the free Google AdWords Keyword Planner to find commonly searched key words and phrases on Google pertaining to your current position or desired position. Hiring managers perform keyword searches on hundreds of resumes all of the time looking for specific words that match their needs. Be ahead of the game by including these relevant phrases and you’ll not only reflect your expertise, but you’ll get noticed immediately by the hiring company.
2. Add hyperlinks.
Making your resume interactive will show that you’re innovative while also making it easy for the person reviewing your resume to further research your experience. Most hiring managers are downloading your resume online or via email so any links will and should be live. Include links to your email address, your LinkedIn profile (be sure to declare a custom URL), your personal website or to your company’s website in order to give them quick access to you and your job history.
3. Be creative.
While you don’t want to detract from the substance of your resume, you can add creative elements to draw the reader’s eye to certain details. Adding color and a large font size to your name is one way of subtly making you stand out from standard black and white resumes; and using various templates to organize the sections of your resume in a clean and unique design is also a good way to set you apart. Some professions are even moving towards video messaging as a way of applying to a job. However, not everyone has the creative edge or resources to produce such pieces. Therefore, other simpler modifications like font and color are more realistic.
4. Tell a story.
Think of your resume as a movie trailer to your professional career. Give enough information so that you’ll get noticed and get called in for an interview, but don’t reveal every aspect. Save some of your expertise for your first interview. You want to intrigue the hiring manager enough to call you in but then satisfy their needs when you eventually tell them your whole story.
5. Keep your resume short.
This is an oldie but goodie. Non-management employees should keep their resumes to one page. However, it is acceptable for middle-management positions i.e. AR/AP Managers, Finance Managers, IT Managers, and above, to have two-page resumes. If you’re middle or senior management, and choose to have a two-page resume, keep your work experience that is beyond 10 years, very brief. The average hiring manager will only spend a certain amount of time on any one resume. So, be sure that yours is concise and to the point.
6. Only list the past 10 years of experience.
If you’re a non-management professional, limit your previous job experience to the past 10 years. Most often, your expertise has been achieved in recent positions. In fact, research shows that it only takes a person 10,000 hours, or five years, to become an expert in their profession. Showcase all of your expertise from the past 10 years – it’s more than certain to be enough to catch the hiring manager’s eye.
7. Include your accomplishments.
Besides listing your job experience, core skills and education, be sure to include a list of your accomplishments. This is a good section to use numbers and percentages detailing your most proud achievements up to this point of your career. Did you reduce AR by X percentage? Did you grow the company by X percentage? Did you improve processes by X amount? Use the Accomplishments section to brag a little, and again, set yourself a part from the competition.
8. List between three and five bullet points for each job position.
Be concise and to the point. Have at least three bullet points, but no more than five. Again, you want to keep your resume short. Make sure that every bullet point you include shows off your skills and talents. You don’t want to be too general, but you don’t want to tell your entire story either (See Tip No. 4). If you have the right keywords, (See Tip No. 1) you can sell yourself even more when go in for your first interview.
9. Use a professional sounding email address. is not going to come across as professional to a hiring company. Be smart when including your contact information. If you don’t have a personal email that is professional sounding other than your current or old work place, create a new one. Email addresses are free and infinite. So, take a few minutes to create a new account. In fact, a fresh email account will make it easier for you to organize your job applications and potential new employers. You’ll have one dedicated inbox just for your job seeking needs!
10. Check. Check. Double-Check.
Be sure to have at least one person review your resume before you begin applying to jobs. And, go through it at least three times, proofing it for one thing each time.

First time: Look over your resume for spelling and grammar issues.

Did you use the proper tense throughout your resume?
Are your there(s), they’re(s), and their(s) all correct?
Second time: Go over it again for formatting consistency.
Are your line spaces even?
Do your bullets line up evenly?
Third time: Read through it again for fact checking.
Did you put the correct city and state for each job?
Are all of your date and years correct?

What are some other tips for creating an eye-catching resume? Comment below and let us know!

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