Putting together an entry-level accounting resume is not exactly a trip to Six Flags Great Adventure. Nor should it be. A resume is supposed to be a detailed listing of one's qualifications for convincing hiring managers you're perfect for the job. But how does someone fresh out of school with no strong professional experience to speak of convince a hardened hiring manager who's seen it all that you're the candidate they want?
First of all, don't panic. Remember, entry-level positions are for people fresh out of school whose resumes are probably filled with internships, fast food jobs and high hopes. You will be competing for a coveted position with individuals that are likely in the same place. Still, you do want your entry-level accounting resume to stand out from the pack.
Here are five solid tips for improving your entry-level accounting resume so that hiring managers want to know more about you beyond the resume and cover letter.
1. Know Your field
No entry-level accounting position is going to be the same. On the surface alone there's public accounting, private industry, government jobs and non-profit enterprises. While they may all use standard GAAP protocols, each organization is likely sanctioned by unique governing bodies, regulations, laws and even inter-company policies. Be ready to use your entry-level accounting resume to show hiring managers that you know their industry and what type of accounting is important to them.
2. Performance summaries and career objectives are boring
They usually reiterate the same idea across resumes, candidates and industries. Looking to use my skills at a company where blah, blah, blah. The fact is hiring managers may talk about your five-year plan at the interview, but the resume should state what you have to offer now. Give them a summary of your skills and how they apply to providing a high level of customer service. Demonstrate your grasp of the job and relevant experiences.
3. Use field-related actionable keywords
Produced, built, budgeted, advanced, positioned, saved, trained, uncovered, spearheaded, upgraded, clarified, executed, maximized, maintained, decreased, fulfilled, delegated, assured, developed. These are all actionable verbs and keywords that promote skill and leadership. Also, if they're in your background, use phrases like cash flow analysis, financial compliance, auditing, venture capital and investment strategies.
4. Use a responsible email address
For your job searches, create an email account solely for this. You're not in school anymore and DirktheLover@whatever.com is only going to make you look immature. A professional sounding email address says a lot about your authority and intention. Plus, when you open this account, you're only looking at relevant material, not weaning through a day's worth of contacts that could potentially distract you.
5. No experience, no problem
If you followed your long term plan, you should have internships, summer jobs and other relevant entry-level accounting resume information. If not, focus on your strengths, education, knowledge and skill set. Get hiring managers to see your strong edge over any other candidate.
Lack of practical experience shouldn't discourage you from crafting an impressive entry-level accounting resume. Simply remember the five tips listed above and the fact the position is entry-level and your chances are as good as anyone's.