accounting resume 101

Accounting Resume Writing 101: Find Your Hook

Drafting an accounting resume should be nothing new for you, but have you ever reviewed a resume on behalf of your company? I have.

I started my job at an investment bank and was part of the team who screened resumes for first-round interviews of the analysts’ program (yes, this was done by junior bankers and not HR professionals). This was typically done after a long day, and the stack was thick, like 3-4 inches, so I must have been reviewing hundreds of resumes in one go.

A Process of Elimination

The most efficient way to process the pile was by elimination. I looked at the GPA. Anything below 3.0 was out. More than 2-3 typos? Out. Ugly formatting? Out.

Then, I skimmed through the text. This was more of a subjective process because we weren’t asked to look for distinctive traits or experiences. We were told to pick the ones we “liked.” I picked my favorites based on:

  • Those with higher grades and relevant internships
  • Those who had a profile similar to mine
  • Those I knew personally (either directly or indirectly)
  • Those who had done something so unique that I wanted to meet them in person

It is pretty hard to work on bettering your grades and landing internships once you graduate. Also, it’s challenging to fit your resume to match the profile of your reviewer because you never know who that person will be.

But you can definitely try to make some contact with existing employees and include something unique in your accounting resume so that everyone wants to invite you for an interview.

Find Your Accounting Resume Hook

I have seen quite a few “Miss Texas” and part-time models on accounting resumes. And while this is interesting, you run the risk of being interviewed by people who are only interested in what you look like. In my experience, my peers who selected models had almost no intention of providing the interviewee with an offer, regardless of how well they interviewed.

But if you have done something extraordinary, like you have set up a non-profit organization in Africa, this is a “hook” that almost always works to get people’s attention.

Also, a hook is much more impactful than a resume objective statement; these statements just take up valuable space on your resume, so go against your desire to include one.

Your Accounting Resume at The End Of The Day

We had 4-5 analysts reviewing the same stack of resumes, and our picks were often strikingly similar. That’s why most people either get no follow-up or lots of follow-ups from their resumes.

And if you’re pursuing big 4, discover how to make your big 4 resume shine. (Don’t forget what you learned here though — apply all the tips you can!)

About the Author Stephanie

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley), and I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!

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