Resume Formats & Content
MPAc Career Services
Creating an effective resume is more an art than a science. Your resume is a work in progress, and should be continually updated throughout your time in graduate school and throughout your career. As you evolve and develop more experience, that should be reflected in your resume.
When developing your accounting resume, focus on skills, areas of expertise, certifications and specific accomplishments. Think of it as a marketing brochure; your goal is to generate initial interest in your product – YOU. It needs to be visually appealing and grab the attention of the reader within the first few lines (and within a scanning time of as little as 15 – 30 seconds). Your resume will need to motivate the reader to take action and call you for an interview.
Common Resume Mistakes:
Typos and Grammatical Errors
Your resume should be grammatically perfect. Of course, everyone makes mistakes but with a resume you have ample time to proofread and spell-check, as well as have other people check over for errors and inaccuracies. If you can’t take the time to create a well-constructed, error-free resume, why should an employer take the time to read it?
Keep the layout simple, clean and consistent. Avoid too many layers of indentation or endless bullet points. Use one size font for the entire document except for your name and contact information, and don’t mix font types.
Bullet points beginning with action verbs highlighting your duties and accomplishments are sufficient. Concise, understandable phrases are preferable to long sentences.
Highlighting Relevant Information
Don’t make it difficult for an employer to find the information they need. For MPAc resumes, that means your undergraduate GPA, your preferred career track (i.e., audit or tax), when you will earn your degree, and when you will be CPA eligible. Make it easy for them to want to hire you.
On the GPA: for some recruiters, the GPA may show how hard-working you are, while others may see it as a sign of your intelligence, motivation and ability to set goals. Remember, even though grade point average plays an important role in the screening process, employers will ultimately rely on more than your GPA to prove that your experience is consistent with their firm’s needs.
Too Much Information
Typically, US resumes don’t include the applicant’s photograph, date of birth, marital status, or personal beliefs. Names of references are also not included on a resume. It’s not even necessary to include your physical address anymore.
One Size Does Not Fit All
While you should have one general resume from which to work, occasionally it will be necessary to “tweak” your resume for a specific position or organization. Employers will want to see why you fit the job for which they are hiring in particular. Be willing to be nimble and flexible in tailoring your resume.
Know Your Audience
Most of you will be applying for jobs with accounting firms, in the audit or tax departments. The business world, while changing rapidly, is still a fairly conservative realm. The best way to stand out in this crowd is with a well-constructed document, not with flowery content or super artsy layouts.