No matter what kind of accounting job you are applying for, your CV is one of the most important things to get right.
It’s the first glimpse an employer will have of you, and first impressions count. So leave them wanting more by writing an awe-inspiring CV.
Let’s take a look at how to write a CV for an accounting job, from talking about previous roles, to discussing what you do outside of work.
Start off with the basic information about yourself. This makes it immediately clear who you are, and provides the employer with the information they need to contact you. You should include:
- Full name
- Email address
- Telephone number
It isn’t necessary to include information like your date of birth, marital status, or a picture, as you are protected by Employment Equality Regulations against against age and other kinds of discrimination.
This is probably the most important part of your CV, and normally the point at which employers decide whether to continue reading or not. In just a couple of sentences, you will need to summarise yourself in a way that makes you stand out as the ideal candidate for the role.
The challenge here is to condense all your best professional features into only around 50 words. Like in most sectors, in the majority of accounting roles, employers are looking for the right qualifications, experience and skills. So, for example, you would include things like being AAT or ACCA qualified, having worked as a Bookkeeper for three years, and having impeccable data analysis skills.
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This is where you can include the skills that make you perfect to the role. Financial employers are usually looking for the following skill types:
- Analytical skills – problem solving and logical thinking
- IT skills – experience of relevant software like Sage and Excel
- Communication skills – the ability to convey technical information to clients and others who don’t have financial expertise
Try not to use clichés – stay original and write something that sets you apart from the crowd. It’s likely that your CV won’t be the first or last the employer reads that day, so don’t be the 100th person with “good interpersonal skills” and “the abilty to work as part of a team”.
This is the place to demonstrate your expertise through your professional accounting qualifications. List your most recent first. So, this section might look something like this:
- 2012-2014: CIMA Diploma in Management Accounting – Babington
- 2010-2012: AAT Diploma in Accounting (MAAT) – Babington
- 2008-2012: A Levels in Maths (A), Economics (B), Physics (B), and Chemistry (C) – Cherry Lane High School
When writing a CV for an accounting job, your professional certifications will take precedence. So, if you’re AAT, ACCA, CIMA, or ACA qualified, for example, make sure this is clearly visible at the top of the list.
Employers won’t normally be interested in your first school, or anything below GCSE level. If you have a degree or significant professional qualifications, you may not even need to include GCSEs or A Levels.
This is also a good area to highlight any certificates and professional memberships you have.
In this section, you don’t necessarily need to include every role you’ve had. Only include the ones with skills and responsibilities that are transferable to the role being applied for. So, if you’ve had roles as a Sales Ledger Clerk and a Payroll Accountant, you don’t need to talk about your work experience with the local supermarket when you were sixteen.
The best way to present this information is to include the job title, start date and leaving date, and then a summary of your responsibilities and achievements in the role.
While this is probably the least important part of the CV (an employer won’t employ you because you enjoy travelling or going to museums), it is a chance for you to add some personality, and show that your passions support your professional development.
It’s also a chance for you to make up for holes in your professional experience. For example, if you haven’t had a managerial or leading role previously, highlighting that you captained a sports team demonstrates leadership skills, and that you can organise a team.
Again, this would be a good point to show some originality. Most people enjoy reading and going to the cinema, so try to add something that won’t crop up too often.
These are important to get right – a reference is the point of contact your prospective employer will reach out to in order to confirm your skills and suitability to the role.
Don’t include family members in this section, as they will be biased. If possible, include your last two employers. If this will be your first professional role, include contacts who have played a role in your education. For example, your ACCA tutor and Head of Sixth Form would make suitable references.
Give their name, job title, contact information and company address.
Before sending off your CV, carefully review what you’ve written, and ask someone you trust to give their opinion. This is your chance to shine, and demonstrate what makes you different from other applicants!