Ace CV skills

Jan 09, 2018
There’s an art to writing an eye-catching CV so don’t treat it as an afterthought.

Every corporate vacancy attracts 250 CVs, according to recently-published research by Glassdoor. And when you consider that organisations will often have multiple vacancies at any given time, it soon becomes clear that for your CV to stand out from the crowd, it will need to be special – very special.

This is where specialist recruiters can add a huge amount of value. A specialist recruiter in accounting and finance has far, far more knowledge and expertise when it comes to CV creation and preparation than a generic CV preparation firm, a partner in a large accountancy practice or even the HR director in the world’s largest company.

Some pointers

Your CV is a representation of you when you’re not in the room but the truth is, nobody will read it. At best, it will be scanned so it’s vital to make a strong first impression. The first page is prime real estate, and here are some tips to help you create a good first draft:

  • Bullet point number one… use bullet points. Also, use generic language and provide context – each are key in building a picture that will be easily grasped by the lowest common denominator in the recruitment process – the administrator who has little or no knowledge of accounting.
  • Engage a specialist recruiter to help craft your CV. Family and friends will be more than willing to help, but there’s no second chance to make a good first impression.
  • A personal profile with fluffy phrases like “good communicator” and “team player” are too objective and not worth the space. Focus instead on the information that will truly set you apart from your peers.
  • You’ve probably heard this many, many times before – tailor your CV to the role you’re applying for. Mirror the language used by your prospective employer, as this will give you a much better chance of being discovered.
  • You will most likely be hired based on your more recent experience, so give this the column inches it deserves. When you go beyond five years, you’re getting into history so less is more for these roles.
  • If your role has three individual facets (financial analysis, financial accounting and project management, for example), in the ‘Experience’ section you should divide your bullet points accordingly and move the facet or bullet point most relevant to the vacancy you are applying for to the top of the list.
  • And as we mentioned earlier, context is king. You should provide detailed context about your past roles to give your prospective employer a sense of your ability – this could include company size, industry, turnover, the size of the finance team or the percentage split of responsibility. Such information is key for potential hiring managers, so don’t leave them wondering.


EXPERT CV ADVICE

Elaine Brady, Partner at Barden, shares her thoughts on the importance of CV preparation.

Your CV, and how it is perceived at first glance, will ultimately decide whether you get the opportunity to interview for that dream job. The key thing to remember is ‘differentiation’. While it may be tempting to copy and paste the CV of a colleague who works on the same audit portfolio as you, think about what really makes you stand out among your peers.

Your CV represents your personal brand and it’s essential that it leaves a lasting impression. Putting time into an initial template and then tailoring it based on the application can greatly improve your chances of being called to interview. It’s what you do in the interview then that will secure the role. Your career is too important to leave to chance. Spending time making the CV unique will be worth its weight in gold.

Sample CV

To give you a sense of what a good CV might look like, click here to view three unique CVs – one for the part-qualified accountant, one for the recently qualified accountant and one for the senior finance professional.