Creating a Stellar Resume
By From the career experts at Robert Half
A good resume can be hard to find; just ask any hiring manager
thumbing through stacks of them. To stand apart from the crowd
in today's competitive employment market, financial
professionals must submit a document that makes an immediate
impression. In fact, a well-crafted resume is your most
effective tool for landing an interview and, ultimately, a new
job. Following are some key "do's" and "don'ts" of resume
First, some do's:
Do use action verbs as much as possible. For
instance, instead of writing a passive sentence such as,
"My company has provided me with five years of accounting
experience," write using an active voice: "Possess over
five years' experience as cost accountant for Fortune 500
company." Also avoid vague terms such as 'familiar
with' or 'experience with' -- these phrases set off alarm
bells for hiring managers, who may question your actual
depth of knowledge.
Do use bulleted sentences that are short and to the
point. Avoid lofty and redundant language. The
goal is to communicate your abilities clearly and
Do format your resume chronologically. According to
research by our company, executives prefer work histories
listed in reverse chronological order rather than grouped
by skills or job function. There are times when it's
necessary to arrange your resume by skills or job function
-- both are good options for those who have large gaps in
their work history or are trying to break into a new area
of financial services -- but in general it's best to use
the traditional approach.
Do remember to tailor your resume for each opportunity by
highlighting key achievements and qualifications that
relate specifically to the position. Often this may
be as simple as reordering bullet points to emphasize
certain skills and expertise.
Do include terms from the job description in your
resume. If you're applying for a entry-level
accounting position, and the advertisement for the job asks
for candidates with 'high energy' and 'experience with
corporate clients,' integrate those phrases into your
resume (as long as they're true, of course!). Many
companies electronically screen resumes for key words, so
you can boost your chances of landing an interview by
adopting any applicable phrases.
Now, some don'ts:
Don't include a long, unrelated laundry list of job duties
on your resume, such as 'familiar with XYZ design software'
and 'employee activity committee coordinator.'
Instead, only include those skills that are relevant to the
Don't include irrelevant facts about your personal life:
The fact that you enjoy cycling on the weekends isn't
relevant unless you're applying to a bicycle manufacturing
company. Only pertinent information -- such as
volunteer work or connections with professional
associations -- should be listed.
Don't include an unprofessional e-mail address in your
resume, such as 'firstname.lastname@example.org' or 'email@example.com.' Set up a
new e-mail box, if necessary, that uses your name in the
address. Along the same lines, don't include in your
resume a link to your personal website; you don't want your
potential employer to see pictures of you falling off a
surfboard in Hawaii. Providing a link to your
personal website is acceptable only if it contains a record
of your professional achievements, resume and other
Don't overlook the little things: A resume marred by typos,
misspellings or grammatical mistakes sends the message to
potential employers that you lack attention to detail,
which is especially important for financial
professionals. It is always a good idea to use your
computer's spell-check function and ask a friend or
relative to review your resume for accuracy before
submitting the document.
Don't list references or write 'references available on
request.' Hiring managers assume you will provide
this information when asked. However, do give each of
your references a copy of your resume so they can more
adeptly highlight your achievements when contacted.
Founded in 1948, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of Robert Half International Inc., the world's largest specialized financial recruiting service and a leading authority on workplace and management trends. The company has more than 350 offices throughout North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. Learn more at www.roberthalf.com.
Copyright 2008 Robert Half International. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authority.
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