What constitutes ‘the best’ in anything?
We bandied this topic around quite a bit, with each recruiter offering their version of what they thought was the best resume they’d ever seen.
At the end of it all, we decided that the best finance resumes were actually a compilation of 5 key attributes.
Bling is Not In
For a resume to shine (sorry, we couldn’t resist) it’s best to keep the format simple. Minimize text boxes, ensure there’s a lot of white space and keep it to less than two pages. Select one font and if you have to differentiate sections you can bold and/or italicize, but really, clean and simple wins the day.
Under your Professional Experience section make sure to include your title, the company you worked for and a brief description of said organization (1-2 lines maximum, such as the size and whether it’s public or private). Include your core responsibilities and consider dividing them into monthly, quarterly and annually.
No resume is complete without a key accomplishments section. Ideally, you would list specific outcomes you achieved under each role you held. Did you take part in process improvements? What was the result? Were you the lead contact in an acquisition? How did you deliver? What about being the go to person during an SAP implementation? Try to select accomplishments that highlight both your soft and hard skills. We all agree, what differentiates a good resume from a ‘wow I want to interview this person’ resume is this section.
Systems and Excel Skills
Consider highlighting advanced Excel functions you are comfortable using, along with any systems you’re proficient in. Employers like to hire people whose ramp up time is short and technical proficiency can mean you’re productive sooner.
Interestingly, some of the best resumes we’ve seen include volunteer experience that is relevant to the finance and accounting industry. To employers and recruiters it shows you have a sense of community –an appealing prospect when you’re building a team, for example.
Great resumes differentiate you from your competition. They make the employer want to pick up the phone or send you an email. Done well, a resume gets you the interview you want and pre-sells you to the organization you want to work for. This makes taking the time to craft the right resume a worthwhile investment.