How to Decode an Accounting or Finance Job Posting


Sometimes it seems as if you need code breaking skills in order to understand a job posting. But job postings shouldn’t be an enigma. And you shouldn’t feel like Indiana Jones looking for the Ark of the Covenant when you read one (although feeling like Indiana Jones at any point is kind of fantastic…and he has a great hat). 

Here’s how to decode an accounting or finance job posting and understand what employers are really looking for.

The Jargon
Every industry has its jargon, and the accounting and finance industry is no different. But what does the jargon mean? What traits are the employers actually highlighting?

  1. Dynamic – When you see the word “dynamic” it means that employers are looking for someone who takes the initiative. Show in your resume that you are confident in solving problems and taking action.
  2. Passionate – Employers love enthusiasm. Passion manifests in knowledge about an industry, genuine enthusiasm about an organization’s mission and its services.
  3. Business Partner – More and more accounting and finance professionals are being asked to demonstrate strong business partnering skills. Can you work cross-functionally and add value? Can you get buy-in and build influence? Are the insights you provide helpful to other business units?
  4. Self-starter – When you see the words “self-starter” what the employer wants is someone who doesn’t need a lot of direction to be successful. Similar terms include “autonomous” and “self-motivated.” Highlight skills and experience that show an ability to be self-directed. Communicate that you can hit the ground running and start adding value immediately.
  5. Detail-oriented – This is an overused term, but still communicates the need for accuracy and commitment to getting it right the first time. Clearly, in the world of numbers and strategic insights, being detail-oriented is critical for success.
  6. Flexible – An employer who asks for a flexible employee, could be looking for someone who’s willing to work long hours if needed. If so, make sure your accomplishments section in your resume speaks to a willingness to stay longer if the job calls for it. Flexibility may also refer to how well you flourish in ambiguity and a constantly changing environment. In a job posting look for words such as, “flexible mindset,” or “succeed in ambiguity.” Finally, it may also speak to an individual who can be open to other points of view in negotiation, or when gaining buy-in.
  7. Business Development – This is typically a way of saying “sales.” Business development can take on many forms, including working directly with clients, attending conferences and generally being an ambassador for business. List any examples of how you helped grow the company’s business through specific action or initiatives.
  8. Team Player – Employers love team players. These are people who can mesh with the natural working style of the team, demonstrate a willingness to help others be successful and work the extra hours if need be. Include examples on your resume of how you worked successfully in a team environment, not just as an individual.

The Title
Keep in mind that people often skim over the title in job postings. But titles can have different meanings across industries. Make sure you carefully read it and cross-reference it with the salary and years of experience they’re asking for. The title also gives you clues about the keywords that will be used to locate quality candidates either on LinkedIn, for example, or through the applicant tracking software the company is using.

Read: Want to learn more about how to use keywords to your advantage? Read, “Finance Job Tips – Leveraging Keywords.” 

Company Information
Some companies start a job posting by introducing the organization, while others finish with this information. This information is critical in helping you land the job. More and more, organizations are hiring for cultural fit, and this section, is where you’ll find information on the company’s culture.

ReadAccounting Job Tips – How to Tell if a Company is a Fit” to understand how to tell if a company’s culture will lead to career satisfaction or discouragement.

Some companies describe the responsibilities for the role in broad terms, while others will get into the specifics. Of course, the more detail you have, the better able you are to make a decision about whether the role makes sense for you or not. Look for a match with your existing skill set and make sure to highlight this alignment on your resume. For example, ensure that you include any specific accomplishments that speak to the job posting’s responsibilities.

Not sure how to craft a resume that will land you an interview? Read “The Best Finance Resume We Ever Received” for help.

This section can sometimes be called “Qualifications” or “Experience.” Basically, it typically contains the “must haves” for the role. As finance and accounting recruiters, we are seeing more employers include soft skills such as communication and adaptability here. Make sure that your resume demonstrates that you have both the technical and soft skill requirements the employer is looking for.

Pro tip: Does the job posting mention “self-starter” in one section and then state that you’ll have to independently lead a project in another section? Overlapping information like this indicates a high level of importance for that particular skill or personality trait.

Salary and Compensation
Is the proposed salary in alignment with the requirements and responsibilities for the role? Are the benefits a match for what you’re looking for? Look for employers who seem to understand market conditions, and if you’re not clear about your market value is, this blog can help.

Key Takeaways
You shouldn’t have to possess a super secret decoder ring to understand a job posting. In a world where “passion” means enthusiasm for an industry, and “business development” can be a fancy way of saying “sales,” knowing the jargon can help you decide if you’re a fit for a role. Make sure to look at the title of the job posting and cross-reference it with the salary and years of experience information. This will help you understand, along with the requirements of the role, if the company has a grasp of market conditions. To that point, know your own market value. Take the time to read company information and decide if applying for the role could lead to a mutually beneficial situation. After all, neither you, nor the employer, want to be back in the job search/hiring game again after 3 or 6 months.

Your Next Step
No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

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