A resume is a concise summary of your skills, education, goals and experience. Having a solid and effective resume can greatly improve your chances of landing your dream job with your top employer. Here are some tips to help you create a stellar resume:
- Choose the Right Resume Length and Font– For most college students, a one page resume is plenty. Choose a standard font that is appealing to the eyes.
- Formatting is Key – The format of your resume should be straight forward, clean and easy to read. When applying to accounting positions, stay away from colorful or trendy layouts.
- Include Contact Information– Be sure to include your phone number and email address at the top of your resume. If you choose not to include your mailing address, please be sure to put your city and state.
- Should I include a Career Objective? – Include one if you’re clear on what you want to do or if you’re applying to a specific job. For public accounting firms, it’s important to indicate whether you are interested in audit, tax, advisory, etc.
- Education– List degree or status of your education including dates, the name of the university from which you hold your degree, your GPA and special honors or recognitions (Dean’s List, graduated with honors, etc.)
- CPA Exam– When interviewing with a public accounting firm, one of your first discussions will be about where you are with the CPA exam and your plans for completion. If you have passed any sections of the exam, you should state this on your resume.
- Prioritize Your Professional Experience– First, list experience that relates to your career goal (i.e. internships). Next list professional experience unrelated to your career goal (part, full-time or seasonal employment).
- Include Professional Associations– List any professional associations that you are a member of (i.e. Beta Alpha Psi, Honorary Accounting Organization, etc.) and include any positions that you have held (President, Vice President, etc.).
- Extra-Curricular Activities Count– Involvement in extra-curricular activities, like clubs, social groups and sports, can demonstrate that you have valuable expertise and are well-rounded. List achievements in this section if you planned an event, contributed to fundraising activities, etc.
- Proofread, and then proofread again– When you are finished creating your resume, be sure to proofread it and then have someone else read it for a fresh set of eyes. In addition, be sure to use spell check. One misspelled word can be the difference between landing an interview and having your resume discarded.
- Talk to Your Mentor– Professors and career counselors can always be a valuable resource when it comes to proofreading and critiquing your resume. Having this experienced set of eyes can be helpful.
You will be selected for an interview based on your resume and your personal interactions with the employees within the organization. Students with poorly prepared resumes will most likely not get selected for interviews. Keep refining your resume until you are sure it properly reflects your qualifications, educational background and work experience. Resumes should be updated as you acquire new skills.