With almost 6 years experience of working with Accountancy & Finance professionals at all levels, it is amazing how often I speak to candidates who either need or ask for CV advice.
Your CV represents your personal brand. It’s essential that it differentiates you from the crowd of other applicants and ultimately leaves a lasting, positive impression. The purpose of this article is to assist you in creating a document that will give you the best possible chance of securing that interview.
So, without further adieu, lets get down to what you all came here for – concise and practical CV advice.
Personal Profile (The most important point and why it is first on the list!)
Your personal profile is so important and is the most common piece of advice I give to candidates. It is ultimately the first piece of information the hiring manager/recruiter is reviewing. You want to grab their attention straight away. Include a brief summary of your experience to date, no longer than 8-10 lines. This should be concise, factual and related back to the job description you are applying for. Particularly, focus on hard skills/key requirements of the role and not the soft skills.
Example: “Fully qualified ACA Accountant, big 4 trained with 2 years PQE in a global multinational manufacturing environment. Experience includes, forecasting, inventory and variance analysis and monthly management accounting. Proficient in the use of SAP and an advanced excel user. Looking for a management accountant role with a progressive organisation who provides development and career progression opportunities”.
“Fully qualified ACA Accountant, big 4 trained with 2 years PQE in a global multinational manufacturing environment. Experience includes, forecasting, inventory and variance analysis and monthly management accounting. Proficient in the use of SAP and an advanced excel user. Looking for a management accountant role with a progressive organisation who provides development and career progression opportunities”.
Use a template (find some great templates here), bullet points and keep font, spacing etc. consistent. For example, you could apply a bold font to certain experience/skills to stand out. Write job titles that the market calls the role, not necessarily the internal job title. Above all, don’t forget to spellcheck. Presentation is key and has a big impact on first impressions.
Generally, your more recent experience will probably be the most relevant to the role you are applying to. Give this the required column inches. I would advise giving less details on your experience that is not related to the role. Also, don’t focus on experience that dates back beyond 5 years. If your role has a number of individual facets (e.g. financial reporting, payroll and people management), divide your bullet points accordingly. Move the facet or bullet point most relevant to the role you are applying for to the top of the list. Most importantly, include detailed context – this can include company size/overview, industry, turnover, the size of the finance team and the percentage split of your responsibilities.
Jul 2014 – Present CMCN Ltd.,
CMCN is a multinational medical device manufacturing organisation, employing over 450 people with a turnover of approx. €250M. Reporting to the Finance Manager I work in a 20-person finance team with the following responsibilities:
- Duties: described in market terms – most relevant to the top
- Involvement in the day to day processes – forecasting, inventory analysis etc.
- Percentage split of duties between transactional, management accounting and financial analysis etc.
- Key Achievements
- Project Work
These are extremely important to have on your CV. A role with a prospective employer could depend on the systems exposure you have had. It is often the case that I have had to do a specific search for an accountancy package or system. Knowledge of IT software (e.g. SAP, Oracle, Sage), is extremely valuable. If you have the software skills, ensure you feature what particular systems you have worked with. If you happen to be a super user of a particular system, again have it noted in black and white.
The most common soft skills requirements included on accountancy & finance job descriptions include; problem solving, analytical skills, team player and strong interpersonal skills, leadership, attention to detail, verbal and written communication and presentational skills, time management and organisational skills. These will all add positively to your CV.
Tailor Your CV
Finally, putting the time and effort into an initial template and then tailoring it based on the application can significantly improve your chances of being called to interview. I would always advise candidates to cross reference their CV against the job description. Ensure that you include the transferrable skills and experience you have on your CV and where possible in your personal profile.
Do not be afraid to ask for advice and engage a specialist recruiter to help craft your CV. Here at Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services we pride ourselves on our level of customer service and we are more than willing to give practical advice on CVs, interview preparation and general market insights.
For more tips visit our CV preparation guide.
Cork Branch Manager
Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group