5 Mistakes Candidates Make on Their Resumes

Are you making a mistake on your resume? If so, it may be standing in the way of an interview and the chance to secure your dream finance or accounting job. Resume missteps are surprisingly common, even among highly-talented and experienced candidates.

If you’re concerned about making a potential mishap while writing your resume, here’s what you should know before you hit “send” to apply for that next accounting or finance role.

Mistake #1: Your resume is too long

It might seem obvious, but candidates frequently make this basic mistake: submitting a resume that’s too long. A resume that is too long will overwhelm the reader or cause them to move on entirely. Try keeping your resume to two pages or less and remove irrelevant information. Occasionally candidates with 20+ years of experience can justify going on to the third page, but this is the exception.

As you edit your resume and decide what to cut, consolidate bullet points that are no longer impactful to your current job, or the one you seek to obtain. For dated positions, consider having 1-2 high-level bullet points to briefly summarize a position, or just including the company and title alone.

Pro Tip: Keeping your resume brief shows the hiring manager you are adept at presenting thorough yet concise content. 

Mistake #2: Your resume isn’t easy to read

Candidates often forget to step back from their resumes for an objective look. Ask yourself, “Is this easy to read?” Simple formatting changes to how information is presented can greatly improve.  

Most hiring managers will move on to the rest of the stack if your resume is disorganized, doesn’t communicate a clear controlling idea, or can’t be absorbed in 15 to 20 seconds. Don’t make the hiring manager’s (or recruiter’s) job harder than it has to be.

Helpful Consideration: Keep your writing clear and to the point. Remember, your resume shows how you’ll present data, and this is a critical requirement for any accounting or finance position.  

Mistake #3: Your resume neglects to highlight the connection between your role and company growth

In today’s ever-changing market, hiring managers are looking to add finance and accounting talent that will help their company efficiently grow at scale.

Your resume should show how you have helped your employers improve productivity and provide a blueprint for the value you’ll provide in this new role. The points on your resume should highlight your success at previous employers and provide direct evidence that you’ve worked at companies that have scaled.

One way to achieve this is to include a 2-line summary of your previous company (directly under company name in italics), that describes the business model, headcount, and any publicly-available information about their growth and success. This provides much-needed context to explain your value in your previous roles, especially for lesser-known companies.

Remember: The goal here is to help the hiring manager build a mental picture that includes a clear understanding of how you will contribute to their future success. Explain how you’d make the most impact at their company and show how your experience will be helpful to them.

Mistake #4: Your resume is void of relevant, interesting information 

We often find candidates with amazing stories to tell us about their successful career, but their resume is generic and fails to communicate those achievements and contributions. 

While avoiding the mistake of telling your life story (remember, the goal is 1-2 pages), include information that highlight unique experience that will help you stand out (system implementations, executive/BOD presentations, inheriting a greenfield position, supporting a company through their IPO, fundraises or global expansion). 

Do you have a unique accomplishment, passion, cause you care about, or connection to their company or industry? Share and help your resume stand out from the rest. 

Bonus Thought: Unique points on your resume make excellent icebreakers when it’s time to chat with the interviewer face-to-face or via a virtual meeting. When you provide compelling details, you set yourself up for a successful interview by providing discussion points to help you land the job.

Mistake #5: Your resume suffers from formatting issues

Give your resume a once-over for formatting issues that make it look strange or awkward to review. Ensure it’s readable and scannable without distracting spacing, symbols, margins, or page dividers (wing dings and script fonts simply aren’t resume material). 

Here’s a perfect example to avoid: never take a 3-page resume and cram it into a 2-page layout. Reducing your resume font size or margins to shrink it to the desired length will not achieve the desired results. Instead, make the editing changes necessary to get your resume down the desired length with comfortable white space and margins.

Don’t Forget: Resist the urge to stand out with bright colors or unusual fonts. Finance and accounting jobs tend to have buttoned-up cultures, so an outrageous resume typically looks out of place. The hiring manager wants to see you shine through your accomplishments, not a flashy color or Wild Font Choice.

Refresh your resume and connect with BVOH

Is your resume polished and ready to share with potential employers? Look at the available positions through BVOH and rest easy knowing your resume will attract the right kind of attention.

As one of the industry’s top specialized search firms, BVOH has the expertise to confidently help accounting and finance job seekers navigate the hiring landscape. Let’s have a conversation to discuss your priorities and talk about the next steps. 

Connect with us today to give your newly-polished resume the attention it deserves.

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