Hiring managers skim through a ton of resumes daily and need to identify quickly which ones make the cut and which ones don’t. It is tough to summarize your career on a single document –skillfully articulating positions you’ve held, certifications you’ve earned and companies you’ve worked for.
Whether you’re creating a new resume from scratch or updating a current one, here are some of our do’s and don’ts to help you to put together a purposeful career document that brings you closer to your next job.
1. Choose a Functional Resume Format
Most finance resumes use a chronological approach to display work experience. Experiment with a functional format that follows the chronological listing of work experience along with a detailed list of skills and certifications. Include a headline that clearly communicates your goals and qualifications. Customize your summary for each position, research what the company is looking for in a candidate and make note of those attributes in your summary statement. Make your summary unique, let it tell the interviewer something about yourself that the rest of your resume won’t.
2. Quantify Your Experience
The work experience section of your resume is the most daunting one to highlight. Numbers make a huge difference to any resume, try to quantify as much of your experience as possible. If you’re hesitant to use exact figures, consider using range, percentage increases/decreases, frequency, and scale to emphasize your impact. For example; responsible for preparing multiple financial reports on a weekly basis has a better impact than responsible for the preparation of financial reports. Similarly, managed a portfolio of over 500 clients, 50+ calls per day, recovered 2+ million in 2018 sounds much better than dealt with high-volume collections and recovered millions for the company.
3. Include Specific Keywords
Be specific with your skills, certifications and use strategic keywords relevant to the job description. Only those candidates whose resume matches to what recruiters are looking for will make it to the top of the pile. Some finance keywords to consider include finance analysis, corporate accounting, financial planning, budgeting, tax accounting etc. Don’t overdo it with F&A acronyms and technical jargon. Technical expertise is crucial for a career in finance, but employers want to see proof of soft skills such as critical thinking, communication, and time management.
1. Use Too Many Empty Words
Avoid excessive use of terms like “detail-oriented”, “results-driven” or “change agent”. Include terms that are specific to your skills and abilities. Discard any flattery, unnecessary descriptions or words that don’t add value to your professional career. Ideal F&A resume length should be 2 pages – every word is precious!
2. Focus on Job Titles
Employers may be more interested in your job accomplishments than job title. Reduce your focus on job titles and add more weight to your accomplishments within a specific role, positive changes you’ve helped to implement, and accounting software that you’ve mastered
3. Overdue Work Experience
There is no need to mention every job you’ve had, especially if it is not related to the role you’re currently pursuing. Limit your work experience to positions that align with your qualifications and career goals.
Remote work, while being recognized as more mainstream, especially now, is not suitable for everyone. It takes a certain type of person to work effectively away from an office setting. Independence, good time management skills, resourcefulness, and trustworthiness are some qualities an employer should seek in a candidate applying for a remote role.
So how can you determine whether a candidate will succeed at teleworking? Consider asking these 3 key questions during an interview to help assess for remote suitability.
How do you prioritize tasks?
It’s important to know that the candidate can distinguish between important and less important tasks and make the call independently as to which ones go to the top of the list. Ask about what strategies they use to assess their workload and keep track of their progress as well as how they structure their workday. If the candidate needs a lot of direction from their manager to organize tasks and requires frequent checking-in to ensure that they are focussing on the right things, working remotely might prove challenging.
What makes you an effective communicator?
In an office setting people can constantly see you so it’s much easier to share your thoughts spontaneously and engage others in conversation. And while there are many different technologies that companies can implement to help facilitate collaboration and inclusiveness, making your voice heard as a remote employee is often a challenge and could potentially lead to disengagement. You want to make sure that the candidate is comfortable reaching out to others and initiating conversations, that they can leverage collaborative technologies to their full potential, and that they can communicate their ideas clearly, without hesitation.
How do you maintain work-life balance?
Many of us who have worked from home regularly for an extended period of time can attest to the fact that it is easy to blur the line between professional and personal life. While remote work offers more flexibility in daily schedules, it is easy and sometimes even tempting to keep on working beyond allotted work hours, eventually leading to burnout. You want to make sure that the candidate is cognizant of this fact and that they have strategies in place to help them work most efficiently without jeopardizing their mental health.
As we recover from the pandemic and some companies make the move towards establishing remote work on a permanent basis, candidates will likely see a lot more opportunities for teleworking roles. While it may not be an ideal fit for everyone, remote jobs provide greater flexibility, less constraints around location, and a more technology dependent working environment.
In order to assess whether the remote role you’re applying for is well supported by the organization that’s offering it, consider asking these 3 questions at the interview:
1. Can you describe your company’s remote culture? Some companies might have an established remote workforce while others might be new to this. Because remote employees can feel disconnected, it’s important for organizations to bring everyone together, encourage frequent collaboration, and have a check-in system in place. Get a sense of how frequently the teams communicate and by what method, whether there are any virtual team events in place, or what their policies are for creating an inclusive culture that address the challenges of distance work.
2. What technologies do you have in place to support remote work? There are many different technologies on the market that allow for collaboration and communication between team members, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Slack. You want to ensure that the company will provide such resources so you can get to know everyone at the company and have an established method of communication with your team. It is also key to determine how easily you’ll be able to share and access files. Is the company working from a cloud environment? What type of IT support will be provided? Make sure that you are comfortable or open to learning their tech stack.
3. How do you track productivity of remote employees? Productivity tracking is done differently across organizations and even teams within one company. Some roles require closer monitoring than others. Companies can track work by using technologies such as ActivTrak or opt for an honour system. It’s important to find out what the process and expectations are around the role you’re applying for. Are you expected to work during certain hours or is there room for flexibility? Does this job have frequent deadlines and a defined reporting structure? Get as much clarity on expectations as you can.
When you interview for a remote role, ask the right questions to gauge your fit. Companies that have a well-thought-out remote work support system in place will add to your and their success.
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