Mistakes that 90% of all Recently Qualified Accountants make with their C.V

So you’ve just received the wonderful news …. You have passed your ‘finals’ or you are finished your Training Contract!

You are now exposed to the big bad world and you have a wealth of opportunity at your grasp. Make sure you seize this and avoid the common mistakes that 90% of recently qualified accountants make when applying for jobs.

You need to start by taking a look at your C.V. Remember that your C.V is the primary method that the majority of Hiring Managers use to complete an initial ‘screen’ of applicants. Below, are the most commonly made mistakes.

  1. Overusing the exact same format as everyone else

You know what I’m talking about – there are usually one or two CV templates that everyone in your office uses when preparing their CV. There’s nothing wrong with this – just do not use exactly the same format. Remember, you will be competing with your colleagues for the same Job (ie Recently Qualified Accountant) in a few weeks / months’ time – so why do you want to come across as their ‘clone’?

  1. Not grabbing the attention of the person reviewing your CV

One of the easiest ways of doing this is to detail, in the first page of your CV, 2 or 3 of your achievements during your ‘Training Contract’. Now they do not need to be ‘earth-shattering’. The majority of Hiring Managers are looking for someone who knows the value of the work they did – for example, were you under-budget in the last 3 ‘Audit Assignments’ that you were responsible for? Or were you involved in some non-audit project that delivered a valued result for your client?  If you can articulate these on your CV, then you are setting yourself apart from the crowd! 

  1. Including non-relevant information

Ah yes, we have all seen the CV which has 4 or 5 lines of the responsibilities you had when you were stacking shelves at the local Grocery Supermarket; these ‘lines’ are only taking up space in your CV and preventing you from writing something relevant. I am not saying that you should not detail your previous employments (including part-time / summer work). In fact, it is very important that you can show that you did not spend all your summers sitting in front of the television.

However I would put it to you that it is sufficient to detail the period of time you were there, the name of the company and your position; the only reason to detail the responsibilities would be if they were relevant to your next role.

In my opinion, the primary focus of your CV (as a Recently Qualified Accountant) is to set-out as clearly as is possible what was involved in your most recent position ; for example, what Industry sectors you have had experience of, the type of assignments you undertook, the level of experience you gained etc.

If you can remember these 3 points when you are drafting / re-drafting your CV, then you will have set yourself apart from the crowd and avoided the most common mistakes that Recently Qualified Accountants unfortunately make.

BDO Recruitment specialises in sourcing candidates for permanent and temporary positions across the disciplines of Accounting and Finance, Executive Appointments, and Support Staff.

Contact Donal at dhanrahan@bdo.ie

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