Bulking up your resume - what do the firms want to see?

As you get older and gain work experience, the things you did during your college years will become a less-relevant part of your resume, and your experience and accomplishments will take on a higher priority. But for the student who has more education than experience, here are some tips from accounting firm recruiters on what your resume should include.

  • The resume for a new or recent college graduate should be confined to one page.

  • Include permanent (parent's) address, cell phone number, permanent address phone number, school e-mail address, permanent non-school e-mail address. The non-school information is important if the recruiter wants to try to reach you at some point after you have left college.

  • Some recruiters like to see an objective statement, others feel the statements always say the same thing and are only necessary if your objective is something other than a full-time position (for example, an internship or an overseas post). If you use this section, try to say something meaningful and passionate. If you think your objective sounds like the objective on every other resume, consider omitting this and using the space for something more interesting.

  • List education first, then experience, in backward chronological order (from the present to the past).

  • Include GPA – both the overall GPA and the GPA in your major.

  • Specific accounting coursework doesn't need to be listed – most students take the same courses - but advanced coursework in foreign languages and advanced computer coursework should be listed.

  • List the actual graduation date using the 150 hour requirement, and indicate when CPA exam will be taken.

  • Indicate if you are planning on pursuing a master's degree.

  • List work experience during college years, including all jobs and internships, not just accounting-related positions. Include two or three bullet points under each job describing details of the experience and how it helped prepare you for the job for which you are applying.

  • You can list high school jobs if you feel they are relevant, but this isn't necessary. However, if you started a business in high school, that should be listed.

  • Include an honors and activities section for, listing all awards won, clubs and sports and other activities, memberships in organizations including accounting societies, Beta Alpha Psi, Greek affiliations, leadership posts, community service activities. Don't include high school activities.

  • An optional section of the resume is hobbies and interests. Listing just two or three items in this area can set you apart from other candidates and personalize your resume.

    AccountingWEB is most grateful to the following professional recruiters and human resources officers for their assistance in compiling this article:

  • Judy Raker, Campus Recruiter, BKD, Indianapolis, IN

  • Monique Brannon, National Director of Recruiting, Grant Thornton, Cincinnati, OH

  • Lauren Malensek, Chief Human Resource Officer, Clifton Gunderson LLP, Milwaukee, WI

  • Natalie Stoner, Campus Recruiting Manager, Crowe Chizek, Chicago, IL

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