3 CV / Resume Hacks To Get Out of Accounting & Audit And Move Into More Strategic Roles

So, you’ve explored your exit options, avoided falling foul to misleading job descriptions and have actually spotted a strategic or commercial role that you fancy.


Now what?


Yes the space is competitive.


And, yes there are a countless number of qualified accountants and auditors out there with similar experience to you. But we want to share some of our tried and tested CV/Resume hacks to help you land such roles.


It’s been a few years (and multiple strategy job moves) since I qualified as an Accountant.


I’ve even recruited for commercial roles within my team, so it’s safe to say that I know which applications get noticed and which ones end up in the trash.


Be selective of the applications you spend your time on, and follow these simple CV/Resume hacks:


1. Cut the technical jargon


It’s worth remembering that a CV/Resume has <30 seconds to prove your worth. Of course, you’re going to proudly put your new Accounting Qualification slap bang at the top.


Rightly so.


However, limit any further technical accounting jargon there on out.


Employers know you have been working in Finance & Accounting for a minimum of 2-3 years, so will expect you to understand all of the technical facets of the job. You DO NOT need to list all of them down. In fact the more technical jargon you include, the less well-suited to strategic & commercial roles you sound.


If you want to stay in technical accounting roles, then by all means, emphasize how well you know IFRS or Accounting Compliance Frameworks. But generally, you don’t want to appear like you have spent most of your time “in the detail” with little or no time on more strategic decision-making type duties.


It’s genuinely difficult for companies to find accountants and auditors who have strategic decision-making capabilities. Not necessarily because accountants and auditors don’t have this experience, but because the vast majority don’t take the time to evidence it in their applications.


Don’t be one of them.


It’s an easy way to stand out.


2. Optimize for specific keywords to get past automatic bots


Strive for quality, not quantity of applications. Emphasizing different aspects of your experience depending on the job you’re applying to will make for much more effective use of your time.


In a world where your CV/Resume doesn’t get seen by a human until the interview stage, it’s imperative to understand what such automatic / AI bots are looking for and optimize for that to increase your success rate.


Algorithms will be tailored to each employer’s needs and their open roles specifically. Therefore, you need to be including keywords directly relevant to the company & roles you are applying for to increase the likelihood that you meet the threshold set within the algorithm.


There will almost certainly be another applicant that wants the job more than you and they will have spent the time to tailor their CV/Resume to the exact company and role. Also, quite often once a set amount of qualified applicants have made it past the AI bot’s filters, employers may well discontinue their search. Quite simply, the less time you spend on an application, the more likely that you will be out-foxed by your competition.


3. Be a little mysterious


Ever heard the saying “Have more than you show, and speak less than you know”?


Give employers something to think about.


Don’t fully detail everything you have experienced over your career to date. Leave those people reading your application wanting to know more and, most importantly, thinking that you have more to offer.


Not to mention it will give you a lot to discuss in the interview!


If you give the recruiter your life story in your CV/Resume, you give away your full hand and leave them feeling like they’ve “sussed you out”. I’m not advocating that you keep your CV/Resume to half a page and play your cards close to your chest … ultimately, you still need to appear well-rounded and adequately qualified.


Rather, the key is to highlight wider-reaching achievements rather than exactly how you got there. A basic example might be if you’ve won an award at work.  Rather than saying you won [X] award for a specific project for a specific client for a very specific contribution you made, it might be better to include a bullet that says “[X] Award for delivering results in uncertainty”.


It’s much more intriguing.


It sounds like you’re a high-impact employee. And it begs for you to expand on it in the interview.


Being slightly mysterious goes against the normal transparent accountant personality and your normal instincts, but this is exactly why it will set you apart from the rest of the crowd.  


PS: If you’d like specific CV/Resume tips for Transaction Services, why not check out our 50+ page CV/Resume guide and 3-part post where we’ve broken down the fundamental ways to help you stand out from your peers and make the move from Audit to Transaction Services / Transaction Advisory Services (TS).


PPS: Exit Options | Mapping the post-accounting & audit landscape

A lot of the clients we coach ask about moving into more strategic & commercial roles after spending time in traditional accounting & audit, but don’t know where to start or even what opportunities exist …so-much-so that we’ve put together a map of the landscape of accounting exit opportunities, which I encourage you to check out!


PPPS: Want personalised advice from one of our Co-Founders? We draw upon our extensive personal and successful client experiences to advise on anything from CV/Resume/document and profile editing (e.g. CV/Resume, Cover Letter, network outreach emails, your Linkedin profile) to dealing with recruiters, negotiating benefits packages, 1:1 coaching, interview prep and much more…

“After working with the Co-Founders through the Pro package, I’ve nailed a job I never thought I could get. I landed an M&A role in a completely new sector to my previous experience and have literally doubled my salary. Unbelievable!”

– Audit, Non-Big 4 – Hong Kong

 We’ve been where you are and can help you forge your swift exit. Click here to Get Coached.  


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Spice up your CV/Resume for the post-accounting & audit world

We’ve created a 50+ page digital guide specifically to help those of you applying for more commercial & strategic roles. Our straight-talking CV/Resume advice for Accountants/Auditors is the only guide that is highly-specific to the traditional accounting & audit background: we give you real-life good & bad examples for showcasing your experience for strategic roles, the best structure & content to win over recruiters, a strategy for distributing your CV/Resume, interview advice, and more!

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