In the midst of putting together a resume, many Finance and Accounting Executives often find that the seemingly simple task of highlighting their experience quickly turns into a far more difficult exercise than expected.
Without knowing exactly what a recruiter or CEO may be looking for when evaluating your resume, there may be times when questions of doubt begin to impede on the resume-writing process.
“Is this too long? Too brief?”
“Does this look too cluttered? Too sparse?”
“Should I explain the gap in my career history?
“Is my summary/objective specific enough?”
“Is my grammar correct?”
If you find that you are second guessing yourself throughout the process, follow these quick tips to ensure that your experience is properly conveyed in an efficient, easy-to-read manner.
Since every individual’s breadth of experience differs across the board, there is no concrete “rule” that dictates what the length of a resume should be. The resume of an executive with 20 years of experience will almost certainly have more substance than that of an executive with 10 years of experience.
That being said, it is a good idea to keep your resume between 2-3 pages. Recruiters and hiring managers are typically scanning the first page for keywords that will encourage them to read further. If you have pertinent information hidden deep into the third page, there is a chance that it may not be seen on an initial scan. Having more than three pages only decreases the odds of your relevant experience getting noticed.
Keeping in mind that resumes tend to be scanned upon an initial reading, it is important to make sure that your resume is easy to navigate. To achieve this, make sure your resume includes the following:
To ensure that your text isn’t scrolling from edge to edge, incorporate a margin to improve readability. We suggest a margin of .33 inches at the top and bottom of the page and .55 inches on the left and right.
Allow the reader of your resume to easily jump from section to section by providing clear and brief subheads.
Balance of text and white space
Keep your resume free of clutter, trying to pack too much information onto the page will drastically hinder the readability of the document. Make sure to provide appropriate spacing between lines and new sections.
Readable typeface and font size
Try not to go overboard with “fancy” typefaces. Keep it generic with an Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman typeface to maintain a professional look. Font size should not exceed 12pt or be less than 8pt.
Gaps in employment
If you had a significant gap in employment due to unforeseen circumstances, it is a good idea to provide a one or two sentence explanation of the gap. This explanation will clear up any assumptions that the reader may have and eliminate any less-than-positive conclusions they may jump to.
If your gap was not significant (less than 3 months) an explanation is not necessary as this is a common occurrence.
When recruiters and hiring managers scan a resume, they spend the most time in the upper 1/3 section of the first page to find keywords. By providing a summary section, you will be able to keep your achievements and experience highlighted at the top of the page while ensuring that they will be read.
When drafting your summary section, be sure to be specific and include both quantitative metrics of achievements as well as skill sets in particular software or processes.
After looking at the same resume for a significant period of time, it can become easy to be blind to otherwise glaring grammatical errors. If the reader of your resume spots these errors before you do, there is a higher likelihood that your resume will fall to the bottom of the pile.
Try using a tool like Grammarly to ensure that any errors on your resume are addressed before you send it out. Take it a step further by bringing in another set of eyes for one final review.