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Five steps to a winning CV

Morgan McKinley’s Josh Rufus sets out the secrets to making your CV stand out in the crowd.

Josh Rufus

June 2018

During my recruitment career I have probably looked at close on 30,000 CVs, a significant proportion of this within audit in practice recruitment. While there is no definitive way of writing a CV, there are many incorrect ways in writing them.

Working within the audit market is very competitive, so it is important to take time to put together your CV, that portrays you and your accounting experience in the best light.

You need to remember that first impressions do last, whether in person or a document that represents you.

With this in mind I have five helpful tips to bear in mind when putting together your CV.

Say what you are looking for 

  • In the profile section an employer will want to know who you are and more importantly what you are looking for. This can change if you are looking for different roles.
  • If you are applying for a specific role, which requires specific skills such as complex consolidations or reviewing accounts, then take time to read through the job description, and identify key words. Make sure these are referenced in the profile section, it will give an indication that you have taken the time to link your application directly with the potential job opportunity. 

Exact dates needed

  • I do find that with individuals who have undertaken a number of different roles they can sometimes fail to put months of commencement of work or studying. This is important, because a potential employer likes to see whether there are any unexplained gaps, and exact months will be able to display this quickly and simply. Partners at practice firms are meticulous by nature, so this needs to be accurate. 

If you have got it, flaunt it!

  • It always amazes me the sort of information that individuals sometimes forget to put on a CV: UK GAAP and IFRS are two skills that companies in this market are crying out for.
  • Organisations are looking at the individual, not just for the job but also in terms of progression within the organisation so examples of managing or leading juniors on site are important.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

  • The first question I always ask when I am recruiting for a role within accountancy practice is around the size of firms that they audit and the respective company turnover.
  • A potential employer will also be looking for examples of this on a CV as well. It is important that where possible this information mirrors what is in the job advertisement that initially attracted you and what the employer is looking for.

Personality, not just a number cruncher

  • Today’s auditor needs to not only be competent at their role, but also needs to know how to up-sell to a client. 
  • The market is extremely competitive at the moment, with a lot of big firms pitching against each other to win business; therefore, it is important to show on your CV any extracurricular activities that are going to help your application.
  • Examples of this would be running fundraising events, sports competitions, travelling and experiencing new cultures, and public speaking.

Josh Rufus is Manager, Public Practice, at recruitment consultancy Morgan McKinley

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