The most common questions we get asked at Accountancy Connect is, ‘How do I make my resume stand out?’ and, ‘What are employers looking for in a resume?’

We come across a lot of questions surrounding resumes, what they should or should not contain, how long they should be, and more recently, the question of whether or not to include a professional photo.

After working in recruitment for more than 20 years we’ve definitely seen our fair share of resumes and we’d like to share with you a few tips we believe will help you tighten a resume ready for your next career move. After all, a resume is most likely to be the basis for the first impression an employer has of you as you begin the job application process. For this reason, it’s important to showcase your best self accurately and concisely.

It is recommended to begin with a career objective statement, a strong argument that displays your years of experience and most senior role, your highest qualification and relevant certifications as well as what you can bring to your desired position. It is important that this information is delivered professionally and concisely. It can be tempting to want to expand on your knowledge and expertise but reign it in and create a career objective statement no longer than a couple sentences. Besides, you still have a cover letter to write!

Start strong with your certifications and work experience. This is the most valuable information to a hiring director so bump it up to the top under your objective statement. Use the reverse chronological order format to showcase your latest work first and work backwards to show how you have progressed.

Remember what experience is relevant to the position you are applying for. You only have a finite window of opportunity to position yourself as the best candidate for the role. This means removing any unnecessary work experience that does not demonstrate this.

Quantify your experience where possible. Being specific about your past experience and what it entailed. This is vital in demonstrating your capabilities. By how much were you under budget in a previous project you contributed to? How many employees did you mange in a team? How many contracts did you negotiate? These are all examples of where specifying and quantifying your statements will allow employers to contextualise your experience and demonstrate the level of responsibility you have previously exercised.

The overall length of your resume is debatable but we believe it should be kept to a single page (particularly if your professional experience totals under 10 years). Don’t let this frighten you. There’s still plenty of space to list achievements, qualifications and skills utilising tools such as banners or a highlighted column to one side, perfect for listing personal details and a list of your skill set. Have a look around at different templates for some more ideas.

And lastly… don’t add a profile picture. You’ll want all the room you can get if you’re going to stick to a single page resume. Besides, if an employer really wants to put a name to a face, that’s exactly what your LinkedIn page is for. Best to leave it out.