2024 brings a competitive job market, making a well-crafted resume crucial. As employers sift through numerous applications, a concise and impactful resume becomes the first impression of you as a job seeker. Having a document that clearly displays your skills, qualifications, and experiences and is tailored to the industry's specific needs enhances the chances of standing out among others. Employer resume preferences can change, so making sure yours aligns with what hiring managers are looking for in 2024 is essential.
Key Sections of a 2024 Resume
While this section may appear straightforward, paying attention to the details of your contact information and its placement is essential. Beyond the standard inclusion of your first and last name, email address, and phone number, be sure to include a link to your updated LinkedIn profile. Also, include any relevant professional links if they pertain to the job.
Exclude information from your contact information, such as social media links, an email address from your current employer, and personal details such as age. Personal details do not help employers contact you or convince them that you are the right candidate for the position, so including them is unnecessary.
Placement is also important. Applicant tracking systems cannot read text placed in headers/footers, so consider moving your contact information outside of a header if that is where it is currently placed.
There tends to be back and forth on whether to include an objective statement. In 2024, the higher the position level, the less critical an objective becomes. What we do know is that these statements used to be far more common but have dropped off in recent years. If you decide to include an objective on your resume, ensure it is tailored to the job description for each application you submit.
Example objective statement for an accounting/finance role:
Accounting professional with extensive experience in public accounting. Possesses CPA and impeccable GAAP skills. Has over five years of progressive experience in financial roles. Comfortable overseeing diverse accounting functions, including compliance, financial management, and reporting. Strong educational background, demonstrating robust financial analysis skills, software proficiency, and exceptional communication abilities to facilitate collaborative success within dynamic teams.
If you have an advanced degree (beyond a bachelor's degree), list that first, followed by your bachelor's, and then a high school diploma. If you have a few degrees, you can choose not to list your high school diploma, especially since you are working with limited space.
Within your degree(s), be sure to include the following information:
- Area of study – "BS in Accounting"
- University and year– "Colorado State University - Fort Collins, CO, 2018"
- Achievements such as: Graduated with a 4.0 GPA, Awarded _____ scholarship, etc.
Where you place your education on your resume can vary. There are two commonly used areas to promote your educational background, the first being before your professional experience. If the job you are applying for requires a certain educational background or certification, you should place education ahead of experience. Also, if you are new to the professional world and do not have much experience, highlighting your education first is a good idea.
Position experience before education on your resume if you are a candidate who has extensive experience in the industry you are applying to. If you have 15+ years of relevant experience and graduated nearly 20 years ago, you are likely a good candidate for placing experience before your educational background.
You can also use the education portion of a resume to highlight relevant certifications, such as a CPA certification. An effective way to list certifications includes the following:
- Title of the certification – "Certified Public Accountant"
- Institution and date it was awarded – "The National Associate of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), 2015"
- Skills that are relevant to the job you are applying to that were gained through the certification
When showcasing professional experience, focus on:
1. Relevancy: Make sure the highlighted experience is relevant in some way to the job you apply to. For instance, mentioning a social media marketing internship is probably unnecessary for an AP/AR position.
2. Using quantifiable achievements and responsibilities: Specifically in accounting and finance, numbers matter. If you managed a team of 10, increased productivity by 20%, or drafted financial statements for 200+ clients, include that information! Employers love to know areas where you made money, saved money, and accomplishments you earned previously.
3. Skills/technology: This is also a good area to highlight skills you possess and technology you are familiar with. Technical skills, like Excel and QuickBooks, or skills, such as preparing financial reports or performing audits, can all be integrated into the bullets beneath previous positions you've held.
In the competitive job landscape, a meticulously crafted resume is your gateway to success. Strategic attention to contact details, tailored summaries, and a focus on relevant education and professional experience can set you apart from other candidates fighting for a spot.