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Three Ways Accountants Can Use Performance Reviews to Polish Their Résumés

One of the complaints I oftentimes hear from my colleagues who begin the job search is, “I haven’t updated my resumé in (insert absurd amount of time here) years. I don’t have a clue where to begin.” Combine an outdated resumé with the fact that speaking highly of oneself without sounding pompous can be difficult at best, and it’s understandable why putting a resumé together is typically the biggest hurdle in committing to looking for a new job.

Today’s lesson in common sense – use what you’ve got. No, not those red pencils. I’m talking performance reviews.

For those of you who are KPMG Kampers, Down Towners and the GT shipmates, you should all have your performance reviews signed, sealed, and stamped with a rating. (Sources say that Uncle Ernie’s are ongoing; calls in to P. Dubs were met with a “We do not participate in surveys, sir.” So let us know where your processes stand). Here’s what you can do with your performance reviews when drafting a resumé:

Keep the technical – Remember how you’re constantly being reminded that you need to stay until making manager in order to develop your people skills? Or that rebuilding New Orleans makes you a well-rounded employee? No one cares. Okay, okay – people care, but these are not the skills that should dominate your resumé. Recruiters and their clients want to see technical marks. Talk about the FASBs you deal with; the financial products your banking client invests in; the material mistakes you uncovered. Anything soft skills related should be pushed towards the bottom of your bullet points.

Sell your resumé like you sell your peformance – It’s probably safe to assume that you spent more than 12 minutes on your performance reviews. For this reason and others, your performance reviews are a detailed, year-by-year, role-by-role account of your accomplishments. Scour through them next time you look at your resumé. Don’t be scared to brag on your resumé like you do in your reviews. If you’re not bragging, you’re selling yourself short. You have to be true to the work you’ve accomplished. With enough effort you’ll be able to understand where your strengths lie; working with your recruiter to understand how these experiences fit with target jobs is the next step.

Ask for feedback – The hardest thing to do is honestly capture your personality and experiences on a few pieces of paper. That said, no one knows you better than your peers. We all have former colleagues who have moved on to the private sector; seek their feedback. It’s one thing to have your significant other or a family member proofread your resumé (and you should seek this kind of advice), but unless your mother is a senior partner in the firm, there’s little feedback she can provide about the technical weight of your resumé. Seek the advice and critical eye of someone who worked with you. Most importantly, be open to criticism; it’s for your benefit.