How to secure an accounting and finance role: Skills trump education on CVs

Female doing g a job interview
By Kyle McHatton, CA Today

17 February 2016

New research shows employers are more focused on a candidate's skills and experience rather than their education when reviewing CVs.

Companies review an average of 21 candidate CVs before extending an offer for an accounting and finance role, according to new research by specialist recruitment firm Robert Half. However, one in 20 firms revealed they review around 100 CVs before making a job offer.

The importance of traditional CVs

The research highlights the importance many employers still place on traditional CVs and why candidates need to "sell themselves on paper" to stand out in the face of fierce competition.

The study also showed that 10 times more finance professionals look at a candidate's skills and experience on their CV before reviewing their qualifications and education.

Just four per cent of respondents said they look at a person's qualifications first.

What employers notice first on your CV

  1. Skills and experience (40%)
  2. Average tenure in each previous role (35%)
  3. Most recent role and/or title (19%)
  4. Previous companies and/or industries (4%)
  5. Qualifications and education (4%)

Employers influenced by time spent in previous roles

The average length of stay at each previous employer can have a significant impact on employability, the report found, as 25 per cent of those recruiting accounting and finance professionals look at this first on a CV.

Lots of short stays at multiple companies may be seen as a red flag for recruiters.

The most recent role and job title is the first thing checked by 19 per cent of recruiters, which researchers said highlights the importance of job titles and that it is "not just a candidate’s salary that determines their perceived standing in the job market".

Phil Sheridan, Managing Director, Robert Half UK said that "a high quality CV remains crucially important in the recruitment process".

He said: "Showcasing skills and experience to employers is more important than prominently listing academic accomplishments as soon as candidates move past graduate positions."

Source: Robert Half UK


  • Business
  • Accountancy

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