How to write a winning resume

theaccablog —  September 25, 2015 — Leave a comment

According to recent research, employers spend an average of just six seconds scanning a résumé before they decide if they want to call a candidate for an interview.

Imagine if your resume was one of them.

How can you make your resume stand out and catch their eye?

Jocelyn Goh

We recently sat with Ms Jocelyn Goh FCCA, Partner (Audit & Assurance) in leading mid-tier accounting firm and ACCA Approved Employer BDO LLP to discover what gets her goat when it comes to sifting through resumes of aspiring finance and accounting professionals.

What is the average time you take to scan through a resume?

The scanning takes less than a minute, probably 20 to 30 seconds. I will normally scan for the qualifications and working experience first. If these two areas do not meet my requirements, I will not proceed to read the rest of the resume.

What are the key points/elements that you always look out for?

  • Personal information
  • Objective
  • Work Experiences (For senior level job applications, this element should be reflected first since relevant qualifications are expected)
  • Education (For junior level job applications, this element will be reflected first)
  • Achievements / Awards
  • Extra-curricular Activities
  • References


Is there a certain format you prefer over another?

Not really, as long as there is something different that attracts.

A short and attractive cover letter summarising key expertise and key achievements will suffice.

Alternatively, an executive summary of not more than a page to summarise experience and key achievements.

What are your pet peeves when it comes to resumes?

  • Cover letter with small font and too lengthy. Anything more than ¾ page is too long.
  • Font of a uniform size and typeface makes the CV very dull.
  • Exaggerated achievements, rather than factual.
  • Spelling and grammar mistakes.


What tips can you give to fresh graduates looking for jobs on how they can stand out amongst the crowd?

  • Be bold and different. Standard resumes may appear boring when the recruiter is screening so many of them.
  • For fresh graduates, it is good to include a 3-year career goal and why they want to join the profession.
  • Applicants can also share their strengths/attributes, to show other personality or character traits rather than just academic achievements.


What are some of the common mistakes that jobseekers make when writing a resume?

  • Spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Too wordy.
  • Mass-emailing their resume in a single email to multiple employers.


*** We thank Jocelyn for sharing her tips and advice on resume writing and wish her the best in her role in cultivating today’s finance and accounting talent.

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