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How to Recession-Proof Your Resume

March 2009 (SmartPros) With more accounting and finance job candidates vying for fewer and fewer open positions, it's critical that your resume packs a punch.

Here are tips for crafting a recession-proof resume that will attract the attention of hiring managers:

Zero in on the Bottom Line. Now more than ever, companies need employees who show that they can help boost revenue and productivity. Instead of simply citing previous job titles and employment responsibilities, go a step further and quantify your achievements by providing specific examples of how you positively impacted the bottom line. For instance, rather than noting your “ability to cut costs,” offer a more concrete statement: “Identified new business solutions and rooted out departmental inefficiencies that saved company $20,000 annually.”

Tailor Your Pitch. Different organizations have different needs; so don’t take the shotgun approach of blasting the same version of your resume to every company. Customize your resume so it speaks directly to each employer’s unique needs. Highlight your skills, qualifications and accomplishments that most closely relate to the job’s requirements, and mirror the language in the job ad when discussing your strengths and experience. While this approach takes some extra time and effort, a targeted resume will help you stand out from candidates submitting generic one-size-fits-all documents.

Proofread, Proofread, Proofread. Nothing damages a job seeker’s chances like a careless spelling mistake or grammatical goof. In fact, 84 percent of executives polled by our company said it takes just one or two typos on a resume to remove a candidate from contention for an open position. In today’s extremely competitive job market, it’s critical not to shoot yourself in the foot. Time-strapped hiring managers are far less likely to interview applicants who appear to lack attention to detail. In addition to running your computer’s spell-check program, carefully proofread your resume several times onscreen and on paper. It’s also wise to ask eagle-eyed friends to review your work and offer editing suggestions.

For more advice on management and career issues, listen to The Management Minute, Robert Half’s podcast series at

Accountemps is the world’s first and largest temporary staffing service specializing in the placement of accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The company has more than 360 offices nationwide and offers online job search services at

2009 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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