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2 months, 100+ applications, 0 results so far - please critique resume

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 16th, 2018 1:09 am
Newbie
May 6, 2007
43 posts
6 upvotes
Are you only interested in large establishments like government/utility/college? If not, PM me. (Not a recruiter.)
Member
Feb 20, 2017
221 posts
64 upvotes
Barrie, ON
For municipalities and a lot of organizations you have to take contract work and work your way into the role you want to get into. I know quite a few people that had to take this step.
Deal Addict
Nov 2, 2011
1732 posts
551 upvotes
Not to be too harsh but, you graduated with a diploma in 2006 and have done nothing educational wise since?

Your resume is basically over a decade of entry-level experience. You look the same, if not worse than thousands of other applicants and yet you are trying to get into the "better" companies.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 10, 2005
5530 posts
709 upvotes
zzzz24 wrote:
Jun 5th, 2018 5:40 pm
Not to be too harsh but, you graduated with a diploma in 2006 and have done nothing educational wise since?

Your resume is basically over a decade of entry-level experience. You look the same, if not worse than thousands of other applicants and yet you are trying to get into the "better" companies.
Hence his ask for help
"Talent gets you in the door. Character keeps you in the room."

Bring up Vlad

Traditional wet shaving thread. Double edge shaving talk - Save $$$
Deal Addict
Mar 22, 2012
1599 posts
181 upvotes
Toronto
Take out the summary of qualifications. I feel like that's a waste of time. And overall, there's so much information it's unappealing to look at. A manager isn't going to read all that.

Do you have anything related to process improvements or projects or something? That goes a long way since all companies want someone who can do more than their job description. Also, put dollar figures. If you tell someone you "reconcile $x million every month...", I'm sure that would make it more appealing. If you can think of something, say something like "Participated in a project ........., resulting in savings of over $xxxxx over x time period/since Jan 2018"

Accomplishments are also something you want to highlight. A lot of companies now have some sort of program with regards to being recognized by co-workers. Even if it's those meaningless "Good Job" award or something like that, by putting it, you are already highlighting that you can accomplish tasks AND that other people recognize it (and would imply you work well with people). Not sure what type of program you have but put something like "10 time monthly award winner/nominee for exemplifying XYZ" then hopefully in the interview if you get one, you can expand by saying how your co-workers recognized you for XYZ.

I once applied to dozens of jobs pretty much copying and pasting the job description and barely any calls. I changed my resume to the point where I didn't even talk about my day to day task (you wouldn't know what I did if you read my resume) and instead listed all my accomplishments (ie projects, process improvements, awards won, etc) and I got an interview every week over a 3 month period. I'm bad at interviews but at least I was getting calls. Granted I applied to big companies whereas you are applying to municipalities, colleges, etc, which have a very time consuming process.
Banned
Mar 24, 2018
50 posts
9 upvotes
zzzz24 wrote: Not to be too harsh but, you graduated with a diploma in 2006 and have done nothing educational wise since?

Your resume is basically over a decade of entry-level experience. You look the same, if not worse than thousands of other applicants and yet you are trying to get into the "better" companies.
I second this. Companies want to see improvement whether it’s in your experience or your education. Since you’ve stopped your education, you should have a progression in your experience like from administrator to specialist to supervisor to manager. This way, you see that the person worked hard to move up the ladder. It’s okay if you are doing school while working and not progressing much.

For e.g. I am completing my bachelors degree in business for next year while working as a bookkeeper for the last 2 years. Not only this, I worked on getting certifications. You gotta show that you are goal oriented and have a path you are aiming on reaching. For me, I want to be a CPA down the road. I have to show that on my resume, that there is some
sort of progression.
Deal Addict
Mar 21, 2010
3572 posts
528 upvotes
Toronto
Hopefully this doesn't come across as too harsh, and hopefully some of it is helpful. Re: the AP/AR one:

My feeling is that it's very robotic (as in, you could be replaced by a robot). It's good to have some level of numbers, but it's also necessary to show why someone should hire you and not a machine. It looks like the spec sheet for a new computer, can do this many calculations per minute etc. Also, I have absolutely no idea what industries you worked in, including a job you did for 7 years. It looks like entirely generic (but impressive) accounting clerk stuff. There's nothing there that tells me you're interested in knowing anything about the business, just that I can give you an invoice and you can process it super fast. That makes it look like you have no interest in working for my company in particular (if I had one), or even in my industry - you just want a windowless box where people throw work in and you process it really efficiently.

My advice would be - make space by getting rid of the Admin Assistant job. It was ages ago, it was during your studies so you don't need to fill a gap, and it's not relevant. Unless maybe you're applying to Walmart, no one running an accounting department needs to know that you know how to greet visitors. I mean this as nicely as possible, but it makes you look kind of lame (which I'm sure you're not) that you're telling people about that. There are a few things like that (talking to clients courteously? You didn't just yell "Gimme mah money!!" like everyone else?) that are just a bit obvious and don't really need to be highlighted because they're basic things that are part of the job and don't distinguish you. They make it sound fluffy, like you're just putting as many words as you can. By all means, include basic things that show you can do them really well - which you do - like posting accounting entries is a basic thing, but you can do 15,000 a month and make no mistakes, so fair play. Things like contacting clients to ask for payment, well we can just assume that someone hiring a professional AR specialist knows you (and probably everyone else applying for the job) can do that.

Replace it with things that distinguish you, that show you wanted to work where you worked, that make you less generic. Did you do any tasks specific to the industries that you worked in? Any special projects? Anything a little different from your usual day-to-day? For example, if you worked for a construction company, real estate developer or something like that, say that you processed progress billings, assisted the engineers with completion certificates, project budgeting if you did any, throw in that you checked bills received for calculated material quantities, or whatever - basically anything you can say that will show you have insight into a particular industry or type of business. You say you processed return goods authorizations - for what? Did that take any technical knowledge? What are the things you know that the top college grad doesn't know?

I guess the bottom line is I totally believe you applied to a hundred jobs, because it looks like a resume that could apply to a million jobs. It really helps a lot if you focus a bit more than that, highlight what makes you special, because if it doesn't look to the company like you really want this job in particular, why would they hire this individual in particular?
Banned
Mar 24, 2018
50 posts
9 upvotes
HR613 wrote: Are you only interested in large establishments like government/utility/college? If not, PM me. (Not a recruiter.)
What area do you work in? If you are looking for accountants, I would like to apply.
Banned
Mar 24, 2018
50 posts
9 upvotes
johanscott wrote: Take out the summary of qualifications. I feel like that's a waste of time. And overall, there's so much information it's unappealing to look at. A manager isn't going to read all that.

Do you have anything related to process improvements or projects or something? That goes a long way since all companies want someone who can do more than their job description. Also, put dollar figures. If you tell someone you "reconcile $x million every month...", I'm sure that would make it more appealing. If you can think of something, say something like "Participated in a project ........., resulting in savings of over $xxxxx over x time period/since Jan 2018"

Accomplishments are also something you want to highlight. A lot of companies now have some sort of program with regards to being recognized by co-workers. Even if it's those meaningless "Good Job" award or something like that, by putting it, you are already highlighting that you can accomplish tasks AND that other people recognize it (and would imply you work well with people). Not sure what type of program you have but put something like "10 time monthly award winner/nominee for exemplifying XYZ" then hopefully in the interview if you get one, you can expand by saying how your co-workers recognized you for XYZ.

I once applied to dozens of jobs pretty much copying and pasting the job description and barely any calls. I changed my resume to the point where I didn't even talk about my day to day task (you wouldn't know what I did if you read my resume) and instead listed all my accomplishments (ie projects, process improvements, awards won, etc) and I got an interview every week over a 3 month period. I'm bad at interviews but at least I was getting calls. Granted I applied to big companies whereas you are applying to municipalities, colleges, etc, which have a very time consuming process.
Could you attach a sample resume with the examples you’ve provided above? I am also looking to improve my resume even though I have two interviews this week. I think I have the same problem as OP...I also put more of a job description than list accomplishments and improve processes, etc
Member
Mar 4, 2010
429 posts
111 upvotes
Toronto
Some of the items that i've looked at strike out to me.
1) your resume is too wordy. When I open up potential candidates for AP/AR i dont want to read a chapter. I usually have 10-15 resumes a day to go through, in which i have all of 15 minutes to do a quick scan. If you're lucky I spend an extra 15 minutes during my lunch hour.
2) eliminate area's of expertise. It takes up space. Things like customer service, AR/AP shouldn't be mixed with ERP knowledge either. if you are applying for AR/AP roles, that'll come through on your experience, no need to duplicate it as it is already in your summary of qualifications.
3) in your summary, highlight your excel skills. These are always in high demand and shows your more of an analyst and can manipulate information. if you can do pivot tables, vlookups, macros etc, make sure thats in there. I was in competition for my current controller role with CPA members and beat them out because my excel skills were far superior. If you don't know how to do those, train yourself at home with some simple worksheets until you know how to do them until you can do them in your sleep (and show others how to).
4) separate what your responsibilities are and your achievements. some examples of achievements are the contract job bullet point 2 and 3. Instead of just saying what you've done, explain the impact on the organization you worked for.
5) for each company you've worked for, your header should look like:
Company name
Job Title (left side of page) Start date-End date (right side of page)
then play up in 5-6 words either size of the company or what your role is. (one of my jobs was staff accountant but under that i put "recognized as a mid-level corporate accountant"
6) eliminate the small numbers. 'reconcile and analyze 30-40 customer and 40-50 accounts' does not give confidence to a prospective hiring manager. A lot of utilities, governments etc process about 10X that amount regularly. Hide the negative details and push the accomplishments.
7) i would almost drop the admin assistant if you are looking for accounting work. I don't care that you greeted visitors per 4 hour shift. i'm looking for accounting help, not a pretty smile. Your education leads you up to May 2006, so its not impossible that you found your first job in Jan 2007. I doubt anyone will question you on that and if they do, just say you worked a couple temp jobs while you found your roots. You spent 7 years in company 3, so once again, I look at that as a positive that you will stick around.
8) anything that you claim 100% accuracy on is a lie. get rid of it. I have (in my opinion) one of the most seasoned AP staff that i've known and he still makes mistakes 1% of the time.

As i think of more i will add them. TL;DR, too wordy, eliminate areas of expertise, dont make claims that are impossibly true, eliminate small numbers and leave generic,

Oh ya, put your education before experience. Oh, and just put your name, phone number and email. Drop the address. Recruiters *may* eliminate your resume if they feel you are too far
Member
Mar 4, 2010
429 posts
111 upvotes
Toronto
LOL @Manatus, i've just read your post after posting mine. it was no attempt to re-write what you wrote. I guess great minds think alike
Deal Addict
Mar 22, 2012
1599 posts
181 upvotes
Toronto
AaronNetherson wrote:
Jun 12th, 2018 11:41 pm
Could you attach a sample resume with the examples you’ve provided above? I am also looking to improve my resume even though I have two interviews this week. I think I have the same problem as OP...I also put more of a job description than list accomplishments and improve processes, etc
It depends on the type of job you do so might not be applicable for everyone.

Haven't looked at my resume in a while but I have something along the lines of:

"Collaborated with IT and project analyst to develop a new payment process in order to address process gaps, preventing over $100,000 duplicate payments within a 6 month period"

Can't remember the exact working but that's generally what the idea is. That 1 point takes up about 2 lines on a word document (so I only have like 12 points on my resume for 3 jobs, about 60% of my resume). You read it and it tells you nothing about what I did during the project. But it does tell you I did something outside my day to day work and it led to results and should hopefully get someone's attention. If they want to know what I did during the project, they have to call me for an interview.

Hiring managers want people who provide solutions, not someone who does what the job description provides. Every job has opportunities to make something better or faster. If you made a big enough suggestion during your process that saved the company time or helped make something more efficient (do more and/or less errors) Do that at your job and you have more than enough ammo to impress managers on your resume.
Banned
Mar 24, 2018
50 posts
9 upvotes
johanscott wrote: It depends on the type of job you do so might not be applicable for everyone.

Haven't looked at my resume in a while but I have something along the lines of:

"Collaborated with IT and project analyst to develop a new payment process in order to address process gaps, preventing over $100,000 duplicate payments within a 6 month period"

Can't remember the exact working but that's generally what the idea is. That 1 point takes up about 2 lines on a word document (so I only have like 12 points on my resume for 3 jobs, about 60% of my resume). You read it and it tells you nothing about what I did during the project. But it does tell you I did something outside my day to day work and it led to results and should hopefully get someone's attention. If they want to know what I did during the project, they have to call me for an interview.

Hiring managers want people who provide solutions, not someone who does what the job description provides. Every job has opportunities to make something better or faster. If you made a big enough suggestion during your process that saved the company time or helped make something more efficient (do more and/or less errors) Do that at your job and you have more than enough ammo to impress managers on your resume.
I am applying for staff accountant and intermediate accountant in audit and assurance or tax positions in public accounting firms. I am wondering how can I put accomplishments on my resume with numerical value that would impress HR managers or partners.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 21, 2009
2274 posts
297 upvotes
TO
Unfortunately, most what are you applying to is being automated out. Try getting into customer service and some type of customer resolution/customer management position.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 27, 2006
8275 posts
2702 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
One thing that no-one mentioned is the wide use of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and how they affect your chances of your resume even being seen by a human being. If you have ever applied to a company by uploading your resume (or cutting and pasting the resume into a website) rather than e-mailing it to an individual, you probably applied through an ATS.

An ATS started out as a way to store and keep track of applicants hence the tracking. As time went on, ATS offered more features like keyword searches and scoring/ranking of applicants so that only the top ranked applicants get through - kind of like SEO.

If you aren't getting interviews for positions you are qualified for, there's a good chance that the ATS screened you out before any human even looked at the application as it wasn't ranked high enough to make the cut. To improve your chances of getting ranked higher, you have to do some SEO'ing of your application by including the same keywords/buzzwords/terminology that was in the original job posting into your application. In addition, you need to ensure that the format of your resume (if you didn't cut and paste it into a website) is 'ATS-friendly' so no weird formatting, images or tables.

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