Resume Reflection: Is Your Career Heading in the Right Direction?

by Larry Barlow of Tax Advantage Personnel, Inc.

The resume is the one document that can change your life forever. The resume will either allow you to go forward with a new career opportunity or prevent you from doing so. Therefore making this document standout and presenting a clear picture of your background is in your best interest. There are many different formats you can follow to put together a resume, but the one I promote is aimed at offering the reader a quick overview of what it is you do and how you stand out from your competition. Below is a sample template for putting together a resume regardless of where you are in your career. Keep in mind that the resume is your main entry into the door when opportunity knocks.

Resume Template

1. Your resume should include the following elements in this order:

a. A heading highlighting your overall skills in bullet point format. The heading replaces the summary and offers the reader a quick view of what skills you possess. This could be written up as:

Professional Strengths and Abilities Include: Tax Accounting FAS 109 Audit Coordination & Defense International Taxation State & Local Tax Strategy & Technology Software Evaluation & Selection Tax Liability Reduction

b. Education (each school, degree, year of degree completion, honors, GPA and/or class ranking)

c. Certifications – CPA, bar memberships, etc.

d. Professional work history – list of positions held in chronological order with the most recent at the top.

For example:

Professional Experience

i. Name of Employer

Under the Employer name, list 1-2 sentences describing the company – revenue size, industry type, and a short description of structure

ii. Title Dates of employment

List all positions and dates of employment. If you have had multiple positions at one employer first list the overall date and then list the specific dates for each position.

iii. Job description

For each position describe your overall role and major areas of responsibility (keep to one paragraph). Do not repeat the same summary as your previous position, you want to demonstrate how you moved up with each position or took on new responsibilities from your previous position.

iv. Selected Accomplishments

This follows after the job description; each item has a bullet point to highlight the accomplishment. An accomplishment can include technical projects and/or examples of leadership/management accomplishments. If possible, quantify tax technical accomplishments by some objective measurement (approximate dollars saved; approximate liability exposure avoided in dollars; etc.)

a. Additional sections at the end of your resume can include publications, professional organizations (ex: Tax Executives Institute, American Bar Association), and computer skills and languages if you speak more than one language.

2. Addendum

An addendum can be used in place of the selected accomplishment sections. It can be a 1 to 2 page document listing accomplishments in bullet point form. The addendum can be broken down to include a section listing projects from your current employer and additional section(s) listing projects from past employers. Include projects that will directly relate to the position under consideration.

3. Do’s and Don’ts

When creating your resume focus on the job you’re applying for and put down work that relates to the position. A preferred font is Times Roman or Arial, essentially you want to choose a common and easily legible font and then stick with it. Font size can range from 12 points to 10 points; anything smaller creates discomfort for the reader. It is not necessary to include sections listing references or a career objective. For those that typically create a CV for work outside of the U.S., when applying for positions within the U.S. Nothing personal is necessary e.g. marital status or Nationality.

Once you have a properly written resume in hand you can now use it to see if your career is heading in the right direction. Upon this review you may find that despite moving from company to company there is no clear career progression due to a lack of advancement in responsibilities or complexity of tasks. It might be time to ask, “What is it that I want to achieve in my career?” Too many people forget why they worked hard to earn their degree, took extra time to obtain a professional certificate or volunteered to pursue a project within their organization. When you do make a move, make sure you will achieve some of your career goals so that you will be moving forward.

Source: Larry Barlow of Tax Advantage Personnel, Inc. Copyright 2016
Tax Advantage Personnel, Inc.

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