Skip to main content

Five Steps to a Top-Tier Finance CV | Examples, Tips and Templates

Written by: Anne Sadler
Published on: 23 Nov 2023

Finance CV Tips

When you’re searching for finance and accountancy jobs, securing a place on the shortlist is often a split-second decision. Six to eight seconds, to be exact. Studies show that’s how long hiring managers spend reviewing the average finance CV.

With such a narrow window of opportunity, your CV needs to deliver instant impact. Think of it as a personal pitch document, proving you’re the right candidate to progress to interview. So every element – from layout to language to length – needs to be clear and convincing enough to keep recruiters reading.

Here are five finance CV fundamentals to break the six-second barrier.

  • 2. Identify your keywords

    Tech has revolutionised how firms recruit for finance and accountancy roles. Many employers now use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to automate initial candidate selection. That means a piece of software will have first sight of your CV, searching for keywords that mirror the company’s job description.

    Including these keywords boosts your chances of being seen by a hiring manager. So with every job, pinpoint the ad’s non-negotiables – such as people management, ACCA qualification, or advanced Excel skills – and tick them off as you refine your resumé. Find out more about how to optimise your CV for an applicant tracking system on TotallyLegal.

  • 3. Keep your CV short and structured

    Ideally, an Accountant CV should be no more than two pages, so every word counts. Keep sentences brief and action-focused, avoiding jargon and business speak. You could look at our Accountant CV template as a guide.

    Your layout should feature:

     • Personal details – Include your full name, phone number, home address, email address, and LinkedIn profile.
     • Personal statement – Most recruiters scan this section first, so hit them with 3-5 powerful lines of experience, qualifications, career goals, and key qualities. Show your enthusiasm for the role with relevant successes, keyword-rich sentences, and clear reasons why you match the spec.
     • Professional experience – List your career history in reverse chronological order, including employer names, positions held, and time spent in each job. Cover your roles, responsibilities, and, above all, results. Highlight accomplishments demonstrating your leadership, management, and financial acumen at work, bringing wins to life with quantifiable metrics – from saving £8,000 in external audit fees to improving operational efficiency by 25%.
     • Skills summary – Give employers a quickfire snapshot of your hard and soft skills, spanning core financial capabilities – like analysis, budgeting, forecasting, risk management, and reporting – as well as technical and interpersonal strengths. Examples include software knowledge, process implementation, and people management – and you can read more in our top finance and accountancy skills article. Again, link your summary to the role’s specific requirements.
     • Professional qualifications and education – Outline your professional accreditations and educational achievements, including full details of your accounting and finance qualifications, undergraduate degree, and post-graduate studies. Secondary school results can be condensed, but be sure to mention any other professional certifications or training.
     • Hobbies and interests – If you have space to spare, add relevant interests that tie neatly to the role. (Think treasurer of your tennis club or adult numeracy volunteer.) Otherwise, show you’re a well-rounded person with a concise list of hobbies that could kickstart a conversation at interview stage.

  • 4. Proofread, proofread, proofread

    Attention to detail is a critical skill in finance and accountancy, so even minor grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors could remove you from the running. Proofread your CV multiple times and ask others to spot mistakes you may have missed. AI tools like Grammarly are superb for finding typos and suggesting improvements, and Word’s ‘Read Aloud’ function lets you listen out for possible edits. When you’re all proofed and ready to apply, err on the side of caution. Run one final check before you hit ‘Submit’.

  • 5. Sell your authentic self

    While it’s essential to promote yourself and your skillset on your CV, be careful not to exaggerate or twist the truth about your experience. Highlight the credentials that make you stand out in a crowded hiring market, but ensure you can back up your claims when it’s time to excel at interview.

  • How strong is your CV? Get a free, confidential review

    Is your current finance CV holding you back? Find out for free. We’ve partnered with TopCV to help you create a compelling, results-focused resumé.

    TopCV provides a range of CV services, including expertly written and keyword-optimised CVs, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles. They’re currently offering a free CV review to give you the edge in a competitive finance job market.

    Start your free accountancy and finance CV review now.