How to Overcome Potential Weaknesses in Your Finance Job Application

If your resume is dominated by short-term jobs exclusively, and you have a pattern of leaving positions regularly, have a lack of experience, or have a gap in employment history, hiring managers may see you as unreliable. Here are tips for how to present them positively in a written application, and how to discuss them during an interview.

Strong summary statements:

To avoid being labeled by hiring managers or passed over for an interview, make sure at the top of the page to have a summary or objective statement. It’s a great—and prominent—way to tell your story. You can say things like “X years of experience as an accounting professional” or “looking for a long-term position where I can grow” to emphasize your length of experience and desire to stay in a position for a long time.

Job hopper:

You really don’t want hiring managers to label you as a job hopper. While it is more common for Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X to switch jobs more frequently than the baby boomer generation, you don’t want it to look like you are not committed to a company or role. Find ways to combine jobs—did you work as contractually for a period, employed in short-term blocks with a few different companies? Group these positions together. This strategy is helpful for freelancers or folks who work in fields that have an ebb and flow to the work rhythm—like accountants during tax season.

Try a functional or hybrid resume:

This is becoming much more common, especially in today’s labor market. And, if you have gaps in work or a lack of experience, this type of resume could serve you well. The most commonly used resume format is chronological. However, creating a functional resume marries the two formats so that employment history is listed chronologically, but accomplishments and qualifications are also prominently highlighted. This allows you to put emphasis on volunteer work, community service, internship work, committees, and boards of director involvement. These are great to list if you have a gap in work experience or a lack of traditional work experience. It shows hiring managers that you in fact have applicable experience, and it’s written creatively to showcase how it fits in with the job you are applying for.

During the interview:

Let’s say you have some gaps on your resume, you can professionally get around this during the interview by describing what you did during the gap time. Emphasize anything constructive that you did during your time off, particularly elements that reflect positively on your character or are related to the position you’re applying for. Responses like “I took time off to complete my MBA,” “I prepared for and passed the test for my Certified Financial Planner designation,” or “I focused on my volunteer work,” are examples of answers that emphasize positive aspects of your time off. Try to avoid talking about things like how you just wanted to travel and not work for a while. It’s also best to keep reasons brief, don’t become long-winded about your answers. If you are talking about lack of experience, just because you’ve never done something doesn’t mean you can’t do it. And it surely doesn’t mean you can’t excel at it. Try spinning it as, “While I have not had any direct experience (fill in the job specifically), I am a fast learner, and I am confident that I could do XYZ successfully and exceed your expectations. Also, share with the hiring manager about a time when you did do something very similar—or something that could in some way relate to the experience they are asking you about.

Need help with your accounting for financial job search?

There are many ways to enhance your experience, and you might be surprised as to what qualifies as experience. Working with a recruiting professional can help with this!

PrideStaff Financial has consistently won awards for exceptional candidate job satisfaction. Our highly skilled staffing consultants can help you. Contact us today to learn more.