Insights for CPA Candidates: Prepping Your Accounting Resume to Land a Nonprofit Job

Your resume is really the story of your career.

Nonprofit hiring managers want to see more than just your pedigree and previous jobs. Focus on your areas of expertise and specific accomplishments. Demonstrate how you have tackled challenges and opportunities to build fiscal health for other companies. Don’t be afraid to address the good and the bad—the hard decisions—that those in finance sometimes have to make. You want the employer to immediately grasp the scope of your experience—and to see the traits of leadership in all that you have done.

Sell, but don’t oversell.

Be honest about your training, education, certifications and licenses. Remember, these are all verifiable facts. This also applies to the scope of your role with your previous employer. Hyperbole, for an accountant, will get you nowhere.

Details speak volumes.

The attention to detail in spelling and grammar is critical—and it is especially true for you. After all, you are to be entrusted with the role of reporting numbers accurately. If you can’t get your own details correct, why should someone else trust you with theirs?

Optimize your resume.

Your resume will most likely be filtered through software, so make sure you use strong keywords: financial and strategic planning, P&L management, 990 preparation, budget development, benefit administration, bookkeeping, cross-functional team leadership, strong communicator, analytical thinker, due diligence, CPA, MBA, etc.

You will always be asked about your familiarity with the sector’s financial software, so do include your nonprofit software proficiencies to help prospective employers understand the learning curve is low if you are working with the books on a daily basis.

Let your service work for you.

Experience in the military—if you have it, show it. Just like our for-profit brethren, nonprofit organizations want to hire veterans. Similarly, some nonprofit organization may also claim employment credit for hiring qualified veterans.

If you are new to the nonprofit sector: Adapt Your Resume for a Nonprofit Job Search

For effective approaches when presenting your for-profit experience when transitioning into the nonprofit sector, read Adapting Your Resume for a Nonprofit Job Search

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