Writing a CV and cover letter for graduate finance and accounting jobs

Last updated: 30 Nov 2023, 11:52

Creating a CV and cover letter that showcase your skills and experience is the first step to landing that dream job. Your graduate CV and cover letter should be no longer than two pages and one page respectively. This article will guide you on how to build the CV accounting and finance employers are looking for.

writing a cv and a cover letter

CV header | Your academic history | Your work experience | Other skills and certifications | Writing a cover letter

Creating a graduate CV

Your CV should summarise your educational and professional history while highlighting the relevant skills you have gained. Your CV will be the first thing a recruiter or a hiring manager sees, so this is your opportunity to make a good first impression and maximise your chances of landing an interview and ultimately the job. Format your CV in a way that is clear and easy to read. Use a clear, professional font with appropriate margins and spacing.

Your CV header should include your personal details. Write down your name, location, phone number and email address. Employers will need this information to contact you. There is no need to include your date of birth, gender, ethnicity or marital status in your CV.

Your academic history

This section is where you will outline your educational achievements. Be sure to include your degree and your predicted or actual grade. Include some more detailed information about the subjects you have studied that are directly related to the position you’re applying to. In this section you can also mention group projects you have worked on, details about your dissertation and any academic awards you have been awarded.

Your work experience

Your work experience should follow your academic history. List the titles of jobs you’ve held along with the names of the organisations you’ve worked for and the dates you worked in each role. Below each position include a list of the responsibilities you held in the role and describe what you achieved in the role and the skills you developed. Focus more on the roles that are directly related to the position you’re applying to such as accounting related placements or internships. Don’t forget to include voluntary roles such as leadership positions within student societies and also part-time work.

Don’t leave out jobs that are nor strictly relevant to accounting or finance. Use these roles to highlight how you have developed transferrable skills such as communication and problem solving. These skills are beneficial to all sorts of employers.

Other skills and certifications

Here is where you write about relevant skills and achievements that are not strictly related to the roles you’ve held or your degree. For example, you can highlight your proficiency in accounting software or note short courses you have taken apart from your degree.

Skills such as proficiency in different languages and driving licenses may also be relevant to some jobs in accounting and finance. Don’t forget to note them down if you think they might be relevant.

Writing a cover letter for graduate accountancy roles

Some employers in finance and accounting may ask you to submit a cover letter alongside your CV in your application. Cover letters provide you with an opportunity to showcase your suitability for the job and demonstrate your enthusiasm. You can discuss your education and experience in your cover letter, but don’t reiterate what’s in your CV.

Start your letter with a greeting. Try to find the name of the recruiter hiring for the job. This maybe in the job description or you may be able to find it on the company website.

Your introduction should explain why you’re applying for the job and what drew you to the role.

The first paragraph should focus on why you are a good candidate for the job. Highlight how you fulfil the requirements that the employer is looking for by making use of keywords used in the job description. Feel free to include examples from your education, work experience, extracurricular activities and personal life to demonstrate your qualities and skills.

You should also dedicate a paragraph to explaining what drew you to the employer. For this, you need to research the organisation. Take a look at their website and social media profiles and reference their values, products and achievements. For example, you can discuss how you share their values or are excited by the learning opportunities the company offers its accounting graduates.

Before you submit your application, have someone else review it. This could be a friend, a family member or a member of your university’s careers services. Make sure that your CV and cover letter are free from spelling mistakes and grammatical errors and are easy to understand. Any such errors on a job application may come across as careless and unprofessional. Remember, most jobs are heavily over-subscribed when it comes to applications, so you don’t want to give the recruiter an easy choice to reject an application due to lack of attention to detail.

For more information on working in this sector, read our dedicated gradireland finance sector guide.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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