Author Topic: Resume help  (Read 2572 times)

FiguringItOut

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Resume help
« on: March 24, 2017, 08:07:25 AM »
What would you suggest I do to make my resume and myself more presentable?

I'll give some background.  Some of it is really stupid moves on my part, but what's done is done.  I need to move forward.

I got undergrad degree in engineering degree back in the dark ages (late 90's).  Never worked as engineer, got into some sort of IT/consulting role which I never liked and it never felt right.  After 2 jobs in 5 years I ended up unemployed and pregnant (long story). 

Stayed home all together for 4 years during which time I got an MBA in accounting and went to work for a Big4 in their financial services group.  Was there for 2 years, hated it and left for internal audit position.  Was a the new company for 2 years and the company closed.

Did some temp consulting work for about 8 month for a different, midsize CPA firm.  Few months after consulting gig ended, the firm offered me a full time position in their financial services group.  I stayed there for 3.5 years  and left for 25% raise to another comparable CPA firm also in financial services.  Was there for exactly 1 year when they had one of their biggest clients (that I worked on) get in major issues with SEC at which point 3 people seniors that worked on it were let go even though we had nothing to do with the regulatory issues and the firm was just 'cleaning the house' for outside perception.  Went to work for a small CPA firm this last summer.  I hate it  and want to get out of here as soon as possible, hopefully by summer or early fall.

Here's the issue.  The 4 years that I spend in Big4 and as internal auditor have nothing to with my current experience (5 years now).  The problem is whenever I interview, everyone wants to talk about it. And because in Big4 I was in their financial services group it is assumed that I was doing the same type of work as I do now.  But it's not true.  In fact, I left Big4 because I was working on crappy client
 and for 18 months was trying to be assigned to different client with no luck.  I left because I wasn't learning anything and didn't see any prospects for myself.

But every time I interview all they want to talk about is that Big4, then they seem disappointing that it doesn't apply to my current work/experience.  They they question why I went to work as internal auditor (because it was 15% raise, 15 min commute, and basically 9-5 job, and I had 2 small children at home).  It's not my fault that the company closed. 

So basically, on my resume I already took out the jobs I had before I got my MBA.  Nobody really seem to be questioning it and if they do I say I was SAHM.  Seems to satisfy interviewers.

But what do I do with Big4 and internal audit?  It's irrelevant.  I feel that it diminishes my candidacy during interviews.  But I can't just take them off the resume.  It's 4 years right after grad school, and I can't just leave them blank. 

I'm trying to leave CPA firms and move to a fin services company directly, but so far I haven't had much luck.  I interviewed at one company with no good results.  But otherwise, there are not a lot of positions available at the moment.  And also, I feel that those that are are not impressed with my resume. 

As a side note, I'm not a CPA, just an accountant. I have no plans to become a CPA.  So staying in CPA firms long term it not really an option as I will hit the ceiling and not be able to be promoted.  Which is fine with me, but firms don't like it.  I'm not looking for major promotions or such, just a steady employment in a relatively decent environment and benefits.  I will be moving in about 5-6 years anyway, but would like to be relatively comfortable in my job until then.

EmpireOfDirt

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Re: Resume help
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2017, 08:31:05 AM »
What would you suggest I do to make my resume and myself more presentable?

I'll give some background.  Some of it is really stupid moves on my part, but what's done is done.  I need to move forward.

I got undergrad degree in engineering degree back in the dark ages (late 90's).  Never worked as engineer, got into some sort of IT/consulting role which I never liked and it never felt right.  After 2 jobs in 5 years I ended up unemployed and pregnant (long story). 

Stayed home all together for 4 years during which time I got an MBA in accounting and went to work for a Big4 in their financial services group.  Was there for 2 years, hated it and left for internal audit position.  Was a the new company for 2 years and the company closed.

Did some temp consulting work for about 8 month for a different, midsize CPA firm.  Few months after consulting gig ended, the firm offered me a full time position in their financial services group.  I stayed there for 3.5 years  and left for 25% raise to another comparable CPA firm also in financial services.  Was there for exactly 1 year when they had one of their biggest clients (that I worked on) get in major issues with SEC at which point 3 people seniors that worked on it were let go even though we had nothing to do with the regulatory issues and the firm was just 'cleaning the house' for outside perception.  Went to work for a small CPA firm this last summer.  I hate it  and want to get out of here as soon as possible, hopefully by summer or early fall.

Here's the issue.  The 4 years that I spend in Big4 and as internal auditor have nothing to with my current experience (5 years now).  The problem is whenever I interview, everyone wants to talk about it. And because in Big4 I was in their financial services group it is assumed that I was doing the same type of work as I do now.  But it's not true.  In fact, I left Big4 because I was working on crappy client
 and for 18 months was trying to be assigned to different client with no luck.  I left because I wasn't learning anything and didn't see any prospects for myself.

But every time I interview all they want to talk about is that Big4, then they seem disappointing that it doesn't apply to my current work/experience.  They they question why I went to work as internal auditor (because it was 15% raise, 15 min commute, and basically 9-5 job, and I had 2 small children at home).  It's not my fault that the company closed. 

So basically, on my resume I already took out the jobs I had before I got my MBA.  Nobody really seem to be questioning it and if they do I say I was SAHM.  Seems to satisfy interviewers.

But what do I do with Big4 and internal audit?  It's irrelevant.  I feel that it diminishes my candidacy during interviews.  But I can't just take them off the resume.  It's 4 years right after grad school, and I can't just leave them blank. 

I'm trying to leave CPA firms and move to a fin services company directly, but so far I haven't had much luck.  I interviewed at one company with no good results.  But otherwise, there are not a lot of positions available at the moment.  And also, I feel that those that are are not impressed with my resume. 

As a side note, I'm not a CPA, just an accountant. I have no plans to become a CPA.  So staying in CPA firms long term it not really an option as I will hit the ceiling and not be able to be promoted.  Which is fine with me, but firms don't like it.  I'm not looking for major promotions or such, just a steady employment in a relatively decent environment and benefits.  I will be moving in about 5-6 years anyway, but would like to be relatively comfortable in my job until then.

Why are you reluctant to talk about the Big 4 and internal audit experience? Why do you think it's not relevant?

I think a lot of people leave Big 4 for better work/life balance, or to reduce travel, or escape up-or-out, or a million other negatives. Not sure anyone employer would see that as a negative, unless they wanted to emulate that culture at their company.

I've certainly seen it as an ex-Big4 tech consultant and as someone who has interviewed several hundred consultants over the course of a career. I always wanted to know (1) what they learned from their time at Big 4 and (2) how it has impacted their other career choices.

Bliss

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Re: Resume help
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2017, 09:48:28 AM »
There is always a way to link experiences between different jobs. What did you learn from your Big4/internal audit experience that you brought with you and helped you develop as a professional?...

- Time management skills?
- How to prioritize work?
- How to work under pressure or under stressful circumstances?
- How to work with people not under your 'authority' to get the information you need/want?

I suggest you look for common threads throughout your various roles and create a 'story' about how these learned skills made you into the person you are today.

Trifele

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Re: Resume help
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2017, 05:23:26 AM »
+3.  All prior work experience gets "used" in the sense that it helped make us who we are.  I would see your prior Big4 experience as a plus, and I am sure you can weave it into a compelling story. 

Example -- I started out in BigLaw doing litigation.  Fast forward, and my later jobs had absolutely *nothing* to do with that, but I successfully explained how my time in BigLaw showed I wasn't afraid of hard work, I had kick-ass time management skills, and I can problem-solve with the best.  Got a big, hairy mess of a problem?  I'd love to dig into that and help you straighten it out.

Interviewers want to know what skills you have that can help them solve their problems, and how well you get along with people.  When I interview people today I care way less about what their exact prior job duties were than what they can do.  I don't ask or care much about why people left prior jobs (unless there is some kind of an odd red flag).  I like to hear from interviewees what challenges they faced and how they reached a solution.  Recently we hired an accountant/controller who got the job after she explained how at her old job she was frustrated by a certain manual reporting process.  So she worked with her coworkers to take the process apart, automate part of it, and make the whole thing run better.    A+ interview. 

Suggestion -- Try to figure out, before your next interview, what problems the company has that they need help with.  Then pull out and showcase those skills you have that are a match.  Good luck!   
« Last Edit: March 25, 2017, 12:08:43 PM by Trifele »

Trifele

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Re: Resume help
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2017, 05:26:41 AM »
PS -- I wouldn't worry too much about resume gaps, either.  As an interviewer I ask about them, but as long as there is some reasonable explanation, and the person's skills are a fit -- honestly I don't care.  People have lives.  They take time off for all kinds of reasons.  I would just have a phrase or two ready for that question, and deliver it with a confident smile.   

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Resume help
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2017, 08:37:04 AM »
Interviewers want to know what skills you have that can help them solve their problems, and can you get along with people.  When I interview people today I care way less about what their exact prior job duties were than what they can do.  I don't ask or care much about why people left prior jobs (unless there is some kind of an odd red flag).  I like to hear from interviewees what challenges they faced and how they reached a solution.  Recently we hired an accountant/controller who got the job after she explained how at her old job she was frustrated by a certain manual reporting process.  So she worked with her coworkers to take the process apart, automate part of it, and make the whole thing run better.    A+ interview. 

Suggestion -- Try to figure out, before your next interview, what problems the company has that they need help with.  Then pull out and showcase those skills you have that are a match.  Good luck!   

+1,000

When I look at a resume, I want to see skills and accomplishments, particularly skills and accomplishments that are relevant to the position I'm filling.  All of those resumes that are several pages of copied-and-pasted job descriptions go right in the bin.  I'm looking for someone who's made an effort to figure out what I need, and then tailored their resume and cover letter to show me how they will meet that need.  Go mine your big 4 experience for the skills you developed and accomplishments you achieved, and then figure out how they are relevant to the position for which you are applying.  And don't just focus on technical skills; project management, meetings management, supervisory skills, "people" skills developed through coordination and leading teams - these are all vitally important for most white collar jobs.