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Career Planning Series for Newly Qualified Accountants: #1 CV Template & Advice

“I’m a newly qualified accountant, get me out of here!”

Of course… but not without a great CV!

Sounds obvious, but first impressions count. They can actually make or break your job search, so ensure you pay as much care and attention to it as you have done with your FAEs, or training logbook. Luckily, we’ve been doing this for decades, so we thought we’d share with you some top tips to put you in the best possible situation you can be, when it comes to looking for your first move out of practice.


Keep it simple; keep it modern; keep it clean. Fancy in this case is definitely not best – so resist the temptation to create an elaborate format with diagrams or lots of boxes. From a practical perspective, some recruiter databases won’t accept anything other than Word, and over-complicated formatting can scramble, so keep it simple. That doesn’t mean it needs to be boring – use a nice clean font like Calibri, use bold and even font colours (medium shades of blue are best) to create breaks in the page and draw the eye to certain elements. Click here>>> to have a look at Barden’s suggested format. And don’t forget to spell check!

Content & Level of Detail

This is a tricky one to get right. When you’re a newly qualified accountant, you want to do yourself justice and make yourself look as experienced as possible, but long explanations don’t do any one any justice. Try to keep bullet points to one line and ensure you’re using the space of the document to cover the things that recruiters want to see, like the types (and names!) of clients you’ve worked with, your contribution/level/team size, and any key successes. All education and professional development is important; however, your paper round isn’t. List it, as it’s good to show a track record in employment that starts from a young age, but no need to go into detail. Use detail for your accounting-related responsibilities, achievements and relevant skills. Try to keep it to one page if you can, at most, two pages.

The All Important Summary

It’s important to include a summary as it will set the tone for who you are. To your average recruiter, all newly qualified accountants – without having ever spoken to them – come with a similar profile. However, what will make them pick the phone and start to engage with you more quickly is if you succinctly describe yourself and demonstrate any notable achievements up-front. Try not to use generic adjectives like hard-working, enthusiastic or diligent. Do try to distinguish what has made you different to your peers – is it your academic results or the fact you were asked to join the graduate recruiting team because you’ve got great communication skills? Or, have you received any really positive client feedback or recommendations you could use? What makes you different and good at your job? Maybe you’ve gained some unique experience during your training contract?

Once you’ve got it, use it – don’t be afraid to shine. Give yourself the chance you deserve by putting your best foot forward. And don’t forget, you can always come and talk to us if you need any more advice – we’re here to give you the best platform for your future career we can.

At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future. Got a topic you would like us to research? Got an insight you would like us to share with our audience? Drop us a note to and we will take it from there!