We, as Recruitment Consultants, see all too often how candidates get rejected from jobs due to incomplete duties and responsibilities listed on their CVs when in reality, they were perfect for the job. After interviewing you we may suggest some extra points you can add to your duties and responsibilities, but it is ultimately up to you what you include in your CV.

It is imperative to write an extensive description of what your previous roles entailed, no matter how obvious you might think that information is.

Example of well-written duties and responsibilities for an Accountant:

  • Prepared management accounts on a monthly basis
  • Reported on any variances from the management accounts
  • Resolved accounting queries and report back to management
  • Prepared and maintained trial balance and balance sheets
  • Prepared, controlled and maintained an asset register
  • Processed all month-end journals
  • Submitted EMP201, EMP501, VAT201 and liaise with SARS to resolve queries
  • Submitted annual tax returns to SARS eFiling
  • Handled debtors and creditors reconciliations
  • Loaded Creditors payments
  • Checked invoices to see that they have been correctly signed off
  • Reviewed the petty cash transactions and reconciliations
  • Prepared the audit file and liaise with the auditors
  • Managed payroll function for weekly and monthly staff members

Do’s and Don’ts for drawing up your duties and responsibilities: 

  • DO use bullet points and be specific but concise.
  • DON’T leave out any functions, no matter how small.
  • DO write in a standardised tense (past tense preferable)
  • DON’T copy and paste your duties from the internet, or anywhere else. Every role is unique! 
  • DO send a “longer” version of your CV first, as you can always take some info out.
  • DON’T copy and paste your past two or three roles if you have been in similar roles. It is impossible that you had the exact same duties with your past 2/3 employers. 
  • DO think of how a recruiter/hiring manager will search for your skills.
    • For example, I am looking for an Accountant with consolidations and multi-currency experience. If you are working with multi-currencies and/or consolidated reporting etc. make sure to put those words somewhere on your CV so it appears in searches.
  • DON’T write in the first person.
  • DO list your duties from most to least important.
  • DON’T use company-specific abbreviations or terminology.

The last thing you want is to be passed over for a role because someone thinks you don’t have the experience you actually have. Keep in mind that the person reading your CV is likely to be a recruiter or someone in HR who doesn’t necessarily have a thorough understanding of what you do. For this reason, it’s important to ensure that you provide that information. Apply your mind to your CV-writing in a logical manner and do not assume that anyone who reads your CV should automatically know what your job entails. There is no such thing as a typical Accountant or Financial Manager role. Every job is different.

Written by Zelmari van Eden – Financial Recruitment Consultant – zelmari@ca.co.za

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