This is the final post of a two part series: Earlier this week I shared five tips for optimizing the layout of your resume, including the importance of highlighting the position you are interested in and clearly quantifying your achievements.  Executive recruiters and hiring managers navigate through hundreds of resumes for each job posting. Ensuring that your resume stands out from the stack and captures the attention of HR executives is the first step to securing an interview in the hiring process. It’s worth repeating that hieroglyphics, 72-point font and pressed flowers do not an appealing resume make.

Listed below are five ways to effectively tailor and enhance your resume to stand out in a competitive market.

Avoid the first person pronoun. Since your resume is about your person, pronouns such as “I” or “me” should not be included.

Instead of: I conducted financial, compliance, information system, and operational audits resulting in improved controls and operating efficiencies. 

Use: Conducted financial, compliance, information system, and operational audits resulting in improved controls and operating efficiencies. 

Use effective job titles and keywords. Companies are using digital databases more frequently to search for candidates, running queries based on specific keywords related to the job description. Optimize your resume with keywords and phrases that reflect the skills and experience required for the type of position you are targeting. In the same manner you search for jobs using specific keywords, employers are using keywords to find your resume.

Provide detailed software application experience. The value of including a “Software Skills” section is often overlooked, especially in the accounting and finance industries. Companies place a heavy premium on business intelligence; therefore it is of utmost importance to list software proficiencies on your resume. For example: SAP, Oracle, QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics, Crystal Reports, and how you have utilized each of these systems.

Include education credentials and academic honors. List your degree, major and GPA, if with distinction. As your career progresses, college GPA becomes less relevant. List minors or second majors on your resume as it provides further insight into your educational background.

Do not include personal views and opinions. References to political and religious affiliations, extracurricular activities, sexual orientation, or opinions that are possible targets of discrimination should be omitted. It is illegal for employers to ask for this information and irrelevant to whether you are a strong candidate for the position.

As an Accounting and Finance recruiter who reviews and evaluates resumes on a consistent basis, I would like to hear the strategies you have found successful in elevating your resume into the hands of hiring executives.