If anyone has a good example or sample accounting career objectives, that would be much appreciated.
I'm also interested in any strategy involved. For instance, do I adjust it for every job I apply to?
In what ways can this part of the resume help or hurt my application?
When they say "career objectives," do they mean ultimate long term goal or what?
I haven't looked for work in a long while and any ideas or tips would be great.
I have to admit I am not a fan of objective statements on resumes. I believe in a short sentence within the cover letter that ties your current experience with your long term goals. On the resume itself, I have found that to make it past the ATS and HR tired eyes syndrome (they see sooooo many resumes a day, how to make your resume make it to the second view pile), I include a bullet point list of experience I bring to the position. Depending on the level of position you are looking for will determine what gets listed here. And yes, adjusting this list to match what the potential employer is looking for is helpful.
An Accounting Manager might list volume, transaction, and close items: 3 Day Close, 30 monthly Account Reconciliations, 15 Sales Tax Returns, Quarterly Inventory, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Collections....
A Controller would list bigger picture items: 3 Day close, Account Reconciliations, Team Development, Variance Analysis, Bank Relationships, Insurance, Clean Audit 3 years in a row, Sales Tax and Property Tax Returns, Inventory, Managed General Ledger Chart of Accounts, Converted 35% of suppliers to on-line pay...
A CFO would stick to the big picture: M&A of $3M, Strategic Development, Bank Relationships, Line of Credit of $42M, Budgeting, 401K Adminstrator, Team Development, Insurance, Audit, ERP Conversion, Distribution Center Overhaul...
When you make it to the second view party, the rest of your resume gets read where the details lie. The reader can then identify when you were responsible for sales taxes, an ERP conversion, etc. They also get an idea if the culture, size, and industry you are coming from would match theirs. Getting your foot in the door, though, is your number one priority. I received several calls from people who liked what was on top, but paused when they got to the companies I was coming from (wrong industry). Since I had enough of what they were interested in, I got a chance to sell myself within a smaller candidate pool and have routinely ended up with opportunities in different industries.
Best of Luck.
Matt, take a look at Proformative's free Career Resources Guide:
It focuses on Proformative's accounting and corporate finance career tools, info, discussions, insights, etc.
You might also be interested in this online course via Proformative:
"Interviewing Essentials & Resume Writing Course"
I agree that your objective is far less important than what you can do--problems you can solve, projects you have run with quantitative results. Also, if you are trying to change role or industry, you will need to link your resume carefully to the requirements of the new job. You need to convince the recruiter or HR rep who act as gatekeepers that you can make the transition.
Objective statements on a resume are a thing of the past, and will brand you as being out of touch with current practices.
Follow Sara's advice and start your resume off with a Summary statement, which highlights your areas of expertise and personal accomplishments. Bullet points work well after a few sentences.
The Summary is a way to establish your personal "brand" and entice the reader to continue on, or at least keep your resume out of the reject pile.
Look for resume books from the library that are fairly recent or online articles, or look at other peoples' resumes to get ideas for what to include in your Summary statement.
Good luck to you in your search.
I agree with the above about putting career objectives on a resume. I would add that if you are an older worker, you have to be more conscious of further branding yourself as old-fashioned, possibly obsolete and not hirable.
In fact, in every possible way, the older applicant has to be incredibly aware of not reinforcing pervasive age discrimination stereotypes.
In my opinion, employers often favor younger workers as having better technology skills, being more trainable, more ambitious and more willing to accept lower pay and benefits in exchange for gaining experience.
Elements of resumes and cover letters that telegraph "old-fashioned," including but not limited to resume career objectives, should be actively avoided.