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Workshop on Interview Skills and Resume Writing – Presentation by GoingConcern (Part I)

本文发表在 rolia.net 枫下论坛PART I: PRINCIPLES IN DRAFTING AN EFFECTIVE RESUME


Behind all rules about resume writing, I would like to highlight the principles behind them. The following 6 items are listed in order of importance, based on typical problems I have seen from review of résumés prepared by applicants from a Chinese cultural background.

1. Keep it simple
2. Be relevant and specific
3. Use parallel structure
4. Rank items in logical order
5. Background information
6. Use format that sells

Refer to the following 7 real-life cases for application of above 6 principles. The before section lists extracts of the original resume prepared by job applicants. The after section reflects suggested revision, with each case focusing on the application of each principle.


KEEP IT SIMPLE: CASE 1 - BUSINESS ANALYST

BEFORE

Business Analyst
ABC Consulting Inc., Toronto, Canada
1. Conducted user sessions to gather business requirements for the development of CJ Employment Information System and created the business requirements and system specification document. Comments: More is less here. All that is needed is Gather business requirements
2. Deliverables include business requirements document, business and system Use Cases specifications, data dictionary, business rules catalogue and user interface specifications.
3. Coordinated application development tasks, user acceptance test, including managing stakeholder expectations.
4. Conducted sessions for project inception and documented project tasks as assigned by Project Manager.
5. Accountabilities include eliciting from clients detail business requirements via walkthrough user interview and JAD sessions for project scoping, feasibility analysis, business process future state and development effort.
6. Platforms/Tools: Windows XP, Microsoft Office, Enterprise Architect, UML

Word count: 110
Reviewer's comments:
1. Very long sentences confuse/disinterest the reader. Keep sentence short and succinct by using a simple parallel structure.
2. Take away points that do not sell you to the specific job you aim at.
3. Phrases highlighted in yellow do not convey much information. Each word you put on resume should convey useful information. If not, delete it!
4. Avoid repetition.
5. Stick to simplicity, avoid randomness!

AFTER

Business Analyst
ABC CONSULTING INC., Toronto, Canada

1. Gather business requirements for the development of CJ Employment Information System;
2. Prioritize stakeholder expectations, determine project scoping, and conduct feasibility and future state analyses; Comments: Describing each phase in logical steps using common project management terms demonstrates good knowledge of a project life cycle. This statement combines bullet #2/3/4 of the original. The original bullet point 2 to 5 repeated same steps in a project life cycle.
3. Document business requirements and system specifications; Comments: what was documented was not clear in the original. Be specific.
4. Compile data dictionary, business rules catalogue and user interface specifications;
5. Coordinate development tasks and user acceptance testing;
6. Facilitate project inception and joint application development, document project execution.

Word count: 63
Reviewer's comments:

1. Points 1-6 above are listed in order of a typical project life cycle.
2. Use proper terms that are known to project managers. Be simple yet clear about each step. It is critical to DEMONSTRATE your knowledge of project management as a BA.



BE RELEVANT AND SPECIFIC: CASE 2 - FREIGHT AUDITOR

BEFORE

Freight Auditor-ABC Company mm/yyyy - mm/yyyy


1. Developed and modified Microsoft Access programs which automated the audit procedure; greatly improved efficiency and pricing accuracy;
2. Reviewed invoices per payment terms & conditions upon receipt of any receipts/invoices from carrier; matched purchase order, packing slips or bill of landing; coded and verified A/P invoices; Reconcile carrier statements
3. Ensured the financial transactions were accurate and complied with companys database system and policies;
4. Responded to inquiries from carriers, vendors; investigated discrepancies found as a result of the reconciliations and made the appropriate change
5. Processed credit notes to deduct from the payment.
6. Prepared monthly accrual for accounts payable; reconciled carrier accounts and identified issues with outstanding invoices for management on weekly basis;
7. Created and customized rate template based on rate table by using Excel;
8. Interfaced with transportation department and warehouses to provide guidance in ongoing spending control and identify cost efficiencies; Worked with financial system programmers and planners to enhance WMS,WCP system;
9. Prepared audit reports that initiate appropriate corrective actions and followed-up to ensure the correction actions were implemented;

Word count: 176

AFTER

Freight Auditor mmm.yyyy - mmm.yyyy
ABC Company, Toronto, Ontario

ABC Company is a world-class leader and innovator in the distribution and operating in 169 locations in 41 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

1. Verified accuracy of financial transactions against the database records and report on compliance with operating policies;
2. Automated internal audit procedure by using Access database;
3. Matched invoices, receipts, with purchase orders and examined supporting documents;
4. Advised Shipping Department on spending control and identified cost saving opportunities;
5. Drafted internal audit reports followed up on managements implementation of audit recommendations.

World count: 87
Comments:
1. For a freight auditor, #8 is core duties, why list it at the end?
2. #1,2,4,5 in the original resume seem irrelevant to what a freight auditor do. Even if they are what you do in reality, be very careful not to confuse the reader with seemingly irrelevant duties. Doing so reduce your credibility.
3. 1-5 in the revised resume above are ranked in order or relevance to an auditors duties.


USE PARALLEL STRUCTURE: CASE 3 - ACCOUNTANT

BEFORE

Accountant
ABC Group Feb 200X - Present

1. Report to VP Finance and Accounting Manager. Assist in preparation of quarterly and yearly financial statements and MD&A.
2. Analyze monthly financial results. Monitor B/S account and P&L analysis.
3. Prepare annual budget, forecasting for operation and marketing.
4. Reconcile revenue, A/R, fixed assets and some expenses from GL accounts. Control and reconcile accrual liability and capital lease. Ensure compliance with companys policy and GAAP.
5. Maintain capital asset continuity schedule.
6. Assist corporate tax return and GST filing.
7. Review bank reconciliation and oversee over 28 different dental practices and 2 medical clinics. Investigate unidentified items and implement internal controls.
8. Act as a liaison, providing support and guidance to clinic managers on accounting issues and clients payment dispute. Control audit trail to ensure the accuracy and completeness.
9. Work with auditors to prepare year-end audit working papers and schedules.
10. Involved in other projects assigned.

Word count: 148
Comments:
1. This is relatively a good example of using parallel structure, i.e. verb + object
2. Wording highlighted in yellow are not consistent with the parallel structure applicant has been using. We can easily change them into more appropriate verb+ object structure.


AFTER


Accountant
ABC Group Feb 200X - Present

1. Assist in preparing quarterly and yearly financial statements and MD&A;
2. Monitor and analyze monthly balance sheet and income statement results;
3. Prepare annual capital and operating budget;
4. Reconcile major balance sheet and income statement accounts;
5. Report on compliance with companys accounting policy;
6. Maintain capital asset continuity schedule;
7. Review and approve bank reconciliation for 30 operating branches;
8. Advise clinic managers on accounting issues and resolve payment dispute;
9. Maintain proper accounting and financial records as audit trails;
10. Liaise with external auditor and provided audit trails;
11. Assist in filing corporate tax return and GST remittance.

Word count: 102


RANK ITEMS IN LOGICAL ORDER: CASE 4 - SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

Job description
In this position, you will take a lead role in financial and management reporting A, including analysis. In a dynamic and fast-paced environment, you will also support the Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable and other operating functions as required B. Reporting to the Controller, you will be based out of our head office location in Toronto.
Financial statement preparation, reporting and analysis
Accounts payable
Accounts receivable
Other duties
Specific knowledge and skills required
" College diploma, university degree C or equivalent work experience
" Five years accounting and finance experience, including a minimum of two years with solid exposure to full cycle accounting
" Preference will be given to individuals with partial to substantial completion of CGA program C
" Excellent MS Excel skills D
" Must be flexible and proactive F, with a high attention to detail E
" Ability to handle multiple tasks and meet deadlines G with a sense of urgency
" Strong written and oral communication skills
" Previous insurance industry experience H is a strong asset

Comments: Read the above JD over and over again. Note the order of essential skills required. The most important skills always come first and less important skills are placed after. Never ignore such ranking in the JD.

BEFORE

Summary of Qualifications
" Over 5 years accounting experience in insurance/financial services industry with solid exposure to full cycle accounting, focusing on financial reporting, balance sheets analysis, reconciliation, accounts payable, and accounts receivable
" Certified General Accountant (CGA) Level 4 student
" Good understanding of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
" Superior MS Excel skills at Pivot table, lookups, and VBA Macro level
" Proficient in Word, Access, and Other Microsoft Office Applications
" Familiar with SAP, AS400, PeopleSoft, On-Demand, Service platform, Capisl, IRIS, Siebel, Sage Accpac ERP and SUN Unix system
" Ability to handle multiple tasks and meet deadlines with a sense of urgency
" Excellent problem solving and analytical skills with a can-do attitude
" Enjoy working with large volume of data and keeping high level of accuracy at a fast-paced environment

Word count: 132
Comments: Read the JD very carefully and understand the requirements really well!!! Might be a good idea to borrow key words (buss words) from the JD?

AFTER

Summary of Qualifications

" Six years of financial accounting and management reporting A experience in the insurance and financial service industry H;
" Sound knowledge of GAAP A and regulatory reporting in the insurance industry;
" Solid experience in A/R and A/P operating and reconciliation B procedures;
" Substantial completion of CGA Program (Level 4); C
" Proficiency in advanced Excel D and Access functions, and other MS applications;
" Knowledge of SAP, AS400, PeopleSoft, On-Demand, Service platform, Capisl, IRIS, Siebel, Sage Accpac ERP and SUN Unix system
" Flexible and proactive F, with a high attention to details and accuracy.
" A strong performer in a multi-tasking and deadline-driven G work environment;

Word count: 108
Note: Refer to the Job description. The ranking of above points is based on the ranking of the skills needed in the job description. I have cross referenced JD requirements with resume items accordingly.


RANK ITEMS IN LOGICAL ORDER: CASE 5 - AP/AR ACCOUNTANT

BEFORE

ABC Company, Toronto
Accountant - Accounts payable, Accounts receivable
" Matched, coded, verified invoices with PO and posted into appropriate expense accounts
" Issued invoices and credit notes, distributed billings and statements to clients
" Daily bank deposits; conducted EFT payment; run cheques as required
" Reconciled credit card, debit card and cheques payment transaction; cash application
" Performed multi-currency(US and CAD) and inter-company transactions
" Analyze and reconcile balance sheet, revenue and expense accounts
" Reconcile balance sheet accounts and AP/AR sub ledgers to GL
" Bank reconciliation on monthly basis
" Performed month end closing procedure
" Maintained employee and non-employee expense reports in a timely manner
" Reconciled and processed petty cash entries; prepared the summary for the replenishment
" Investigated and resolved discrepancies with clients and vendors
" Analyzed month- end operating financial statement for specific program
" Engaged in forecasting and budgeting of revenue and expense for specific program
" Involved and participated with the implementation of new project

Word count: 155

AFTER

ABC International College, Toronto
Accountant - Accounts payable, Accounts receivable
" Matched, coded, verified invoices against purchase orders and receiving documents;
" Issued invoices and credit notes and billed clients
" Processed daily receipts & disbursements and performed check-runs.
" Reconciled from payment records to cash ledger account
" Posted foreign exchange transactions and reconciled inter-company accounts
" Analyzed and reconciled major balance sheet and income statement accounts
" Reconciled AP/AR sub ledgers to general ledger
" Performed bank reconciliation at month-end;
" Performed month-end closing procedure
" Maintained expense reports
" Maintained petty cash and updated cash and accounting records;
" Investigated and resolved discrepancies with clients and vendors
" Analyzed monthly income statement key accounts to prepare for management reporting;
" Supported forecasting and budgeting of revenue and expense for specific program
" Participated in business project planning by providing financial data


Word count: 133
Comments: Above items are ranked carefully in the order of an AP/AR accounting cycle. What you do first, what you do next and last should be presented in a logic order, be it in terms of a business cycle or financial statement presentation.


SUPPY BACKGROUND INFORMAITON: CASE 6

Sample 1:
Project Manager - Bank Assurance Service Jan.200X-Jan.200X
American International Group (AIG), China Division

(Bank Assurance provides services to banks through selling assurance products to its customers in order to mitigate bank business risk and expand bank service coverage)

Sample 2:

MCAP is Canada's largest independent mortgage and equipment financing company, with more than $30 billion in assets under administration. (Operating in four key lines of business: residential mortgages, commercial mortgages, construction loans, and equipment financing. The company generates combined annual new asset production of over $10 billion, with more than 100 institutional investors and over 130,000 borrowers.)

Comments: In sample 1, bank assurance service is a kind of service rarely known to most people. There is a need to early and briefly explain what this service is about.

In sample 2, the company is private and not known to many people. However, it is a company with significant weight in its industry and adds value to applicants professional credibility if we know how significant the company is in its own industry. Need to tell three things clearly: 1. companys place in its industry; 2. what does it do 3. Support the significance of the company by sales volume, asset amount or client base, etc.


USE PROPER FORMAT: CASE 7 - SENIOR ACCOUTING CLERK

BEFORE

Senior Accounting Clerk
ABC Int'l Trading Group May 2003 - Jan 2006
Managed various accounts including Wal-Mart (30 Million CAD sales a year) and HBC (8 Million CAD a year), and oversaw detailed trial balance to ensure A/R collected in a timely basis and paid correctly. Planed and developed procedures to improve the operating quality and efficiency. Interacted with various clients to ensure that the issues and disputes in compliance with GAAP.
" A/R: Issued invoices and credit note based on shipping document and claim. Prepared and maintained trial balance. Cash forecast and collection, daily payment posting. Prepared GST/PST filing monthly. Communicated with various clients about the aged accounts.
" A/P: Verified A/P invoices and prepared and issued checks and payroll.

AFTER

Senior Accounting Clerk
ABC International Trading Group May 2003 - January 2006

1. Liaised with key corporate accounts including Walmart and HSBC and followed up on service issues;
2. Issued invoices upon matching shipping documents with purchase requests;
3. Maintained A/R sub ledger and performed aging analyses;
4. Followed up with suppliers on collection of amounts receivable;
5. Maintained A/P sub ledger and analyzed overdue payments;
6. Issue cheques and prepare payrolls for payment;
7. Supported period-end accrual adjustments with payment outstanding analyses;
8. Projected cash flows and filed tax remittance.

Comments:
" The original format appears to be not reader friendly due to unnecessary use of Justify block edit, incomplete sentence, and illogic placement of each point.
" Misspelling. There is no hyphen in Walmart. Be very careful with these spelling details.
" Use formal written language. Avoid using abbreviation like Intl. Use full name International. It is also better to spell months fully. If you use short form of months, it should come with a period following the short form. January 2006 or Jan. 2006
" Only in magazine or newspaper, we really need to use justify block edit so that it leaves same margin on both side. However, the blank space created in between words actually creates stop signs to readers eye. It is usually better to use align left block edit. Uneven margin on the right side of the page should be perfectly fine.
" Everyone knows how gigantic HSBC and Walmart are. Is it still necessary to include specific sale volume information in the bracket?更多精彩文章及讨论,请光临枫下论坛 rolia.net
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  • Workshop on Interview Skills and Resume Writing – Presentation by GoingConcern (Part I) Workshop on Interview Skills and Resume Writing – Presentation by GoingConcern (Part I)
    本文发表在 rolia.net 枫下论坛PART I: PRINCIPLES IN DRAFTING AN EFFECTIVE RESUME


    Behind all rules about resume writing, I would like to highlight the principles behind them. The following 6 items are listed in order of importance, based on typical problems I have seen from review of résumés prepared by applicants from a Chinese cultural background.

    1. Keep it simple
    2. Be relevant and specific
    3. Use parallel structure
    4. Rank items in logical order
    5. Background information
    6. Use format that sells

    Refer to the following 7 real-life cases for application of above 6 principles. The before section lists extracts of the original resume prepared by job applicants. The after section reflects suggested revision, with each case focusing on the application of each principle.


    KEEP IT SIMPLE: CASE 1 - BUSINESS ANALYST

    BEFORE

    Business Analyst
    ABC Consulting Inc., Toronto, Canada
    1. Conducted user sessions to gather business requirements for the development of CJ Employment Information System and created the business requirements and system specification document. Comments: More is less here. All that is needed is Gather business requirements
    2. Deliverables include business requirements document, business and system Use Cases specifications, data dictionary, business rules catalogue and user interface specifications.
    3. Coordinated application development tasks, user acceptance test, including managing stakeholder expectations.
    4. Conducted sessions for project inception and documented project tasks as assigned by Project Manager.
    5. Accountabilities include eliciting from clients detail business requirements via walkthrough user interview and JAD sessions for project scoping, feasibility analysis, business process future state and development effort.
    6. Platforms/Tools: Windows XP, Microsoft Office, Enterprise Architect, UML

    Word count: 110
    Reviewer's comments:
    1. Very long sentences confuse/disinterest the reader. Keep sentence short and succinct by using a simple parallel structure.
    2. Take away points that do not sell you to the specific job you aim at.
    3. Phrases highlighted in yellow do not convey much information. Each word you put on resume should convey useful information. If not, delete it!
    4. Avoid repetition.
    5. Stick to simplicity, avoid randomness!

    AFTER

    Business Analyst
    ABC CONSULTING INC., Toronto, Canada

    1. Gather business requirements for the development of CJ Employment Information System;
    2. Prioritize stakeholder expectations, determine project scoping, and conduct feasibility and future state analyses; Comments: Describing each phase in logical steps using common project management terms demonstrates good knowledge of a project life cycle. This statement combines bullet #2/3/4 of the original. The original bullet point 2 to 5 repeated same steps in a project life cycle.
    3. Document business requirements and system specifications; Comments: what was documented was not clear in the original. Be specific.
    4. Compile data dictionary, business rules catalogue and user interface specifications;
    5. Coordinate development tasks and user acceptance testing;
    6. Facilitate project inception and joint application development, document project execution.

    Word count: 63
    Reviewer's comments:

    1. Points 1-6 above are listed in order of a typical project life cycle.
    2. Use proper terms that are known to project managers. Be simple yet clear about each step. It is critical to DEMONSTRATE your knowledge of project management as a BA.



    BE RELEVANT AND SPECIFIC: CASE 2 - FREIGHT AUDITOR

    BEFORE

    Freight Auditor-ABC Company mm/yyyy - mm/yyyy


    1. Developed and modified Microsoft Access programs which automated the audit procedure; greatly improved efficiency and pricing accuracy;
    2. Reviewed invoices per payment terms & conditions upon receipt of any receipts/invoices from carrier; matched purchase order, packing slips or bill of landing; coded and verified A/P invoices; Reconcile carrier statements
    3. Ensured the financial transactions were accurate and complied with companys database system and policies;
    4. Responded to inquiries from carriers, vendors; investigated discrepancies found as a result of the reconciliations and made the appropriate change
    5. Processed credit notes to deduct from the payment.
    6. Prepared monthly accrual for accounts payable; reconciled carrier accounts and identified issues with outstanding invoices for management on weekly basis;
    7. Created and customized rate template based on rate table by using Excel;
    8. Interfaced with transportation department and warehouses to provide guidance in ongoing spending control and identify cost efficiencies; Worked with financial system programmers and planners to enhance WMS,WCP system;
    9. Prepared audit reports that initiate appropriate corrective actions and followed-up to ensure the correction actions were implemented;

    Word count: 176

    AFTER

    Freight Auditor mmm.yyyy - mmm.yyyy
    ABC Company, Toronto, Ontario

    ABC Company is a world-class leader and innovator in the distribution and operating in 169 locations in 41 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

    1. Verified accuracy of financial transactions against the database records and report on compliance with operating policies;
    2. Automated internal audit procedure by using Access database;
    3. Matched invoices, receipts, with purchase orders and examined supporting documents;
    4. Advised Shipping Department on spending control and identified cost saving opportunities;
    5. Drafted internal audit reports followed up on managements implementation of audit recommendations.

    World count: 87
    Comments:
    1. For a freight auditor, #8 is core duties, why list it at the end?
    2. #1,2,4,5 in the original resume seem irrelevant to what a freight auditor do. Even if they are what you do in reality, be very careful not to confuse the reader with seemingly irrelevant duties. Doing so reduce your credibility.
    3. 1-5 in the revised resume above are ranked in order or relevance to an auditors duties.


    USE PARALLEL STRUCTURE: CASE 3 - ACCOUNTANT

    BEFORE

    Accountant
    ABC Group Feb 200X - Present

    1. Report to VP Finance and Accounting Manager. Assist in preparation of quarterly and yearly financial statements and MD&A.
    2. Analyze monthly financial results. Monitor B/S account and P&L analysis.
    3. Prepare annual budget, forecasting for operation and marketing.
    4. Reconcile revenue, A/R, fixed assets and some expenses from GL accounts. Control and reconcile accrual liability and capital lease. Ensure compliance with companys policy and GAAP.
    5. Maintain capital asset continuity schedule.
    6. Assist corporate tax return and GST filing.
    7. Review bank reconciliation and oversee over 28 different dental practices and 2 medical clinics. Investigate unidentified items and implement internal controls.
    8. Act as a liaison, providing support and guidance to clinic managers on accounting issues and clients payment dispute. Control audit trail to ensure the accuracy and completeness.
    9. Work with auditors to prepare year-end audit working papers and schedules.
    10. Involved in other projects assigned.

    Word count: 148
    Comments:
    1. This is relatively a good example of using parallel structure, i.e. verb + object
    2. Wording highlighted in yellow are not consistent with the parallel structure applicant has been using. We can easily change them into more appropriate verb+ object structure.


    AFTER


    Accountant
    ABC Group Feb 200X - Present

    1. Assist in preparing quarterly and yearly financial statements and MD&A;
    2. Monitor and analyze monthly balance sheet and income statement results;
    3. Prepare annual capital and operating budget;
    4. Reconcile major balance sheet and income statement accounts;
    5. Report on compliance with companys accounting policy;
    6. Maintain capital asset continuity schedule;
    7. Review and approve bank reconciliation for 30 operating branches;
    8. Advise clinic managers on accounting issues and resolve payment dispute;
    9. Maintain proper accounting and financial records as audit trails;
    10. Liaise with external auditor and provided audit trails;
    11. Assist in filing corporate tax return and GST remittance.

    Word count: 102


    RANK ITEMS IN LOGICAL ORDER: CASE 4 - SENIOR ACCOUNTANT

    Job description
    In this position, you will take a lead role in financial and management reporting A, including analysis. In a dynamic and fast-paced environment, you will also support the Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable and other operating functions as required B. Reporting to the Controller, you will be based out of our head office location in Toronto.
    Financial statement preparation, reporting and analysis
    Accounts payable
    Accounts receivable
    Other duties
    Specific knowledge and skills required
    " College diploma, university degree C or equivalent work experience
    " Five years accounting and finance experience, including a minimum of two years with solid exposure to full cycle accounting
    " Preference will be given to individuals with partial to substantial completion of CGA program C
    " Excellent MS Excel skills D
    " Must be flexible and proactive F, with a high attention to detail E
    " Ability to handle multiple tasks and meet deadlines G with a sense of urgency
    " Strong written and oral communication skills
    " Previous insurance industry experience H is a strong asset

    Comments: Read the above JD over and over again. Note the order of essential skills required. The most important skills always come first and less important skills are placed after. Never ignore such ranking in the JD.

    BEFORE

    Summary of Qualifications
    " Over 5 years accounting experience in insurance/financial services industry with solid exposure to full cycle accounting, focusing on financial reporting, balance sheets analysis, reconciliation, accounts payable, and accounts receivable
    " Certified General Accountant (CGA) Level 4 student
    " Good understanding of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
    " Superior MS Excel skills at Pivot table, lookups, and VBA Macro level
    " Proficient in Word, Access, and Other Microsoft Office Applications
    " Familiar with SAP, AS400, PeopleSoft, On-Demand, Service platform, Capisl, IRIS, Siebel, Sage Accpac ERP and SUN Unix system
    " Ability to handle multiple tasks and meet deadlines with a sense of urgency
    " Excellent problem solving and analytical skills with a can-do attitude
    " Enjoy working with large volume of data and keeping high level of accuracy at a fast-paced environment

    Word count: 132
    Comments: Read the JD very carefully and understand the requirements really well!!! Might be a good idea to borrow key words (buss words) from the JD?

    AFTER

    Summary of Qualifications

    " Six years of financial accounting and management reporting A experience in the insurance and financial service industry H;
    " Sound knowledge of GAAP A and regulatory reporting in the insurance industry;
    " Solid experience in A/R and A/P operating and reconciliation B procedures;
    " Substantial completion of CGA Program (Level 4); C
    " Proficiency in advanced Excel D and Access functions, and other MS applications;
    " Knowledge of SAP, AS400, PeopleSoft, On-Demand, Service platform, Capisl, IRIS, Siebel, Sage Accpac ERP and SUN Unix system
    " Flexible and proactive F, with a high attention to details and accuracy.
    " A strong performer in a multi-tasking and deadline-driven G work environment;

    Word count: 108
    Note: Refer to the Job description. The ranking of above points is based on the ranking of the skills needed in the job description. I have cross referenced JD requirements with resume items accordingly.


    RANK ITEMS IN LOGICAL ORDER: CASE 5 - AP/AR ACCOUNTANT

    BEFORE

    ABC Company, Toronto
    Accountant - Accounts payable, Accounts receivable
    " Matched, coded, verified invoices with PO and posted into appropriate expense accounts
    " Issued invoices and credit notes, distributed billings and statements to clients
    " Daily bank deposits; conducted EFT payment; run cheques as required
    " Reconciled credit card, debit card and cheques payment transaction; cash application
    " Performed multi-currency(US and CAD) and inter-company transactions
    " Analyze and reconcile balance sheet, revenue and expense accounts
    " Reconcile balance sheet accounts and AP/AR sub ledgers to GL
    " Bank reconciliation on monthly basis
    " Performed month end closing procedure
    " Maintained employee and non-employee expense reports in a timely manner
    " Reconciled and processed petty cash entries; prepared the summary for the replenishment
    " Investigated and resolved discrepancies with clients and vendors
    " Analyzed month- end operating financial statement for specific program
    " Engaged in forecasting and budgeting of revenue and expense for specific program
    " Involved and participated with the implementation of new project

    Word count: 155

    AFTER

    ABC International College, Toronto
    Accountant - Accounts payable, Accounts receivable
    " Matched, coded, verified invoices against purchase orders and receiving documents;
    " Issued invoices and credit notes and billed clients
    " Processed daily receipts & disbursements and performed check-runs.
    " Reconciled from payment records to cash ledger account
    " Posted foreign exchange transactions and reconciled inter-company accounts
    " Analyzed and reconciled major balance sheet and income statement accounts
    " Reconciled AP/AR sub ledgers to general ledger
    " Performed bank reconciliation at month-end;
    " Performed month-end closing procedure
    " Maintained expense reports
    " Maintained petty cash and updated cash and accounting records;
    " Investigated and resolved discrepancies with clients and vendors
    " Analyzed monthly income statement key accounts to prepare for management reporting;
    " Supported forecasting and budgeting of revenue and expense for specific program
    " Participated in business project planning by providing financial data


    Word count: 133
    Comments: Above items are ranked carefully in the order of an AP/AR accounting cycle. What you do first, what you do next and last should be presented in a logic order, be it in terms of a business cycle or financial statement presentation.


    SUPPY BACKGROUND INFORMAITON: CASE 6

    Sample 1:
    Project Manager - Bank Assurance Service Jan.200X-Jan.200X
    American International Group (AIG), China Division

    (Bank Assurance provides services to banks through selling assurance products to its customers in order to mitigate bank business risk and expand bank service coverage)

    Sample 2:

    MCAP is Canada's largest independent mortgage and equipment financing company, with more than $30 billion in assets under administration. (Operating in four key lines of business: residential mortgages, commercial mortgages, construction loans, and equipment financing. The company generates combined annual new asset production of over $10 billion, with more than 100 institutional investors and over 130,000 borrowers.)

    Comments: In sample 1, bank assurance service is a kind of service rarely known to most people. There is a need to early and briefly explain what this service is about.

    In sample 2, the company is private and not known to many people. However, it is a company with significant weight in its industry and adds value to applicants professional credibility if we know how significant the company is in its own industry. Need to tell three things clearly: 1. companys place in its industry; 2. what does it do 3. Support the significance of the company by sales volume, asset amount or client base, etc.


    USE PROPER FORMAT: CASE 7 - SENIOR ACCOUTING CLERK

    BEFORE

    Senior Accounting Clerk
    ABC Int'l Trading Group May 2003 - Jan 2006
    Managed various accounts including Wal-Mart (30 Million CAD sales a year) and HBC (8 Million CAD a year), and oversaw detailed trial balance to ensure A/R collected in a timely basis and paid correctly. Planed and developed procedures to improve the operating quality and efficiency. Interacted with various clients to ensure that the issues and disputes in compliance with GAAP.
    " A/R: Issued invoices and credit note based on shipping document and claim. Prepared and maintained trial balance. Cash forecast and collection, daily payment posting. Prepared GST/PST filing monthly. Communicated with various clients about the aged accounts.
    " A/P: Verified A/P invoices and prepared and issued checks and payroll.

    AFTER

    Senior Accounting Clerk
    ABC International Trading Group May 2003 - January 2006

    1. Liaised with key corporate accounts including Walmart and HSBC and followed up on service issues;
    2. Issued invoices upon matching shipping documents with purchase requests;
    3. Maintained A/R sub ledger and performed aging analyses;
    4. Followed up with suppliers on collection of amounts receivable;
    5. Maintained A/P sub ledger and analyzed overdue payments;
    6. Issue cheques and prepare payrolls for payment;
    7. Supported period-end accrual adjustments with payment outstanding analyses;
    8. Projected cash flows and filed tax remittance.

    Comments:
    " The original format appears to be not reader friendly due to unnecessary use of Justify block edit, incomplete sentence, and illogic placement of each point.
    " Misspelling. There is no hyphen in Walmart. Be very careful with these spelling details.
    " Use formal written language. Avoid using abbreviation like Intl. Use full name International. It is also better to spell months fully. If you use short form of months, it should come with a period following the short form. January 2006 or Jan. 2006
    " Only in magazine or newspaper, we really need to use justify block edit so that it leaves same margin on both side. However, the blank space created in between words actually creates stop signs to readers eye. It is usually better to use align left block edit. Uneven margin on the right side of the page should be perfectly fine.
    " Everyone knows how gigantic HSBC and Walmart are. Is it still necessary to include specific sale volume information in the bracket?更多精彩文章及讨论,请光临枫下论坛 rolia.net
    • Workshop on Interview Skills and Resume Writing – Presentation by GoingConcern (Part II) Workshop on Interview Skills and Resume Writing – Presentation by GoingConcern (Part II)
      本文发表在 rolia.net 枫下论坛PART II: PRESENT YOURSELF WITH A PURPOSE AT INTERVIEW

      There typically 4 phases in an interview, ENTRY, BUILDING-UP, CHALLENGING PEAK, and EXIT.

      ENTRY

      In principle, four important reminders:

      1. Communicate with your upper front body;
      2. Shake hands with confidence and attention;
      3. Break the ice in style;
      4. Personalize your self-introduction.

      Making a confident entry and break the ice

      “Hello, how are you? I am Amy Wu. (Go up and shake hands). It is a great pleasure for me to be here and have the opportunity to let you know more about myself”
      Comment on weather? Nice office? Briefly about your vacation? What is an interesting thing to notice in your travel?

      Introduce yourself with a character and tell your life story in timeline

      - Focus on individual traits of yourself. Tell in time sequence.
      - “I was born and raised in China. I was originally trained as an industrial designer for @@@ and had extensive experience working in the @@@ industry (hopefully this industry is similar to the recruiting company’s industry).
      - I moved to Canada with my family in 2003 and decided to become a professional accountant.
      - I first worked with @@@ company as @@@ and then as @@@ with @@@ company. These companies are specialized in the @@@ industry and good accounting management to provide financial data for management decision has always been critical. These 4 years of accounting experience gave me good opportunity to familiarize myself with daily work in the full accounting cycle.
      - In addition, I enrolled in the CGA program and now I have completed 90% of the process. I look for the next level of challenge in maturing as a professional accountant.
      - In my spare time, I enjoy organizing my home, exercising at the gym, and play games with friends. (I picked these three things because it can show the quality this job calls for: organized, energy to distress, and team work)

      It is worth your while practicing making a great entry. The first 3 minutes is the critical time when the interviewer decides whether he/she will hire you or not.


      BUILDING-UP

      Use STAR Approach to describe your experience

      Step 1: overview statement
      Step 2: STAR (Situation/environment/background, Task, Action, Results)
      Or GAP (how should it be done, what I did, that was the gap, what did I do about the gap, and the results and my lessons learned?)
      Step 3 (optional): Tell a story if you can, be brief and clear, do not digress too much.
      Start with “For example….”
      Step 4: Conclude and tie back to JD. (Never forget to conclude/emphasize/connect with your target job requirement)
      Step 5 (optional) lessons learned/ personal reflection


      I. Technical Questions

      A/P and A/R experience
      - From @@@ to @@@, I worked as an A/P clerk with @@@ company.
      - @@@ company is in the @@@ industry. A/P work can be very detailed and complicated since it depends on a wide network of suppliers.
      - A typical work process at my desk include: @@@
      - The key in this process is the three-way match of invoice, PO and receiving documents. At @@@ company, in particular, ……
      - Same structure in talking about your AR experience.

      Information System
      - I used @@@ accounting system when I was with @@@ company.
      - I find it a very user-friendly application because….
      - The challenge was….
      - What I did was….
      - Through daily problem solving like this, I gradually became proficient in this system and was able to coach new staff as well.

      CGA Experience
      - Enrolling in the CGA program was one biggest and best decision I have made. So far, I am very proud of myself that I have successfully moved onto level 4, which means I am about 90% complete in this process towards my final designation.
      - I have completed courses including….
      - My biggest benefit from this process is….. because it helps me to put together everything I have done at work into a bigger picture of a general accounting cycle. Not only have I learned about journal entries of key transactions, but also broadened my knowledge in key accounting controls, financial reporting and tax planning for small business corporations.
      - What I still need to do is…..I have made my plans to utilize my spare time to complete them by @@@. Hopefully, all my knowledge will make a significant contribution to my new role with your company.


      II. Behavioral Questions

      Career Goal

      - I see myself working as a senior accountant in 5 years, having sufficient knowledge and experience to assist the controller, not only in daily accounting procedures, but also in assisting her/him preparing financial reporting and management reporting information to support management decision.
      - Compared with others, I am particularly strong in @@@ so I am confident that I will be reaching this goal and making significant contribution to my employer.


      Why do you want to work here?

      - I have read about your company on the website and talked to my friends who know about your company more than I do. (It is important to show that you have done some research.)

      - I am very passionate about starting a new phase in my career with your company because I believe it will give me the best opportunity to apply my skills and experience in accounting.

      - From your job posting, I can also clearly see development opportunity to become @@@ in future. That is what I want to do in future. (Be careful whether you need to say this or not)

      - Another personal reason is that I would feel proud to work as @@@ in the @@@ indusry and I look forward to good balance in life and work that help me to develop professional skills and spirits better.


      Strengths

      - Although I think I still need to work a lot to refine my language skills, my friends and co-workers tell me I am like a central server that connects all kinds of friends really well. At work, I keep an open mind and learning spirit. I complete my tasks always with best efforts and teamwork with colleagues well. At home with family and friends, I am all ears and I care for them sincerely.

      - Another thing I am very proud of myself is that I can handle pressure well. For me the secret to do things well is that I do need to feel moderate pressure and use it to motive myself. I think it is important to plan for work well and break a big goal into some smaller goals. In this way, it will be easier to assess my progress. Overall, pressure works for me, not against me, I am very proud to say.


      Dealing with Deadline

      - I have always worked in a deadline-driven environment and I think a few things have helped me work well under deadline.
      - First, I think it is critical is understand the reason for deadline. If I do not understand, I talked with my supervisor or colleagues. I think it is important that every team member understands the importance of meeting the deadline. In this way, we can hand over work to the next hand not only on a timely basis but also with good quality.
      - Another thing that has helped me is to plan my work well and prioritize tasks. What is urgent and what is important can sometimes rank tasks differently. I make sure I consult my supervisor on what should be my top priority and understand why it should be so. Then I proceed with a clear plan and keep communicating with teammates and my supervisor.
      - Overall, I think these two important habits have helped me deal with deadlines very well.


      Customer Service
      - Describe the environment, who are your customers? What do they need?
      - What is one particular challenge? (Give example)
      - How did you handle it?
      - Any positive feedback from customer/boss/colleagues? Achievements?
      - Looking back, I think, in a manufacturing environment, key in customer service is…


      What motivates you?

      I enjoy my life very much. I accept it as a formula that “if you smile at life, life smiles upon you”. Another sayings that motivates me is “Knowledge is Power”. No matter what difficulty confronts me, I will treat it with all my enthusiasm as well as my smile. So I think this passion for life motivates me in doing everything as well as I can and never stop learning.


      What is the most important thing you are looking for in an employer?

      I wish I could work for an employer who is doing a great cause, dynamic, has a fair performance evaluation system, and good development opportunities for every employee. This is the reason I am applying to your company as my top-listed organization to work for. Within such a good system and hopefully guidance from your supervision, I believe there is a lot I can contribute to and learn from, and most important, I will feel happy and achieving at work.

      What skills have you developed in your previous jobs?

      - I have obtained a lot of hands-on experience in applying accounting knowledge and administrative skills. I think the most important skills I developed is the ability to think critically when faced with numbers and data and know more about the story behind the number and link them to business development of the organization.

      - My previous manager taught me a lot. I learned from him lots of best practice in the accounting and administrative work. I listened to him proactively and provided comments and feedback whenever he needed me to do so. Before I start on a major task, I talked to him about how I would like to approach the task and ask for his advice so that I can be most efficient. I let him know my progress on a daily basis. This trained me in building better communication skills at work.


      What supervisory or leadership roles have you held? (Are you more of a leader or a follower?)

      - I see myself as a good leader in my own understanding. I think I have good potential in becoming a good leader because I connect people well, I have an open-mind to listen first and judge later, and I am willing to learn a lot more to have a good vision in what I do professionally.

      - I have not the opportunity to work as a leader so far. I am comfortable in working in a team environment always. I exercise leadership in managing myself at work. At present, I think the most important thing I want to practice about leadership is the capacity and attitude to support other people on my team.


      You mentioned you possess strong organizational skills. Can you give me an example, in a work setting, where you would have used those skills?

      - I think what helps me to organize well is to prioritize tasks and keep good audit trails in writing when I do my work. There are things that are urgent and I do them right away. There are things that are not urgent but important; there are things that are urgent but not most important. So I do them as soon as I can after I finish the most urgent task. There are things that are neither urgent nor important. I leave them for later if I cannot finish them the same day. I check my task list on a weekly basis and make sure all things are done on a weekly basis. I arrange tasks in terms of urgency and importance and then I assign deadlines to each task.

      - I usually double-check with my manager to make sure he agrees or if he has suggestions otherwise. In this way, I am able to always finish task before deadline and I seldom run into panic.


      CHALLENGING PEAK

      Weakness

      The key to talk about weakness is
      a. tell honestly one non-critical weakness;
      b. tell people you have think over it well to overcome your weakness;
      c. give example to show you have made progress.

      Do not stop at just telling people what weakness you have and you know it exists. Be proactive and positive. Everybody has weakness, it is the way they deal with it that makes people achieve differently.

      - Name a weakness not too big not too superficial. Examples can be, you may not be the most articulate accountant among your colleagues.
      - Why do you think being articulate is important in your work environment?
      - What is your status quo?
      - What action plan you made to improve? How did you do it? How have improved so far? What is left to be done in the year ahead?
      - Examples of your action plan can be: read books on skills to present briefly, brilliantly and invite discussion. Even though things do not come to my mind as well as well trained executives, I tried to write down key points to train myself for what I need to talk about and what I do not need to talk about. How I can be to the point and say things clearly. I know I am not there yet, but compared with the start, I have made significant progress. I think so long as I set on the goal and keep learning and practicing, I will be a good communicator and presenter in the near future.

      Describe a situation where your work or an idea was criticized.
      The key to handle criticism is
      a. find out why they criticize. What the boss wants, what I have delivered? Is there a gap?
      b. Ask myself, did I make efforts to know what people want?
      c. After I have done a and b, if I still think I have good reason to believe my work should meet my boss’s expectation, I talk to him privately and explain to him my reasons why I still think I have done a good job.
      d. If the criticism is constructive, I take them and do better next time. If the criticism is not constructive, I try to understand other’s perspective and make it constructive for myself and move on.

      Why should I hire you?
      Comparing myself with other candidates, I personally think I am more competitive in three areas.

      - I am very energetic and very mature at the same time. Being mature helps me make very conscious efforts toward my work and my career. I have a steady goal but I am open minded and objective in order to learn well. I am very personable and this helps me work with people very well so far.

      - I treasure this opportunity and becoming a competent @@@ is what I want to achieve. I believe I can do things better and better with this passion. If I am hired, I am able fully devote to this job. I do not foresee major break or leave in the years to come. My family has been fully supportive.

      - I have a good background in accounting and I believe I have talent in this field. My next project is to bring my analytical skills and writing skills to the next level so that it will help me to analyze data and write clear and useful report when I go through apprenticeship in @@@.


      How do you handle stress?

      - My teacher tells me moderate anxiety is where people perform the best. Therefore, I welcome pressure. I find pressure motivates me on many occasions and they even excite me sometimes.

      - On the other hand, I do have felt pressure that is overwhelming and sometimes things can become very hard. In these situations, I take a breath, ask for advice, prioritize, learn to give up things that are less important to me, go to gym, talk to family and friends, have a good laugh, then, I would usually find things are not as difficult as I had thought and then I become more confident and take a best shot at them. I tell myself it is ok to lose sometimes, but I should never lose my positive attitude.


      Describe a stressful situation you have been in recently and how you handled it.

      - I have gone through quite a few stressful situations in my life so far. I have felt lucky because stress have not knocked me down. I think a positive attitude and clear action plan and prioritizing have helped me.

      - I took a trip to China this summer. My friend, who is teaching in a college, invited me to be a guest speaker at a student gathering one night. Young people are very interested to know about the education systems in Canada. I thought it would be just a private function and I can chat casually. To my surprise, there were so many very serious young students waiting for me in a lecture hall!

      - At first, I felt nervous and a bit of stress. I then calmed down. I took a step back and quickly made a list in my mind what I want to talk about and what are the most important thing to talk about. In the few minutes before the meeting, I did some research online to double-check some data. I drafted an agenda and shared it with the audience first. When I spoke, I tried hard to make it interesting and easy for the audience to understand. I also shared with them my personal experience in school. In doing all this, I just forgot about my stress because I felt I was busy enough not to think about stress.

      - Later, the president came to me and said I did a very informative but yet also very fun presentation and invited me to another major seminar as a guest speaker.


      What is the most difficult decision that you have made recently?

      - Before this co-op placement began, my teacher made us practice “cold-call” skills in job searching. To me, it was a very big challenge. It was a very difficult decision for me to assess myself in terms of cold call skills and accept this big challenge.

      - I had thought I was not ready to speak assertively over the phone to get a job opportunity. English is my second language. Will people think I am bugging them when I cold call them? If I cannot speak clearly enough within the first minute, will people lose their patience? These were my concerns.

      - I talk to my friends and they gave me good advice. To prepare for the cold-call, I wrote down how I want to break the ice and how I want to introduce myself, what I want to say if people say yes or no and what question I can ask properly to obtain more information about the company and the possible job openings. And when I spoke, my two secrets were I stood up to speak and I keep a smile.

      - After a few calls, I become more confident and fluent and I do not need my “speaking notes” any more. I made some good contacts and I also learned a lot from talking to different people over the phone.


      EXIT WITH ASSURANCE

      Make a smooth exit and open for future contacts

      - Ask “Are there any other questions I can answer for you?” or if you have established rapport with the interviewer, directly ask “Do you have any concerns over my qualifications”?
      - Ask for what next
      - Ask for name card
      - Firmly stand up, smile, shake hands again, thank them for taking the time to meet you
      - Say I look forward to hearing from you, loud, and very confident
      - Proper exit body gesture.

      Do you have any questions?

      This is a very important closing. Better not say you do not have any questions. Show that you are interested in this job. But never ask any questions that the interviewer (HR) is unable to answer. Ask questions that an HR/hiring would love to talk about, or a very easy personal question. You can say

      - It has really been a pleasure to talk with you and let you know more about me. I find it really helpful for me to know more about the organization. I saw it on your website, or my friends told me a little bit about your training program. Would you be able to let me know a bit more about the training program?

      - As a long-standing employee with …, what do you like best about the company? What do you think is the most important quality in an employee with … to do his job really well?

      Expected Salary
      - Do your homework and know the range
      - Decide if you deserve low/medium/top range.
      - Tell a clear amount
      - Support your expectation with 1-3 convincing reasons
      - Leave it open for hiring manager’s discretion

      Follow up

      - Do you have any concerns over my qualification for the job? Is there anything else I can let you know? (they would usually say, no, but you will impress the interview if you ask so)

      - When could I expect to hear from you? Then, say, should you need any further documents or information later on, please let me know. Thank you for your time meeting me. I really look forward to hearing from you soon. Firm hand shake, ladies first, men next, look at them into the eyes, smile, and leave the room. Not too much small talk, not too humble, be careful.更多精彩文章及讨论,请光临枫下论坛 rolia.net
      • GoingConcern同学为了这次讲座花费了很多时间和精力来准备这些资料,偶代表会计论坛所有的JDXM们向您致敬,对您说声谢谢,您辛苦了!
        • 谢谢你们的原创撰写和整理发贴,让远程的朋友们也能够受益。这样的精华之作提升了这个论坛的档次;再次感谢。
        • 感谢goingconcern,specialday,jinx99,livemylife!
        • 多谢辛苦整理发贴!也多谢大家提供的真实素材。希望大家不要介意我的CRTIQUE。希望和大家交流IDEAS,如果我的个人意见对人有所帮助,我也很高兴。JINX和Livemylife的精彩发言让我有新的启发。谢谢两位班主多年来带动我参与这样一件有意义的活动!
          • 偶今天在公司一边整理一边在感慨,GC真是很用心的在准备这次的presentation,您的付出一定会帮到坛里很多的XDJM。// 其实偶只是做了很少的修改,只是你的那些formatting post 到rolia上全没了,有些bullet points变成了乱码,偶花费了一些时间一一更正。
        • Very impressive. Thank you very much again!
        • 感谢前辈的指导!!!!
      • 这可是太全面了,不想找工作的都有跳槽的心了。
        • 报告J班长:已在置顶的会计新人必读里建立了“GoingConcern专辑”,把GC最近的几篇经典文章都收藏在专辑里了。TA以前写的文章偶得慢慢找出来后再加进去。// 这回可以有冬瓜吃了吧?:)
          • 非常感谢!我以后就多思考多写点对人有帮助的东西,望抛砖引玉!
          • 你要是答应给偶两个冬瓜吃,偶就答应把你的presentation也整理一下再做些补充,deal?
            • 跟冬瓜干上了? 冬瓜,冬天的瓜,现在没有,不然餐馆怎么没的卖。 再等半年,到时候请你吃冬瓜馅豆包!
              • 班长,您可真幽默!我现在看见你的帖子,就自己想想你说这话的神情,逗死了!
        • 太专业了,我这两天都不敢发简历,专心在思考和找差距呢。
        • GoingCornern,Specialday和Jinx99 的真诚付出真得让人感动,让很多人在绝望中看到了希望,朋友说我自从听了讲座,找工作的积极性高了很多。
      • 太好了, 一直遗憾 报名太晚 没能到现场。 现在有specialday 帮忙做的笔记。真是 受益匪浅啊。 感谢goingconcern 和各位主讲。
      • 非常感谢各位前辈的无私奉献,感动,受益非浅,这次迟了,希望下次有机会亲睹各位风采。
    • 谢谢Goingconcern,也谢谢Specialday.你们辛苦了
    • 我要慢慢远程学习一下。我很自豪以上牛人我都认识。哈哈。
      • 你认识GoingConcern就人脉够广的了,还认识lastdayofschool大侠?
        • 所以说我是当之无愧的资深网友嘛。
      • 打倒SHOWOFF。LOL。
    • This is great, thanks
      • 非常感谢Joyce版主,给我这个机会参加这个宝贵的讲座。真是听君一讲座,胜读十年书啊!万分衷心的谢谢你们无私的传授经验之谈,找工的茫然中觉得有了精神的力量!再次谢谢Joyce,goingconcern, jinx99, livemylife, 并喜欢你们的优雅大方,睿智,美丽 和 幽默!
    • Great! I have big headace for looking for job. How can I contact you to get your help. Many thanks!