How to Write a Great Controller Resume

Want to get a job as a financial controller? Use role-specific tips and templates to write a strong resume and maximize your chances of landing an interview!

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How To Write a Great Controller Resume

Controllers take the lead on all accounting-related activities in a business. It’s a role with a lot of responsibility, and hiring managers are unlikely to give you a second look without a convincing resume. 

Using our resume examples and tips below, you’ll be one step closer to securing your new job as a controller.

This guide will show you:

 1.What recruiters want to see on a controller’s resume

 2. How best to structure your controller resume

 3. Tips for writing an effective professional resume

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What to Highlight in a Controller Resume

Controller jobs require a deep understanding of accounting operations. As such, hiring managers will want to hear about your previous involvement with important financial processes like tax compliance, budgeting, payroll, financial reporting, and financial planning.
 
You should show a solid grasp of industry-specific accounting policies and compliance laws that apply to the employer’s organization. When discussing your professional experience, focus on the big achievements that helped improve the financial health of your former employers.
 
Given that controllers lead the accounting team and are responsible for reporting to senior management, you’ll also want to highlight your communication skills, leadership qualities, and other related soft skills.

The Structure of a Controller Resume

The structure of your controller resume will vary depending on your chosen resume format. There are three options:

  • Chronological — This format emphasizes work experience
  • Functional — This format focuses on skills
  • Combination — This format balances skills and work experience

The chronological format is the format favored by most hiring managers. It’s also the format we use with the controller resume example below. But no matter which format you use, your resume will feature these sections – they’ll just be in a different order, depending on the format.

 
Header
 
Add your contact details to the resume header at the top of the page. This information includes your:

  • Full name
  • Phone number
  • Professional email address
  • Address
  • Professional profile link, such as your LinkedIn

Present this information clearly so that the hiring manager can quickly reach out to, should they be impressed with your application.

 
Resume summary or objective
 
A resume summary is a brief overview of the skills that best qualify you for the role. A resume objective is similar, but also states your career goals.  A resume summary works best if you already have several years of experience. For controller and CFO applications, it’s therefore advisable to use a resume summary.
 
Skills
 
Use the skills section to tailor your resume to the requirements of the role. To do this, read through the required skills on the job description and pick out three to five to include on your resume.
 
Role-specific hard skills include:

  • Auditing
  • Forecasting
  • Financial analysis
  • Cash flow management
  • Tax returns
  • Risk management
  • Bank reconciliations
  • Financial statements
  • Accounts receivable
  • Accounts payable
  • GAAP
  • Accounting software, such as QuickBooks
  • Computer skills, such as Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint

Here are some relevant soft skills:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability

Aim for a mix of soft and hard skills, with a slightly greater weight on hard skills.

 
Work history
 
In the work experience section, run through the previous jobs you’ve held (up to the last  10 years). For each position, list the responsibilities and achievements that are most relevant to the role you’re applying to in bullet points. Use specific examples and performance metrics to support your points. For example, you could quote the percentage by which net profits increased under your supervision.
 
Education
 
If you have a master’s or bachelor’s degree in accounting or another related field, list it in your education section. Only include your highest level of education. You can also include relevant certifications in this section, such as your CPA license.


Do’s and Don’ts for a Controller Resume

Use the tips below to write the perfect resume.
 
Do:

  • Quantify your experience. 

The role of a controller is all about getting results. Where possible, include statistics and other performance data from your previous positions to demonstrate the positive impact you made.

  • Tailor your resume to the job. 

Financial compliance laws will differ from industry to industry. Take time to research the regulatory framework of your employer’s industry and tailor your resume accordingly.

  • Use a resume template.   

Resume templates are a great option if you want a professional-looking resume without the hassle of having to design it yourself. Visit the Resume Builder to get started.

 
Don’t:

  • Include irrelevant experience.

 There’s no reason to discuss previous work experience if it isn’t relevant to the role of a controller. Similarly, with your education section, reference only accounting-related qualifications.

  • Stray from the truth. 

 For such a senior position, you may feel the need to embellish your skills and experiences. Don’t fall into this trap, as it will likely cost you later on in the process.

  • Forget to proofread. 

 As a controller, attention to detail is key. Even the smallest of mistakes with spelling or grammar will likely lead the hiring manager to discard your application.


FAQ: Controller Resume Example

Q: Do I need to include a cover letter for a controller job application?

Writing a cover letter is an important step in your job search. Unless the job posting explicitly states not to, always write a cover letter to accompany your resume. The cover letter is your chance to expand on your key skills and explain any gaps on your resume.

Q: What is the best way to write a resume for a controller job application?

For a controller or CFO job application, use the chronological resume format. Start with your contact details, followed by a resume summary, skills section, work history, and education section. Focus on previous experience implementing accounting best practices and monitoring financial health.

Q: How do I change my controller resume to apply to different jobs?

Always tailor your resume to the role and industry of the employer. For each new position you apply to, rewrite the resume summary to fit the needs of the role. Also, adapt the skills section to include some of the desirable and required skills listed in the job description.

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