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How to Write a CPA Candidate Resume [Updated for 2021+]

How to write a CPA Candidate Resume

If you’re looking for work while pursuing the CPA license, you can use your progress to your advantage as a job applicant. No matter where you are in the process, it’s important to demonstrate to future employers that you’re committed to earning the CPA. You’re doing it so you can get a better job, but you may be able to get that job before you actually complete the CPA requirements. You just need to learn how to write a CPA candidate resume.

Tips for Writing a CPA Candidate Resume

You should definitely say that you’re going after the CPA license in your resume. This information can make you attractive to companies, so you don’t want to miss on out on this chance to market yourself. Hoping your CPA progress will come up in the interview could cost you the chance to get the interview at all. With that in mind, plan to include it and follow these tips to do so.

1. Use your CPA status to tell the story of your career

The best way to decide where in your resume you should include your CPA status is to determine the story you are trying to tell how your pursuit of the CPA enhances your story. You’ll want to keep your objective and ideal job in mind while deciding how the CPA fits on your resume.

If you’ve been an accountant for years and are pursuing one of the many CPA career options, putting your exam progress in a notable spot is a beneficial move.

If you’re trying to land your first accounting job, you probably don’t have a lot of applicable work experience. But if you have passed all or most of the CPA Exam, you’ll want to highlight your exam success specifically.

Giving your CPA Exam experience the spotlight is also a good idea if you’re a student looking for an accounting internship and you’ve already passed a section or two.

2. Put your CPA Exam progress in the most applicable spot.

Research the position you desire and see if your history with the CPA could set your resume apart. If it will, insert a section called “Certifications” near the top of your resume and detail how much of the CPA Exam you’ve completed so far. This section is even more essential if and when you have other certifications to add to it.

If you know your target company really prizes the CPA, you should mention your certification progress in your profile, objective statement, or summary statement. Wherever you put it, make sure it’s towards the top of the page. This will allow it to catch the eye of the company right away. Mentioning your CPA progress on your cover letter is also a great idea, providing it is relevant to the job you’re applying for.

If something other than passing the CPA Exam is your greatest career strength, you can still include a Certifications section in your resume, but you’ll should keep it farther down the page.

If you don’t have room to make a new section, you can add your CPA Exam status to your Professional Development section or to the Education section along with your degree(s).

3. Be specific about your exam and licensure success.

If you haven’t started the CPA Exam yet, you might want to consider starting to stand out from other potential candidates. You can try our Free CPA Exam questions and see how Gleim can help you pass the first time!

If you’ve just started the CPA Exam process, you should provide your CPA candidate context under the Professional Development or Education sections of your resume. You should also include the exam date for your first section. It would look something like this:

  • Candidate for the Uniform CPA Exam, testing appointment for FAR on 4/14/2021

If you’ve already passed a section, you should state which sections you’ve passed and include the dates of any testing appointments you’ve scheduled. You could include bullets like this:

  • Candidate for the Uniform CPA Exam
    • Passed AUD and FAR
    • Testing appointment for BEC on 11/29/2021

You do not need to detail your scores for passed sections, and we don’t recommend it.

The sections you’ve passed verify that you have particular skills, you be sure to include those with your other skills.

Perhaps you discovered the benefits of taking the CPA Exam as a student and are now trying to break in to the industry as a recent graduate with four passed exam sections under your belt. You’ve met the education requirement but haven’t finished the experience requirement. In that case, you can format an entry under your Certifications section like this:

  • Candidate for the Uniform CPA Exam
    • Completed all four sections of the CPA Exam in September 2020
    • Completed all 150 credit hours of the education requirement
    • Experience requirement in progress

As an accountant trying to jumpstart your career at a new place with a new title, you can list how many of the exam sections you’ve passed and all the other CPA requirements you’ve fulfilled as well. Your resume items could look like this:

  • Candidate for the Uniform CPA Exam
    • Passed FAR, AUD, and BEC
    • Testing appointment for REG scheduled for 5/8/2021
    • Completed education requirement of 150 credit hours
    • Completed experience requirement of two years

Avoid distracting from your CPA progress or leaving details out

You do not need to detail your scores for passed sections, and we don’t recommend it. Your scores do not add much value to your resume, and they can actually distract from the point you’re trying to emphasize–you passed.

At the end of the day, the CPA Exam sections you’ve passed verify that you have particular skills. You should include those individual skills under your Skills section of your resume.

Even if you’ve completed all of the requirements for the CPA license, you cannot place the letters CPA behind your name until you’ve been officially licensed. Wait until you are officially licensed because using them before then is illegal.

Review Course for Passing the CPA Exam

Once you get a sense of how awesome it will feel to write “CPA” behind your last name on your resume, you’ll want to pass the CPA Exam as soon as possible. The best way to study for the exam is to rely on the CPA review that prepares you to pass better than anything else. Gleim CPA Review features SmartAdapt™ technology that enables you to study effectively and pass efficiently by constantly zeroing in on your weak areas and keeping previous topics fresh to ensure mastery. When you review with Gleim CPA Review, you’ll develop the confidence you need to pass each exam section the first time. Learn more about this powerful, adaptive CPA review by accessing our free CPA course demo today.

Build on your resume with more certifications

After you’re enjoying the benefits of your CPA license, you can continue to add value to your resume by adding additional certifications (such as the CIA, CMA, or EA).
Earning certifications after you’re a CPA has several benefits:

  • Many firms will pay for exam materials and testing fees while you’re working for them
  • Some firms offer bonuses based on completing certain certifications
  • Gaining new certifications demonstrates initiative and competency beyond the minimum
  • Shows a strong personal commitment to due professional care
  • Gives additional justification for promotion and salary increases
  • Provides CPE hours while passing certification exams
    • The amount of CPE credits varies by State Board.

Once you’ve made the decision to get a new certification, you’ll need to decide on which one.

Cost Management Accountant
Institute of Managerial Accountants
Allows you to say you…
can analyze and manage costs to select and prioritize projects with the highest value.
have a broad, yet specialized, understanding of cost accounting.
Certified Internal Auditor
Institute of Internal Auditors
Allows you to say you…
know internal auditing and its standards.
have a basis for an opinion on the effectiveness of an internal audit program.
know how to manage and hold an internal audit staff to the high standards of the Institute of Internal Auditors.
are able to certify your audit work outside of the U.S.
Enrolled Agent
Internal Revenue Service
Allows you to say you…
can complete tax returns and represent taxpayers in all 50 states.
are able to work internationally and help prepare U.S. taxes for international clients.

Prepare for your accounting certificates with Gleim

No matter what certification you’re pursuing, Gleim will be with you from start to finish. As the leading provider of CIA, CMA, and EA review materials, Gleim has helped candidates pass more than a million accounting exams. Not convinced? Check out our CIA, CMA, and EA demos and see why more accountants pass with Gleim.

Ready to go from CPA candidate to licensed CPA? Gleim CPA Review has everything you need to pass the CPA Exam on the first attempt, and with over 2,000 multiple-choice questions and 560+ task-based simulations, the Gleim Mega Test Bank is the best CPA Exam supplement on the market. No matter your journey, Gleim supports your career in accounting.