9 Signs Your Resume is Selling You Short

Don’t let your resume hold you back from all the opportunities out there!

Unlike a college test or job project, you’ll rarely receive feedback on your resume; potential employers just don’t have the time to send a personalized critique outlining your mistakes.

That’s understandable — but tough, especially when your inbox sits stagnant after a round of job applications. How are you supposed to know what you’re doing wrong? Before you totally lose your mind, take a few minutes to review these nine ways your resume could be selling you short.

1. Your resume bleeds onto two pages

If you’re a recent college graduate and have less than seven years of relevant experience in the workforce, stick to a one-page resume. Yes, even the most accomplished college graduates should only have a one-pager.

Why? Recruiters don’t want to shuffle through two pages of career details, especially when your career has barely started. That extra page will be seen as unnecessary fluff — and it likely is.

2. You went all out with your resume design

A resume should appeal to the eye, but there’s no need for colorful borders, intricate graphics, or a headshot (unless your career calls for one, like acting or modeling). This distracts the reader from what’s important: the text.

Also, many large companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS), which is software that analyzes resumes and weeds out the least-qualified candidates based on algorithms. So if this ATS software scans graphics that it can’t decipher, your resume might get an automatic “no.”

3. You start with all the wrong information

Way back when, job applicants physically mailed their cover letters and resumes to a company. But times have changed, and your resume needs to reflect that.

There’s no need to take up two lines in your header to list your street address. If anything, including it could hurt your chances of securing a job. For example, if you live across the country but another candidate lives down the block and is almost as qualified as you, then why not just hire that person instead?

Replace your street address with something more digitally friendly, like your LinkedIn profile URL or your online portfolio. Recruiters and hiring managers are going to scour the internet for you anyway, so you might as well make it easier on them.

Oh, and while you’re updating your online profiles, take a peek at your email address. If it’s not a variation of your name, then consider making a new one. You can easily snag a free email address through Gmail or Outlook to create a new, professional email address.

4. You open with an objective

Now that your header is polished, it’s time to launch into the meat of your resume. If your eye scans down to an objective statement, press pause.

Objective statements tend to be generic and don’t offer an employer any additional information to help them understand who you are or your career goals. Replace your objective statement with a professional summary, instead. This is your elevator pitch — it should explain in three to five sentences your qualifications and immediate career goals. Don’t solely focus on yourself; tailor this summary to each job and employer so it feels personalized.

5. You include high school activities

Once you graduate college, you should wipe all mentions of high school off your resume. Focus instead on your college activities and internships. Then, once you’re a few years into your career, you can start shedding those college accolades, too.

6. You lack consistency

Consistency is key, and there are a few areas you’ll want to check for consistency on your resume.

First, start with the formatting. If your first header is underlined, bolded, and centered, make sure your second header is formatted the same way.

Second, make sure your details are presented consistently. If your city and state details are presented as “Denver, CO,” for example, don’t list the next one as “Denver, Colorado.” Check your dates as well. If you list a position as “May 2016 to December 2016,” don’t list your next position as “January 2017–June 2017.” It’s little details like this that can turn an employer off.

Finally, check your verb tenses. All your past experience should be listed in the past tense, while your current position(s) should be written in the present tense; keep that consistent.

7. Your descriptions “tell” when they should “show”

Did you ever have an English teacher encourage you to “show, don’t tell!” Well, that rule of thumb applies to your resume, too.

Comb through your job and activity descriptions. How much are you showing, and how much are you telling? Your points will be stronger if you can show how you resolved a workflow issue rather than simply stating it.

Additionally, see if you can quantify your accomplishments. For example, if, as an intern, you wrote five blog posts a week on top of other responsibilities, that’s pretty impressive. You’re showing the potential employer you’re a hard worker by backing up your statement with cold, hard facts.

On a related note, take a look at your “skills” section. It’s fine to include this section, especially if you’re in a more technical field. Maybe you want potential employers to know you can handle the intricacies of Python and Java. Or maybe you’re bilingual, which will help you in a customer service position.

Don’t, however, use a skills section to list implied skills like “effective written and verbal communication skills,” “organization,” or “conflict resolution.” Your past experience listed on your resume should already show this, so there’s no need to waste space.

8. You list references

It’s great you’ve recruited some solid references to join you on your job search; however, their assistance won’t be needed until later on in the job search.

A recruiter or hiring manager will likely contact your references after a phone screening and interview with you, so there’s no need to include those upfront on your resume. For that reason, cut your list of references. There’s also no need to state that references are “available upon request” — that should go without saying.

9. You didn’t recruit a proofreader

No matter how many times you read your resume, you’ll likely miss something so obvious. That’s just how the brain works — it starts auto-filling words to meet expectations.

In order to break the sequence, get someone else to read over your resume. Send it to your parents, a close friend, or your significant other —  anyone who has an eye for grammar and typos. The more sets of eyes, the better.

There are also professional options where you can submit your resume for a review to check for all of the above mistakes that people make on their resume.

Now that you’ve fixed up your resume, go ahead and click “submit” with confidence because your resume is no longer selling you short!

Author: Carson Kohler is a contributor to TopResume, the largest resume-writing service in the world. Not sure if your resume is selling you short and stopping you from getting the interviews you deserve? You can check with a free resume review from TopResume today!

How to Become a Stockbroker

How to Become a Stockbroker
How to Become a Stockbroker

If you know what the featured image in this article symbolizes, chances are, you are familiar with the stock market. It is a dynamic marketplace where people buy and sell stocks in the hope of making money. Trades are especially heavy during a bull market, where optimism prevails and prices of stocks keep going up. A bear market on the other hand, is the exact opposite: the sentiment is pessimistic and prices of stocks keep going down. In this article, we will discuss how to become a stockbroker.

What Is a Stockbroker?

Stockbrokers are licensed professionals who buy and sell stocks for retail (individuals), or institutional (business entities) clients. They have a deep understanding of investments and capital markets. First, stockbrokers communicate with their clients to determine what their financial goals are. Then, they give recommendations what stocks are good to buy that will likely provide a gain in the future. Lastly, they buy or sell stocks on the client’s behalf and handle the transaction.

To help clients make money in the stock market, a stockbroker must be able to analyze the financial reports of companies listed in the stock exchange and provide timely advice. Failure to do so can mean potential losses on the part of the client. Aside from the financial performance of companies, the stock market is affected by such factors as the country’s overall economy, monetary policy, as well as geo-political risks.

The better advice a stockbroker can provide, the more money a client can make. Satisfied clients will mean more trades, and this will subsequently lead to more commissions. Simply put, the more clients and trades, the better. Being a stockbroker can be a fun job, but it can also be stressful, as the job involves other people’s money.

How to Become a Stockbroker

How to Become a Stockbroker

1. Take mandatory exams – There are 2 basic tests you must pass before you can become a stockbroker:

• The Series 7 – The Series 7 or General Securities Registered Representative Examination is given by FINRA or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. It usually lasts 6 hours and is probably the most difficult test an aspiring stockbroker will take. If you pass this test, then you will become a “registered representative” or stockbroker. You will have the authority to sell all types of securities and investments, except real estate, commodities futures, and life insurance. At present, the Series 7 test costs $290.

• The Series 63 – This test is about conducting business and the different laws that govern transactions. It is much easier than the Series 7 and only takes about 75 minutes to finish. Currently, the Series 63 test costs $96.

2. Complete the paperwork – After you pass the required exams, you need to complete your registration with FINRA/NFA. You must also register with the Securities Commission of each state that you wish to work in. Here is a rundown of things you must accomplish:

• Pass a background check
• Get a fingerprint card
• Complete paperwork at the state and federal levels

3. Meet quotas – Now that you are a licensed stockbroker, you have to meet the expectations of the firm you are working for. Depending on the company, your employers will probably give you six months to one year to prove to them that you have what it takes to become successful stockbroker, i.e., to get and maintain a large enough number of clients.

4. Take continuing education courses – To keep your license, you need to take continuing education classes and attend seminars. Usually, the brokerage firm you’ll be working for will facilitate this for you.

What Course Should You Take Up in College If You Want to Become a Stockbroker?

Although there’s no specific course that students should take to be a stockbroker, some are more advantageous than others. For example, a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration is one of the most popular courses for stockbroker hopefuls. This is because this course covers topics that are relevant to companies in particular, and the stock market in general.

Among the things you will learn are how companies raise capital, why they issue shares of stock, and how they pay dividends to shareholders. You will also learn other aspects involved in running a business. Other college courses you can take if you want to become a stockbroker include Accounting, Finance, or Economics.

How Much Is the Salary of a Stockbroker?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for stockbrokers in the US is $63,780 per year (based on 2017 data). But the actual income of a stockbroker is influenced by many factors such as years of experience, what firm they’re working for, and the commission they get from trades.

Conclusion

If you want to be a famous stockbroker on Wall Street, start reading books, find a good mentor, and follow the latest developments on the stock market. After reading this article and knowing how to become a stockbroker, now is a good time as any to take your interest in stocks to a higher level and make a career out of it.

How to Increase Your Chances of Getting a Job

Landing a job is not that easy, especially in today’s challenging and competitive business environment. Many applicants may not be able to find a job even after months of searching. Often, all you need to do is re-evaluate your job hunting strategies to boost your chances of getting hired. Provided below is a list of things you can do to increase your chances of getting a job.

1. Be creative when writing your resume

When hundreds of people are vying for the same job, HR personnel can spend as little as ten seconds looking at your resume. Therefore, it’s very important that yours look impressive and stands out from the rest. You can definitely give yourself a competitive advantage by being creative with your resume.

2. Don’t ignore the cover letter

The cover letter is a representation of your personality and recruiters can use it to determine if you are qualified for the job. The way you write the cover letter can spell the difference between success and failure. So, make sure that yours clearly communicates your qualification and passion for the job.

3. Emphasize your strengths and accomplishments

Many applicants make the mistake of creating resumes that look like a job description. Spice up your resume by emphasizing your strengths and accomplishments. Increase your chances of being hired by showing in detail what you’ve accomplished while working on your previous job. In so doing, you can make your resume stand out and give the HR manager a sense of what you can bring to the job they’re trying to fill.

4. Research about the company

To convince a company that you’re a perfect fit for them, you should take it upon yourself to do your due diligence. Most companies have a website where applicants can learn more about their line of business. Read the company profile and find out what they’re looking for in a potential employee.

5. Apply for more than one job

Most applicants assume that they can only apply for one job at a particular company. That is not the case. If you feel that you’re qualified for various jobs that are available, it’s okay to apply for more than one job. It can improve one’s chance of getting hired.

6. Follow up

Once you receive feedback from a company about your application, you can follow up from time to time. Due to a large number of applicants, some resumes might have been overlooked or misplaced. Reminding them of yourself at spaced out occasions is okay. If you’ve already been interviewed but unable to get the job for any reason, you can follow up by thanking them and telling them to keep you in mind should anything change.

7. Sign up for LinkedIn

Having a LinkedIn profile can give you an edge over the competition. Many recruiters look at LinkedIn profiles when there are available jobs in their company. If you do not have a LinkedIn account, you may be losing out on employment opportunities. So sign up now for LinkedIn and make sure your profile is complete and includes all the necessary details such as education, qualifications, and work experience. That information can be used by recruiters to determine whether or not you’re a good fit for them.

8. Take advantage of your “network”

Equally as important as having a LinkedIn profile, having a network of contacts can improve your chances of getting a job. Friends, relatives, alumni associations, and most importantly, someone who’s already working at the company you’re targeting can all provide leads on job openings. Even with the advent of online resources and social media, nothing can replace the tried and tested “recommendation” coming from someone who is close to you.

Conclusion

The job market is very competitive. If you do not want to be left behind, you need to have an action plan to increase your chances of landing a job. Think of ways how you can impress your ideal employer and grab every opportunity to show them you are the person they need.

Tips on Job Hunting

Job hunting can be an exciting time of possibilities after earning your college degree.  Now that you’ve completed a program of study, it’s time to show the world what you have. Applying the knowledge that you’ve obtained is one way to make your mark on the world as a responsible citizen. However, the process of finding the perfect career can be a challenge. To simplify the process, consider the following tips.

Work with your career services department

Finding a job in a digital age is an ever changing process. As new tools become readily available and employers look for better ways to connect with top talent, you’ll need to stay on top of the latest trends. The career services team on your campus is likely to be on top of the latest changes and help you navigate the changing terrain.

Administrators in this department can also offer coaching for your interviews and feedback on your digital profiles. This will allow you to put your best foot forward. Even in the digital age, you never get a second time to make a good first impression. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity when a few tips for industry pros can make you stand out against the competition.

Be open and flexible

You’ve spent the past few years earnestly studying and developing your skills in a particular area. However, your skills may likely be transferable. Especially for entry level positions. Investigate a wide range of industries and think globally about just how your course of study might be applicable. Broaden your focus and you’ll likely come across positions or industries that you may not have considered.

Try multiple avenues to connect with hiring managers

Submitting your resume through typical channels is a great first step. However, you must consider that everyone else is doing the same thing. Think of ways to connect with hiring managers outside of the typical college job fair or online job portal. Join the company’s mailing list and attend functions that are open to the public in your areas. Connect with the people from that company via social media and inquire about the hiring process. Use social media to network and get the word out that you are job hunting. People share information about jobs among people they know. The next time an opening come available, your name may be on the top of someone’s mind.

Attend social functions sponsored by the companies that you’re interested in joining. These may often be hosted through professional organizations. Hiring managers that develop a social relationship with you are more likely to remember your name when sifting through a pile of applicants.

Our globally-connected environment means that the competition for great jobs is even tougher. People relocate from anywhere and more and more work from anywhere. Standing out from the crowd will give you the competitive advantage when searching for the perfect job. By using a little creativity and ingenuity, your degree can result in a number of high value job opportunities to choose from.

Posted by Dave Landry

What is an Infographic Resume?

When you are out into the real world looking for a job, the biggest challenge you face is how you’ll stand out.

Whether or not you are aware of the term ‘infographic’, I’m sure you have come across many of them while browsing the web. Infographics are mostly used by companies or brands that want to capture their audience’s attention with visual marketing. Infographics, short for information graphics, are a graphical or visual representation of data or information or knowledge.

Over the last couple of years, infographics have emerged as an effective marketing tool for businesses of all sizes.

Images and visuals grab our attention pretty fast. This is because the human brain is programmed to respond to visuals.

But what exactly is an infographic resume?

Turn your resume into an infographic – and it becomes an infographic resume. In an infographic resume, all the information and data regarding your education, skills and experiences is presented using both images and text.

Since most employers or hiring managers hardly spend time reading a resume from beginning till end, an infographic resume gives jobseekers an excellent opportunity to quickly grab their attention through an attractive graphical representation. An infographic resume makes it easier to scan the document in a few moments and grasp the essential data quickly.

If you have been struggling to attract employers’ attention with your traditional resume, you should definitely consider an infographic resume.

An infographic resume helps you –

  • Stand out in the crowd
  • Showcase your creative abilities
  • Tell a compelling story
  • Build your network

Though an infographic resume isn’t a complete replacement of a traditional resume, it can do a great job for you in many cases. Your success with infographic resumes depend on how attractively you design them.If you are applying for a job in an industry where creativity is an essential skill, creating an infographic resume may hit the nail on the head. Even if the field is conservative, you can set yourself apart quickly with a well-designed infographic resume. However, you shouldn’t use an infographic resume to cover up some ugly truth such as bad job history. A great infographic presents all the essential data or information in a concise, interesting and creative manner.

Before you start putting together your own infographic resume, you should take a closer look at other people’s infographic resumes. The internet is a great source to check out the key features of a great infographic resume. Also, there are many online tools that you can use to put together an infographic resume. If you can’t do it on your own, you should seek the help of a graphics designer.

Job Hunting In the Digital Age: Reputation, Resumes & Video Interviews

Job hunting has changed a great deal since the digital age became a prominent fixture in daily life. Recruiters are utilizing the web to search for potential candidates at home and abroad. And HR is using the social media platforms to investigate candidates’ personal lives as well. This has become a common practice among college recruiters as well.

Interestingly, recruiters are using what they find about you online to make hiring decisions. Making your digital reputation invaluable to acquiring your dream job. How much thought have you actually put into your digital reputation? It is essential to understand that you are leaving a digital footprint HR recruiters are indeed following.

Leave a Unique and Positive Digital Footprint

Your unique digital footprint can be a positive when it comes to your latest job hunt. However, it can certainly hurt your reputation too. Developing your digital reputation is more important than ever in the digital era. And it allows you to connect and network with recruiters and corporate decision makers without even leaving your home.

In fact, studies have found that 75 percent of HR recruiters look for career candidates online. They use social media, and it’s often acts as your cover letter. Other research found that 70 percent of job application resumes would get dropped in the “no” pile due to a poor digital footprint.

Make Your Digital Persona Professional

Developing a digital persona is a fantastic way to really boost your digital reputation. A professional digital persona will showcase your talent while making it easy for HR recruiters to find.

Create a LinkedIn profile and serve up a professional platform for recruiters. A survey conducted by Bullhorn, a tech product company for HR departments, found that 89 percent of recruiters hired candidates via LinkedIn.

Many jobs are posted solely on the professional social media site and online. Having a digital persona that is professional is vital. However, only 36 percent of job seekers are using professional sites like LinkedIn.

The Social Media Catch-22

There is certainly a clear social media catch-22 when it comes to your job hunting. HR recruiter will browse to find the positives, as well as the negatives. And a potential candidate with a professional online presence is definitely what recruiters are looking for.

If you are worried about what you have online, you can set your social media accounts to private. This will allow only your friends to see your posts and pics. You may also want to create fake usernames as well, leaving no trace of you online when recruiters begin their investigation.

There are lots of wonderful tips you can employ to ensure you get your dream job without your social media getting in the way. Develop your professional digital reputation today and highlight your marketability. The infographic below will help you build a strategy for the most efficient and effective job hunt in the digital age. It will most certainly assist your job hunting efforts, and help you leave a digital footprint recruiters will love.

Posted By: Dave Landry

Curriculum Vitae versus Resumé

In almost all professions, there is a great deal of competition in finding jobs so being highly educated and well experienced isn’t enough especially for those newly graduated students. With the uncertainty in the job market and the increased competition it is even more important to find ways to stand out.  Can you consider yourself qualified or deserving of the kind of job you’re looking for?  Even if you think that you’re qualified and a top performer, you also have to consider that there are other candidates who are as qualified as you.

Remember that not every person gets the job they wish for so what makes you stand out among the other applicants? And what makes you more qualified and deserving for the job? Well, it is only a matter of “selling yourself”. It’s imperative more than ever to learn how to sell yourself to be able to find potential employers and the right job. Selling yourself means convincing an employer that you’re the one that he or she’s looking for and that they should hire you.

Two of the best ways of “selling yourself” to companies and employers are, (1) writing a resumé and (2) writing a curriculum vitae. However, these two are often used interchangeably, so to be able to understand further, let’s discover the purpose and differences between a resumé and a curriculum vitae, and which one is the most significant to use when applying for a job.

Differences between a resumé and a curriculum vitae

  1. In a layman’s term, a resumé is a specific version or somewhat like a summary of your skills and experiences that’s generally written in one page. While a curriculum vitae (CV) is a broader version about your accomplishments and qualifications such as your academic credentials, but are longer and would usually take three pages or more.
  2. “Curriculum Vitae” is a Latin word meaning “course of life” and it is mostly used by European countries. While a “resumé” is a French word which means “summary” or a brief document that contains a precise information of an applicant. It is mostly utilized by the Americans and Canadians.
  3. When applying for a job, the resumé’s information will always depend on the job requirements. Thus, it can be shuffled because you will only provide those work-related information, work-related skills, as well as work-related experiences. Whereas in a curriculum vitae, everything must be in chronological order – of the whole achievements, experiences, and skills you have acquired, since it is an overview of your entire professional career.
  4. A resumé is generally used by the majority and when applying for a job specifically for those “non-academic” organizations. Basically, it is what most employers want to see. Why? Because employers and Managers wouldn’t want to read a 3-page resume or more, having the same “flowery words/phrases” over and over again while there are hundreds or maybe thousands of applicants waiting to be reviewed. This is why, you need to create an effective resume that will convince an employer to interview or hire you by seeing the most valuable information of you within 5 seconds or a maximum of 5 minutes.

A curriculum vitae is mostly used by individuals who are seeking for medical position, research position, post-secondary teaching, faculty jobs, scholarships, fellowships or grants, and many other academic applications since it provides a more comprehensive information. It is more detailed, longer, and must be updated more often.

  1. A typical curriculum vitae will include the following information:

Name, contact number, address, email, education information, awards, experiences, certificates, employments, publications, presentations, personal data/information such as civil status, height, hobbies, sports, and expertise, letter of recommendation, and references.

A typical resumé will include the following information:

Name, contact information, education, work-related experiences and skills.

Which one do I need?

As a job seeker, reading the facts above will give you an idea on how significant it is to know the differences between a resumé and a curriculum vitae. In other words, it will always depend on the job you’re applying for. The best thing to do is to evaluate which is more qualified to use, or if you’re still confused, you can always ask politely, “Would you prefer a resume or CV?” However, you need not worry since majority of the job hiring/application opportunities provide specific requirements.

Keep in mind that the economy is changing drastically and your resumé or curriculum vitae can help create a good “first impression”.  Your need to catch their attention and make them want to know more about you and position yourself as the most qualified candidate for the job. So, let the first impression last by writing a powerful and effective resumé or a curriculum vitae.

Do you need help?

Do you have all of the information you need to create your resume based on the requirements of specific jobs you are looking for?  View careers across all industries and use the job overview, tasks, skills, and education requirements to prepare your resume. You can also search for specific jobs in your area to help shape your resume to meet the needs of the employer and stand out among the crowd.