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How to make your résumé a diamond in the rough

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What’s a surefire way to have your résumé thrown aside within seconds of an employer reading it? Including overused, common phrases and words to describe yourself.

Employers see this too often to make a positive impression. When you use such descriptions, you are saying absolutely nothing important or interesting about you. Almost everyone says these things in résumés, which is the whole problem.

If you want to be seen as unique and get called in for an interview, avoid those phrases at all costs. Here are several ways to make sure your résumé is a shining star in a pile of monotony:

Let go of the objective. The Oxford dictionary defines “objective” as “a thing aimed at or sought; a goal.” You may wish to work for someone who cares what your goal is, but that is highly unlikely to happen. Take a look at the following example:

“Seeking a challenging position that allows me to use my communications, problem-solving and marketing skills.” Here’s what you can learn about the applicant from this statement:

— He wants a challenging role.

— He has communications, problem-solving and marketing skills.

From an employer’s perspective, she has seen statements like this so many times that they’ve become stale. Most people say they want to be challenged, and “communications” is a broad word. What types of communication is he good at — written, oral, corporate communications, crisis communications, conflict resolution? “Problem solving” is another widely used term. What kinds of problems is he adept at solving — analytical, social, strategic? “Marketing skills” is also vague. What type of marketing is he talking about — mass marketing, graphic design, copy?

If you are not specific, you are not helping the employer achieve her goal, which is to fill the role with a talented candidate. In other words, she wants to know if you can satisfy her objective, not your own. Whether you agree with this or not, it is the reality today as companies receive tons of applications, so you need to change your objective statement into a career profile or summary.

Get specific in your summary. Read the following statement, and think about what you’ve learned about the candidate: “Self-starter who thrives in a fast-paced, fluid environment and quickly contributes value.” If true, you can assume this person is:

— a self-starter

— someone who thrives in fast-paced environments

— a person who quickly contributes value

Unfortunately, many people claim to be self-starters, thrive in challenging environments and contribute value. The question is how you can make this statement unique and personal. The answer is making examples your best friend. If you are always telling an employer words and phrases to describe you, she doesn’t get much from it. You need to show it, which means you need to use examples. How can you prove these things? Think about an instance or two when you demonstrated certain characteristics at school or on the job.

Replace the overused words and phrases with these examples. Here’s a sample of what it might look like: “Initiated development and implementation of a new online training program in six weeks, staying within budget.” What have you learned from reading this?

— The person is a self-starter.

— The person can accomplish a major task in a short time frame.

— The person made a valuable contribution and saved company resources.

Which candidate would you choose to interview?

Don’t use your job description as your résumé bullets. This is a big mistake that lots of people make. Job descriptions rarely encompass everything you do, and most are by nature very generic. You are not doing yourself any favors by copying your job description into your résumé. Your bullets need to tell the story of exactly what you’ve achieved in your job, both inside and outside the scope of your formal job responsibilities. (Use those examples above to help with this step.)

Don’t let stale phrasing and wording prevent you from getting called for interviews. Phrases such as “dedicated team player,” “well-organized and committed,” and “results-oriented” are used too frequently. If something sounds bad to you, it probably sounds even worse to an employer who reads a lot of résumés that sound exactly the same.

Do yourself a favor and incorporate specific examples to demonstrate why you have the characteristics you say you do. That kind of résumé will be unique and stand out to a potential employer. A vague, cliched version is simply going to be glanced at and tossed aside. Don’t let that be you.

 

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3 tips for making a passive income so you can quit your job, from entrepreneurs making $8,000/month or more

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There are many ways to build a passive income. Among the most popular, historically, have been investing in a given portfolio and letting compounding interest make that money grow and buying and renting out properties.

But as social media and platforms like YouTube grow in popularity, many content creators are learning they can reap the benefits of passive income themselves. Some make money by selling prerecorded classes online, for example, others make ad revenue on their podcasts and YouTube videos, and others make money through affiliates of their blogs or TikTok.

At times, the passive income these creators build is big enough to quit their day-jobs altogether.

If you’re keen to start making some passive income yourself and one day maybe even leave your job, here are three tips from entrepreneurs making thousands ― or even tens of thousands of dollars ― in passive income per month.

Sell an existing skill to supplement your income
Graham Cochrane, 38, was working as a full-time music producer trying to make ends meet when he started his blog and YouTube channel, The Recording Revolution. Initially, the idea was to share his knowledge of music and attract more clients to his producing business. But he quickly realized both were vehicles to making money themselves. Today, that business grosses $40,000 per month in passive income.

When it comes to starting your own passive income stream, Cochrane recommends leaning into the skills and knowledge you already have.

“The turning point for me was when I got the idea to turn my knowledge of audio mixing and recording into an online course,” he recently told CNBC Make It. Selling digital products based on that “provided a passive income stream and allowed me to make far more money in a day — while putting in less time — than I did working as a freelancer.”

After many years of growing his online business, Cochrane has a second business of online courses dedicated to teaching people how to monetize what they know and are passionate about. That brings in $120,000 in gross sales and passive income per month.

Within just a few years, he started scaling back on music producing. He now works just 5 hours per week on his online businesses.

Lean into how others have found success to grow
Shannon Smith, 24, was laid off from her waitressing job at the beginning of the pandemic and spent months trying to figure out how to make up for the loss of income. At first, she worked about 10 hours per day as a fitness coach. In July 2021, she began making TikTok and Instagram videos teaching people how to build wealth and online businesses. She now makes about $8,000 per month in passive income through affiliate marketing.

“I see a lot of people try too hard to reinvent the wheel completely with social media posts to get their business into the spotlight,” she recently told CNBC Make It. But “I’ve learned that the key to going viral and growing your audience is to study what’s working for others,” she said.

Once you’ve found the niche topics you want to discuss in your content, Smith recommends studying the conversations people are having around them and expanding on those. What questions keep coming up around them? She also recommends paying attention to what your successful competitors are doing with their content. Are they talking to camera? Using long captions? And don’t forget to use the relevant hashtags you’re seeing pop up on your platform.

Smith no longer works as a fitness instructor and spends just two hours per day on her online business.

Diversify your income streams to make it easier to quit
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, 33, started her blog, Making Sense of Cents, in 2011 to track the progress of paying off her college loans while working full-time as a financial analyst. She now grosses an average of $760,000 per year in passive income from it, having expanded her coverage to include advice about investing and financial products.

Gardner makes money off her blog in multiple ways, like affiliate marketing and various courses she created about blogging, and recommends other bloggers diversify their incomes streams as well.

“Diversifying your income streams allows you to not be reliant on just one way of making money or just one of your traffic sources,” she recently told CNBC Make It. “Instead, you will have balanced income streams to mitigate risk.”

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These are the 5 most ‘boring’ — and exciting — jobs in the world, according to a recent study

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Financial jobs may often be lucrative — but some of them could make you seem boring and even incompetent to the people around you, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Essex in Colchester, England, asked more than 500 people across five different experiments about the careers and hobbies they considered the most “boring” — and what characteristics they associated with people who did those jobs. The study was published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin earlier this month.

Finance was overwhelmingly tagged as the world’s most boring industry, with finance-associated positions occupying four of the top five slots on the “most boring” list. The people occupying those “boring” jobs were also not seen as competent, according to the report, which surprised at least one of the study’s authors.

“I would have thought that accountants would be seen as boring, but effective and the perfect person to do a good job on your tax return,” Wijnand Van Tilburg, a study co-author and senior lecturer in the university’s psychology department, said in a statement last week.

Tilburg said that stereotypically “boring people” are generally disliked, and often avoided by the people around them — largely due to unfair preconceived notions.

Your perceptions of people can certainly change over time, but folks dubbed as “boring” don’t often get a chance to prove the stereotypes wrong, Tilburg said. “The very fact that people choose to avoid them can lead to social ostracization and increase loneliness, leading to a really negative impact on their lives,” he said.

Tilburg said he launched the study to explore stigmas around boredom, and how it can impact the way humans perceive each other: “The irony is studying boredom is actually very interesting and has many real-life impacts.”

Here are the results of the study, including top-five lists for most boring jobs, most exciting jobs and most boring hobbies:

Top 5 most boring jobs
Data analysis
Accounting
Tax/insurance work
Cleaning
Banking

Top 5 most exciting jobs
Performing arts
Science
Journalism
Health professional
Teaching

Top 5 most boring hobbies
Sleeping
Religion
Watching television
Observing animals
Math
Some of those “boring” jobs do tend to pay more than some of the “most exciting” ones. According to compensation software and data company Payscale, the average salary for a data analyst is around $62,754 per year. That’s approximately $10,000 per year more than the average salary of someone in performing arts — roughly $52,522, according to Glassdoor.

And while “sleeping” ranked as the single most boring hobby anyone could have, getting regular amounts of high-quality sleep is essential to your productivity, health and mental sharpness, according to research.

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The 10 most-searched jobs in the U.S., according to Google—and how much they pay

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The coronavirus pandemic has spurred millions of people to quit their jobs to spend more time at home, become their own boss or pursue their dream career, among other reasons.

This phenomenon – often referred to as “The Great Resignation” – has dominated conversations in recent months, and new research from Google based on its search trends suggests that this quitting wave is reaching other continents.

The top countries searching for “how to leave your job” on Google between January 2021 and 2022 were the Philippines, South Africa, the U.S., Australia and the U.K.

While Google did not include additional global insights in its report, their researchers did identify the top jobs people searched for in the U.S. alongside the phrase “how to become,” such as “how to become a lawyer,” to determine which careers people are most interested in.

Google’s research shows that people are most excited about jobs that help others improve their mental and physical health, offer ample travel opportunities and flexible work schedules. “Real estate agent” and “flight attendant” claimed the top two spots on the list.

Some jobs, however, are more popular in certain regions over others. People in the Northeast, Northwestern Midwest and Western U.S. appear to be the most interested in real estate careers, while swaths of people in the South and Midwest wanted to become notaries.

Only two states’ most-searched jobs didn’t include notary or real estate agent: New Mexico, where flight attendant was the most popular gig, and Montana, where people searched for personal trainer jobs more than any other role.

Here are the top 10 jobs people want in the U.S. right now according to Google, how much they pay and the education requirements:

Map showing the top jobs in the U.S. including real estate agent and personal trainer based on new Google research


Image courtesy of Google

  1. Real estate agent
    Median salary: $51,220

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

  1. Flight attendant
    Median salary: $59,050

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

  1. Notary
    Median salary: $37,000

Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

  1. Therapist
    Median salary: $47,576

Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s or master’s degree

  1. Pilot
    Median salary: $130,440

Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree and flight training

  1. Firefighter
    Median salary: $ 52,500

Typical entry-level education: Postsecondary nondegree award (certificate program and other skills training)

  1. Personal trainer
    Median salary: $40,510

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

  1. Psychiatrist
    Median salary: $208,000

Typical entry-level education: Doctorate of medicine, or M.D.

  1. Physical therapist
    Median salary: $91,010

Typical entry-level education: Doctoral or professional degree

  1. Electrician
    Median salary: $56,900

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

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