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Résumé Tips From Hiring Managers

October 29, 2018

You need a new job or you need your first “real” job to start paying off those student loans. For most people that means you need a résumé. If you really want to get noticed, or simply not get rejected, you need a good résumé. We talked to hiring and talent acquisition managers, C-suite executives and other really smart people to bring you the best advice. We want to help you get that dream job.

 

Number one

 

This may sound cliché, but everyone told us proofing is the best thing you can do. Go over it with a fine-tooth comb and have others look at it, too. A grammar, spelling or formatting error on your résumé shows you don’t pay attention to detail. In addition to not paying attention to detail it could give the impression that you simply don’t care. Nothing is a bigger turnoff to a potential employer.

 

Objectives – out

 

If someone is looking at your résumé, they know you are looking for a job. You don’t need to tell them in an objective statement. Instead, start with a short summary statement. The summary statement could discuss why you’re the best candidate for this job. The summary should be supported by your previous work experience. Below is an example from Columbia University Center for Career Education:

 

Example-  Publishing executive with multi-faceted background encompassing international licensing and brand management. Developed specialties in editorial planning, global marketing strategy, and design. Managed multiple projects simultaneously and eciently by overseeing the daily operations of 17 magazine titles worldwide. Proven ability to develop strong relationships across cultures and to provide decisive team leadership in a fast-paced environment.”

 

 

Tinder® Experience a Plus

 

Putting together a résumé can be a lot like putting together a dating profile. It’s a delicate balance of putting your best traits forward without overselling yourself. Getting too cute or creative can come off as cheesy or desperate. Never lie or misrepresent your role or accomplishments. Lying or misrepresentation might get you a date, but it won’t make for a successful relationship.

 

 

  • Show the numbers. “Don’t just tell me you worked on something, tell me you improved something by 20%,” one person told us. Be specific and measurable if possible.
  • Do the math; your current job may not track the results you want to include. It’s okay to do the math yourself to help tell your story. Just make sure it’s accurate.
  • Problem, action, result. Bullet points should follow this format if possible. Be specific about what you did, not what your job is/was. (see example in next bullet)
  • Avoid passive job functions like, “Oversaw workforce of 8 employees dedicated to customer service.” Instead go with something like “Mentored, trained and managed daily activities for 8 customer service representatives resulting in an 15% improvement in average likelihood to recommend score among customers.”
  • Skip the basics. Oh, you’re proficient at MS Office? Everyone is, and even if you’re not it’s fairly expected. Include more specialized software or instances where you might be highly proficient. Like data modeling in excel for example. That’s okay.
  • Only include personal interests or hobbies if they are relevant to the position.
  • Don’t include social handles (other than LinkedIn®) if they aren’t relevant to the position.

 

 

Keywords and customization

 

  • Always customize language in your résumé to fit the job description you’re applying for. If they use specific jargon, work it into your résumé because that’s what they’ll be looking for.
  • Don’t overdo it with keywords. A lot of bigger companies use keyword scanning software, so it’s important to include them, but they’re also used to spot the overuse of these words as well.
  • Make sure you’re speaking their language. It’s okay to translate titles. If you have a non-traditional job title like “customer success advocate” consider replacing that for industry standard language like “account manager” or whatever is appropriate.

 

Contact Info

 

We got conflicting advice on what to do with contact information. Some people told us you might want to leave off details like your city if you don’t live in that city because some employers might prefer a local candidate. Conversely, you might want to include it if you are local. Some say that phone number and email are important, while others say the trend is moving toward just including your LinkedIn® address. We like this last option because it can leave room for more important things, but we recognize this may be highly situational.

 

 

Design and formatting

 

Don’t make dumb mistakes that get your résumé thrown off the pile. A good design in the résumé world is not typically cutting edge. Yes, if it’s too plain it may get overlooked. The best résumés are usually form over function. The main purpose is to make it easy to read. People don’t typically spend a lot of time with a résumé, so if they have to work to read it, it will get tossed aside. It should look good on screen and on paper.

  • Use a template. You can search for templates or you can use résumé building sites like uptowork.com. Certain industries may prefer certain styles. Do your research.
  • Keep it simple. Choose one simple easy to read font. Never something goofy like Comic Sans. Yes, more than one person told us they got a résumé with Comic Sans.
  • In general, it’s best not to go overboard with colors, symbols or lines.
  • Stick to one page. Especially early in your career. Don’t overstuff it with irrelevant information. Save some for the interview.
  • Make sure you’re using the proper tense. Past for old jobs and achievements. Present for current.
  • Don’t include a picture. Unless you’re a model or your picture is relevant for some reason.
  • Save it as a PDF file. Word files don’t always translate well. Especially if there’s a lot of special formatting. A PDF will be more consistent between computers.
  • Make your filename [First Name/Last Name.résumé] (ie. John Smith.résumé.pdf) not Jonrésumé2019.pdf.

 

 

The résumé is only part of the equation.

 

The best résumé is only valuable when people see it. A lot of candidates are hired through referrals, relationship, and persistence. Work as hard or harder on getting your résumé in the right hands as you do on your actual résumé. Also, here’s a few more tips away from the résumé.

  • Make sure you put as much thought into your LinkedIn® profile as you do your résumé. Make sure there are no mistakes and it reflects on you the same way your résumé does. One executive told us this is equally, if not more important than a résumé, especially for networking. They said, an email has a good chance of going unnoticed, but a message on LinkedIn® almost never does.
  • Social Scrub. Take a serious look at your social channels, even if they are not listed. Employers often take a look when they get serious about a candidate. Many told us they have had social media tip the scales the wrong way for a prospective employee. Take down posts you think might be offensive or give the wrong impression.

 

You’re hired now what?!

 

Great, but don’t forget your résumé. Most of us don’t stay in the same job forever. Your next job often doesn’t come around when you expect it, so keep your résumé fresh. It’s a good idea to write down your accomplishments when they happen so when you need it, you’re ready.

 

3 Steps for Negotiating a Salary

 

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Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

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2020-10-23
Ace Your Interview: Job Interview Tips

Life after graduation is full of responsibilities, like taxes, groceries and full-time jobs, but also full of opportunities. To capture these opportunities, you need to be prepared, and the best way to do that is to make sure you give the best job interviews possible. Here are a few job interview tips to help:  

Write a Top-Notch Resume

First step: get your
resume into shape. Make sure you fill it with your valuable work experience and qualifications. Your goal is to showcase the most successful and productive version of yourself possible.   Volunteer work, certifications, awards, and other accomplishments can all have a place on your resume. Many people like to build from resume templates you can find online, but if you use a resume template, just be sure you’ve thoroughly checked the verbiage to make sure it doesn’t sound scripted.   Your resume should show off your unique talents and skill set, as well as any numbers or figures that back up your work.  

Do the Research

One of the most important job interview tips is doing research beforehand. You want to be knowledgeable about both the job and the employer when you are being interviewed. Look at the company website to learn about company history, accomplishments, and other information. Also, take some time to read recent news about the company.   When you know what the company is looking for, you’ll be able to easily answer questions about how you will fit into the work environment.  

Know the Common Questions

Many interviewers ask the same, basic questions to better understand their candidates. While some may ask curveball questions, as well, you’ll be a step ahead if you come prepared with answers to common questions.   Examples include “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?” Even though these sound like very basic questions, it’s important to give a thoughtful answer. Take your time thinking through responses prior to the interview. Indeed has a fantastic list of 125 such questions to ensure you are never at a loss for words.   Don’t stress about knowing all the answers; just practice the ones you think are most important. Then, if they ask you something unexpected, you’ll have a few ideas to pull from.  

Practice

Once your research is done, it’s time to practice. Ask a friend, parent, sibling or roommate to run through interview questions with you. Focus on answering smoothly and confidently.   In a similar vein, treat any job interview you go to as practice. If you don’t get the job, you’ve still gained valuable interview experience.  

Ask Questions

One job interview tip some people don't think about is to prepare your own questions.   A job interview isn’t just an opportunity for a prospective employer to learn about you. It’s also a chance for you to learn about them. Ask questions you really want answers to, not just questions you think will impress the interviewer. Honest questions demonstrate interest and can help you decide whether you’d like to work for the company.   Ideally, you should prepare your questions in advance. That way, you’ll be ready when the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” If you’re at a loss for words, questions about corporate culture and growth opportunities are always good options.  

Dress the Part

When dressing for a job interview, you should think about the first impression you’d like to make on your potential employer. If you aren’t sure about an outfit, err on the side of caution. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. When in doubt, it’s hard to go wrong with simple, business-professional clothing.   Of course, this is by no means an all-purpose interview cheat code. Different employers will expect their employees to wear different things. An interview at a bank will require far more formal dress than an interview at quick-service restaurant.   Again, though, err on the side of caution. You likely won’t be passed over for a job because you were too well dressed. To top it all off, research has shown that dressing up can significantly boost your confidence.  

Follow Up

After the interview, consider sending a thank-you email to the hiring manager. Express your gratitude for the interview and impress upon them your interest in the position. Be enthusiastic. You’ve got one more chance to make a positive impression.   If you get the job, congratulations. That’s fantastic. If you don’t, don’t stress. You’ve done the best you could do, and you’ve gained valuable interview experience to boot. Sometimes it takes time to find the perfect job. With your interview experience, you’ll be all the more likely to get it. If you’re looking for a job in the medical field, check out this article on common resume mistakes for medical professionals.  
  Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no­­­ control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.
Employer student loan repayment benefits keep employees happy
2020-10-13
How to Help Your Employees Pay Off Student Loans

Traditionally, employer benefit programs are focused on two things: investing and healthcare. Keeping your employees healthy and financially secure helps decrease turnover and increase productivity.   But when employees are buried in student debt, investing in retirement feels fruitless. Before they can focus heavily on planning for the future, they need to decrease their current student loan balances.   As an employer, you have the power to make a significant difference in your employees’ debt repayment timeline. Here are a few ways to do just that - and why helping your employees become debt-free is a smart business decision.  

How Student Loan Benefits Work

Currently, employers offer a variety of student loan repayment assistance methods. These include:  

Educational Support

The least expensive method is offering financial education to employees. This would typically involve hiring an outside expert to offer group meetings or one-on-one coaching. These can be done in-person or online.   These sessions can be helpful, especially if done repeatedly throughout the year. They may be offered on their own or in conjunction with direct monetary support.  

Sign-up Bonus

Some employers pay a lump-sum toward an employee’s student loan balance when they join the company. This is a one-time benefit used to attract new employees, but it can also be seen as unfair to existing employees who never received a sign-up bonus.  

Matching 401(k) Contributions

Many companies offer matching contributions to an employee’s 401(k) account. In these cases, the individual contributes their own money and the employer matches a certain amount.   One way that companies are combining student loan and 401(k) benefits is by matching student loan payments with a 401(k) contribution.   Here’s how it works. The employee makes a student loan payment, and the money comes directly out of their paycheck. In exchange, the employer contributes that same amount to their 401(k) account. This allows the employee to balance student loan repayment with saving for retirement.  

Matching Student Loan Contributions

Employers may also offer a dollar-for-dollar matching payment to the employees’ student loans. If the borrower pays $200 to their student loans, the employer adds an additional $200. This is the most straightforward way to help your employees become debt-free.   Most companies that offer a matching student loan payment option will have an annual and lifetime limit. For example, the office chain Staples pays $100 a month for three years for eligible employees. Insurance company Aetna pays up to $2,000 a year for full-time employees, up to $10,000 total. Part-time employees receive up to $1,000 a year, up to $5,000 total.   Like 401(k) contributions, some companies require employees to work for a certain number of months before they become eligible for student loan repayment benefits.   As part of the CARES Act passed in March 2020, any student loan repayment benefits, up to $5,250, made by an employer between March 27, 2020 and December 31, 2020 will not count as taxable income. Unless this provision is extended, student loan repayment benefits will then be taxed after that date.  

How Student Loan Repayment Benefits Employers and Employees

The total US student loan balance grows at a rate of about 7% every year. In 2019, the average graduate had $35,397 in student loans. New hires often bring mountains of student loan debt with them, and student loan repayment benefits can make a huge difference.  

Decreasing Student Loan Stress

A recent study found that more than 85% of individuals with student loan debt name it as a major source of stress, and 33% call it out as one of their top three stressors. A 2019 survey from Marketplace-Edison Research found that those with student loans had two-thirds more economic anxiety than those without student loans.   “When I was paying off student loans I was very anxious and stressed,” said Melanie Lockert, host of “The Mental Health and Wealth” show. “I don't think it affected my productivity per se, but it affected my quality of life and how I felt while doing the work. Of course, those feelings can indirectly affect work as well.”   Employers reap the rewards when workers have less financial stress. According to a study from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP), about 60% of employers said they noticed workers found it hard to focus because of personal financial problems. Another 34% of employers said they noticed absenteeism and tardiness also related to financial stress.   This isn’t a new revelation - it’s basic psychology. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that humans need to feel physically safe before they can improve their psychological well-being. The same is true with financial stress. If your employee is worried about defaulting on their student loans, they may be too preoccupied to concentrate on work, and too emotionally drained to come up with innovative ideas or brainstorm new solutions.  

Increasing Focus and Employee Retention

When employees feel financially secure, they’ll be more productive and attentive while on the clock. Even if it seems like your employees are producing decent results, they could likely accomplish even more if their attention wasn’t split between work and their student debt balance.   Student loan repayment assistance programs could also improve employee retention. 41% of surveyed companies offering student loan assistance have found it improves recruitment and 38% believe it has improved employee retention rates.   The data backs up those responses. Healthcare company Trilogy offers $100 a month in student loan repayment assistance to both full-time and part-time employees. Employees who utilize this program stay at the company 2.5 times longer than those who don’t.   Since it costs several thousand or even tens of thousands of dollars to train a new employee, it may actually be less expensive to pay their student loans. That’s not even considering the intangible benefits that come from having a roster of experienced, loyal employees.  

Offer Employer Student Loan Repayment with ELFI for Business

If your company is interested in adding student loan repayment assistance as a workplace benefit, they can join ELFI for Business. ELFI will create a student loan repayment program designed for your employees, managing the actual payments so your accounting department doesn’t get bogged down with the details.  
  Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.  
Avoid common medical resume mistakes for interview success
2020-10-12
Common Resume Mistakes for Medical Professionals

If you search for “medical resume template” online, you’ll find thousands of options, all very different. Which choice, though, will give you the best chance of earning your dream job? Keep these common resume mistakes for medical professionals in mind when you’re putting together your application, and you’ll already be a step ahead of many other candidates.  

Write Your Resume for the Job You Want

Too many medical professionals make the resume mistake of assuming all jobs are looking for the same thing. This is, in fact, a huge logical fallacy, because although two jobs may be in the same industry,
it doesn’t mean they’re looking for the same candidate. One danger of using an online medical resume template is winding up with a resume that's a little too generic. Pay attention to make sure the format you're using really highlights your medical skills.   For example, if you’re interested in becoming a physician at a hospital, you’ll want to show you’re comfortable with a variety of medical tasks, especially within a hospital setting. You’ll need to prove leadership experience, discipline, problem-solving skills and strong time-management capabilities. In a hospital environment, it’s important to be familiar with your tasks, but also to be prepared to pivot when the situation calls for it.   On the other hand, if you’re applying to become a podiatrist at a group medical practice, your day will likely be more specialized and structured. You’ll need to show experience in the field of podiatry, as well as the ability to provide exceptional patient care. Any hiring manager or supervisor will want to know you’re detail-oriented and that you can clearly explain to patients how to maintain at-home care and general wellness practices.   Some jobs even use an applicant tracking system to screen applications for specific keywords. Do some research before submitting your resume to a potential employer to make sure your resume is optimized. If the hiring manager is looking for keywords like “patient care” or “medical records,” you won’t want to miss these important bullet points.  

Talk About Your Experience, Not Your Goals

Another common resume mistake for medical professionals is focusing on goals and objectives versus real-world experiences. You'll want to be sure you're formatting your medical resume to showcase your hard-earned experience.   In some professions, employers may be looking for someone trainable that can learn most of their job skills on-the-go. In the medical field, however, employers need the opposite. Because you’ll be providing healthcare to patients, knowing your field is far more important than having the ability to learn new skills from scratch.   Most jobs do require learning as you go, however, medical professionals are expected to bring some level of experience with them, even to entry-level positions. After all, you’ve put years of time and effort into earning a high-level degree, so you’ve likely graduated with a significant amount of knowledge. Unlike other professionals who learn many of their job skills after graduation, medical professionals graduate with the knowledge necessary to hit the ground running. Employers need candidates whose experience prepares them to do just that.  

Share Quantifiable Evidence of Success

If you received an award, increased productivity by 10% or worked with 250 trauma cases during your residency, list those numbers on your resume. One common resume mistake for medical professionals is listing vague experiences without backing them up with quantifiable information. Be sure the way you present your experience highlights your medical skills and shows the impact of your work. Here’s an example of how to share your experience, as well as an example of how not to share:  

How Not to Describe Your Medical Experience

“Spoke with several patients about their ongoing medical needs” doesn’t work, because it isn’t specific or quantifiable. Did you speak with five patients or 50? What did you discuss about their ongoing medical needs? While this likely describes months of hard work, without details, the hiring manager may miss what you’re trying to say.  

How to Describe Your Medical Experience

“Conducted medical interviews with 34 new patients, with a 96% patient retention rate” is much more specific. It explains that you spoke with an impressive number of new patients, collecting details about their medical histories and ongoing needs. As a general practitioner, retaining this many patients is a huge win, as most patients stay with the same doctor for a long time.  

Grammatical Mistakes: Missing the Forest for the Trees

Sometimes, when you’re so focused on getting the tiny details of your medical resume right, it’s easy to miss larger mistakes like spelling errors. Even if the information in your resume is fantastic, a misspelled word negates all your hard work.   Several employers will immediately toss resumes with grammatical errors, so be sure to proofread. For good measure, ask a friend or family member to look it over, as well.  

The Bottom Line

Applying for jobs is hard work. If you can avoid these common resume mistakes many medical professionals make, however, you’ll stand out as a stronger candidate. Putting in extra time and effort on your resume will pay off when you receive follow-up calls for fantastic jobs. It will also differentiate you from other candidates, as well as from those using medical resume templates. After crafting the perfect resume, be sure to check out our tips for graduates entering the job market, as well.  
  Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.