In most cases, you'll apply for a job by emailing you résumé to a potential employer. Simple enough. It's the first set of things they'll learn about you and will make or break your chances of coming in for an in-person interview or be selected for an eagerly-awaited follow-up call.
If you get that far, it's surely the outcome you were seeking, but there's more. Even if you make it all the way to the finish line and are offered the job, next comes the nerve-wracking salary discussion. Fear not. You can instantly put yourself in a higher salary bracket by sprucing up your résumé to say, "Show me the money!"
Here are some tips to get the most bang for your buck with a résumé that stands out above the rest and let's your prospective employer know you're worth every penny. Make these changes and see the "change" in your paycheck!
Easy to Scan
While you need your résumé to include all the important points you want an employer to know, it's important that the high-level points are easily readable and quickly scanable at first glance.
As per Jessica Hernandez, Executive Résumé Writer as posted on LinkedIn, "Keep in mind that whoever reviews your résumé first will typically scan it for critical information. The first thing they'll look at it is your title/branding statement, bolded keywords, position titles, and dates. If they like what they see, they'll go through it again with a more-thorough read."
In other words, without getting right to the point clearly and concisely, you won't likely make it through round one. With no chance of having the final hiring manager see your résumé, your efforts will be wasted.
Hernandez adds, "Using a profile or career summary is gradually fading away. Instead, replace it with a branding snapshot or profile snapshot. Write the newsworthy information in short, impactful statements or with as few words as possible so they can get the facts immediately."
Money Crashers adds, "With dozens or hundreds of résumés crossing the desk of an employer, your résumé needs to be logical, concise, and easy to read in order to help the hiring manager or recruiter find the important information as quickly as possible. You have 30 seconds at most to grab their attention, and to get the company to put your résumé into the 'interview' pile."
Not only will this make your organizational skills and accolades stand out, but your ability to garner positive attention is an attribute employers look for. This type of go-getter, no-nonsense sensibility makes for a valuable employee that is worth their time and money.
For more detail on how to make your résumé easy to skim, check out The Muse's "12 Tiny Changes that Make Your Résumé Easy for Recruiters to Skim."
Spell Check and Format
Something as simple as a misspelling or a poorly laid-out résumé can be the difference from landing the job and missing out on something you're qualified for. Don't let laziness or carelessness interfere with your other redeeming and outstanding experience and characteristics. A hiring manager will take note of such easy-to-remedy errors and can deem you as absent-minded or irresponsible. But you do make it past the first test even with such errors, when it comes to salary negotiation, you'll put yourself in the "indifferent" box automatically.
Money Crashers notes, "Make sure your résumé does not have any grammatical or spelling errors before you send it to prospective employers. Use spell check, but also enlist a few friends or family members to review your résumé. Receiving a promising résumé riddled with errors frustrates hiring managers and recruiters. The résumé appears sloppy and hastily prepared." Not something that will give you any sort of edge when it comes to beating out your competition or negotiating your potential salary. Attention to detail is seriously valuable to any business.
As far as formatting goes, keep your résumé as concise as possible. Rid it of very old jobs that were short-lived and don't benefit your overall chances of getting this new job. U.S. News & World Report suggests shortening the résumé, "If your résumé is multiple pages, you might be diluting the impact of its contents. With a shorter résumé, you'll ensure that in an initial quick scan, the hiring manager's eyes fall on the most important things. Plus, long résumés can make you come across as someone who can't edit and doesn't know what information is essential and what's less important. As a general rule, your résumé shouldn't be longer than two pages, maximum."
That said, Money Crashers advises, "Don't sacrifice quality for brevity." If you have a world of noteworthy experience, share it. Just keep things as brief as you can while still getting the major details across. Be sure to keep your résumé updated and relevant as well as tailored to the job you want. Employers will know if you've sent the same exact résumé out dozens of times to different HR departments with no specific tweaks to show you've fine-tuned yours for their unique position. This minor, yet important attention to detail can give you the extra oomph when it comes to money talks.
Quantify Your Work
Along with showcasing your previous experience and education, if possible and applicable, highlight how you helped your prior employers make money for the company and the impact your hard work made. This will immediately show the hiring manager that you've got the goods as well as the know-how to make a positive change for their company. Knowing that you have the capability to make money will be an incentive for the employer to give you a higher salary, thanks to the returns they can expect from having you on their team.
ASME, The American Society of Mechanical Engineers recommends to, "Include and highlight specific achievements that present a comprehensive picture of your marketability. Quantify your achievements to ensure greater confidence in the hiring manager and thereby generate interest percentages, dollars, number of employees, etc. Work backwards to quantify your accomplishments by asking, 'If I had not done X, what could have happened?'"
Hernandez agrees, "Share a challenge/situation/problem, the action you took to address it, and the result. Write the result by sharing how it positively impacted your employer or client. These statements make an impact, tell a story, and give the reader context. When writing your career history it's best to lead with the result/impact to the client or employer because this is usually quantifiable."
Along with quantifying your work, include other aspects of your life that can show the hiring manager that you have the skills and history to help take their company to a new level. Perhaps you've served as President of a debate team or lead a Scouts' troop to aid in making the community better.
It's also wise to include other skills that give you more of an advantage vs. others up for the job such as special tech or coding knowledge, an accounting or artistic background, or public relations experience. Your unique and marketable qualities will make an employer open to paying a higher salary for a person with versatility.
Are you ready to make your résumé top-notch? The effort to update and perfect this valuable document is well worth the better salary it will help you obtain.
As anyone who has ever sold a house will tell you, you must prioritize curb appeal. Before a potential buyer even considers looking inside your house, they notice the outside first. Does it attract the right kind of attention? Does it take away from the feel you're going for? If you plan to sell sometime soon, you must think about these things. Here are some landscaping options to increase your home's curb appeal, so you can get the best price on your home.
Extensive Plants and Greenery
A barren front yard won't get you the price you want on your home. So, invest in at least a little bit of greenery to keep the surrounding area from looking too dead. Shrubs and bushes tie the house to the lawn that precedes it, and flower beds bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab structure. You can also strategically plant some trees to improve the overall feel of your home's exterior.
As we mentioned, your lawn is one of the most prominent features of your home's exterior. A patchy, dried-up lawn will quickly drive your home's price way down. Some of the best landscaping options for your home's curb appeal involve improving your lawn for the next inhabitant. Overall fertilization, ground aeration, underbrush removal, proper mowing—all of these lawn care tasks contribute to a greener and more lively area that invites people to see your house, rather than stay away from it.
There's nothing like a broken and disheveled pathway to make someone think twice about buying a property. Just as you want the entryway in your house to be welcoming, so too should the pathway leading up to the house be inviting. The pathway from the street to your front door provides plenty of real estate to get creative with. You don't have to settle for a boring concrete pathway. Consider something more eye catching, like a cobblestone path or intermittent brick patterns, as a way to better welcome potential buyers.
Usable Outdoor Furniture
Landscaping doesn't just involve the ground you walk on; also included are the items you use as extras to the overall look. Outdoor furniture is one such extra that you don't necessarily need but can look quite attractive if done correctly. Staging is important with outdoor furniture. Old, broken-down pieces will only look like more work to the potential buyer. A few comfortable chairs, a bench, or a table with an umbrella really go a long way to improving your outdoor aesthetics.
A good tip for deciding on curb appeal items is to decide what you personally would want to see as a part of a welcoming home's exterior. You don't need to go overboard, but a little bit of forethought could net you quite a lot of extra cash in the sale.
Many people strive to support their community by donating their time or their money. When you find a meaningful cause, you might be quick to cut a donation check. Though it's admirable to be quick to act charitably, you should be wary of several common mistakes made when giving to charity. Being mindful of these mistakes and learning tips for making informed charitable choices can help you make the most out of your generous check.
Acting Quickly Out of Emotion
Mission statements are meant to be compelling. If you're an emotionally driven individual, it's natural to pull out your wallet at the sight of a sad puppy on TV or when informed about food insecurity over the phone. Unfortunately, not all charities are as effective or official as they may seem.
Take your passion for helping others one step further by making sure your chosen charity is legit. Speaking with a representative, reviewing their website and social media accounts, and looking at testaments online can give you a better idea of whether the organization is worth your donation.
Forgetting to Keep Record of the Donation
Don't forget that you can reap some financial perks from giving back! With the proper documentation of your donation, you can acquire a better tax deductible.
If you donate more than $12,400 as a single filer or $24,800 as one of two joint filers, you're eligible to deduct that amount from your taxes. So, when a charity asks if you'd like a receipt of donation, always answer yes.
Donating Unusable Materials
Most charities can utilize a monetary donation—it's the physical donations that usually cause some issues. Providing a local nonprofit with irrelevant materials or gifting them with unusable products are surprisingly common mistakes made when giving to charity.
Always check your intended charity's website for a list of things they do and do not accept. The majority of places will provide a guideline to donating or offer contact information to clarify any questions.
Strictly Giving at Year's End
As more and more people get into the holiday spirit at the end of the year, nonprofit organizations see an influx of donations. While it's great to spread holiday cheer via a monetary donation, it's important to keep that spirit going year-round.
With regular donations, charities can more effectively allocate their annual budget. Setting up an automatic monthly donation with the charity of your choosing can maximize your impact. You can account for a monthly donation by foregoing a costly coffee every once in a while.
Knowing how much you should spend on home maintenance each year is hard to figure out and may be preventing you from buying your first home. The types of costs you'll incur depend on the house you buy and its location. The one certainty is that you should start saving now. Read on to figure out how much to start setting aside based on the home you own.
The Age of Your House
Consider several factors when budgeting for home repairs. If you've purchased a new home, your house likely won't require as much maintenance for a few years. Homes built 20 or more years ago are likely to require more maintenance, including replacing and keeping your windows clean. Further, depending on your home's location, weather can cause additional strain over time, so you may need to budget for more repairs.
The One-Percent Rule
An easy way to budget for home repairs is to follow the one-percent rule. Set aside one percent of your home's purchase price each year to cover maintenance costs. For instance, if you paid $200,000 for your home, you would set aside $2,000 each year. This plan is not foolproof. If you bought your home for a good deal during a buyer's market, your home could require more repairs than you've budgeted for.
The Square-Foot Rule
Easy to calculate, you can also budget for home maintenance by saving one dollar for every square foot of your home. This pricing method is more consistent than pricing it by how much you paid because the rate relies on the objective size of your home. Unfortunately, it does not consider inflation for the area where you live, so make sure you also budget for increased taxes and labor costs if you live in or near a city.
The Mix and Match Method
Since there is no infallible rule for how much you should spend on home maintenance, you can combine both methods to get an idea for a budget. Average your results from the square-foot rule and the one-percent rule to arrive at a budget that works for you. You should also increase your savings by 10 percent for each risk factor that affects your home, such as weather and age.
Holding on to savings is easier in theory than practice. Once you know how much you should spend on home maintenance, you'll know what to aim for and be more prepared for an emergency. If you are having trouble securing funds for home repairs, consider taking out a home equity loan, borrowing money from friends or family, or applying for funds through a home repair program through your local government for low-income individuals.