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5 Ways Graduate School Can Pay Off

5 Ways Graduate School Can Pay Off

My partner teaches at the graduate level, and the value of a graduate degree is something I probably hear far too much about, frankly. If it were left up to Susan, it’s a safe bet everybody would have a PhD.

But, it’s tough to decide while you’re receiving a higher education whether or not you’re going to go all the way with it and enter the graduate level.

After all, once you decide to go for the graduate level, education is serious business. It requires an awful lot of work and a large time commitment, and believe me, those professors who teach at that level just don’t screw around-they demand the highest performance and the very best work.

You have to decide whether or not to put yourself through all that.

On the other hand, by obtaining a graduate level education, you’re investing in your future by showing potential employers that you have what it takes to do the hard work.

Obtaining a graduate level education has many, many advantages if you’re willing to put in the work for it.

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You’ve got the edge

To many employers, a bachelor’s is simply considered just one step above a high school degree today, and a graduate degree is almost expected from those who are a cut above the rest.

To identify more serious candidates, many companies are going to turn to the graduate degree, because they know just how much extra money, work and time you put into receiving this higher-level education.

When you’ve got a graduate-level degree, you clearly have the edge in today’s job market. Let’s face it: it’s a dog-eat-dog economy out there, and anything you can do to gain a competitive edge is clearly to your advantage.

That’s what a graduate degree will do for you.

A graduate degree will open doors for you that are closed to those with just a BA, as there are certain jobs that are open only to those with a graduate degree.

This is, after all, still a pretty exclusive club.

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Economic advantage

There are huge economic advantages that come with having a graduate-level degree, because the employer knows just how serious you are about higher education and work.

Obviously, when you hold certain graduate-level degrees, you’re going to benefit from the higher pay that comes with those degrees.

There are jobs which are open only to those with a graduate degree, and some of these are higher-paying jobs. Some jobs that require a graduate-level degree are also a lot more secure.

It’s a lot of trouble for an employer to find the right candidate at the graduate level, and these employers don’t want their candidates to walk out the door and go to somebody else, so they’re going to offer some solid job security.

At the graduate level, you are also more likely to write grants that will enable you to get paid for the research or projects that you really want to do.

Professional networking

Once you’re a part of this elite group of graduate-level professionals, you know you’re going to be working with some of the most-educated people in the world.

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Whether it’s conducting joint research or publishing in a peer-reviewed journal, you’re working with the very best.

When you’re networking with professionals at this level, you’re going to be privy to leads on jobs or research projects that you’d be locked out of at the bachelor’s level.

Being able to network at this level of professionalism will really pay off, because you’ll be more likely to get high-quality jobs or research projects that offer the best money, job satisfaction, and security.

Job diversity

When you’re pursuing a graduate-level degree, you’re going to be receiving a diverse education, which will really pay off in the work place.

Depending on the specific degree and the experiences it provides, you’ll be able to do everything from teaching at a university to engaging in specialized, high-paying contract work, like writing specific grants or conducting sophisticated industry research.

There’s no limit to the amount of diverse work a graduate-level degree will afford you.

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This diversity also helps determine what you may teach and opens up the market to various, more diverse jobs that a bachelor’s just doesn’t afford.

When you have this diversity of education, you have the option of picking and choosing from the very best jobs that are going satisfy you more and provide the financial security that you won’t find elsewhere.

Prestige

There’s certain amount of prestige that comes along with obtaining a graduate degree, and employers are going to respect that.  When you hold a graduate level degree, you don’t just get the honor of being called “doctor” or another title, you have the respect that comes along with that.

You’re going to be able to publish in the finest peer-reviewed journals, teach at the finest universities and have the choice of working for the best companies.

With a graduate degree, you’re going to able to command the respect that comes along with that.

Featured photo credit: COD Newsroom via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

A resume describes your critical skills in a way that compels a hiring manager to want to meet you. That is a resume’s sole purpose.

And make no mistake: Writing a resume is an art.

Today each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes on average, and somehow yours will need to rise above the competition. It’s actually harder to snag an interview from an online posting than to get into Harvard. But don’t let that intimidate you. Instead, open your laptop, roll up your proverbial sleeves, and let’s get to work!


Employers generally prefer candidates with skills that show leadership ability, problem-solving ability, and perseverance through challenges. So in the resume, you should demonstrate that you’re a dynamic candidate.

Refine the skills on your resume so that you incorporate these resume “musts:”

1. Leadership Ability

Even an entry-level employee can show leadership. Point out how your skills helped your department ascend to a new level. Capture leadership attributes with compelling statements.

Example:

“Led change that drove efficiency and an ability to cut 800 error-free payroll checks.”

2. Problem-Solving Ability

Most employees are hired to solve problems. Showcase that ability on your resume.

Example:

“Led staff in campaign to outrival top competitor’s market share during a down cycle.”

3. Perseverance

Have you been promoted several times? Or have you maintained margins in a down cycle? Both achievements demonstrate persistence. You look like someone who can navigate roadblocks.

4. Technical Skills

Consider including a Key Skills or Technology Skills section in which you list computer and software skills.

Example:

“Expert-level knowledge in Java.”

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5. Quantified Results

Nothing is quite as attractive as objective results. Did you increase sales by 25 percent? Win three new clients? Surpass the internal goal by 15 percent?

Use hard-hitting numbers to express your point. State the result first, and then provide a sentence or phrase describing the critical skills you applied to achieve the milestone.

Example:

“Boosted sales by 200 percent by developing new online platform that made it easier for customers to compare and contrast sizes, textures, and fit.”

6. People Skills

Employers prefer congenial staff members to prima donnas or mavericks. Relate your strongest soft skills.

Example:

“Organized, hard-working staffer who listens well and communicates effectively.”

7. Passion in the Field

Recruiters and hiring managers can intuit whether candidates care about their career performance by the dynamism behind the descriptions of their skills on their resumes. Are your efforts “transformational” or merely “useful?” Were your results “game-changing” or boringly “appropriate?”

The tenor of your words reveals whether you’re passionate or passive. (But don’t overdo it. See the “Hyperbole” section below.)

8. Being the Entrepreneur within the Corporation

Whether you took the initiative to create a new synergy or worked independently to land an opportunity, share how you furthered organizational goals through your self-directed efforts.

9. Your Adaptability

Have you switched career paths? Weathered a corporate takeover?

Make it clear that your resilience helped get you and your organization through the turbulence.

10. Confirming Your Expertise

Every job posting states experience requirements. Ideally, you want to meet these requirements or best them. But don’t exaggerate.


While proving that you possess the credentials described in the job posting, you can still stand out if you are able to offer additional special skills to showcase your personality.

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Consider adding any of these special accomplishments, if true:

11. Referencing Award-Winning Talents

If you played center on your college basketball team that made it into the Top 10 finals, then working collaboratively and cooperatively are among your natural callings. Be sure to say so.

12. Unveiling Your Work Persona

If you were repeatedly singled out for your stellar performance in work settings, becoming employee-of-the-month, top revenue generator, and so on — it’s worth mentioning.

13. Capitalizing on Commonalities

From Googling the hiring manager, you discover that she was formerly a Peace Corps volunteer in Belize. Listing your Spanish immersion course in Central America may draw her attention to the other outstanding skills on your resume.

14. Highlighting Creative Tactics

If, for example, in your HR role, you piloted an employee incentive program that became an industry model, include it. Such innovative thinking will command an employer’s attention.

15. Specifying All Accolades

Listing any honors received instills confidence that you will bring that level of perfectionism forward in a corporate environment.

16. Transferable Skills

You spend your spare time conducting your community orchestra. Highlight this after-hours pursuit to show that you have the critical skills needed to keep a team on task.


Take note: Hyperbole can hurt you. So, show your credibility.

Although it may be tempting to use embellishments to boost your experience, improve your job title, or enhance your education, resist. These days, a five-minute search will reveal the truth. And taking self-inflation too far could easily come back to destroy your career.

Hiring managers have their antenna up for resume hyperbole. A survey shows that 53 percent are suspicious that candidates are often dishonest.

Follow these guiding principles when writing your own resume:

17. Accurately Describing Your Degree

Make sure to differentiate between certificates attained and degrees earned, along with the name of the institution awarding them.

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18. Stating Job Duration with Honest Dates

Honesty is the only policy when reporting the length of a particular job. If you’ve been out of work for an extended period of time, state the reason you have gaps.

Whether you traveled, had to cope with a family emergency, or went back to school to change your professional track, communicate the positive outcome that came from the hiatus.

19. Claiming Only the Skills You Truly Possess

Unless you’re proficient in a software program or are fluent in a second language, leave any mention of them off.

Conversely, if you feel like you must include them, then accurately qualify your level of competence.

20. Being Honest About Your Role in a Project

You may think you were the lead person because you did most of the work, but chances are your supervisor thinks otherwise.

Besides the 20 critical skills to include on your resume, here’re some important notes for you.

Bonus Tips for Writing a Resume

You Only Have 6 to 7 Seconds to Impress the Employer

Hiring managers and artificial intelligence “bots” may spend only 6 to 7 seconds perusing your resume, which means you need it to teem with essential skills, quantifiable achievements, and action words.

If, in fact, you believe that a “bot” will be analyzing your resume before it even lands on a hiring manager’s desk, be sure to include some of the actual key words from the posting in your document. There’s no reason why you can’t customize your resume to each job posting.

Another tip: Be sure to show your resume to a few individuals who work in your field, so that you can fine-tune the information as needed.

Starting at the Top

The Objective at the top of your resume is optional if you’re seeking the same job you already have, just at different company. However, if you’re switching fields, it’s critical to include an Objective, which is a one-sentence summary of the job you want.

For example:

Objective: To become web editor at a thriving news website.

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If you’ve been in your field for ten years or more, you will probably want to include an Executive Summary. This is a one-sentence takeaway about who you are, including the critical skills you amassed throughout your career.

For example:

Executive Summary: Award-winning creative director with over ten years experience managing teams on three continents.

Depending on your field, you may also want to add some skills as bullet points in the Executive Summary section.

And what about your Education? If you graduated from college within the past ten years, include your Education just below the Objective section (and forgo the Executive Summary). If it’s been over ten years since you graduated, then include your Education at the very end of your resume. Only cite your grade point average (G.P.A.) if it was exceptional—3.7 G.P.A. or higher, or if you won scholastic awards.

Ideally, the critical skills you amassed during college, at your previous job, and throughout your career will add up to a riveting portrait of a professional who’s ideally suited for your dream position: You.

Tailor, Tweak, and Fine-Tune

If you’re targeting different kinds of organizations, you’ll need customized resumes for each outreach.

Don’t be afraid to parrot some of the words on the list of requirements back to the company. Many times, organizations will actually use the key words mentioned in the job posting when screening resumes.

Approach Your Resume as a Skills-Based Story

Like any good storyteller, lay out the framework at the beginning. Include the skills you’ve mastered and state how you can add value—wording your sentences in a way that reflects the specific job you’re seeking.

Are you vying for a sales position? Quantify your results: “Responsible for 50 percent of all sales that resulted in $750,000 in annual revenue.” Use your critical skills, peppered throughout your resume, to tell the exciting story of your distinguished professional career!

Researching the organization that you’re targeting will help you make your examples specific. Does the company cater to a particular audience or clientele? Be sure to note any experiences you’ve had with similar audiences.

Putting It All Together

A resume is not a laundry list. It tells a cohesive story. Your story should highlight your qualifications and critical skills in a way that makes a logical, well-constructed case for your compatibility with the organization and its advertised position.

Packaging your story into the concisely prescribed format of a resume means that it will read as a synopsis — one that will hopefully land you the job.

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Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

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