Weekly business column, with resume tips, BBB warning about investment schemes and more.
Tip of the Week
A resume is an essential selling tool in any job search. The document presents a clear, concise outline of your qualifications, skills and accomplishments. "The function of a resume isn't to get you a job, but to get you the interview," says Tammy Smith, director of career services at Brown Mackie College - Hopkinsville. "It's up to you to land the job."
Smith's responsibilities include guiding students through the process of creating high-performance resumes. "Employers spend an average of 15 seconds reading a submitted resume, and 85 to 95 percent of all resumes end up in the trash, according to First Place Resumes. In order to keep a prospective employer's attention, your resume must create immediate interest and provoke action. It's important to be concise because every second counts," Smith says. How do you do this? Smith outlines several important considerations to note when creating or updating a resume.
- Create visual appeal. Your resume should be visually appealing. "This includes suitable font," Smith says. "Job-seekers should use the Times New Roman, Courier or Arial fonts, no smaller in size than 10 and no larger than 12." Smith also counsels students to use professional-quality paper in beige, white or gray. Definitely stay away from pink paper, and don't even consider clouds in the background or flowers on the border.
- Customize content for each individual position. It helps to clearly emphasize your specific skills that relate to the open position of interest. Smith advises students customize the resume for each job opportunity. "List duties from prior positions in order of preference relative to the job you want the most, not the job you had. Don't include responsibilities that you don't want to do again," she says. Eliminate job information that is more than 10 years old.
- Use active language and keywords. When writing your resume, avoid using passive language. Place achievements and results within each job description on the resume. This demonstrates capabilities and responsibility. "When describing job duties, you must use strong action verbs," Smith says. Action verbs - such as implemented, improved, operated and earned - strengthen a resume, making it more powerful and appealing. Keywords can be a single word or a phrase that summarizes your core competencies. These are words or phrases others would use to search online for applicants that could fill a position of interest to you. "This is especially important when posting your resume online with search engines such as careerbuilder.com or monster.com," Smith says.
Falling victim to a fraudulent investment scheme can mean losing anywhere from a few hundred dollars to your life savings. While many people may not see the harm in sitting through an investment seminar, the Better Business Bureau recommends researching the investment company first rather than running the risk of becoming a fraud victim over a free lunch.
"Free lunch seminars can seem like an easy way to get a meal, but attendees run the risk of getting drawn in by the slick presentations and promises of big returns," said Steve J. Bernas of the Better Business Bureau. "Misleading seminars often use the promise of a free lunch to lure in people who may have time and exploitable finances or real estate."
Investment scams and schemes can come in many forms; one common technique to lure people in is the offer of a free financial seminar over lunch or dinner. In one recent example, the Securities and Exchange Commission shut down an alleged USA Retirement Management Services Ponzi scheme, which pays returns to separate investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from any actual profit earned. This investment fraud stole $20 million from retirees in Illinois and California. The scammers invited senior citizens to estate planning seminars and later coaxed their victims into buying promissory notes for purported Turkish investments.
For more information on how to avoid financial planning and investing scams, visit www.bbb.org/us/consumer-tips-finance.
Here are the most expensive places in the world to eat a fast-food meal, according to www.forbes.com:
1. Dublin: $9.16
2. Amsterdam: $7.88
3. Paris: $7.43
3. Brussels: $7.43
5. Rome: $7.30
6. Madrid: $7.05
8. Tokyo: $7.04
8. Berlin: $7.04
9. Athens: $6.66
10. Vancouver: $6.07
Number to Know
1.2: Percent that retail sales dropped in May from April, according to the Commerce Department.
GateHouse News Service