8% of Americans Have Master’s Degrees. Can Grad School Help You Find a Job?

8% of Americans Have Master's Degrees. Can Grad School Help You Find a Job?

8% of Americans Have Master’s Degrees. Can Grad School Help You Find a Job?

Many signs point to an improving job market—for example, last week the number of people seeking unemployment assistance dropped to its lowest level since 1973, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate sits at 5.3 percent, which is the lowest it has been in 7 years. But the post-recession recovery hasn’t been even across the board. It’s much easier to find a job in some sectors than in others. And while having a bachelor’s degree used to mean a decent job was a sure thing, that just isn’t the case anymore.

Escaping the recession

The abysmal job market that existed during the recent recession caused many people to flock to grad school. Because of how difficult it was to find a job, many people reasoned that they could wait out the worst of the job market by returning to school, and after a couple years, they’d enter a better job market, armed with an impressive new credential.

The ubiquity of this approach becomes apparent when you look at degree completion statistics that correspond to the years of the recession. “The number of adults completing a master’s degree grew by 18 percent from 2008 to 2013,” according to a U.S. Census Bureau blog post on educational attainment.

More education does tend to lead to more pay, but there are no guarantees. As Ron Rosenbaum wrote in Slate, “The choice to go to graduate school may only offer the illusion of comfort and security.”

If you plan to take out loans to pay for graduate school, the typical recommendation is to not take out more than what you expect your salary to be when you find a job after graduate school. Also, consider whether your likely earnings bump is worth the time you would take away from work to attend school—or whether trying to juggle both work and graduate school would negatively impact your career.

Increased demand for skilled workers

grad school can help you find a job

College Hall at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.

“Today’s premium for college degrees is caused partly by increasing selectiveness among employers about whom they hire and screening based on education even for positions that do not require higher skills. But jobs themselves have changed, too,” Catherine Rampell wrote in The New York Times

Her piece notes the influence of technology on the job market, requiring skilled labor and technical aptitude in an ever-increasing number of fields. Today’s car mechanics, Rampell’s article points out, have to understand computers in addition to cars. Fields that once had a relatively low barrier to entry now require additional training, technical aptitude, and other specific skills

So it’s no surprise that the master’s degree has grown in popularity in recent years. “The master’s degree is the fastest-growing college credential in the US,” Libby Nelson wrote in Vox earlier this year. “More than 16 million people in the US—about 8 percent of the population—now have a master’s, a 43 percent increase since 2002.”


Earning a bachelor’s degree used to be a notable educational attainment. Now that bachelor’s degrees are so common, job seekers who want to stand out are turning to master’s degrees.

MIT find a job in stem

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the best schools for students interested in STEM careers.

This makes more sense in some fields than in others. With as heavily as STEM education is pushed these days, some students who graduate with bachelor’s degrees in STEM subjects are surprised to find that many jobs require master’s degrees. (Graduate work in the sciences can land you on Shark Week, if that’s the sort of thing that motivates you!)

If you’re considering a master’s in the humanities, take this quiz from Stephen Burt, an English professor at Harvard: Should You Go to Grad School? (It’s practical, but it also takes into account the reality that some people have a bone-deep need to formally study their passion further, regardless of whether a lucrative—or merely reliable—career is on the other side of that master’s degree.)

No matter what field you’re considering, there are certain things you can do to get the most out of graduate school—things that will help you find a job once you’re done. Establish good relationships with your professors and peers; attend lectures, conferences, and events while in school; and get involved with alumni groups after graduation. Networking continues to be one of the best routes to a job, and graduate school can be a fantastic way to expand your network and make more contacts in your field. While you’re in graduate school, you should also make sure to complete projects that would translate well into resume accomplishment statements, such as presenting at a conference.

And—take it from me—defending a thesis makes for surprisingly good interview practice. You prepare in advance, build your case, answer some questions that are expected, and then have to prove your ability to think on your feet when you get some questions that surprise you.

Besides, once you’ve completed a thesis, customizing your resume is a cinch.

See also:

12 Accomplishments to Help You Write Your Best Resume

Resume Format: Your Education Section

Top 3 TED Talks on the Future of Work

How to Create a Networking Resume

Top 3 Blogs for Healthcare Jobs

Top 3 Blogs for Healthcare Jobs

Top 3 Blogs for Healthcare Jobs

Healthcare jobs are poised to see immense growth in coming years—and, in fact, healthcare jobs are seeing so much growth that the sector grew even during the recent recession, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS predicts a 29 percent increase in healthcare employment through 2022.

These days, you don’t have to be a doctor or a nurse to work in healthcare. Athletic trainers, home health aides, and speech-language pathologists are just a few of the almost countless options. You can even work in healthcare without being a medical professional. Considering the rate at which the healthcare industry is expanding, there will be demand for everything from professors of health services administration to clinician-patient communication experts.

If you’re interested in a career in healthcare, industry blogs are a good place to start. These are three of the best healthcare jobs blogs you’ll find:

1. Health Jobs Nationwide

patient-facing healthcare jobs

Health Jobs Nationwide is a great resource for anyone interested in patient-facing roles.

Health Jobs Nationwide is a robust site, featuring more than one million healthcare jobs listings, a resume database, employer profiles, continuing education and conference listings, and more.

The blog is updated frequently, and includes guest posts from experts in niches from policy to physical therapy, and from nursing to leadership. Whether you are—or want to be—a physician, physician assistant, nurse, or some other type of patient-facing role, you’ll find valuable information here.

News, trends, guidelines, and best practices are all discussed in depth; there are also many posts with advice specific to a healthcare job search.

Three key posts:

Tips for Getting Your Healthcare Dream Job

What to Include in Your Healthcare Resume

Nursing Jobs: OSHA Plans to Change the Way Nurses Work

2. Healthcare IT Today

healthcare jobs in IT

Fitness trackers are just one reason for the increase in healthcare IT opportunities. (Photo credit: Ariel Zambelich/Wired)

Healthcare technology is advancing constantly. The increasing ubiquity of data in everyday life is just one avenue leading to an increase in the types of healthcare jobs available. The adoption of electronic health records and the rise of wearable fitness trackers mean there are healthcare career paths for people with backgrounds in process improvement, product development, software engineering, and more.

Healthcare IT Today is the official blog of Healthcare IT Central, which features job listings, a resume database, an employer directory, and education and certification information. The blog has a team of eight authors, tackling everything from HIPAA to career paths, plus lots of advice on contracting and job searching.

Three key posts:

Ways Healthcare IT Consulting Firms are Expanding

Healthcare Jobs Replaced by Robots

9 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Healthcare IT Startup Job

3. MomMD

healthcare jobs

Most patients are probably unaware of how little time medical schools spend on nutrition.

This blog’s tagline is “connecting women in medicine.” The blog is updated by numerous expert contributors, and features everything from advice on career changes and nutrition research (you might not realize it, but medical schools provide an average of only 23.9 hours of instruction on nutrition) to book reviews—children’s books included.

The blog also takes on tough topics—even suicide and its impact on those left behind. Spending time thinking and learning about difficult subjects can help prepare those in healthcare careers for dealing with them effectively in the real world.

In addition to the blog, MomMD features a career center, a healthcare jobs board, continuing education materials, and active forums. Community, information, career resources—it’s all here, in one place.

Three key posts:

Everything You Need to Know About the New 2015 MCAT

5 Fantastic Resources for Bootstrapping a Physician Business Startup

A Necessity for Physician Business Leaders: Excellent Active Listening Skills

Regardless of your educational background and career goals, these three blogs are fantastic resources for learning about healthcare jobs and the healthcare industry as a whole. The better informed you are, the better you can target your resume—increasing your chances of landing interviews and, ultimately, a job.

See also:

Job Search Tips for 2015

Top 3 TED Talks for Job Seekers

Resume Examples: Keywords for Registered Nurses

Make Your Resume Remarkable With These 20 Accomplishment Examples

make a resume

Make Your Resume Remarkable With These 20 Accomplishment Examples

I’ve been writing a lot lately about how important it is for job seekers to demonstrate their value to potential employers—by using a career summary instead of a resume objective, for example. Orienting application materials towards an employer’s needs instead of your own personal goals is a good way to get noticed.

To make a resume really stand out, though, there’s another essential strategy that should be in play: the practice of including resume accomplishments as opposed to job duties. Anyone can rattle off lists of things they did in a position, such as “answered telephones,” “filed documents,” or “prevented children from self-destructing.” What takes a little more effort is articulating your work history in terms of value. Go back through your previous jobs and ask yourself:

  • How much money did I save the company?
  • What resources did I maximize?
  • How quickly did I achieve my team’s goals?

Once you identify the accomplishments to highlight, it’s simply a matter of phrasing. Here, split into two handy categories, are 20 accomplishment examples to make a resume marvelous instead of “meh.”

Category 1: Fully Assembled

1. Grew donor base by 40% over 5 years.

2. Secured $275,000 in grants from 15 funding organizations for environmental education deliverables.

3. Led team of 5 marketing professionals in producing tailored campaigns for 18 clients.

4. Managed 50 total volunteers for 4 fundraising luncheons.

5. Cut costs by 20% by maximizing existing partnerships.

6. Rescued 13 people in distress from 3 different burning buildings.

7. Raised $5,000 through Irish sports fundraising auction.

8. Saved company $20,000 over 2 years by streamlining permitting process.

9. Produced 4 short films for annual Seattle International Film Festival.

10. Coordinated travel arrangements for 6 executive-level employees.

make a resume

Photo Credit: etsy.com

Category 2: Fill in the Blank

1. Completed X number of training hours to receive Y certification/license.

2. Presented X number of campaign proposals to marketing team.

3. Prevented X number of attacks on New York City after being frozen in ice for Y number of years.

4. Saved X number of dollars by refining Y process and communicating with Z stakeholders.

5. Completed project X in Y months ahead of schedule.

6. Cultivated X number of corporate sponsorships.

7. Raised X amount of dollars through Y number of direct appeal campaigns.

8. Established partnerships with X number of organizations to execute Y event/project/campaign.

9. Crafted X number of email marketing campaigns to reach Y number of potential customers.

10. Trained X number of employees over Y number of years.

Although you’re definitely more than just a number, quantifying your resume accomplishments for an employer is one of the best ways to advance in a hiring process. Try a few of these out in your next application and show companies what you can do for them!

See also:

12 Accomplishments to Help You Write Your Best Resume

8 Resume Accomplishments to Make You Stand Out

10 Resume Accomplishment Samples

Resume Templates to Highlight Your Accomplishments

The 5 Best Job Sites for Writers

The 5 Best Job Sites for Writers

The 5 Best Job Sites for Writers

There are three rules you must keep in mind when browsing jobs sites for writers.

  • Do not pay to work
  • Do not write for free (or “exposure”)
  • Avoid the freelancing farms where the lowest bidder wins

You know the kinds of opportunities I mean.

There are so many people who want to work from home, or who want to pursue writing as a career, that an entire industry has sprung up around exploiting these people and pushing them into doing more and more writing in less and less time.

This doesn’t lead anywhere good. People who find writing jobs through such venues are expected to submit work on extremely short notice. Essentially, they’re on call—without the benefits and protections of being an actual employee. Those who aren’t willing to work under these circumstances are passed over in favor of those who are. And no matter how talented the writers may be, the content they produce for these sites is of such low quality that they aren’t creating samples they can use to land a real writing job.

No matter how much you may want to be a writer, do not participate in this.

I’ve been writing and editing in various capacities—technical, corporate, freelance, and even as a student journalist back in the day—since 2003. There are many ways to succeed as a writer. Racing for the bottom isn’t one of them.

Do the math and decide on your hourly take-home rate. Then, the important part: Don’t budge.

Whether you’re looking for the occasional gig or full-time work, there’s no shortage of good opportunities for people who can write well.

Here are the top five job sites for writers:

1. Freelance Writing Jobs

Pros: This site is an amazing service and a huge time-saver. Originally founded by Deb Ng and now helmed by Noemi Tasarra-Twigg, the site continues to be a fantastic resource for freelance writers.

Every day, Freelance Writing Jobs scours numerous sites and presents a list of freelancing jobs, sorted into various categories (content writing, technical writing, and journalism, to name a few. There are also editing and translating jobs on a regular basis). Some are on-site jobs, and some are work-from-home jobs.

freelance writing job sites

A recent sampling of jobs posted on Freelance Writing Jobs.

If you want, you can sign up to have new freelance writing jobs emailed to you daily. (Getting your application in early can increase your chances of landing a job. More than 25 percent of jobs are filled by candidates who applied in the first two days a job was posted, according to StartWire.)

job sites

More job postings, plus a quick job alerts sign-up.

In addition to the job listings, there are extensive resources for freelance writers. Whether you’re new to freelance writing or just looking for a refresher, the detailed information on portfolios, the administrative side of freelancing, and other topics is invaluable.

FWJ is active on Twitter, too, offering up tips and quotes in addition to jobs.

Cons: If you’re looking for full-time work, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Also, there are only two to three dozen jobs posted per day. The curated postings save you the trouble of weeding through site after site yourself, but this is a popular site with a loyal following—meaning more competition for these choice jobs.

2. ProBlogger Job Board

Pros: This jobs board is run by Darren Rowse, who founded the immensely popular blog ProBlogger. For everything there is to know about blogging, ProBlogger has you covered. From WordPress themes to making the most of first drafts, and from time-saving apps to in-depth advice on analytics, ProBlogger is hands-down one of the best and most comprehensive resources for bloggers.

The ProBlogger Job Board is updated daily—or even multiple times per day. You can subscribe to receive instant notifications about new postings.

job sites for bloggers

The ProBlogger Job Board is updated daily with jobs for—you guessed it—bloggers.

Rowse is also a dedicated photographer, and runs a separate blog on digital photography. If you’re skilled at both writing and photography, you’ll have much greater earning potential and far more opportunities. Real estate blogging, for example, is just one promising niche for people who are talented writers and photographers. Rowse is also active on Twitter, and definitely worth a follow.

Cons: Job sites that curate job postings are convenient because you don’t have to scour endless listings yourself, but the flip side is that many more people see the job postings than otherwise might—leading to increased competition. (Fortunately, a targeted resume can help you stand out in a sea of applicants. Jobscan’s resume analysis tool gives you instant, personalized feedback about what you can do to make sure your resume sells you well.)

3. Dice

Pros: Dice is one of the many job sites focusing primarily on the IT and engineering industries—but writers shouldn’t overlook it. Many major companies post job listings here, including Amazon and Deloitte.

Dice was founded in 1990, and the website launched in 1996. Dice features about 80,000 to 90,000 job listings per day. Most of these are not writing jobs, but the writing jobs that are available are fantastic. Jobs in these industries are typically interesting and challenging, and compensated accordingly.

job sites for technical writers

Dice is easily one of the best job sites for technical writers.

The search function features filters so you can find jobs that suit your needs. You can search by title, by type of employment, by whether telecommuting is an option, and more.

You can create a job alert so you’ll be notified of new relevant postings.

job sites for technical writers

Dice regularly publishes detailed reports to help job seekers stay informed.

The Dice Media Center features numerous surveys and reports to help job seekers stay up-to-date on topics such as salaries, in-demand skills, and labor market trends.

Cons: The biggest downside is the limited percentage of relevant jobs for writers.

The job search function is promising, but not perfect. You’ll have to wade through some irrelevant jobs, because searches for writing jobs generally include jobs for programmers and analysts in the results. The advanced search is a Boolean search, but be careful of eliminating words from your search. The technical and tech-adjacent jobs available on this site could easily include terms you’d typically use to try to exclude non-writing jobs from your results.

4. Mediabistro

media job sites

Mediabistro offers an incredible range of jobs for writers, editors, and more.

Pros: If you’re in the market for full-time writing work, this should be one of your top stops. 90 to 95 percent of jobs posted are full-time opportunities, with the remainder made up of part-time and temporary jobs, internships, and freelance roles.

Many of the biggest media companies post jobs on Mediabistro, including NBCUniversal, Condé Nast, and Time Inc.

Other companies with media-related jobs post openings on Mediabistro, too, including The Humane Society of the United States, BASF Corporation, and Green Flash Brewing Company. (Side note: If you enjoy IPAs, you’ve got to get your hands on some of Green Flash Brewing’s West Coast IPA. Trust me.) If you’re serious about a writing career, you can’t beat the jobs posted on Mediabistro.

The job alerts option allows you to quickly customize your application materials and send them in when your dream job is posted.

Mediabistro’s Twitter account is also worth following if you’re interested in career and job search tips, media news, and the occasional motivational quote or picture.

quality writing jobs

Mediabistro is the place to look for top-quality writing jobs.

Cons: You can create a profile as a freelancer, displaying your experience and writing samples, but at $21 per month or $145 per year, it’s not the best investment. So much of freelancing success is based on relationships—you’re better off spending your money to attend networking events and get yourself in front of people that way.

5. Craigslist

Pros: Yes, really. Craigslist can be a great place to find writing jobs. And if you’re looking for remote work, you’re not limited to the listings in your city only. You can do a search for relevant postings in any city. (That said, if you’re browsing listings in other cities and see one that specifies “local candidates only,” don’t apply if you can’t work on-site in that city. You’ll be wasting both your time and theirs.)

good writing job sites

There are plenty of great opportunities posted on Craigslist.

Cons: Craigslist is also swarming with scams, gigs that pay less than peanuts, and chances to write for “exposure.” If time is your most limited resource, there are better job sites for you than Craigslist. If you tend to be overly optimistic, Craigslist is also not for you. To find the good opportunities, you have to be able to recognize which posts are worth pursuing—and which are not. There are definitely diamonds in the rough—just keep your expectations realistic and a healthy dose of skepticism handy.

job sites for writers

Ignore Craigslist postings like this one (sorry, Tim).

There are countless job sites for writers, but these five are the most worthwhile. No matter what kind of opportunity you’re seeking, and no matter what your experience level, you can find high-quality writing jobs using these sites.

See also:

Top Resume Skills for 2015

How to Create a Networking Resume

Top 3 TED Talks for Job Seekers

How to Find Jobs Using Twitter Hashtags

Considering a Career Change? 3 Unexpected Industries for Baby Boomers

career advice for baby boomer

Considering a Career Change? 3 Unexpected Industries for Baby Boomers

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. “ —Nelson Mandela

“You can often change your circumstances by changing your attitude. ” —Eleanor Roosevelt

“When people are ready to, they change. You can’t make them change if they don’t want to, just like when they do want to, you can’t stop them.” —Andy Warhol

As evidenced by the famous quotes above, change means something different to each of us. Yet most people agree on one aspect of change: it’s hard.

Making a career change is difficult in today’s job market—and it can be even more trying if you’re a Baby Boomer. You’ve seen the working world move from a set of steady 30-year career tracks into recession and then emerge as a totally different animal. Career change can be overwhelming and frustrating, but it’s all worth it when you find the right fit. As you forge ahead, consider these three industries for your new career path . . .they may surprise you.

career change

The financial sector could be just the right place for your next career. (Photo Credit: gothereguide.com)

1. Finance. Think finance is only for fresh-faced MBA graduates? Think again. As reported by TIME.com earlier this year, portions of the financial sector are making room for workers over 50. Barclays and (to a lesser extent) Goldman Sachs have both implemented programs designed to bring the skills of older job seekers into their businesses. These companies value the life experiences Baby Boomers bring to the table and may be a good career change fit. After all, would you rather apply for a loan from someone still awash in debt or a longtime homeowner who knows her way around a mortgage?

career change

Green jobs are a way to both get paid and give back.

2. Green jobs. For many Baby Boomers, career change isn’t just about paying the bills. It’s a search for something that matters. An “encore career,” as it’s been dubbed, is an excellent way to both work and contribute to a greater cause. If sustainability and the environment are important to you, consider a green job. Green jobs span a wide range of industries and can help you connect with your local community. Whether as a recycling plant worker or an energy services consultant, going green may save you from career burnout blues.

3. Healthcare. Specifically, retirement care. This might seem odd given that many Baby Boomers will soon be implementing their own retirement plans. However, the number of jobs available in continuing care is poised to grow by 21 percent over the next five years. And the diversity of job types available within that sector makes it an attractive, flexible career change choice. Other health sector employers, such as the National Institutes of Health, specifically place a premium on caring for and retaining workers aged 50+. (One of their biomedical researchers is 95!)

career change

Retirement care provides a wide variety of jobs for career changers. (Photo Credit: money.usnews.com)

Michael Jordan (who turned 52 this year, making him quite a successful Baby Boomer!) said it well, I think:

“If you accept the expectations of others, especially the negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.”

There are countless reasons for Baby Boomers to seek a career change, from flexibility to finances to a desire to give back. Much of the career advice offered to Baby Boomers who wish to continue working focuses on work that, put politely, might be described as “less than engaging.” Considering the possibilities available, Baby Boomers could instead turn to one of these three exciting career paths.

See also:

Resume Examples: Keywords for Registered Nurses

Top 3 Blogs for Baby Boomer Career Advice

How to Do a Resume When Changing Careers

Writing a Finance Resume

Executive Decision: Do You Need An Objective For Your Resume?

Objective for Resume

Executive Decision: Do You Need an Objective for Your Resume?

PROFESSIONAL OBJECTIVE: To continue my career with an organization that will utilize my MANAGEMENT, SUPERVISION & ADMINISTRATIVE skills to benefit mutual growth and success.”

In addition to suffering from an excess of capital letters, the above example objective for a resume is meaningless.  Although the job seeker clearly has management experience, this objective isn’t specific enough to help the resume get past an applicant tracking system—never mind interesting enough to result in an interview. So what should go in its place?

A career summary.

Executive- and management-level job searching differs in some ways from other career tiers because of the caliber of candidates involved. As Jonathan Feldman—chief information officer for the City of Asheville, North Carolina—puts it, “Promotion past a certain level requires the ability to read people, demonstrate judgement, and understand nuance.” Even seasoned career professionals should pay attention to job search trends. Resume objectives as a whole have fallen by the wayside, and a savvy upper-level jobseeker can’t afford to use any passe tools.

In contrast to a resume objective, a quality career summary is:

1.Oriented towards the employer’s needs. A prospective employer posts a job when the company is in need of something, be it a specific skill set, a department re-org, or even an entirely new strategic direction. Thus the career summary should center around that articulated need. Instead of placing emphasis on your career, use the summary to present yourself as a problem solver.

objective for resume

Be a problem solver for potential employers.

2. Specific. Saying you have “management, supervision, and administrative skills” on a resume is like a broken dishwasher: it takes up space, but doesn’t provide any practical help. What specific skills do you possess that will assist the company? Have you managed individuals in prior positions, or orchestrated the work of entire teams? A solid career summary includes quantifiable achievements that instantly illustrate your worth to a prospective employer.

3. Concise, yet creative. One of the main problems with resume objectives is their attempt to do too much in just one sentence. An effective career summary as an alternative includes more text. Your summary shouldn’t be too long (remember, recruiters look at a resume for an average of 6 seconds), but neither should it be abrupt. Forbes recommends you “try to tell a compelling story about yourself that includes specifics and quantifiable achievements.” Check out this Monster.com article for an example.

Objective for resume

Thinking carefully about your career summary pays off in the end. (Photo Credit: anibundel.wordpress.com)

The length and complexity of a career summary also make it an excellent spot to address another crucial aspect of the 21st century job search: keywords. Widespread use of applicant tracking system software in hiring now means that if resumes don’t include the exact words from a job description, those resumes are unlikely to ever reach the eyes of a human recruiter. Thankfully, Jobscan was designed specifically to address this challenge. Test out the resume analysis tool and then lace your career summary with the identified keywords.

As a high-level candidate looking for a new position, you know how to manage people, budgets, priorities, and time. Your career summary should also reflect these talents!

See also:

Change Your Resume Objective Into A Career Summary

Should You Use A Resume Objective?

Resume Tips: Creating a Career Management Document

Resume Examples: Keywords for Mechanical Engineering

Resume Examples

Resume Examples: Keywords for Mechanical Engineering

If you’re looking for a mechanical engineering job, I’m a little bit jealous. I’ve been fortunate to work closely with many types of engineers in my career (structural, civil, software, chemical, electrical, industrial, and mechanical), and mechanical engineering quickly grabbed my attention and still hasn’t let go. It’s such a wide-ranging, diverse field, with so many possibilities—and so many impacts on daily life.

Whether you’re interested in energy efficiency, product development, or facilities or systems management, mechanical engineering could be the right career path for you. Reading through resume examples can be a huge help in a job search for such a varied industry—they’ll give you insights about both your potential competition and your potential paths.

resume examples

If energy efficiency and thermal topics—such as thermal bridging—interest you, mechanical engineering could be a great career path.

“Mechanical engineers are in demand now, and projections for the future suggest a long-term need for professionals in this specialty,” according to the College of Engineering at Iowa State University. “About 20% of the nearly 3 million engineers in the United States are mechanical engineers.”

With all industries, it’s important to pay attention to job listings to see which keywords are used. With mechanical engineering, it’s especially important. Even if you know exactly the sort of mechanical engineering job you want, you have to pay attention to whether a listing uses “facility” or “building,” for example. They are both common, and used interchangeably, but if you use one and an applicant tracking system (ATS) is looking for the other, your resume could get overlooked.

An ATS is a software application used by employers to store, filter, and rate resumes. Candidates are largely rated based on their resume keywords. And the higher you rank, the more likely it is that your resume will get noticed. Echoing the keywords used in the job listing is one way to demonstrate that you would be a good fit for the role.

The above word cloud was created using the text of a dozen mechanical engineering job listings. The larger the word is, the more times it appeared.

Mechanical engineering resume keywords

  • Analysis
  • BSME
  • Building
  • CAD
  • Design
  • Development
  • Drawings
  • Electrical
  • Engineering
  • Equipment
  • HVAC
  • Manufacturing
  • Mechanical
  • Performance
  • Product
  • SolidWorks
  • Systems
  • Team
  • Technical
  • Testing

Notes on keywords

“BSME” is the abbreviation for “Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering.” It was the most common form of a degree requirement that showed up across these job postings. Consider spelling out your degree in full, then adding the abbreviated term for it in parentheses.

“CAD” stands for “computer-aided design,” and appeared just slightly more often than “AutoCAD,” a commercial software for CAD produced by Autodesk. SolidWorks is a solid modeling CAD software program. Industry abbreviations and job-specific tools and technologies are common keywords—and you should use them on your resume wherever possible.

Targeting your resume

Customizing your resume for each job doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Just run it through the Jobscan resume analysis tool, and within seconds, you’ll receive a score showing how well your resume matches the job, plus personalized feedback on how you can use your keywords more effectively. You don’t have to be a mechanical engineer to see the value in that kind of efficiency.

See also:

How to Choose Resume Keywords

20 Best ATS-Friendly Resume Examples

Top Resume Skills for 2015

8 Things You Need to Know About Applicant Tracking Systems

Top 3 Blogs for Women at Work

women at work

Top 3 Blogs for Women at Work

Women at work face countless hurdles, from persistent wage gaps to finding mentors to issues such as job searching while pregnant. And when a woman does reach the top, she’s often disparaged (just ask Serena Williams).

women at work

Serena Williams poses with the trophy she earned after winning the French Open in June 2015. (Photo credit: Grantland)

Fortunately, there are numerous blogs out there aimed at helping women at work with everything from networking tips to finding a practical bag for commuting that doesn’t look unprofessional (seriously, that can be hard).

These career blogs for women are three of the best:

1. Corporette

I love Corporette’s tagline, which reads: “fashion, lifestyle, and career advice for overachieving chicks.” Launched by lawyer Kat Griffin in 2008, the blog is mainly targeted at women in traditionally conservative fields (banking, law, government, etc.) living in urban areas. But even if you don’t fit into that category, don’t skip Corporette—if you can think of a question, chances are Corporette has tackled it. It’s an insightful and well-written blog and one every woman who cares about her career should have bookmarked.

If you’re a young professional, you’ll pick up advice on everything from what to wear (Building Your Wardrobe for the Summer Internship) to navigating social media (Should You Friend Your Boss on Facebook?) to traveling for work (How to Plan for Your First Business Trip). If you’re a parent, check out the offshoot called Corporette Moms (the news round-up posts here are incredibly handy).

“Don’t read the comments” is often a good policy when reading online, but not in this case. The comments on Corporette blog posts are invariably insightful and respectful, and make each post that much more useful.

Three key posts:

Managing Your Personal Brand Online

10 Things You Should Know About a Business Lunch

How to Use Friends of Friends in Your Job Hunt

2. Women For Hire

Founded by author and entrepreneur Tory Johnson in 1999, Women For Hire focuses on helping women find jobs, and helping companies become more diverse. They work with numerous prominent employers, including Microsoft, Nordstrom, and Verizon. Women For Hire features webinars, job fairs, a jobs board, and a fantastic directory of career coaches specializing in everything from hospitality to government.

women at work working from home

Working from home is definitely doable, but it requires planning—and you’ll see the best results if you have an in-demand skill set.

The career-centric blog has many posts by Johnson herself, plus frequent contributions from all kinds of experts: journalists, accountants, psychologists, non-profit leaders, and professional organizers, to name just a few. In large part because of these expert contributors, the Women For Hire blog manages to tackle a huge range of topics relevant to women at work—and to do so incredibly well.

Women For Hire also has resources for people interested in working from home. Having worked from home for years, I do want to point out that the best way to succeed isn’t to sell products. (Trust me, no one needs more friends or family hawking jewelry or beauty products.) Instead, cultivate skills that translate easily into working remotely, such as writing or web design. And if you’re a mom who wants to work from home, don’t think you’ll be able to skip childcare. It’s impossible to give your full attention to your child and your work simultaneously. You will need childcare if you’re a parent who wants to work from home successfully.

Three key posts:

Turning Down a Job Offer: 7 Questions

7 Career Tips for the Millennial Woman

6 Ways to Escape Career Limbo

3. BlogHer

BlogHer, launched in 2005, is a vast community of women bloggers. Whether they are talking about the roles of women at work or meal planning 101, there are countless women blogging about everything you can imagine—and then some. The Work/Life channel in particular is a fantastic resource.

women at work lunch meetings

California’s famous Venice Beach and Boardwalk.

They publish more posts per day than you can probably read, with contributors from all sorts of backgrounds. Many are more focused on life than work (Best Eclectic Eats in Venice, CA? But even that post could come in handy for client meetings if you’re nearby—and after reading some of those restaurant descriptions, I wish I were!), but the work-related posts are generally excellent. No matter what your stage in life or your vocation, you’ll find someone speaking from your perspective. And you’ll be able to learn countless things from all the voices represented.

If you know your way around a Twitter hashtag, watch for BlogHer’s frequent Twitter chats. If you’re not familiar, Twitter chats are great ways to listen, learn, and network.

Three key posts:

Five Things Boomers Can Learn From Millennials

Becoming a Freelancer: Tips for Getting Started

Blogging Your Way to a New Career

No amount of blog posts will eliminate the obstacles facing women at work. But, armed with information and inspiration, each woman can work on advancing as an individual. And a rising tide lifts all boats, as the saying goes—the more visible successful women become, the more of them there will be.

See also:

Reach Your Career Goals With These Lessons From Agent Carter

Top 3 Blogs for Baby Boomer Career Advice

Job Search Tips for 2015

Top 3 TED Talks for Job Seekers

What Is a Resume?

What is a Resume?

What is a Resume?

It’s happened to each of us. You’re at a party, networking, on a date, or even at an interview. You extend your hand to meet a contact, excited about the possibilities associated with this new person—

—and get a weak, listless handshake. Even if only for a split second, your attention shifts to the handshake and not the person behind it.

A resume at its core is a document that lists your education and work experience. However, it’s also the equivalent of a strong handshake: In this age of applicant tracking systems, overwhelmed hiring managers, and hundreds of applications per position, it’s vital that your resume create a great first impression. So just what IS a resume in 2015?

Let’s start with what a resume isn’t.

A LinkedIn profile should complement your resume, not replace it.

A LinkedIn profile should complement your resume, not replace it.

  • LinkedIn profile is now a necessary tool for any job seeker. As Alexandra Samuel of the Harvard Business Review puts it, “a solid LinkedIn profile includes not only your self-proclaimed qualifications, but testimonials from colleagues, clients, and employers.” It’s easy to update, detailed, and shows off past work. Yet you still, as we believe and Forbes agrees, need a good resume in addition to your LinkedIn profile.
What is a resume, and how is it different from a CV?

Unlike the concise format of a resume, a CV goes into much greater detail surrounding your accomplishments.

  • If a resume is a handshake, a CV (curriculum vitae) is a full dating profile. This document is often used in applying for jobs internationally or in academia. Rather than focusing on specific employers and job titles, a CV details your professional and/or academic accomplishments and provides a venue for describing research endeavors, awards, and other notable details. Job seekers in the United States should definitely use a comprehensive career management document for their own records, but skip the storytelling seen in a CV (unless a CV is specifically called for).

With that cleared up, let’s examine what a resume really is: a set of opportunities. A well-written resume gives you the opportunity to:

1. Showcase crucial keywords. Including the correct keywords in your resume is the most important part of today’s job search. Keywording not only serves the purpose of getting that resume past an applicant tracking system (ATS), but also helps show your attention to detail. Use Jobscan’s resume analysis tool to see how well your resume matches with an individual job description. And to keep the appropriate keywords front and center, tailor each resume you submit.

What is a resume? Your chance to highlight your qualifications through keywords.

Keywords unlock applicant tracking systems and lead to interviews. (Photo Credit: blog.vwriter.com)

2. Prove you’re the best candidate. There are many reasons a person may need a job: making money, pursuing a passion, or perhaps gaining experience to bolster a degree. When an employer posts a job, it means they need something, too. Lisa Rangel, of Chameleon Resumes and Fast Company, says it bluntly but best: “Simply put: nobody really cares what you want only.” A resume is your way of showing how you, and not one of the other (sometimes hundreds!) applicants, will fully address the company’s needs. Set yourself apart from the pack!

What is a resume? You presenting the best version of yourself--like Kennedy did here.

Using a variety of tactics, John F. Kennedy positioned himself as the perfect candidate while debating Richard Nixon in 1960.

3. Own your career story. Although an employer’s keywords and proper resume format are important considerations, don’t forget that your resume is just that—yours. Don’t be shy about touting accomplishments (don’t stretch the truth, of course). Using the resume as a vehicle for articulating the arc of your career will both show an employer what you’ve done and help you remember where you’re headed.

Don’t submit a limp fish of a resume. Instead, see it as an opportunity to put forth a strong handshake…and start a career conversation.

See also:

To Err is Not Just Human: 3 Ways to Beat an ATS

Resume Tips: Creating a Career Management Document

12 Accomplishments to Help You Write Your Best Resume

3 Key Differences Between a Curriculum Vitae and a Resume

How to Embed Jobscan’s Resume Analysis Tool Into Your Site

At Jobscan, we understand the importance of useful tools. Our tool helps job seekers find jobs. In order to make it even easier for your audience to access our resume analysis tool, we’ve created a widget you can add directly to your site.

Here’s a three-step guide to embedding Jobscan’s widget, giving your visitors the ability to have their resumes analyzed without ever leaving your site:

resume analysis widget

CareerLadder’s homepage slideshow features Jobscan’s resume analysis widget.

1. Choose a location for the widget that best fits your site. Ms. Career Girl dedicated a unique page to the widget. CareerLadder highlighted the tool in a homepage slideshow.

So far, career coaches, career centers, career blogs, and job boards are among those who have used the widget to add Jobscan’s resume analysis functionality to their own sites.

Ms. Career Girl's usage of the Jobscan resume analysis widget.

Ms. Career Girl’s usage of the Jobscan widget.

2. Paste the one-line HTML code into your site. Find the code here:


The resulting widget is secure, free—and maintenance-free. We know how important page speed is, and our resume analysis widget’s low bandwidth will not slow down your site.

resume analysis widget

Clicking “Analyze My Resume” on the CareerLadder homepage takes you to the Jobscan resume analysis widget.

If you wish, you can even customize the color scheme to match your site seamlessly.

3. Receive automatic widget upgrades when Jobscan is upgraded. One upcoming feature: the ability to recognize terms in both their singular and plural forms. We want you, your site, and your visitors to gain continuous value from embedding our widget. And to say thank you for connecting your audience to Jobscan, we’ll mention your site or business on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

resume analysis widget

Jobscan’s resume analysis tool allows people to see how well their resume aligns with a job posting—and offers specific feedback about what they’re missing and what they can improve.

Bringing the noted functionality of Jobscan directly to your audience with the resume analysis widget can translate into increased traffic and increased engagement. Your users can compare their resumes directly to specific jobs they’re interested in and get the same customized feedback and keyword recommendations as they would if they visited Jobscan.

If you have any questions, drop our founders a line.

See also: 

Top Resume Formats in 2015

15 Tips on How to Write an Outstanding Resume

8 Things You Need to Know About Applicant Tracking Systems

Top 3 TED Talks for Job Seekers