A hiring manager or recruiter will spend maybe 30 seconds looking over your resume before adding it to the "maybe" stack or the "absolutely not" shredder. In the current economic reality, with unemployment high and competition for open jobs soaring, your resume needs to stand out for all the right reasons.
Outside of years of professional experience, what one factor can help to enhance your resume and get you noticed? Education.
Whether you pursue professional certification, the bachelor's degree you never went back for, or the master's you've always wanted, additional career training and education can open up more job opportunities in many different career areas and put you in the "yes" resume folder.
Marketing and Public Relations
Marketing and public relations professionals work to earn new customers and keep existing customers through any and all forms of communication. Whether you're overseeing a television interview, planning a new email marketing campaign, or putting together your communications strategy for the entire year, you need the right expertise and education to feel confident in your career.
Because jobs in marketing and PR tend to be well-paid and highly desirable, competition for open positions can be fierce even during the best economic times. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), public relations managers earn a mean salary of $101,220, and marketing managers earn $118,160. Increasingly, hiring managers look for candidates with a master's degree in business administration (MBA) with a marketing emphasis. Specific certification from an industry organization such as the Public Relations Society of America can also add to your credentials and help your resume to stand out from the crowd.
If you've chosen to pursue a career as a teacher, you already place a high value on education. Hiring managers for schools and school districts share that value and they look for job candidates who not only love to teach, but love to learn. With many states slashing school budgets, competition for open teaching jobs is heating up, and your resume needs to show every possible advantage.
Earning a master's degree in education gives your resume an edge and can also add thousands of dollars each year to the BLS mean annual teaching salary of $54,390. You'll also need to look at master's degree programs if you're interested in pursuing a new education specialty such as reading, special education, or technology. Another career path for teachers focuses on education administration. Principals earn considerably more than teachers -- the BLS reports a salary of $86,060 -- but you need to have a master's degree in education administration in order for a district to even look at your resume.
As technology continues to progress with lightning speed, keeping your education up-to-date becomes more important than ever before, especially for those who develop the technologies. Although computer scientists learn a great deal on the job, a degree program can give you exposure to new theories, inspire progressive ideas, and introduce you to colleagues who will encourage and challenge you well after your class is over.
Traditional education requirements for computer specialists, who earn a mean salary of $76,000 as reported by the BLS, have ranged widely from an associate's degree in computer science all the way to a PhD. Increasing complexity in the field has pushed more computer specialists toward the higher end of the spectrum, with a bachelor's and even a master's degree in computer science becoming commonplace. In order for your resume to get noticed by hiring managers in this quickly growing field, you may also want to think about becoming certified in the software program most applicable to your area of focus.
According to the BLS, the average annual registered nurse's salary is $65,130, but you can make considerably more by moving into an administration position or focusing on a particular nursing specialty. Without additional education and certification, hiring managers will not even consider your resume for these more advanced and highly paid positions.
Most administrative roles require a bachelor's degree in nursing and many colleges have stepped up to the demand by offering RN to BSN programs. The master's in nursing and the master's of health care administration and public health can also be an advantage. In addition, each of the four advanced-practice nursing specialties requires a master's degree: nurse midwife, nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists.
Whatever your career focus, additional career training and degrees can help to catch the eye of hiring managers and recruiters in any job market. If your search hasn't progressed the way you'd hoped, consider adding to your educational credentials sooner rather than later.