5 Ways to Prevent Working Mom Burnout

We already know the devastating impact COVID has had on women in the workforce — four times as many women as men dropped out of the labor force last September, and 9.8 million working mothers were suffering from burnout. 

As a working mom, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to raise my children while also building my own career. I genuinely believe that I have been blessed with the opportunity to have the best of both worlds. Every mom knows the joy that comes from raising children — and how often that joy can be found nestled between the familiar and crushing walls of fatigue.

In honor of Mother’s Day and all the moms out there, I wanted to share five tactics that helped me navigate and balance employment and motherhood while avoiding burnout. 

1. Know your limits

It’s impossible to be everywhere at once. Try to split school events with your spouse or other members of your support system. When my girls were in grade school, my husband had more flexibility at work than I did. So, it was dad selling hot dogs with the other moms on “Hot Dog Day.”. My daughters loved seeing him there as it was uncommon for a dad to be there, and he had a great time. It’s a memory my girls still laugh about to this day.

 Don’t stress about making fancy desserts for bake sales, either. While you may feel obligated to say yes to everything, remember not to stretch yourself too thin. 

2. Outsource, outsource, outsource

Think about operating your home like a small business. Try to outsource everything you don’t like or don’t have time to do. Your time is valuable, so consider where it’s best spent. I am a very neat person and can clean my house better than someone else, but it’s so time consuming! Having someone clean my house once a week when the girls lived at home was the best money ever spent. This opened more time for me to spend on both the kids and my career. 

3. Take time for yourself

It may seem out of the question, but finding time for yourself is critical for your mental health. I know you’re probably so focused on your children, your career and your home, that finding a few minutes for yourself can seem impossible. But that time will be well spent — even if you have to wake up early to have some “you” time.

I love to wake up early to have some time to myself before the chaos of the day gets started. My “me” time is a daily workout. This is a part of my day I will never miss. It is a positive outlet that releases endorphins and a great way to start your day. Find your positive outlet. Every mom deserves at least one thing they do just for themselves. 

4. Negotiate for what matters most

This doesn’t only apply to your salary. Years ago, I lived on Long Island but worked in Manhattan. As my kids grew older, I needed to be closer to home. I asked my boss at the time if he would open a Long Island office for me, and his initial response was “no.” So, I took it upon myself to do research and build a case for an office space nearby. I found an office that was cheaper than the desk in their NYC office and showed him how I would be able to be more productive with a shorter commute. I made such a compelling argument that he had no choice but to say “yes.” This win was amazing and life changing for me and my family.

Understand what is most important to you and figure out a way to make it happen. You have to advocate for yourself, because no one else will.

5. Build a solid support system

Having child care was necessary for me to continue with my career. But beyond our sitter, I also put trust in my daughters’ teachers and took advice from other parents, especially those who had older children.

Starting with the fifth grade, teachers told us not to help our girls with homework so they could learn how to do it on their own. While it was hard at first, it was a blessing in disguise, because it taught my children how to be independent and figure things out on their own. I had friends whose kids were in high school and the parents were still trying to help them with their homework. So happy that wasn’t me! Other mothers also gave me great advice and helped me feel like I was not in it alone. It truly takes a village to raise a family, and it is always OK to ask for help.

As moms, we know just how difficult it can be to balance our work lives with motherhood. If we are stretching ourselves out too thin, then we won’t be our best selves professionally or for our families. As the world opens back up and we can return to some semblance of our normal lives, I hope these tips will help you find your balance and be the best working mom you can be. 

Registered Investment Adviser, ALINE Wealth

Gina Grippo-Martinez is a wealth adviser at ALINE Wealth. Her Wall Street days behind her, Gina currently holds her Series 7, 63 and 66 licenses, and helps her clients plan for their futures. She lives with her husband and their two daughters in Point Lookout, Long Island. For more information, please visit www.ALINEWealth.com.

Source: kiplinger.com

The 20 Fastest Growing Jobs of the Next Decade

The job landscape is constantly changing, and if the past year has taught us anything, it’s that opportunity and security in our careers is highly valuable. For those looking to make a career change or just getting started, it may be in your best interest to find a job that’s projected to grow despite evolving technology, global disasters, and shifting work trends. Future-proof your career and use this list to gain insight on the 20 fastest growing jobs of the next decade.

Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), we provide information on the jobs and industries projected to grow the fastest from 2019 to 2029. Feel free to jump down to the infographic for a visual on the future of jobs in America.

Note: All median salary and growth rate information reported is from the 2020 Occupational Outlook Handbook.

wind-turbine-technician-inspection

1. Wind Turbine Service Technicians

Increasing at a rate 15 times that of other occupations, wind turbine service technicians or windtechs, are projected to be the fastest growing job in the next decade. A windtech’s main responsibilities involve the installation, maintenance, and repair of wind turbines. Their work requires them to travel to turbine sites and involves dangers such as climbing and rappelling at great heights. Despite this job’s dangerous drawbacks, aspiring windtechs can find opportunities around the nation and a decent salary without a four-year degree. Wind power is also the largest renewable energy source in the U.S., and jobs in this sector are expected to increase with energy demand.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 61%
  • Median Salary: $56,230
  • Education: Associate degree or technical school certificate, plus 12 months of training
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: Midwest, Great Plains, coastal areas

2. Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners are another fast-growing occupation, with an above average growth rate of 52 percent. These health care professionals either coordinate with doctors or work independently to provide health care services to patients. While the scope of care varies by state, most nurse practitioners offer preventative and primary care such as performing health diagnoses and prescribing medicine. In order to qualify for this occupation, rigorous training and a master’s degree are required. The additional time spent in school may prove to be a worthwhile investment, as nurse practitioners make a median salary of $117,670.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 52%
  • Median Salary: $117,670
  • Education: Master’s degree and previously registered nurse license
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Ohio

3. Solar Photovoltaic Installers

In addition to wind power, solar is another fast-growing source of energy and jobs. Solar photovoltaic (PV) installers are responsible for assembling and maintaining all types of solar energy systems. Although job growth is strong, there is competition for limited positions. Entry-level positions generally require a high school diploma, but candidates with technical schooling, community college credit, or apprenticeship experience have a more promising job outlook.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 51%
  • Median Salary: $46,470
  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, and Virginia

4. Occupational Therapy Assistants

At a projected growth rate of 35 percent, occupational therapy assistants help address the demand for patients who need help recovering and maintaining the skills necessary to go about daily life. Under the guidance of occupational therapists, assistants in this profession lead therapeutic activities for developmental disabilities, socialization, and mobility. To become an occupational therapy assistant, you’ll need an associate degree in a health-related field and at least 16 weeks of hands-on fieldwork.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 35%
  • Median Salary: $62,940
  • Education: Associate degree
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: Ohio, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois

5. Statisticians

Statisticians are in demand in fields like business, health care, government, and engineering for their ability to analyze data and problem solve with statistical techniques. In order to develop their expertise, statisticians generally need to pursue a master’s or doctorate in a quantitative field. The job outlook for statisticians over the next decade is projected to increase, with an especially favorable outlook for those with strong data analysis skills, expert statistical knowledge, and experience with modeling or computer programming.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 35%
  • Median Salary: $92,270
  • Education: Master’s degree
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Texas

home-health-nurse-aid-healthcare

6. Home Health Aides

As the population of adults age 65 and older grows rapidly, trends toward aging in place create a large demand for home health care services. Home health aides help people with chronic illness or disabilities and any others who need assistance going about daily life. In addition to assisting with daily activities, they also administer basic health care such as monitoring vital signs. To be a home health aide, you’ll need at least a high school diploma or equivalent and training from a program or on the job.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 34%
  • Median Salary: $27,080
  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts

7. Physical Therapy Assistants

Physical therapy assistants (PTAs) help people with injuries or illnesses recover their ability for movement and help manage any pain associated with recovery. Before becoming a PTA, most positions require that you earn an associate degree and a license or certification obtained by passing the National Physical Therapy Exam. The job outlook for PTAs is growing faster than average thanks to demand from an aging population. To find ample opportunities, aspiring PTAs should look into home health, nursing homes, and orthopedic outpatient facilities.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 33%
  • Median Salary: $59,770
  • Education: Associate degree
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: Florida, Texas, Ohio, California, and New York

8. Medical and Health Services Managers

Managers of medical and health services are responsible for directing and coordinating the health services of a specific facility, group, or department. They’re also known as health care administrators or health care executives and must manage services according to changing regulations and technology. Although a bachelor’s degree is required, master’s degrees are becoming more common and are often preferred by employers. On top of a degree, clinical or administrative experience is required to reach a managerial position.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 32%
  • Median Salary: $104,280
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Years of Experience Required: Less than 5
  • High Employment Locations: California, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania

9. Physician Assistants

Working in collaboration with doctors and surgeons, physician assistants (PAs) are needed to provide medical examinations, diagnoses, and treatments. To become a PA, a master’s degree is required, and candidates often need experience in patient care prior to applying to a graduate program. After earning your degree and obtaining a license, ample job opportunities exist for PAs in health care and medicine.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 31%
  • Median Salary: $115,390
  • Education: Master’s degree
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: New York, California, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania

10. Information Security Analysts

The role of information security analyst is important to protecting computer networks and systems for organizations. Thanks to the prevalence and evolution of cyberattacks, organizations are in need of professionals to develop security best practices and stay up to date on information technology and security trends. For those looking to enter this occupation, it’s important to get started in an information technology field to gain experience with computer systems and database security.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 31%
  • Median Salary: $103,590
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Years of Experience Required: Less than 5
  • High Employment Locations: Virginia, Texas, California, Florida, and Maryland

data-scientist-working-charts-office

11. Data Scientists

Using data software and programming, data scientists’ careers revolve around transforming raw data into interpretable information. Data scientists analyze, visualize, and report their findings, as well as consult on analytical techniques used to solve problems. Top industries for data science opportunities include science, finance, and insurance. A bachelor’s degree is necessary to enter this field, but a graduate degree may be preferable to employers.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 31%
  • Median Salary: $98,230
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, Texas, New York, Illinois, and Washington

12. Derrick Operators

Oil and gas derrick operators rig and operate derrick equipment, which is used to dig oil wells and push drills into the ground. Derrick operators are also involved in a variety of activities that maintain, monitor, and control oil derricks. No formal education or experience is necessary to become a derrick operator, and training is offered on the job. The industries where this occupation is needed most are the mining, oil and gas extraction, and construction industries.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 31%
  • Median Salary: $47,920
  • Education: No formal education
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and California

13. Rotary Drill Operators

As another fast-growing position involved in the extraction of oil and gas, rotary drill operators are responsible for assembling and operating drills that remove oil and gas from underground. This position demands moderate on-the-job training, despite no education or experience requirements. Job opportunities are available in the mining, coal, oil, and construction industries for those interested in this occupation.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 27%
  • Median Salary: $53,820
  • Education: No formal education
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: Texas, Oklahoma, California, New Mexico, and Louisiana

14. Roustabouts

Roustabout positions are also growing fast in the mining, oil and gas, and construction industries. This role is necessary for the setup and repair of oil field equipment, and it only requires moderate on-the-job training with no formal education. Other job titles for this occupation include floor hand, rig hand, and galley hand.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 25%
  • Median Salary: $39,420
  • Education: No formal education
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Colorado

15. Speech-Language Pathologists

To become a speech-language pathologist and help people with communication and swallowing disorders, you’ll need at least a master’s degree and a clinical license. Also known as speech therapists, they’re involved with the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of children and adults with disorders like stuttering. This role may work in health care facilities to treat patients who have suffered from a stroke, Parkinson’s disease, brain injury, cleft palate, or autism. An alternative route for this career is to provide counseling and programs in schools.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 25%
  • Median Salary: $80,480
  • Education: Master’s degree
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois

speech-pathologist-helping-young-boy

16. Operations Research Analysts

Using advanced mathematical and analytical techniques, operation research analysts are tasked with solving complex problems in various industries. Operations research analysts have analytical skills that can be applied to health care, business, logistics, and science, and these skills are in demand by companies who desire savings and efficiency in their operations. A bachelor’s degree in operations research or another quantitative field is needed to get started, but those with graduate degrees will be more attractive candidates.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 25%
  • Median Salary: $86,200
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, Texas, Virginia, New York, and Florida

17. Behavioral Disorder, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Counselors

Counselors for substance abuse, behavioral disorders, and mental health offer treatment for individuals who suffer from mental or behavioral problems that interfere with their everyday life. They evaluate and assess problems such as addiction or alcoholism and provide treatment and education for recovery. Typically, a bachelor’s degree and clinical license are necessary to become a counselor, but requirements may vary from a certification to a master’s degree depending on the state. As more people continue to seek out mental health services, opportunities in this career will continue to grow.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 25%
  • Median Salary: $47,660
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Massachusetts

18. Forest Fire Inspectors and Prevention Specialists

In order to prevent fire hazards, forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists examine residential and public buildings and outdoor areas for wildfire risks. They’re responsible for reporting fire code infractions, enforcing regulations, and reporting on fire conditions. As the prevalence of wildfires around the nation is increasing, forest fire inspector and prevention specialist positions will grow to meet demand. Although only a high school diploma is required, most who enter this field have previous firefighting experience and have completed some postsecondary education.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 24%
  • Median Salary: $42,150
  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience Required: Less than 5
  • High Employment Locations: Florida, California, Georgia, Mississippi, and Arkansas

19. Restaurant Cooks

Aspiring restaurant cooks have many options for achieving this occupation. You don’t need formal education to become a restaurant cook, and on-the-job training on food safety and handling will teach you what you need to know. With that being said, many do choose to pursue culinary training through a professional institution, vocational program, or apprenticeship. Although this isn’t the fastest growing job on this list, with nearly 1.8 million positions projected in 2029, it’s definitely an occupation full of opportunity.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 23%
  • Median Salary: $28,800
  • Education: No formal education
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania

20. Animal Caretakers

If you’re passionate about working with pets and nonfarm animals, animal caretaking may be the career for you. As an animal caretaker, you’re tasked with feeding, grooming, and exercising animals, and you don’t need a formal education or any experience to perform this job. The number of animal companions continues to grow, and animal caretaking positions are expected to increase to fulfill new demand.

  • Projected Growth Rate: 23%
  • Median Salary: $26,080
  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience Required: None
  • High Employment Locations: California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois

Fastest Growing Industries

The future of jobs in America will be influenced by the fastest growing industries in the nation. Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data, we determined the main industries for growth over the next decade to help you choose your next career path wisely.

Health Care

In the past decade, the population of adults age 65 and older has grown by over a third. As society ages rapidly, the demand for health care and mental health services is expected to increase. To keep up with this trend, new job openings in health care fields will expand to meet demand. Take a look at this overview of growth in health-related industries below to see where you might find a lucrative career:

  • Services for the Elderly and Disabled: 44% growth
  • Offices of Specialty Therapists: 34% growth
  • Other Ambulatory Health Care Services: 31% growth
  • Offices of All Other Health Practitioners: 31% growth
  • Offices of Mental Health Practitioners: 31% growth

Energy

High energy consumption in the United States drives demand for higher energy production and more jobs. With renewable energy production reaching record highs and expected to provide a boom in jobs over the next decade, wind and solar represent promising career paths in the energy sector. Although coal and oil production are trending down, fossil fuels will also provide a decent amount of job growth for the foreseeable future. Find the growth breakdown below:

  • Solar Electric Power Generation: 42% growth
  • Support Activities for Mining: 32% growth
  • Wind Electric Power Generation: 32% growth

Technology and Data Science

As the world and work become more and more dependent on technology and data, the demand for professional services and skills in this industry won’t slow down. Companies desire in-demand skills such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and analysis to help run businesses, solve problems, and make strategic decisions. Consider a job in one of the fast-growing industries listed below:

  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services: 26% growth
  • Management and Technical Consulting Services: 22% growth

Many factors like salary, job security, and personal interests help determine your career path. It’s important to consider the advantages that ample job growth and opportunity may provide for your career. Benefits like career stability and longevity and a consistent income are very attractive in a constantly changing job landscape. Ultimately, your job should prioritize your values for work, life, and finances. Start your career in one of the fastest growing jobs to solidify your spot in the workplace of the future.

Mint_FastestGrowingJobs2021_IG

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics 1 2 3 | Career OneStop | CompTIA | LinkedIn | Manpower Group | PWC Global | TechRepublic | TowardDataScience | Udacity |

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Source: mint.intuit.com

10 Ways to Fail Miserably at Office Politics

“Office politics,” says Boston-based Karen Dillon, “is impossible to avoid. But it is manageable if you know what not to do. As the former editor of the Harvard Business Review magazine and author of the HBR Guide to Office Politics, Dillon provides a wealth of accessible, highly useful approaches to prevent being steamrolled by nasty behavior in the workplace.

I asked her, “What are some of the worst things I could do when faced with craziness on the job from my boss or co-workers?”

1. Take everything personally when someone talks over you or criticizes your ideas. Fume!

Consequences: By doing this, you assume that anyone who dislikes, competes or in any way impedes your accomplishments is trying to take you down. You can drive yourself crazy by second-guessing who is an ally, instead of putting your energy into doing a consistently good job.

2. Become the worst version of yourself!  Get caught up in competing with a peer — or thinking the boss has a pet (but it’s not you). Spend an extraordinary amount of time obsessing over the unfairness of it all.

Consequences: You are so worked up — obsessed — over what you see as unfairness that it invades your personal life at home. This can threaten the stability of your marriage, not being the parent you want to be, the friend you want to be, while you are wallowing in misery.

3. Think only in terms of yourself. When something negative happens to you at work, immediately think of how this affects you personally, but never stop to consider whether others are also impacted.

Consequences: By only thinking of how something affects you, the opportunity to collaborate with peers in ways that can help improve the workplace for everyone is lost. You may have a colleague who is a bully, or a hyper-competitive peer. While it is normal for this to feel personal, in reality it is affecting others as well. Think beyond yourself.

4. Micromanage the people who report to you.  Hover over their desk, their projects, and never trust them to do a good enough job.

Consequences: These people will eventually lose all respect and won’t want to work with you. You are preventing them from growing, from becoming more useful to you and to the company and from enjoying their jobs. This behavior may reveal more about your insecurity and fear of failing than their competence. You could benefit from training — as micro-managing is often the result of not knowing how to support the people who work under you.

5. See yourself as a “friend” of your boss rather than a direct report. Blur the lines between personal and professional. Over-share personal information or opinions about others at work. Assume your boss always has your back.

Consequences: By hitching your wagon to one star, you leave yourself vulnerable should that person ever leave the company or fall out of favor. Your peers may come to resent you.

7. Align yourself with a certain group of people who are very exclusive as to who they allow in. Always go to lunch together and have inside jokes you don’t share with others.

Consequences: You will be seen by others in the company as snobbish and never having matured beyond the level of a high school student. You miss opportunities to grow and collaborate. When the power dynamic shifts — and it almost always will — you will be left out of good opportunities.

8. Never have a difficult conversation.

Say you have a disagreement with a colleague, or you feel that your work has not been fairly credited, or you want to speak up and say you don’t agree with the decision that has been made, but you don’t! Instead, your anger spirals in private and you never take the opportunity to try to express what’s bothering you.

Consequences: If you never develop the skills of navigating conflict in a constructive way, people eventually will stop respecting you. Some of the most successful professionals are those who find a way to work through conflict without making it personal. Don’t attempt to respond to conflict when you’re angry and worked up. At a minimum, you won’t likely be able to express yourself well in those moments.

Take a little time to cool off, think about whether your reaction is reasonable, and then even write down or practice what you’re going to say. If you have a trusted colleague or friend, bounce the situation off them and see if they think you are justified in your response. Think of how much better you would respond to someone coming to you with a thoughtful concern rather than the white hot heat of anger.

9. Assume that your personal social media posts won’t affect your job.

Consequences: Everything you say in public will eventually make its way back to your job. Act accordingly, or you may regret it. For example, the newly appointed editor of Teen Vogue, a prestigious and prominent magazine job, recently had to resign before she even started the job because of previous intemperate comments she had made on social media when she was younger.

10. Quit a job you like because of office politics.

Consequences: Using good listening skills and confronting issues that are challenging usually leads to understanding and harmony. If you make a good faith effort to address what’s wrong and fail, at least you tried, and then it’s OK to quit.

Dillon’s book is like taking a drink from a magical bottle that gives the reader insight and maturity.  If I had it when starting out in the working world, my foot would have felt so much better for all the times I didn’t insert it in my mouth!

Attorney at Law, Author of “You and the Law”

After attending Loyola University School of Law, H. Dennis Beaver joined California’s Kern County District Attorney’s Office, where he established a Consumer Fraud section. He is in the general practice of law and writes a syndicated newspaper column, “You and the Law.” Through his column he offers readers in need of down-to-earth advice his help free of charge. “I know it sounds corny, but I just love to be able to use my education and experience to help, simply to help. When a reader contacts me, it is a gift.” 

Source: kiplinger.com

Land a Job with These Must-Have Skills for Your Resume

It’s no secret: job hunting is a pain in the neck. Sending out resume after resume hoping an employer emails you back for an interview can get pretty tiresome after a while — especially if you’re really looking for that perfect dream job. 

There’s no surefire process to guarantee a job, but there are big steps that you can take to make your resume more appealing to potential employers. One way to do that is showcasing your skills. Skills are a great resume booster because they show potential employers exactly what you’re bringing to the table. Sure, education and past experience are important to include, but often, employers want a more direct description of your abilities before they seriously consider you for a job.

 In this post, we’ll walk you through what you should know about skills for resume building. Read through and apply these tips to your resume today to start seeing better results in the future. 

What are the best skills to put on a resume?

Good skills to put on a resume depend on your industry and personal expertise; there’s no one-size-fits-all set of skills that will work for everyone. However, there are some prominent skills that almost every employer will find appealing, including:

  • Clear, direct communication
  • Time management
  • Organization
  • Team leadership and collaboration 
  • Problem-solving
  • Basic computer literacy 

When listing skills, it’s a good idea to tie them back to some experience that you have. For instance, let’s say that in your current job, you collaborate with a team to produce a budget report every month. When you list your “Team leadership” as a skill, be sure to cite your budget meeting collaboration as an example. 

We’ll explain more about how to include and format skills in your resume further down. But first, there’s an important distinction that we should explain. 

The difference between hard skills and soft skills

You might have heard recruiters, HR reps, and other professionals mention hard skills and soft skills. It’s not a hard science, but this is how each one works. 

  • Hard skills: Industry-specific skills that often require school or training to achieve 
  • Soft skills: General skills that can be applied to a diverse range of work environments

It’s easier to understand the difference by considering a few examples. 

Hard skills: examples for your resume

As mentioned, hard skills are developed through training or in school, and usually apply to one or more specific industries. For example, here are a few hard skills for your resume that employers are often interested in:

  • Computer programming
  • Web design
  • Technical writing
  • Marketing copywriting
  • Applied math
  • Engineering
  • Heavy machinery operation
  • Research skills
  • Legal analysis
  • Medical diagnostics
  • Psychological counseling 
  • Electrician skills

Typically, hard skills are part of the hard requirements for a job. If you don’t have chemical engineering as one of your hard skills, you will likely not be hired for any job that requires it. To learn hard skills, it’s a good idea to attend a trade school, junior college, or four-year university and take the necessary classes. 

There may also be industry-led training programs that you can apply to, such as initiatives to train employees in programming and other skills for growing industries. If you need a certain set of hard skills to put on your resume in order to succeed in your favored industry, your first step should be to research how you can get those skills. 

Soft skills: examples for your resume

On the other hand, soft skills are more general. They can also be developed in a variety of places: in school, on the job, volunteering, and sometimes people are just born with them. Soft skills often involve working with others. A few examples of soft skills for your resume include:

  • Communication
  • Cooperation
  • Time management
  • Leadership
  • Empathy 
  • Active listening 
  • Public speaking
  • Problem-solving
  • Computer literacy 

Soft skills might not be strict requirements for many positions, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t important. In fact, because many applicants to a given position will likely already have the hard skills required to perform that job, soft skills can make a huge difference when it comes to setting you apart.

For instance, say you’re applying to that chemical engineering position mentioned before. Likely, most of the applicants will have a four-year degree or equivalent training, and will know the basics it takes to get the job done. However, you might be the only one with a proven track record of communicating and collaborating with a diverse team. Highlighting that skill can set you apart from the pack. 

How to match your skills to the job description

Something you may have read online or heard from professionals is that it’s smart to match your skills to the skills asked for in a job description. It’s pretty clear why you’d want to do this: potential employers are looking for someone with a certain set of skills, so you want to make it obvious to them that you have those skills. 

On top of that, some employers use algorithmic methods to sort out resumes because they get so many applicants. Using the skills mentioned in the job description increases the likelihood that the algorithm will serve your resume to the human hiring manager. 

Matching your skills to the job description is pretty simple. Take a look at your resume, then look at the skills the job description asks for. Let’s say that the job description asks for an “effective communicator,” and your resume skills section (more on that in just a sec) says “clear communicator.” These are pretty much the same thing; simply change the wording on your resume to match the wording from the job description. 

Where to include a skills section on your resume

We’ve mentioned a few times that it’s a good idea to have a skills section on your resume. These days, having a well laid-out, dynamic resume is important. A simple Word document printed in black and white Times New Roman may still be the standard for some industries, but in many fields, visually standing out is important. 

One way to do that is to have clearly labeled sections on your resume, sometimes graphically laid out in modular boxes that are fun and eye-catching. Whatever layout you choose, prominently identifying your skills is usually a good idea. In that section, simply list your skills. Some professionals also recommend giving clear examples of your skills in action. 

For instance:

  • Web design: Build company website from the ground up using HTML and CSS coding. 
  • Clear communicator: Worked collaboratively with a team of designers to improve software UI
  • Leadership: Stepped up and took the lead on a project when the manager had to step out. 

Using evidence to support your skills gives potential employers an idea of what they can expect from you — a critical leg up as they assess their many options. It’s also just part of having a strong, well-rounded resume

When it comes to placing the section for skills for your resume, there is some debate over where the best location might be. There are some options to choose from:

  • As the first item on the page: This bold move demonstrates your abilities immediately, before even getting into education or experience. This might work better for jobs that require a number of harder-to-find hard skills. 
  • Near the bottom: Some jobs might be pickier based on education or experience. If that’s the case, you’ll still want to include your skills, but foregrounding those other accomplishments might be the savvier move. 
  • MIxed in with experience: Some resumes pepper skills in with experience. List each job you’ve had, then under it, the specific skills (and accomplishments) that you attained there. 

Ultimately, the important thing is that you customize your resume to suit the job you’re applying to. Different industries, different employers, and even different individual hiring managers might all have their own preferences and standards. Doing your research to try to match your resume to those standards is your best bet when trying to stand out. 

  • Pro tip: if you’re headed to a career fair soon, don’t just stop at your resume. Check out our guide to questions to ask at a career fair so you show up informed and prepared.

Resume-boosting skills: the takeaways

Here’s what to remember as you start putting together your professional resume:

  • The best skills to put on your resume include both hard and soft skills. 
  • Hard skills for your resume usually require education or training, and include skills like:
    • Computer programming
    • Technical writing
    • Medical training
  • Soft skills are more general, can be learned from experience, and can be applied to many jobs. Good soft skills to put on your resume include:
    • Communication
    • Leadership
    • Computer literacy 
  • One way to help your resume stand out is to phrase your skills so that they match the job description. This lets employers know you’re paying attention, and will help keep you from being sorted out by a resume-sorting algorithm (if they use one). 
  • Different jobs and industries require different resume layouts. However, it’s usually a good idea to highlight your skills in their own section. 

Having a well-written resume can increase your earning potential, help you find better jobs, and even help with getting a promotion or salary increase. Try these tips out as you continue your job hunt — and good luck on the market!

Sources

Harvard Business Review | Indeed | Purdue OWL

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Top 25 Highest Paying Jobs Without a Degree

Although college is a great way to invest in yourself, it’s not always for everyone. A college degree may be a stepping stone to overall success, but 43.2 million Americans have also left college with an average of $39,351 in student debt. Take inspiration from the likes of college dropouts, like Steve Jobs and Racheal Ray, and build your wealth without a university degree. Check out the 25 highest paying jobs without a degree to find your alternative path to professional and financial success.

Jump down to the infographic for a visual of the top-paying jobs as well as inspiration from other highly successful people without degrees.

Note: We used the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ median salary data from 2019 to compile this list and infographic.

1. Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers

This highest paying job without a degree involves all activities relating to the planning and coordination of distribution, transportation, or storage. Transportation, storage, and distribution managers are responsible for directing these activities in accordance with government regulations and organizational policies. Tasks include planning and implementing warehouse safety, supervising shipping, receiving, storing, and testing of products, and integrating logistics with business operations. With just a high school diploma and five years of experience getting things where they need to go, you can level up to this higher position and higher salary.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: 5 or more years
  • Median Income: $94,560
  • Projected Jobs: 4,900

2. Police and Detective Supervisors

First-line supervisors in this occupation directly oversee detectives and police officers, and they offer expertise in coordinating the investigation of criminal cases. Responsibilities include the training and management of personnel to conduct police operations according to the law. With just a high school diploma required, you’ll be well-rewarded for rising up through the police force with a close to six-figure salary.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $91,090
  • Projected Jobs: 6,600

3. Commercial Pilots

While airline pilots typically need a bachelor’s degree, commercial pilots perform a similar job without one. Commercial pilots operate and fly aircraft, such as helicopters and airplanes that aren’t affiliated with airlines. Their responsibilities include preparing and inspecting aircraft conditions, making flight plans, communicating with air traffic controllers, and navigating aircraft. Unlike airline pilots, commercial pilots generally perform unscheduled flights such as charter flights and aerial tours. Reap the benefits of pilot’s salary while getting to stay closer to home.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, commercial pilot’s license
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years (500 to 1,500 hours minimum flight experience)
  • Median Income: $86,080
  • Projected Jobs: 45,400

4. Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers

Installers and repairers of elevators and escalators are tasked with fixing, maintaining, and installing lifts and movable walkways. This occupation requires workers to work at tall heights and in cramped spaces. Full-time workers may have to work overtime or be on call for entire days. Despite the working conditions, they’re compensated well. Start your path to becoming an elevator and escalator installer or repairer by obtaining a high school diploma and gaining experience with an apprenticeship.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent and apprenticeship
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $84,990
  • Projected Jobs: 30,800

5. Firefighting Supervisors

Supervisors in this career are responsible for overseeing and coordinating the work of firefighters and any others involved in fire prevention and control. Firefighting supervisors function as leaders of their crew and are involved in communicating fire details to all personnel, administering medical services, assessing fires, and strategically assigning firefighters to rescue and extinguish fires. You can work your way up to this supervisory position in less than five years and start earning well above the standard median income in the United States.

  • Education: Postsecondary nondegree award, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $77,800
  • Projected Jobs: 4,400

firefighter-discussing-strategy-meeting

6. Transportation Inspectors

Another transportation career with a high salary and no degree requirement is a transportation inspector. This job is responsible for inspecting products or equipment that are involved in the transportation of people or cargo. Inspectors can specialize in freight, rail transportation, or other vehicles. Duties include inspecting shipments for security, recording freight conditions and handling, observing loading for compliance, and offering expertise when stowing heavy or dangerous cargo. If you’re interested in transportation and management isn’t for you, this role is a well-paying alternative to being a transportation manager.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $75,820
  • Projected Jobs: 700

7. Theatrical Performance Makeup Artists

Makeup artists who apply makeup for theatrical performances are compensated generously for their work and artistry. Theatrical makeup artists generally use makeup to convey a certain period or setting that enhances the performer and their role. Their craft requires them to have precision in their work when duplicating looks for characters on a regular basis, and they specialize in using a variety of materials to achieve their looks.

  • Education: Postsecondary nondegree award
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $75,730
  • Projected Jobs: 500

8. Non-Retail Sales Supervisors

In this role, individuals supervise non-retail sales workers and may also take on budgeting and accounting responsibilities. Non-retail sales supervisors manage their staff and offer guidance in hitting sales goals and resolving problems regarding services or products. Although this occupation’s jobs are projected to decline, the current job landscape indicates a robust field with 409,800 employed in 2019.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $74,760
  • Projected Jobs: -34,100

9. Lighting, Media, and Communication Equipment Workers

Individuals who work as lighting technicians or media and communication equipment workers are well-compensated for their services. This career finds high levels of employment in the following industries: radio and television broadcasting, motion picture and video, colleges and universities, rental and leasing services, and federal government. Jump into this career after earning a high school diploma and going through short-term on-the-job training.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $73,460
  • Projected Jobs: 1,300

10. Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

This career consists of maintaining and installing the power grid, and entry-level positions require a high school diploma. Electrical power line installers install power line networks and repairers service high-voltage lines and towers or even street and traffic lights. Typical duties include inspecting power lines, identifying defects in the power grid, and climbing poles to string power lines. These electrical line installers and repairers work in dangerous conditions off of the ground and with high-voltage electricity. This risk may be balanced by the strong projected job growth and compensation.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $72,520
  • Projected Jobs: 116,900

team-agriculture-vegetables-food-farm

11. Agricultural Managers

Agricultural managers, farmers, and ranchers make a decent salary producing livestock, dairy, or crops. This occupation typically needs a high school diploma to get started, but as farm management grows more complex, a secondary degree may be necessary. Agricultural manager positions are expected to decline as farms become more efficient, but about 81,000 job openings are projected each year for the next decade. Explore this career if you enjoy working outdoors with crops or animals.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: 5 or more years
  • Median Income: $71,160
  • Projected Jobs: -61,600

12. Subway and Streetcar Operators

With just a high school diploma and moderate on-the-job training, you can operate subways, suburban trains, or streetcars for a salary over $60,000. As a streetcar or subway operator, you transport passengers by operating the train or streetcar controls, driving and regulating the vehicle on a railway, and conducting emergency procedures when necessary. This role is another high-paying transportation job that doesn’t require reaching the management level to be paid well.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $67,880
  • Projected Jobs: 600

13. Mechanic Supervisors

This role is in charge of supervising the work of mechanics, repairers, or installers. Mechanic supervisors deal with scheduling and assigning work based on an employee’s skills, reviewing work performance, maintaining safety procedures, and investigating accidents. It takes less than five years of experience to reach a supervisory level, and with a 3 percent projected job growth rate, it will be possible to grow into this role quickly.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $67,460
  • Projected Jobs: 13,300

14. Construction and Extraction Supervisors

Supervisors of construction and extraction workers coordinate and inspect work activities and ensure that safety standards are met on work sites. It typically takes five or more years of experience in extraction or other construction trade to reach this role. However, with this area growing faster than average at 5 percent, once you have the experience, there will be plenty of job openings on the market.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: 5 or more years
  • Median Income: $66,210
  • Projected Jobs: 33,000

15. Police Officers

If you’re at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma and valid driver’s license, and are a U.S. citizen, becoming a police officer is a career option for those who don’t possess a degree. In addition to those eligibility requirements, written and physical exams must be passed before becoming a cadet. Police cadets typically attend a training academy to learn about federal, state, and local laws, civil rights, and ethics. They’ll also receive on-the-job training to be able to perform duties such as traffic control, self-defense, first aid, patrol, and emergency response. After completing training and passing a series of interviews, cadets are allowed to become police officers.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $65,170
  • Projected Jobs: 40,600

aircraft-mechanic-hangar-inspecting-repair

16. Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians

Avionic mechanics and service technicians perform routine maintenance or make repairs to aircraft. After completing high school, mechanics and technicians can get technical training and complete a certification at an aviation technician school that is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Another pathway is to start training on the job with constant supervision in order to gain enough experience to become certified. Responsibilities include fixing electrical or mechanical issues and repairing parts relating to the brakes, wings, and other electrical components.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, additional technical training
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $64,310
  • Projected Jobs: 7,300

17. Correctional Supervisors

Supervising and coordinating the activities of jailers and correctional officers is another job that doesn’t require a degree. Correctional supervisors are in charge of the custody, discipline, and welfare of inmates, and they’re also tasked with maintaining order and enforcing rules and regulations at the correctional facility. At times, they must direct operations in emergency situations like during escapes. This occupation is expected to decline over the next decade.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $63,730
  • Projected Jobs: -3,800

18. Stationary Engineers and Boiler Operators

Boiler operators and stationary engineers are responsible for operating mechanical equipment, specifically boilers and stationary engines. In order to qualify for a job in this role, you will need a high school diploma and will learn your trade through long-term on-the-job training. An apprenticeship will also help you get the experience you need and yield natural job opportunities. Before becoming employed, you’ll have to demonstrate competency by passing an exam or obtaining a license.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $62,150
  • Projected Jobs: 800

19. Farm Labor Contractors

Interested in earning $60,000 a year without a high school diploma? With some short-term on-the-job training, you can learn to recruit and hire temporary or seasonal farm workers. Some farm labor contractors may need a high school diploma, but less than five years of experience as an apprentice or employee also qualifies. This job involves supervising agricultural laborers, paying their wages, and providing resources for food, water, shelter, transportation, and sanitation during their contracted work.

  • Education: No formal education required
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $61,910
  • Projected Jobs: 100

20. Fire Inspectors

Generally, fire inspectors and investigators have a background in fighting fires and have postsecondary training from that field. With that being said, a high school diploma and on-the-job training provide the basic foundation you need to get started. Fire inspectors identify fire hazards, ensure fire codes are met, test fire extinguishing systems, review evacuation plans, and offer education on fire safety. Investigators are tasked with analyzing evidence from fires, documenting it, and determining the cause and origin. If you’re interested in this field, either route will earn a median salary above $60,000.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $61,660
  • Projected Jobs: 800

manager-supervisor-production-inspection-talking

21. Production and Operations Supervisors

In these positions, you’re responsible for supervising the work of production and operating workers. Operations and production supervisors handle work records, plan schedules, inspect products and equipment, evaluate product estimates and output, and maintain compliance with sanitation and safety regulations. It takes less than five years to reach a supervisory position in this field, but it’s important to note that the growth rate is declining.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $61,310
  • Projected Jobs: -2,000

22. Executive Assistants

Looking for a job that has no technical training or degree involved? Become an executive secretary or assistant and set yourself up for success with some basic office experience and skills. Typically, this role consists of more complex clerical and administrative work for high-level executives. Tasks include reviewing communications, doing research, and compiling reports. Although a decent job decline is expected in this occupation, job openings will still occur when an existing job holder leaves the field. With nearly 600,000 executive assistants employed in 2019, there will be plenty of opportunities on the job market.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $60,890
  • Projected Jobs: -121,100

23. Construction and Building Inspectors

Building and construction inspectors review construction to make sure all necessary building codes and zoning regulations are met and all contractual requirements and local ordinances are followed. Inspectors are required to have a high school diploma, and most states also require a license or certification. Training happens on the job, and it varies by location and type of inspector.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent, additional license or certification
  • Years of Experience: 5 or more years
  • Median Income: $60,710
  • Projected Jobs: 3,900

24. Court Reporters

To qualify for an entry-level court reporter position, you’ll need to complete a certificate from a community college or technical school. Certifications will prepare you to pass typing-speed exams and obtain a license, which is required in many states. After gaining your credentials, you will work in court creating word-for-word transcripts of proceedings, hearings, and depositions. Court reporting is essential to legal proceedings, and you can feel confident about doing work that benefits society while also getting paid well for it.

  • Education: Postsecondary nondegree award, on-the-job training
  • Years of Experience: None
  • Median Income: $60,130
  • Projected Jobs: 1,400

25. Property Managers

You don’t need a college degree to manage real estate, property, or community associations. Property managers maintain the operations and appearance of real estate or communities in order to generate income from the property. Their tasks include showing property to potential renters, discussing financial options and terms of leasing, conducting inspections, scheduling repairs, and running operations according to fair housing laws. Although this occupation isn’t in a decline, automation of property management has slowed this field’s growth.

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Years of Experience: Less than 5 years
  • Median Income: $58,760
  • Projected Jobs: 800

Successful People Without A College Degree

Need some inspiration for what it takes to be successful without a college degree? Learn from the examples of these uber-successful business moguls and entrepreneurs who never started or finished college.

Just remember, if you’re already in college and have student loans, you’ll still need to repay your loans even if you don’t complete your degree. Think about the investment you’ve made so far and evaluate whether your degree is worth it before deciding it’s not for you.

billionaires-millionaires-never-finished-college

Rebecca Minkoff

At the age of 18, Rebecca Minkoff decided to forgo college and pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer by moving to New York City. She quickly became an overnight sensation when one of her designs was featured on The Tonight Show, and her iconic designer bags solidified her status in fashion and lifestyle. Today, she is an award-winning designer recognized for her apparel and accessories, and she has a net worth of $10 million.

Steve Jobs

Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, never completed his degree at Reed College. He has said that his time at Reed did help inspire the design of Apple’s Macintosh computer. However, even with a lack of a college degree, Jobs managed to amass a $10.2 billion net worth at the time of his death.

Rachael Ray

Talk show host and celebrity food personality, Rachael Ray, spent two years at university before dropping out to concentrate on work. She put on “30 Minute Meals” while working at a gourmet food store and eventually landed on local television. From there she went on to do cooking shows on the Food Network and turned her following into a food empire and net worth of $100 million.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates is a Harvard dropout, but who needs a Harvard degree when your computer programming projects are earning you $20,000 at the age of 17. Gates would go on to enroll at Harvard, but his coding and programming abilities would garner him a job offer before he ever completed his degree. That job offer turned into a business partnership and Microsoft was born, catapulting Gates to fame and fortune for creating one of the world’s top software companies. With a $127 billion net worth, read one of his book recommendations to help level up your money mindset.

Mary Kay Ash

Mary Kay Ash launched her iconic beauty business in 1963 in an effort to empower women and disrupt a male-dominated workforce. Ash’s company, Mary Kay Inc., went on to achieve global success and recognition and earned her a net worth of $500 million at the time of her death in 1984. Although Ash didn’t originally attend college, she eventually pursued a degree at the University of Houston but dropped out after a year.

Mark Zuckerberg

Multi-billionaire Mark Zuckerberg seems to have managed quite well without a college degree. Like Gates, the CEO and founder of Facebook is also a Harvard dropout. He started his successful social network while at university and dropped out to pursue it full time. With a net worth of over $113 billion, we can say he definitely found his best path to success.

A college degree isn’t the exact formula for success. With the right spending and saving habits, you can grow your wealth by working one of these high paying jobs without a degree. Try perfecting your budget based on your salary with the Mint app and take charge of your financial future today.

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Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | Education Data | Inside Highered | Glassdoor | Bloomberg | Celebrity Net Worth | Discover Praxis | Investopedia | Wealthy Genius | Yahoo |

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How Much is Your FICO Score Costing You on Your Car? (Infographic)

A FICO credit score is a credit score developed by FICO, a company that specializes in what’s known as “predictive analytics,” which means they take information and analyze it to predict what’s likely to happen.

In the case of credit scores, FICO looks at a range of credit information and uses that to create scores that help lenders predict consumer behavior, such as how likely someone is to pay their bills on time (or not), or whether they are able to handle a larger credit line.

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Scores developed by FICO can also be used to forecast which accounts are most likely to end up included in bankruptcy, or which ones will be most profitable. And credit-based insurance scores, which they also create, are used to help insurance companies identify which customers are least likely to file claims.

What Does FICO Stand For?

The name FICO comes from the company’s original name, the Fair Isaac Co. It was often shortened to FICO and finally became the company’s official name several years ago.

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To create credit scores, they use information provided by one of the three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. But FICO itself is not a credit reporting agency.

Though a FICO credit score is the most widely used among lenders, there are other scores lenders can choose from, such as the VantageScore, which is becoming more widely used.

What is the FICO Score Range?

There are actually dozens of FICO scores, with each version serving a different purpose (more on that later). Generally, the FICO score range is 300 to 850, with the higher number representing less risk to the lender or insurer.

What Is a Good FICO Score?

Consumers with excellent FICO scores (usually around 760 fico score range or higher, though every lender has different standards) are likely to get the best rates when they borrow, as well as the best discounts on insurance.

What Goes Into FICO Scores?

Five main factors go into FICO scores, and they each have a different effect on your score. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Payment history (35% of the FICO score)
  • Debt/amounts owed (30%)
  • Age of credit history (15%)
  • New credit/inquiries (10%)
  • Mix of accounts/types of credit (10%)

All these factors are considered in other credit score models, so it’s safe to say that if you have a good FICO score, you likely have a strong score with other models as well. However, for some people, the weight of these categories can vary.

For example, people who haven’t been using credit for very long will be factored differently than those with a longer credit history, according to FICO. So, the importance of any one of these factors depends on the overall information in your credit report.

That’s why it’s a good idea to not get too hung up on the specific number of your credit score. Instead, focus on what areas of your credit are strong and which ones you might want to work on to better achieve a good FICO score.

What’s Not in My FICO Score?

While FICO considers a wide range of information to come up with your credit scores, there is a lot of information that is not used. According to FICO, the scores do not consider anything that isn’t on your credit report, which includes your race, religion, national origin, sex, marital status and age.

Here are some other things that FICO says it does not factor into its scores:

  • Participation in a credit counseling program
  • Employment information, including your salary, occupation, title, employer, date employed or employment history
  • Where you live
  • The interest rates on your credit accounts
  • “Soft” inquiries (requests for your credit report), which include requests you make to see your own credit reports or scores
  • Any information that has not been proven to be predictive of future credit performance

Is There Just One FICO Score?

FICO has dozens of credit score models. Some are specific to what the consumer is applying for. For example, if you’re applying for an auto loan, your potential creditor may use a FICO score formula that gives significant weight to your history of making auto loan payments. Other models are customized for FICO’s clients.

Additionally, FICO updates its general formulas from time to time, with the most recent being the FICO 9 rollout in 2014. Paid collection accounts are not factored into FICO 9 scores, and unpaid medical collections have less of a negative impact on credit scores, compared to other credit scoring models and previous FICO algorithms.

A Few More Facts About FICO Scores

A lesser-known fact about FICO scores is that some people don’t have them at all. To generate a credit score, a consumer must have a certain amount of available information. For example, to generate FICO scores, the consumer should have at least one account that has been open for six or more months and at least one account that has been reported to the credit reporting agencies over the last six months.

Did you know that it is also possible to achieve a perfect FICO score? The best FICO score a consumer can have is an 850, and that number has been reached by only about 0.5% of consumers that practiced better credit behavior.

Paying all your bills on time, not carrying your credit card balances month to month, and not opening multiple accounts are all good behaviors to follow to help you reach your FICO score goals of 850.

Each of the three major credit bureaus will generate their own FICO scores. It is recommended that you look at each credit report from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion because the FICO score for each may slightly vary. You may also find that there is more than one FICO score available from each reporting agency.

FICO SBSS

FICO scores are not just for individuals either. Small businesses also have their own FICO scores, and these scores are what banks and other financial institutions use to help determine if they should lend to a business or not.

The FICO SBSS is the small business FICO Score (FICO Small Business Scoring Service) and counts as one of three main business credit scores. These FICO scores range from 0 to 300 and like regular FICO scores, the higher the sbss score, the better.

To calculate a FICO SBSS, the personal and business credit history is considered alongside other financial information such as payment history to vendors and suppliers. These scores can then be used to prescreen or determine loan terms and credit amounts that could reach more than one million dollars.

If a small business would like to improve their FICO score, then they should take a closer look at their personal credit history while they take positive steps to begin to build business credit.

FICO Score Versus VantageScore

Like FICO scores, VantageScores are also utilized by all three of the major credit reporting agencies. The VantageScore credit score is another scoring model that was actually developed by TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.

While both scoring models use much of the same information to calculate scores, FICO bases their model off the reports from the three credit bureaus to come up with one formula. They both use a scoring model with scores ranging between 300 and 850.

VantageScore is most often used if the individual does not have an adequate credit history while FICO is used if there is a history of at least six months or more. VantageScore credit scores are given to people who don’t qualify to receive a FICO credit score due to the short or nonexistent credit history.

In addition to a FICO score and VantageScore, you can also find a TransRisk Score. This score is also a three-digit number on a scoring model of 300 to 850. The TransRisk Score, however, is found with information on a TransUnion credit report and is not often used by lenders.

How to Get Your Credit Score

With a free Credit.com account, you get a free credit score. This is not a trial offer, there is nothing to cancel, and you won’t be asked for your credit card information.

You can also purchase a FICO score online, and some credit card companies also provide free credit scores with an account or on your regular statement.

Source: credit.com

Car payment too high

Buying a car with bad credit is possible—it’s just going to cost you. You’ll probably have a higher interest rate and require a bigger down payment, and you may have a much smaller selection to choose from than someone with a better credit history.

Here’s how to go about buying a car with bad credit and what you’ll need to be aware of to avoid being overcharged.

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1. Check Your Credit
2. Improve Your Score
3. Fix Credit Errors
4. Know What You Can Pay
5. Make a Bigger Down Payment
6. Get a Shorter Loan
7. Work with a Bad Credit Car Dealer
8. Get Preapproved
9. Get a Co-signer
10. Comparison Shop
11. Read the Fine Print
12. Refinance

Buying a Car With Bad Credit

If you have poor or bad credit, buying a vehicle requires some common steps that people with good credit don’t necessarily need to worry about. Consider taking these steps when buying a car with bad credit.

1. Check Your Credit

If your credit is poor, you may be stuck paying a higher interest rate until you can improve your credit scores. Your credit score is a huge factor when it comes to the interest rate and credit financing you will receive for your auto loan—or if you’ll be approved at all. You’ll want to go into this process knowing what your score is and what your options are.

Check your credit from all three major credit bureaus several months before you begin your car shopping journey so you have time to rebuild your credit if possible. Track your credit history to determine the areas where you can most improve before applying for a car loan.

2. Improve Your Score

There is no official minimum credit score you need to buy a car, but a higher score will open up more options and better rates. According to Experian, the average credit score for used car purchases at the end of 2018 was 659.

If your score is below 660, look for ways to improve your score before applying for a car loan. Your free Credit Report Card from Credit.com will help you determine the most efficient ways to improve your score: paying off debt, clearing up errors or taking care of old collection accounts could bump you over that coveted 700 threshold. Delaying the car finance process to improve your poor credit score and rebuild your credit can save you money in the long run.

3. Fix Credit Errors

If you find mistakes on your credit reports, fixing those errors could bring your score up quite a bit. If possible, give yourself at least 30 days to dispute credit report mistakes before you start car shopping and looking for an auto finance company or submit a loan application. If you think this is your best option, you can try DIY credit repair, or work with a credit repair service such as those from Lexington Law.

4. Know What You Can Pay

Whether or not you’re able to improve your credit score, you should know what you can afford to pay before you start shopping—and stay committed to your budget. Auto loan calculators are helpful tools to use when you are trying to determine how much car you can afford. These calculators can also provide you with an estimate of what you will be paying for the entire term of the auto loan, interest included.

〉 Try it now: Auto Loan Calculator

5. Make a Bigger Down Payment

If your score is still on the low side and you don’t have more time to rebuild your credit before purchasing a car, be prepared to put a large chunk of money down. If you’re able to put down more money, you can borrow less money—which will usually mean more savings overall. How much you have to put down on a car with bad credit depends on how low your score is (and why) as well as the price of the car and the dealer you’re working with. In general, at least $1,000 or 10% of the purchase price is recommended.

If you’re unable to put any money down, your options will be severely limited. You may be able to buy a car from a private seller who is willing to take payments, but this scenario is unlikely.

6. Get a Shorter Loan

Longer loans are generally considered a higher risk: there’s more time for you to potentially default on the loan, so the interest rates tend to be higher. The monthly payments will be higher for shorter loans, however, so make sure you are able to fit this into your budget with some room to spare.

7. Work with a Bad Credit Car Dealer

If you need a car now and have a credit score that falls below the 600 range, you may need to go to bad credit car dealerships that specialize in no-credit or poor-credit buyers. These dealerships will work with your credit history to get approval, but interest rates will likely be high and terms may be unfavorable.

8. Get Preapproved

Getting preapproval for auto financing from a bank or credit union could better prepare you for the car shopping process. This preapproval process analyzes your income, expenses, credit score and credit report and determines if you qualify for an auto loan from the lender and how much the lender would be willing to lend. Submitting your paperwork early and learning what obstacles you face could spare you a lot of headaches later when going through the loan approval process.

9. Get a Co-signer

If you have a poor credit score, it may be helpful to get a co-signer for your loan application. Not all lenders offer this option, so consider this carefully before moving forward.

10. Comparison Shop

Always shop around for your loan. You never know what options are available until you look. Look for the best possible terms and make sure that you can actually afford the payments so you don’t end up negatively affecting your credit even more. It’s also a good idea to compare rates from other lenders like banks or credit unions before settling on a loan straight from the dealership.

11. Read the Fine Print

The fine print can make a big difference in the overall purchase price of the vehicle, especially if your credit means a high interest rate. Make sure there’s no prepayment penalty so you’re not fined for paying off a loan quicker than agreed, and avoid pricey add-ons that increase the sales price.

12. Refinance

Auto loan refinancing could help lower your auto loan rates and your monthly payment, which could end up saving you hundreds over the life of the loan. For loan refinancing, you typically want a strong history of making on-time payments for at least 12 months. However, keep in mind that the loan refinancing will also take your credit history and current credit scores into account as well. So, as always, continue working diligently to improve and rebuild your credit rating.

Key Takeaways

Whether or not you can get a car loan with bad credit depends on many factors. If you follow these tips, you may be able to get an auto loan and save money even with poor credit scores.

You can view your credit score and get an easy-to-understand Credit Report Card for free at Credit.com or via the mobile app for iPhone and Android. Start by taking a look at what factors are having the most impact on your scores and credit rating so you know what to address first.

Source: credit.com

Interview with a Car Broker

Buying a car with bad credit is possible—it’s just going to cost you. You’ll probably have a higher interest rate and require a bigger down payment, and you may have a much smaller selection to choose from than someone with a better credit history.

Here’s how to go about buying a car with bad credit and what you’ll need to be aware of to avoid being overcharged.

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1. Check Your Credit
2. Improve Your Score
3. Fix Credit Errors
4. Know What You Can Pay
5. Make a Bigger Down Payment
6. Get a Shorter Loan
7. Work with a Bad Credit Car Dealer
8. Get Preapproved
9. Get a Co-signer
10. Comparison Shop
11. Read the Fine Print
12. Refinance

Buying a Car With Bad Credit

If you have poor or bad credit, buying a vehicle requires some common steps that people with good credit don’t necessarily need to worry about. Consider taking these steps when buying a car with bad credit.

1. Check Your Credit

If your credit is poor, you may be stuck paying a higher interest rate until you can improve your credit scores. Your credit score is a huge factor when it comes to the interest rate and credit financing you will receive for your auto loan—or if you’ll be approved at all. You’ll want to go into this process knowing what your score is and what your options are.

Check your credit from all three major credit bureaus several months before you begin your car shopping journey so you have time to rebuild your credit if possible. Track your credit history to determine the areas where you can most improve before applying for a car loan.

2. Improve Your Score

There is no official minimum credit score you need to buy a car, but a higher score will open up more options and better rates. According to Experian, the average credit score for used car purchases at the end of 2018 was 659.

If your score is below 660, look for ways to improve your score before applying for a car loan. Your free Credit Report Card from Credit.com will help you determine the most efficient ways to improve your score: paying off debt, clearing up errors or taking care of old collection accounts could bump you over that coveted 700 threshold. Delaying the car finance process to improve your poor credit score and rebuild your credit can save you money in the long run.

3. Fix Credit Errors

If you find mistakes on your credit reports, fixing those errors could bring your score up quite a bit. If possible, give yourself at least 30 days to dispute credit report mistakes before you start car shopping and looking for an auto finance company or submit a loan application. If you think this is your best option, you can try DIY credit repair, or work with a credit repair service such as those from Lexington Law.

4. Know What You Can Pay

Whether or not you’re able to improve your credit score, you should know what you can afford to pay before you start shopping—and stay committed to your budget. Auto loan calculators are helpful tools to use when you are trying to determine how much car you can afford. These calculators can also provide you with an estimate of what you will be paying for the entire term of the auto loan, interest included.

〉 Try it now: Auto Loan Calculator

5. Make a Bigger Down Payment

If your score is still on the low side and you don’t have more time to rebuild your credit before purchasing a car, be prepared to put a large chunk of money down. If you’re able to put down more money, you can borrow less money—which will usually mean more savings overall. How much you have to put down on a car with bad credit depends on how low your score is (and why) as well as the price of the car and the dealer you’re working with. In general, at least $1,000 or 10% of the purchase price is recommended.

If you’re unable to put any money down, your options will be severely limited. You may be able to buy a car from a private seller who is willing to take payments, but this scenario is unlikely.

6. Get a Shorter Loan

Longer loans are generally considered a higher risk: there’s more time for you to potentially default on the loan, so the interest rates tend to be higher. The monthly payments will be higher for shorter loans, however, so make sure you are able to fit this into your budget with some room to spare.

7. Work with a Bad Credit Car Dealer

If you need a car now and have a credit score that falls below the 600 range, you may need to go to bad credit car dealerships that specialize in no-credit or poor-credit buyers. These dealerships will work with your credit history to get approval, but interest rates will likely be high and terms may be unfavorable.

8. Get Preapproved

Getting preapproval for auto financing from a bank or credit union could better prepare you for the car shopping process. This preapproval process analyzes your income, expenses, credit score and credit report and determines if you qualify for an auto loan from the lender and how much the lender would be willing to lend. Submitting your paperwork early and learning what obstacles you face could spare you a lot of headaches later when going through the loan approval process.

9. Get a Co-signer

If you have a poor credit score, it may be helpful to get a co-signer for your loan application. Not all lenders offer this option, so consider this carefully before moving forward.

10. Comparison Shop

Always shop around for your loan. You never know what options are available until you look. Look for the best possible terms and make sure that you can actually afford the payments so you don’t end up negatively affecting your credit even more. It’s also a good idea to compare rates from other lenders like banks or credit unions before settling on a loan straight from the dealership.

11. Read the Fine Print

The fine print can make a big difference in the overall purchase price of the vehicle, especially if your credit means a high interest rate. Make sure there’s no prepayment penalty so you’re not fined for paying off a loan quicker than agreed, and avoid pricey add-ons that increase the sales price.

12. Refinance

Auto loan refinancing could help lower your auto loan rates and your monthly payment, which could end up saving you hundreds over the life of the loan. For loan refinancing, you typically want a strong history of making on-time payments for at least 12 months. However, keep in mind that the loan refinancing will also take your credit history and current credit scores into account as well. So, as always, continue working diligently to improve and rebuild your credit rating.

Key Takeaways

Whether or not you can get a car loan with bad credit depends on many factors. If you follow these tips, you may be able to get an auto loan and save money even with poor credit scores.

You can view your credit score and get an easy-to-understand Credit Report Card for free at Credit.com or via the mobile app for iPhone and Android. Start by taking a look at what factors are having the most impact on your scores and credit rating so you know what to address first.

Source: credit.com

Credit Card, Auto Loan Rates Won’t Rise Soon Despite Fed

Shopping for the best auto loans? Whether you are looking for the best car loan rates for a new or used vehicle, or you want to refinance an auto loan, we can help. Today’s auto loan rates are displayed in our helpful car loan calculator. Get the lowest rate when you compare rates from multiple lenders, even if your credit isn’t perfect.

With a lower interest rate, you’ll save money and pay off your car loan faster. It pays to shop for the best car loan rate! *

The single most important thing you can do to save money on an auto loan is to shop for the best auto loan rate before you set foot in a dealership. By knowing what kind of rate you qualify for before you try to buy a vehicle, you accomplish three things:

  1. You’ll know what kind of car payment you can qualify for
  2. You can focus your negotiations with the dealer on the vehicle price rather than on the financing
  3. You won’t end up getting stuck in a higher cost loan than you can qualify for

As you shop around for financing on a new or used vehicle, keep in mind the following factors that will affect your payment:

Length of loan:

Many buyers are opting for car loans that are five years or longer. Experian notes that in the last quarter of 2012, the average car loan length was 65 months. That’s almost five and a half years! The advantage of a longer car loan is that your payments will be lower. The disadvantage is that you may be “upside down,” – you owe more than the vehicle is worth – for a longer period of time.

Downpayment:

A larger down payment will reduce the amount you borrow and may make it easier to qualify for a better car loan rate. If you haven’t saved much for a down payment, you may be able to sell your current vehicle and use that money toward the down payment, or trade in your current vehicle to reduce the price of the car or truck you are buying. But if you are short on cash, don’t panic. Not all lenders will require a down payment.

Credit score:

Your credit score will be used to help determine the interest rate you’ll pay. But just because you have less than perfect credit, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a decent rate. The credit score that an auto lender uses may be somewhat different than the score you see if you get your own credit so don’t get too hung on up the number.

Refinance Auto Loans

Is your current auto loan rate higher than the rates you see in the loan rate comparison table above? If so, you may want to refinance your car loan. If you can get a lower rate, you’ll save money and you may be able to pay off your loan faster, too. Another option is to extend your loan term to make your payments more affordable. It’s easy. Just choose refinance from the options above and apply to see if you qualify for an auto loan refinance.

Bad Credit Auto Loans

If you have credit problems and need to buy a car or truck, you may be tempted to just use a Buy Here Pay Here (BHPH) car dealer that advertises it makes bad credit car loans. With one of these arrangements, the dealership arranges the financing and usually you make your payments to the dealer rather than a third-party lender like a bank or credit union.

Before you go this route, make sure you try to get preapproved for a car loan online or with a local financial institution. If you can get financing elsewhere then you’ll have more freedom to shop for the best deal on your car from a variety of sources, rather than limiting yourself to the cars available at that dealership. And when you do find a car or truck you like, you’ll be able to try to get the price down, rather than taking whatever they offer you.

Keep in mind that even if you are offered a high-rate auto loan online or through your bank or credit union, you can always ask the dealer to beat that rate – after you have negotiated the price for the vehicle you want.

Protect Your Credit When Auto Loan Shopping

Every time a lender checks your credit or requests your credit score, that fact will be noted on one or more of your credit reports as an “inquiry.” Your credit score can drop as a result. The good news is that most credit scoring models will ignore recent auto-related inquiries, and will count multiple inquiries from auto loan applications in a short period of time as one. To protect your credit, it’s best to shop for an auto loan in a focused period of time: two weeks or less is best to be safe.

You can check your credit score for free using Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card. Requesting your own credit score through this service will not affect your credit score.

Car Title Loans

If you are desperate to borrow money but you have bad credit, you may be tempted to get a car title loan. These loans require you to pledge your vehicle as collateral for the loan. They are not legal in all states, but where they are, they usually lend up to 25% of the value of the car or truck you own free and clear.

Watch out! Interest rates on auto title loans are very high; often 25% per month – or about 300% per year – according to the Center for Responsible Lending. According to the CRL report, the average car-title borrower renews a loan eight times, paying $2,142 in interest for $951 of credit. If possible, you should try instead to get a personal loan or, if you can’t, see whether a non-profit credit counseling agency can help you find another solution to your financial difficulties.

-APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rates based on credit worthiness and are subject to change without notice. Your actual rate and monthly payment may vary. Must be 18 years of age or older to apply. Loans subject to credit approval and could be subject to credit union membership.

* IMPORTANT NOTE FROM CREDIT.COM: Credit.com is not a lender. The above offers are provided by third-parties from whom Credit.com receives compensation. Credit.com will not call you about any loan application resulting from the above offers, and will not ask you over the phone, via email or otherwise for financial information or other sensitive personal data.

REMEMBER never to share any financial information or other sensitive personal data over the phone or via email without independently confirming the identity of the company calling first!

† Advertiser Disclosure: The offers that appear on this site are from third party advertisers from whom Credit.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). It is this compensation that enables Credit.com to provide you with services like free access to your credit scores at no charge. Credit.com strives to provide a wide array of offers for our members, but our offers do not represent all financial services companies or products.

Source: credit.com

How to Get the Best Price for Your Used Car

In the mid-’90s, a neighbor in my apartment building taped a “for sale” sign in the rear window of his Nissan 240SX. A few days later, he knocked on my door and asked if I had any magazines I wasn’t reading. Puzzled, I handed him my girlfriend’s old Cosmopolitan.

“Thanks,” he said. “I’m selling my car.”

“Yeah, I noticed,” I said. “But how does this help?”

He motioned for me to come outside, and I watched him flip through a small stack of magazines and pull out the perfume and cologne ads – you know, the ones with the aromatic samples. He tossed these under the front seats.

He was convinced a good-smelling car would fetch a better price.

I never found out what he got for that Nissan or if those ads added to the price. But it showed me just how creative we can get when we’re selling our old cars.

Let’s look under the hood at some advice for selling your used car.

1. Get detailed about the detailing

Just like selling your house, the cheapest way to add value to a car is to clean it thoroughly. Seems obvious, but we don’t always notice the grime on something we see every day.

Also sprinkle baking soda on the carpets and cloth seats, then vacuum it up to remove odors you might not smell but potential buyers will. Arm & Hammer recommends waiting at least 15 minutes before turning on the vacuum, “or longer for strong odors.” If you’re a smoker, that can mean letting it sit overnight – and not smoking in the car for at least a week.

You can scrub your floor mats, but if they still look bad, replace them. Clean out the glove box, removing everything but the owner’s manual.

While you’re cleaning the windshield, make sure the windshield wipers are in good condition and that they function properly. If they don’t, it’s a sign that other parts of the vehicle may also have been neglected.

2. Let there be more light

Make sure all the lights work. Do your headlights, taillights and brake lights work? How about the dome light (which illuminates the interior when you open the door)? Map lights? Do you have a vanity mirror that lights up?

Your headlight covers can yellow with age. Instead of replacing the entire headlight, spend less than $20 on products like the 3M Headlight Restoration System. While they won’t make your headlights look like new, they’ll go a long way to clearing up the cloudiness. Plus, your headlights will shine brighter than before.

3. Be solid on your fluids

Knowledgeable buyers are not only going to check the oil level to make sure you have enough, but also whether it’s bright and clean – because long-term driving with low or old oil means years off the life of the engine. If necessary, top off the other fluids, like the windshield washer fluid (front and back), and the antifreeze.

4. Treat your tires

If you paid for a car wash and the tires aren’t glistening, get out that box of baking soda. Add just enough water to make a paste, use a scrub brush to rub it in, and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse it off and marvel at the results. Also spend a few quarters at a nearby gas station to properly inflate those tires.

5. Check the “check engine” light

Philip Reed at Edmunds says, “The light could mean a costly problem, like a bad catalytic converter, or it could be something minor, like a loose gas cap.” Ask your trusted mechanic to diagnose the problem if the “check engine” light is on and make the needed repair.

6. Remove scratches and dings

Getting rid of scratches on a car’s finish isn’t easy. It’s so complicated that Popular Mechanics even developed a step-by-step guide. Forget about DIY dent repair. If you’re not adept at it, you could make the problem worse. If you have anything more than minor scratches and dings, take the car to an expert.

7. Gather your records

Neatly order the maintenance and repair invoices you had stashed in your glove box. Didn’t keep meticulous records of your repairs? Consider using a service like Carfax. These services are usually used by buyers who want to check a used car’s history of accidents, recalls and repairs. Pay for a report yourself and show it off.

8. Set the price

Now that your car looks and smells as nice as possible, it’s time to settle on an asking price. Don’t depend solely on Edmunds and/or Kelley Blue Book. Check sites like eBay, Craigslist and other online classified ads to see what cars like yours are fetching where you live. Always ask for more than you’ll settle for; buyers love to negotiate.

9. Write the ad

Now you have to promote your ride. AutoTrader offers an incredibly detailed list of do’s and don’ts for writing an ad that can serve as your guide. AutoTrader also offers 10 tips for writing an effective online ad for your car. One of those tips: Be honest about repairs.

10. Take buyers out for a spin

Stacy suggests that before you let a prospective buyer take a test drive, you chauffeur them yourself. Emphasize the car’s features – fine leather, a smooth ride, excellent speakers. Without coming on too strong, let no selling point of your vehicle go unnoticed.

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Image: Comstock

Source: credit.com