As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, February 2009.
Not long ago, mortgage companies struggled to fill expanding departments with skilled sales professionals. The real estate market was hot, and the mortgage business was even hotter. Many people were attracted to the industry, but they often jumped in headfirst.
Today, few companies are hiring, and even fewer have plans for growth. Many thousands of the best mortgage professionals -- and the worst -- are now unemployed and wondering what to do next. Even brokers currently employed face the looming possibility that a layoff could hit them when they’re least-prepared. Is it wise to stay and try to find another job in the mortgage industry? Or is it wiser to seek a position elsewhere?
With so many experienced and talented people in market, the task of standing out from the crowd can be difficult. Complicating this is the fact that most people have a difficult time “selling themselves” on paper.
No matter what boat you’re in, it’s imperative to make your résumé stand out from the crowd. Many résumés reflect prior employers, dates worked and basic details such as education, position applied for and contact information. But yours should paint a picture of who you are and the value you bring. Emphasize your strengths, skills and accomplishments to help employers understand how you could bring similar value to their organization.
The following nine tips can help you compose a résumé that best represents you and your skills -- no matter where you apply.
1. Remember the ABCs of résumé basics:
A is for aesthetics. Your résumé should be aesthetically pleasing and easy on the eyes. Visual appeal, a proper balance between text and bullets, clear organization, and professional presentation are key.
B is for being honest. Never lie or exaggerate about your skills, achievements or education.
C is for contact information. Use a professional e-mail address and ensure all contact information is valid and visible on all pages, in case they are separated.
2. List your successes by quantifying tangible results: List key accomplishments by including noteworthy numbers and statistics that illustrate your achievements. Instead of saying: “Implemented senior-level initiatives and managed completion,” try: “Implemented and managed senior-level initiatives that directly increased productivity levels by 200 percent, reduced cycle times by 425 percent and improved quality ratings by 170 percent through process re-engineering.”
3. Be specific about your experience, using facts and figures: Actions speak far louder than words, especially on your résumé. These examples speak volumes:
Management: “Managed 350 front-end staff nationally.”
Sales: “Generated 1,200 referrals in first year while closing an average of eight loans per month, compared to company average of four loans per month.”
Training: “Developed training programs for software and hardware for end-users that included training more than 7,000 sales agents; training resulted in 98-percent fewer support requests and a 12-percent increase in information-technology security.”
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