CNBC make it 2024-02-08 20:50:54

The No. 1 resume mistake, says ex-Amazon recruiter: You see it ‘all the way up to the C-suite’

Lindsay Mustain has looked at a lot of resumes in her more than a decade in talent acquisition.

“Literally a million,” she says. The former Amazon recruiter is now the CEO of career coaching company Talent Paradigm and has seen candidates include some mind-boggling elements to their resumes — like stickers and a picture of themselves holding a shotgun.

But there’s one mistake she sees jobseekers make over and over again, what she calls giving “Miss America answers,” or ones she’d imagine hearing in a pageant. These are simple statements that don’t give much insight into what candidates actually accomplished on the job. It’s happening from the junior level “all the way up to the C-suite,” she says, and it’s preventing jobseekers from standing out.

Here’s what Miss America answers are and how to avoid writing them.

DON’T MISS: The ultimate guide to acing your interview and landing your dream job

Don’t write ‘a glorified job description’

When it comes to your resume, you want to mirror the language of the job description to the extent that it portrays your experience accurately. As you do, however, avoid general statements about the tasks you took on.

“I had stakeholder meetings with people” is an example of a Miss America answer, says Mustain. These kinds of descriptions don’t give a concrete sense of how you were able to move your team forward. They’re “like a glorified job description,” she says, adding that, “you just look like somebody who’s filling a seat.”

Instead of listing the tasks you were given, quantify and list your accomplishments.

“If somebody is fixing tickets on a help desk,” says Mustain, as an example, “I’ve solved 30 customers’ problems a day” is a good metric to start with. You can take it even further, though, and think about what you were able to accomplish in a year. Thirty problems a day, 20 days a month, 12 months per year is 7,200 problems solved altogether.

The “more metrics and analytics you can add to your resume, the more impressive,” she says.

‘Your eyes go straight to the numbers’

Quantifying your accomplishments is not just a matter of looking impressive.

Recruiters only have a few seconds to dedicate to your resume. They’re likely “handling somewhere between 15 to 25” job openings at once, says Mustain. “The average applicants per job is 250, which means they’re dealing with tens of thousands of applicants.”

The benefit of quantifying your accomplishments is that recruiters’ eyes “go straight to the numbers when we’re reviewing,” Mustain says. They’ll know how much value you added to your previous employers immediately.

Bottom line, if you want to move forward in the interview process, your resume has “got to be results-based,” she says.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. Get started today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

We’ve studied over 30,000 couples—here are 6 phrases you’ll hear in the most successful relationships

A healthy relationship doesn’t mean that there’s never any fighting. Couples can have disagreements and still be on each other’s side.

As psychologists, we’ve been happily married for 35 years, and we’ve found that in conflict, your mission is to allow yourself to be vulnerable — to turn attack and defend into self-disclosure and openness.

The language of ‘fighting right’

When conflict arises, the happiest and most successful couples use a language of repair and collaboration. This is something that anyone can learn to do.

We’ve organized our suggestions into six categories of phrases and what kind of repair they help with. These are tried-and-true phrases for calming down an escalated conflict, pulled from years of observation of over 30,000 couples:

1. “I feel”

Use this when you need help expressing your emotions in the moment.


  • “I’m getting scared.”
  • “Please say that more gently.”
  • “That hurt my feelings.”
  • “That felt like an insult.”
  • “I feel blamed. Can you rephrase that?”
  • “I feel like you don’t understand me right now.”

2. “I need to calm down”

Use this when you start feeling flooded and/or need a moment of repair.


  • “I need your support right now.”
  • “Just listen to me right now and try to understand.”
  • “Can I have a hug?”
  • “This is important to me. Please listen.”
  • “Can you make things safer for me?”
  • “Can I take that back?”

3. “I’m sorry”

Use this when you need help phrasing an apology.


  • “My reactions were too extreme. I’m sorry.”
  • “I really blew that one.”
  • “Let me try again.”
  • “I want to be gentler to you right now and I don’t know how.”
  • “I can see my part in all this.”
  • “How can I make things better?”

4. “Stop action”

Use this when you are flooded and need a break.


  • “I might be wrong here.”
  • “Please let’s stop for a while.”
  • “Give me a moment. I’ll be back.”
  • “Let’s start all over again.”
  • “Let’s agree to disagree here.”
  • “I’m feeling flooded. Can we take a break and talk about something else for a bit?”

5. “Getting to yes”

Use this when you want to validate your partner or meet them halfway.


  • “You’re starting to convince me.”
  • “I agree with part of what you’re saying.”
  • “Let’s compromise here.”
  • “I never thought of things that way.”
  • “I think your point of view makes sense.”
  • “What are your concerns?”

6. “I appreciate”

Use this when you want to make a repair and add positivity.


  • “I love you.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “One thing I admire about you is…”
  • “This is not your problem, it’s our problem.”
  • “Thank you for…”
  • “I see your point.”

Small repair phrases prevent major damage

Think of a repair as anything that shifts the conversation toward the positive. Make that your goal and work as a team to open up to each other.

The most basic repair is a straightforward apology: “I’m sorry” or “I’m sorry I said that — let me try again.”

It can also take the form of empathy or validation: “I understand how you feel” or “That makes sense, when you put it that way.”

It can be voiced admiration: “You know what I really appreciate about you? How much you care about our kids. We’re disagreeing over which school to pick, but I love how much it matters to you that they have a good education.”

Remember, what determines the success or failure of a relationship is how you each respond to the repair.

Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman are the co-founders of The Gottman Institute and Love Lab. Married for over 35 years, the two psychologists are world-renowned for their work on relationship stability and divorce prediction. They are also the co-authors of “Fight Right: How Successful Couples Turn Conflict into Connection” and “The Love Prescription: Seven Days to More Intimacy, Connection, and Joy.” Follow them on Instagram and Twitter.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. Get started today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

Don’t miss:

  • Harvard psychologist: If you use any of these 9 phrases, ‘your relationship is more successful’ than most
  • Here’s the No. 1 phrase used in successful relationships, say psychologists who studied 40,000 couples

Wharton persuasion expert: Here’s a ‘really simple’ way to change people’s minds

Asking someone for help can feel like a burdensome request. Asking for a helper tells the other person that you respect their expertise, flattering them into agreement.

That’s just one example of turning “options into identities,” says Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. It’s a “really simple” trick with a big impact, he adds: Requesting helpers instead of help, for example, can make people up to 30% more likely to act.

People often feel too busy to do what they’re “supposed to” do, whether that’s going to the gym or voting each November — unless it gives them a chance to showcase a positive part of their identity.

“Framing actions as opportunities to claim desired identities will make people more likely to do them,” Berger tells CNBC Make It. “If voting becomes an opportunity to show myself and others that I am voter, I’m more likely to do it.”

The strategy can motivate people to enact positive behaviors and avoid negative ones, Berger says. Coaches, teachers and parents often use this tactic to motivate groups.

“Cheating is bad, but being a cheater is worse. Losing is bad, being a loser is worse,” says Berger.

How to use this strategy in your day-to-day life

Being persuasive often comes down to “subtle shifts in our language,” Berger says. The individual words you use are often more important than actual nature of your message, argument or request, he notes.

“We think individual words don’t really matter that much. That’s a mistake,” says Berger. “You could have excellent ideas, but excellent ideas aren’t necessarily going to get people to listen to you.”

At work, if you want someone to write up a pitch to send to a client, you can ask, “Do we have any writers in the office?” If you’re looking to learn a new skill, find out if anyone considers themselves a teacher.

You can also turn the strategy inward and attempt to change your own mind. Saying you run implies you occasionally do it. Saying you’re a runner sounds more assertive, and if you don’t already regularly jog, you might enable a new habit.

“I’m a runner. I’m a straight-A student. We tell little kids, ‘You don’t just read, you’re a reader,’” Berger says. “You do these things because that’s the identity you hold,”

One more persuasive language trick

Berger’s book “Magic Words,” which published last year, explores other simple language tricks that can make you more convincing to your friends, coworkers and boss.

One such quick fix: People are more likely to follow your recommendations and ideas if you speak and write in the present tense.

Last year, Berger co-authored an analysis of more than 200,000 book and music reviews. “The more sentences in that review that used present tense, the more useful people found it,” he recently told the “Knowledge at Wharton” podcast.

The present tense is more persuasive for two reasons, Berger said: It generalizes your experience and makes you sound more confident.

“If you’re willing to say not just that France was fun, but it is fun; not just that this book had a great plot, but it has a great plot; when you’re generalizing beyond the past, it suggests you’re more confident or certain about what you’re saying,” Berger said. “As a result, people are more likely to follow up on your opinion and be persuaded.”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

Your happiness really does increase as you age. Here’s the No. 1 reason my 50s were my best decade yet

What if the secret to being happier was purely just to get older?

It sounds absurd, but at 63 years old, I can say that the last few decades have been a tale of two midlives: one very dark from my 30s- to -40s, and one truly splendid … starting when I hit 50. 

The No. 1 reason? My emotional intelligence increased. And, as I discovered while writing my book, “Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better with Age,” high emotional intelligence is a crucial ingredient for boosting happiness and resilience.

Why higher emotional intelligence boosts happiness

Emotional intelligence, which is the capacity to understand and control our emotions, as well as being sensitive to others’ feelings, nurtures our relationships and boosts our empathy.

This can lead to stronger social connections. And as we age, our social bonds become even more vital to our well-being. With higher emotional intelligence, you’re also better equipped to grasp and empathize with the emotions of others, fostering deeper, more fulfilling relationships.

Here’s how my emotional intelligence has grown since I’ve gotten older:

1. I feel more compassion for others

As I age, I’ve softened … and not just around my belly. I experience less ego and more soul. I feel more deeply for others’ life circumstances.

Fortunately, I am able to direct some of that increased compassion toward myself as well.

2. I am less emotionally reactive and more emotionally fluent

When I was younger, I had a kind of emotional vertigo; my emotions constantly made me feel imbalanced and uneasy. I didn’t know how to dance with them. In fact, I often tried to outrun my emotions.

Today, I don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m able to positively reappraise negative experiences, like getting stuck in traffic in an Uber (interpretation: great chance to meditate).

Simultaneously, my enhanced ability to recognize my patterns, habits, and tendencies allows me to observe myself more effectively.

3. I don’t take things so personally

Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of “The Four Agreements,” says: “There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.”

This skill is particularly valuable in our polarized, “cancel culture” era.

4. I have a better understanding of how to create my ideal habitats

Social scientists call this “environmental mastery,” or the ability to determine which environments one will flourish in — and the capacity to adjust and adapt to changes in those habitats.

This also speaks to why, in the workplace, older people on a team have been found to create more “psychological safety” on teams: because their environmental mastery, combined with their compassion, helps them create the proper conditions for team flourishing.

5. I value relationships more

It’s been said that the two questions people ask on their deathbed are “Did I love well, and was I well‐loved?”

The longitudinal Harvard Study on Adult Development and the Blue Zones research conclusively show that the relationships we cultivate in our lives can actually increase our lifespan.

Of course, there are always outliers—Exhibit A: your perennially grumpy 75‐year‐old uncle. But he’s an exception, not the rule.

Chip Conley is the author of ”Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better With Age.″ After disrupting the hospitality industry twice, first as the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, and then as Airbnb’s Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy, Conley founded MEA (Modern Elder Academy) in January 2018.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

Japan is launching a digital nomad visa—you’ll need an annual income of at least $67,500 to qualify

If living and working in Japan is on your bucket list, mark your calendar.

Japan plans to start offering a six-month digital nomad visa at the end of March, according to The Japan Times. The Immigration Services Agency announced that to take advantage of the visa, digital nomads must make an annual income of  ¥10 million or $67,556.80 USD.

The visa will be offered to visitors from 49 countries and territories, including the U.S., Australia and Singapore. In addition to the income requirement, Japan also requires digital nomads to have private health insurance. Spouses and children will also be allowed to stay in Japan.

Japan will not provide residency cards to those holding a digital nomad visa and visas can’t be renewed immediately. Visa holders can reapply but only six months after leaving the country, The Japan Times reports.

American travelers can stay in Japan visa-free for up to 90 days, according to the U.S. Department of State. To take advantage of this option, travelers need a valid passport and an airline ticket out of the country at the end of the 90-day stay.

Last year, Japan announced it would launch a digital nomad visa in an effort to drive tourism back to the country after the covid-19 pandemic. Japan welcomed 25 million tourists last year, its largest number since 2019.

The capital city of Tokyo is one of the fastest-growing remote work hubs, according to the 2023 report from the Nomad List. The city saw a 67% increase in digital nomads from 2018 to 2022, according to Nomad List.

Conversions from Yen to USD were done using the OANDA conversion rate of 1 Yen to 0.00676 USD on February 8, 2024. All amounts are rounded to the nearest dollar.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.