CNBC make it 2024-07-02 18:35:15

The resume mistake that will land it in the ‘no pile,’ according to a hiring expert of 30-plus years

It’s easy to mass apply to job openings online, but if you don’t have a solid resume, you’re not making the most of your efforts.

One specific detail is cause for immediate rejection, says Stacie Haller, chief career advisor at Resume Builder.

“If I see a picture, that’s going in the no pile,” says Haller, who has over 30 years of staffing and recruiting experience.

Including a headshot on your resume invites ageism and snap judgments based on appearance, she says, and indicates “that person is out of touch with how we do things today.”

Recruiters are critical of anything that feels out of date, Haller says, and some details could add bias to the hiring process. Here are other details that should be scrubbed from your resume, according to Haller:

  • An objective: Including an objective on a resume is a waste of space when recruiters are looking at your document for roughly 6 seconds or less, Haller says. The purpose of your resume should be clear — to provide your qualifications for a stated job — so you can save this point for a cover letter.
  • A street address: Including your specific home address and ZIP code could lead to discrimination if there are socioeconomic differences by neighborhood, Haller says. Plus, if you don’t live where the business is based, a hiring manager could de-prioritize you as a candidate knowing you’d require relocation. Instead, just include your city and state. And if you’re open to remote roles, you can note that in your location as well, Haller adds.
  • An AOL email address: It’s been years since the AOL email domain fell out of favor, so using it can make it seem like you’re not up to date with technology. Opt for a free Gmail account instead, Haller says.

How to format your resume

Another piece of resume advice: The simpler, the better.

Don’t add creativity if it comes at the cost of readability, Haller says. Keep your text in one column with clear sections and short bullets, which is better for both human readers and teams that leverage AI readers.

Recent grads without professional experience in their field can lead with their education section at the top.

Once you have a year or two in the field, put your professional experience section first, listed in reverse-chronological order of your jobs. Then each section should list the bullets of your accomplishments and tasks by what’s most relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Keep a separate skills section to list all the technical skills and certifications you have under your belt — again, it can be worthwhile to order them by what’s most critical in the new role you’re up for.

Stick to a one-page resume if you’re early-career in your 20s, Haller says, adding that one to two pages will work for most people throughout their entire careers.

Tenured workers with 20-plus years of experience can likely stick to listing their work highlights from the last decade, Haller says. “Nobody is hiring someone for what they did 20 years ago. It might be part of your story and on there without dates, and for CEOs it could be important,” but generally, you can edit some of those selections down.

C-suite leaders, meanwhile, might stretch their resumes to three or four pages.

How to tailor your resume for each job

Finally, hiring experts often recommend tailoring your resume for every job you apply for. Haller agrees, but with a caveat: “Everyone should have a good, basic, compelling resume that you use 90% of the time,” she says. For the other 10%, you can reshuffle the bullet points under your experience to match the needs of the role you’re applying to.

It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, Haller says.

Every job seeker should have “one compelling personal template that you must tweak,” she says, “but it shouldn’t take a lot of tweaking.”

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

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

25-year-old pays $1,472 in rent to live in a car-free neighborhood in Arizona—take a look inside

In early 2024, Jada Stratman, 25, was searching for retail space for her candle business, Brite Candle Co. That’s when she found Culdesac.

″[It’s] the first car-free neighborhood built from scratch in the U.S.,” Culdesac CEO Ryan Johnson tells CNBC Make It.

Cars are not allowed on the Culdesac’s streets, and residents can’t park their own vehicles on site. Residents are offered discounts on transportation services like Waymo, a self-driving taxi.

“Our communities prioritize biking, walking, and transit over cars and parking,” the website says.

The community, located in Tempe, Arizona, has 180 residents with plans to grow to over 1,000. Apartments there range from studios to three-bedroom units, and prices start at around $1,400 a month.

“Since moving to this walkable community, I feel like I’ve definitely gotten a lot more out of my comfort zone,” Stratman tells CNBC Make It. “They’re not against cars; they’re just against car dependency.”

Stratman moved into one of Culdesac’s live-work spaces in February. The Brite Candle Co. shop is housed up front and Stratman’s bedroom and other living spaces are in the back. The unit features a walk-in closet and a washer and dryer.

“I’m able to actually have a retail front-facing shop to the public and also make money out of my apartment,” she says.

“At first, it was a bit uncomfortable just having so many people in my living space, but over time, I’ve gotten really used to it. I’m actually really excited for people to come and make candles.”

Stratman pays $1,472 in monthly rent and an additional $140 for utilities and Internet. Stratman’s upfront costs included a $1,000 security deposit.

Culdesac offers Stratman and other residents access to a pool, a fully equipped gym, rental cars, and light rails. Each resident is also given a free e-bike. The community has several shops and a supermarket on the grounds.

Though car-free, Culdesac still has parking spaces for visitors and the residents who need them.

Stratman does own a car and keeps it off property, as required, but says she has “actually become less dependent on my vehicle, although I use it for business purposes.”

Stratman doesn’t see herself leaving the neighborhood any time soon. “I’ve always grown up so introverted and just to myself,” she says. “So coming here and meeting all the friendly people that I have met and the connections that I’ve made is why I chose Culdesac.”

“Having a live-work space has actually saved me a lot of money,” she says.

Since moving in, Stratman has seen her business grow and wants to eventually move into a larger retail space there.

“Having [my work and home] integrated into one has been so helpful, especially for a small business owner who’s not making thousands of dollars.”

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33-year-old pays $2,146/mo for a studio furnished almost entirely from Costco: Take a look inside

At 32, after 12 years of living rent-free with my parents in the San Francisco Bay area, I was ready to move into my own place.

I had saved $400,000 and had the flexibility to make the leap, but whether it was uncertain streams of income, wanderlust and mostly, the financial benefits of staying put, something had been holding me back. Until November 2023, when I visited a friend at their Fremont, California, apartment complex.

When I walked in, it felt like home. As fate would have it, as I was leaving, I met my friend’s neighbors, a couple breaking their lease. My gut told me that this was the right moment.

After a few hours and some paperwork, I secured a four-month sublease agreement from them for $2,000 a month. It was the perfect transitional space. Once my sublease was up, in April, I moved into a 556-square-foot studio in the same complex for $2,146 a month.

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The building is 10 minutes away from the studio I built off of my parent’s place where I teach my music students, and less than a 10 minute drive from two beloved local Costco stores. That might seem like an odd amenity to look for in real estate, but to me, it was a huge asset.

Altogether, I have spent over $5,000 to outfit my place almost entirely with Costco products. 

Why Costco means so much to me 

Costco was a shopping staple for my family when I was growing up. And back in 2013, I started going all the time after work, to browse the aisles and try out samples while waiting out the rush hour traffic. 

Over time, Costco has become more than just a store to me — it’s a place for me to belong and feel like myself. My love for it inspired me to create my Instagram account, Costco Claudia.

Since launching in winter of 2022, Costco Claudia has become a creative outlet and an income stream. On the account, I primarily post videos of myself modeling women’s clothing in the store, and I currently have 191,000 followers and counting. While I have never worked directly with or for Costco, I have had partnerships with brands that are sold by the company. 

I currently make about $7,000 a month as an influencer and $5,000 a month from my job as a piano teacher.

One of the most surprising and gratifying parts of this experience has been the incredible positivity I’ve received from my Costco Claudia community. They offered so much comfort and solidarity when I felt most alone, particularly as I learned about my PMDD and navigated living on my own.

Their support has helped me through some of my toughest times.

Take a look inside my cozy California studio

For utilities, I spend about $102 a month: $27 for water and trash collection, $30 for internet, and $45 for electricity. Take a look inside:

My kitchen is a space to fuel up and get ready for the day 

Over the years, I’ve collected a bunch of discounted stuff from Costco sales: glasses, plates, bowls, my NutriBullet, a Brita filter, and loads of snacks.

What I really rely on in my kitchen are my coffee machine and the garage “work table” — both found at Costco — which doubles as my kitchen table. It’s sturdy and looks great with the faux fur sheepskins I use to cover my chairs.

I surround myself with greenery and music in my living room 

After a long day of teaching, I enjoy winding down in my cozy living room. My forest of growing monsteras and succulents adds a touch of greenery and calmness to the space.

I like to lie on my couch and lose myself in classical music on my piano. Surrounded by blankets, sheepskin rugs, pillows, and stylish tray, it’s the perfect way to recharge after a busy day.

My bathroom is both luxurious and pragmatic 

In my bathroom, the essentials that I can’t do without: my gold hoop earrings, my two pairs of glasses and my contacts that I wear every single day.

When I first moved out, I found all the bathroom basics I needed at Costco: towels, hand towels, a shower curtain, soap dispenser, and mats. When allergy season strikes, the tissue paper is a lifesaver, since they sell it in bulk.

The real steal in my bathroom is the perfume that usually goes for $200 at other stores but is $69.99 at Costco. I’ve got two of them, and they’ve become my go-to scents.

My bedroom is a haven

My $250 bed frame paired with my $500 mattress are so comfortable. I have two sets of Kirkland Signature 680 Thread Count Sheet Set that I snagged when they went on sale. I love my down blanket and I have another favorite I got for $12.

In woven side baskets, I stash my Costco pajamas, keeping everything neat and organized. I also love my Shark Roomba, which cleans my apartment when I’m not here.

An outdoor space with possibility 

The outdoor space isn’t fully furnished yet. So far, my Costco paddle board is the centerpiece.

I moved during the winter, but now that summer is upon us, I hope to add more to the space soon. I’ve got my eye on some discounted outdoor patio sets.

My apartment may be small and snug, but it’s a testament to the opportunities that have come from sharing my passion with others. Ultimately, this space really feels like mine. I have created an oasis here. 

Claudia Chee is a Bay Area native and former Google employee turned entrepreneur. Today, she is a piano teacher, the owner of Claudia’s Music Studio, and a social media influencer who enjoys sharing her love of Costco on Instagram.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. CNBC Make It readers can use special discount code CNBC40 to get 40% off through August 15, 2024.

43-year-old started a ‘kitchen island’ side hustle on Facebook Marketplace—now it brings in $379K/year

This story is part of CNBC Make It’s Six-Figure Side Hustle series, where people with lucrative side hustles break down the routines and habits they’ve used to make money on top of their full-time jobs. Got a story to tell? Let us know! Email us at

Teyoshe Smith’s previous job came with hourlong lunch breaks. She spent them personally delivering hand-assembled charcuterie boxes around Richmond, Virginia.

Her side hustle started “organically,” Smith says. She and her sister-in-law made table-long charcuterie spreads for family gatherings, and she started selling them to other people on Facebook Marketplace in May 2022.

Her first batch, made at her “kitchen island,” was modest compared to her current ones, Smith says. It was enough for 25 boxes full of hand-toasted crostini, cured meat and provolone cheese cut into flower shapes. The boxes sold out within two days on Facebook Marketplace, she says.

Smith built her business, now called Bite by Bite & Co., from her house and a nearby church kitchen while maintaining her full-time job as a project manager at Capital One. The side hustle brought in $84,000 in revenue during its first seven months, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It, prompting Smith to leave her job in May 2023.

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Today, Bite by Bite operates in two cities: a storefront in Richmond and a commercial kitchen in Atlanta. Smith’s company brought in $379,000 in revenue last year — and her storefront in Richmond was profitable, she says. Bite by Bite plans to open two additional franchise locations later this year, Smith adds.

The 43-year-old attributes the business’s fast growth to her own drive to take care of others. “To my core, I love entertaining, I love hosting, I love giving everybody a good experience,” says Smith. “That’s just me, bottled up. You could just put me on a shelf and sell me. It’s what I’m here on this earth to do.”

Here, Smith discusses how she grew her side hustle into a full-time job in just one year, the moment she felt like she’d become successful and her best advice for other small-business owners.

CNBC Make It: Do you think your side hustle is replicable?

Smith: Yes, but what makes this hard is: Charcuterie is so trendy. Pretty presentation can only get you so far, and you need something that’s going to set you apart.

How did you set yourself apart?

My business has evolved to really provide a more homemade experience — we create our own cheese balls and cheese dips from fresh ingredients.

We also reimagined how to present grazing tables. Most charcuterie businesses take two or three hours to set up these long tables at each venue, because you have to unload all your meats, cheeses, coolers, all this drama. We got custom boards, up to 10 feet long, so we can do all the heavy lifting in our own kitchen.

Then, when we come set up, it’s only 30 minutes. And we’re not hovering over our customers.

Bite by Bite went from side hustle to full-fledged business in one year. Do you have advice for others who want to emulate that?

The feedback I was getting was I was moving a little too fast. I just didn’t really listen. Things were happening organically and falling in my lap. If things are working, I’d rather just keep going until I run into a stumbling block.

But you have to research and understand every part of your business. When you get approved for an LLC, no one checks to see if anyone else already has that name. I originally started with the name “Grazing Crazy,” and got sued. I had to rebrand and hire a lawyer.

Make sure you have your bank account set up correctly, educate yourself about your taxes and check with accountants and lawyers to make sure you’re protected from a legal and financial standpoint.

What was the first moment when you felt like you made it?

Last year, around Thanksgiving, I was in Georgia and we were short-staffed in Virginia. One day, I panicked because there was nobody around to deliver a six-foot grazing table.

I ended up calling a delivery person I’d previously worked with, and asked if he’d be willing to help. Over Google Meet, I walked him through how to do the setup: Move the flowers here, put the riser there, move that board over to the left.

The spread was beautiful.

Before then, I was bending a lot trying to make sure all my employees were happy, to make sure nobody left me. But that’s when I realized: I can train and guide anyone, even virtually.

It was just getting that confidence to know that I can run a business no matter where I’m located, and it can be successful. I’ve created a good blueprint to repeat and share with others.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. CNBC Make It readers can use special discount code CNBC40 to get 40% off through August 15, 2024.

I took a huge pay cut to work a retail job at Target after being laid off—here’s why I don’t regret it

In April 2023, my director-level job in real estate management got eliminated. I allowed myself a small window to mourn, and then decided to view the layoff as an opportunity instead of a loss. I’d been longing for a career change, and here was my chance to pursue a path that gave me a greater sense of purpose.

But I never expected to still be unemployed as the holidays approached. I had applied to hundreds of jobs but landed only two interviews and received zero job offers.

In early December, I applied online for a seasonal position with Target completely on a whim — half expecting to be ghosted again. But the very next day, I got an offer to be a guest advocate for the holidays at $15 an hour.

It was a huge pay cut from what I made as a director, but I was excited to get out of the house and interact with living things other than my pets and family!

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Initially, I was as nervous as a 16-year-old showing up to their first job, but after some training, I found my stride. And it didn’t take long for me to realize that my “little seasonal job,” as I liked to call it, was one of the best things I could have done for myself.

Going from senior roles to retail was humbling

If I’m being honest, I secretly felt like I was too good to work in a retail role again more than 20 years after my last day at The Disney Store, where I’d once picked up a part-time job on the side for fun. I assumed I’d dread every shift and be annoyed by customers who treated me like gum on their shoes. 

But almost every guest was incredibly kind and engaging. I bonded quickly with my co-workers and looked forward to seeing them every day. And I didn’t dread a single shift.

I gained so much respect for workers who are on their feet (and game) all day

Retail and other customer-facing employees are some of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met.

In those first weeks, my feet and knees hurt so badly that I developed a close relationship with my ice pack. I found myself sweating from the physical exertion of assisting crowds waiting in line for purchases, returns, and order pick-ups, and logged at least 10,000 steps with each shift.

My confidence came back

When I began my career in higher education more than 25 years ago, I loved every moment of it. But stress and budget cuts took a toll on my positivity, and I spent several years refusing to acknowledge I was burned out.

When the pandemic hit, I finally recognized my lack of enthusiasm for the work I used to adore and admitted I needed a change. Returning to retail was the therapy I didn’t know I needed. I remembered that I am valued, smart, hardworking, and fantastic at making customers happy!

I also realized I need words of praise to buoy my confidence and will make sure I can get them in future roles. 

I took immense pride in my work

When the chaotic assortment of clips for plastic hangers in the back room started to resemble the aftermath of a colorful plastic explosion, for example, I took the initiative to organize the mess. It made everyone’s work easier, and my colleagues were thankful I did it. 

My crisis-management skills were handy when a guest had a medical emergency while in my checkout lane. And when I was asked several times to stay on a permanent basis, I couldn’t help but feel proud of myself.

Now that my “Target Run” is over, I’ll forever look back on it as one of the best decisions I’ve made in my career. I’m searching for my dream role in HR management or training and development, and I will no doubt be a better manager due to my lessons in humility, respect, pride, and self-confidence.

As I bid farewell to my “little seasonal job,” I feel grateful for the unexpected but rewarding detour. And you can be sure I’ll be back to shop!

Kathleen Baker is an award-winning presenter of training programs, seminars, and publications. Her career spans higher education, real estate management, and human resources. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling, and has studied at the doctoral level in educational leadership. Find her on LinkedIn.

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.

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