With so much bad news around unemployment and economic downturn, it’s sometimes hard to remember there are industries holding strong and hiring right now! Mortgage banking is one of those industries. A combination of factors indicates mortgage finance will be a viable source of employment for years to come: low interest rates, an increase in homebuilding, sizable demand from young adults choosing to buy over renting, and families sizing up as they find working and schooling from home eating up square footage. If you think mortgage banking or real estate finance is not your cup of tea, take another sip. Then? Buff up your resume and study our interview techniques from industry insiders.
There’s a reason “resume tips” is one of the most highly searched phrases on search engines: it’s the foundation for your job search and could be key to the next step in your career! The common pointer advising you to tailor your resume to the role you’re applying for truly matters in mortgage finance.
“It’s a common misconception that firms specializing in mortgage finance only hire those with a finance or business degree or background,” says Jesserlyn Rogers, a Talent Acquisition Manager at Newbold Advisors. “In fact, we are looking for college graduates, young professionals and seasoned pros with a variety of degrees, backgrounds and experience. If you are committed to working hard, you will do well in our industry,” she adds.
First step in tailoring your resume – no matter what position you’re applying for – is carefully reviewing the job description and highlighting those things you either have experience in or that you can tie to your education.
Other quick top-of-mind tips for resume greatness:
- Highlight your technical skills, listing all of the apps, software and operating systems that you have used. Excel in Excel? Put it at the top of the list. A whiz with presentations? Note expert-level PowerPoint.
- Don’t limit yourself to only one page. This tip is somewhat controversial, but if you are applying to the mortgage finance industry and are early in your career, you’re going to want to showcase everything you can. That includes part-time jobs, internships, educational achievements and activities that demonstrate your competitive spirit and work ethic.
- Do use bullet points. Long sprawling paragraphs are often an immediate turnoff for hiring managers. They want detail, but they also want to be able to read it at-a-glance.
- Include a skills section. “Your resume makes it to the top of the list by the amount of times recruiters search key words are in your resume,” says Dan Furlong, Senior Talent Acquisition Manager, Recruiting, with Newbold. “Repeat the words that are your strengths by including them in your skills section and in your bulleted list of previous experiences.”
- Be prepared to address any gap in your work history. If you were laid-off or forced to take time off for family during the Pandemic, clearly denote that on your resume. You can use the terms “leave of absence” or “caregiver” and add appropriate dates. “Most employers understand family obligations, in general,” says Julie Covington, Senior Talent Acquisition Manager with Newbold. “With the pandemic impacting so many of us, obligations could include leaving the workforce to care for school-aged children and parents or relatives in long-term care.”
Bow to the Social King
LinkedIn is an essential tool for job searching today. Make sure you have a profile and that it’s up to date. Use the resume tips above to build out your profile and align your profile with your resume.
As you’re building your profile, keep the following in mind:
- Some users make the mistake of just listing the company name and title. Don’t forget to include a detailed, bulleted list of your experience within each position you’ve held.
- If you’re early in your career or have had gaps in employment, remember to include internships, part-time jobs and volunteer positions.
- Ask a friend or family member to take a photo of you for your profile picture. You don’t need a professionally styled image, but you do need a nice, recent headshot to round out your professional image.
- There is a recommendations section on LinkedIn. Ask your previous employers, colleagues or professors to write a recommendation or endorse your skills.
- Finally, make doubly sure your contact information is on your profile! You want to make it as easy as possible for employers to contact you.
Ok, so you’ve done your homework, polished your resume and created a solid LinkedIn profile. Your work has paid off and you’ve been invited to interview. Take your job search to the next level with these tips in mind …
Testing 1-2 … Testing 1-2
Chances are good your first interview will be conducted via phone or video. Use the following pointers to prepare:
- Invest in a set of basic earphones that plug into your computer. They do not have to be cordless or particularly fancy, but the quality of the audio you receive and give will be much better if you are plugged into your computer audio as opposed to just using your computer’s speaker.
- Don’t be intimidated by the idea of dialing into a video meeting. Technology can add a nerve-wracking layer to an interview, but with so much of the workforce operating virtually, employers are very sensitive to the challenges and will be patient if glitches occur.
- Dial in to the interview early so you can test your computer’s camera on the meeting platform being used. WebEx, Zoom, MS Teams and Google Teams all act a bit differently, so you’ll want to give yourself a little time to click into the call.
- Practice with someone! Get familiar with interviewing via video by setting up your own mock interview with a friend.
Even the most seasoned professionals get nervous before a job interview. One of the ways to draw on your confidence is to remember that you are also sizing them up to make sure this is somewhere you will be happy and can contribute in a positive manner. Prepare a list of questions ahead of your interview that show you are as invested in this potential relationship as they are:
- It may sound obvious but ask for specific details regarding the job! Not all interviewers are skilled human resources professionals. And, a big mistake many make is jumping right into interview questions without giving a really detailed description of the company OR the job. Make sure you read the job description – and consider printing it out to have in front of you during your interview. But also be prepared to ask for specifics.
- Ask about team size and organizational structure. Who would you be reporting to if you became part of the team? How long have those team members been with the company?
- Inquire about culture. What kind of team-building activities does the company do? How have those changed with remote or virtual working? What is the environment like in the office? Connected cubes or individual workspaces?
- How is the company handling pandemic restrictions in your area? Is everyone working remotely? Is the expectation that that will continue?
- Ask at the end of the interview if the company has been successful hiring remote candidates and what challenges they have had in that process. Be prepared to talk about what your approach to working from home is – use phrases like “self-starter,” “highly motivated,” “comfortable with phone, email and video communication.”
NEWBOLD’s team of hiring professionals offers a vast resource for candidates and hiring managers. Contact us to find out how we can help.