An economist is an investigator who conducts research, monitors economic trends and collects and analyzes data. Among their areas of expertise is the financial spectrum of agriculture, education, health, the economic cycle and labor. These professionals have a deep knowledge of data related to the production and distribution of resources, goods and services.
Here you will learn how to create a resume if you are looking for a position as an economist. To start out lets review the three types of resumes you can create:
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Job Duties of an Economist
Economists perform various functions both in government agencies and corporations to help leaders make effective decisions. These are some of their regular responsibilities:
Collecting and analyzing data related to political, financial and socio-economic fields.
Conducting surveys using various sampling techniques like stratified sampling, cluster sampling and systematic sampling.
Researching multiple fields, including energy, health care, politics and education.
Using historical data to define fluctuations and trends.
Analyzing market trends based on geography, intuition and behavior.
Consulting clients on the effectiveness of their products, services or policies.
Studying the economic impact of current regulations.
Developing econometric and statistical financial forecasting.
Communicating data in technical and nontechnical reports and presentations.
Contributing to economic journals or publications.
Attending and presenting findings during events.
Sharing economic data in accessible ways.
Designing advanced analysis projects.
Economist Median Salaries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an economist earns a median salary of $108,350 per year annually.
Top Skills for Economists
Economists apply their expertise to answer questions on issues of trade and finance in different industries. Their work includes responsibilities such as the design of statistical and financial analysis, modeling of financial data and markets, development and presentation of client deliverables, quality control and industry research.
As an economist, you must make sure your resume includes some of the following skills:
- Research skills: An economists' primary role is to research topics relating to the distribution of goods. Monitoring and conducting special studies and analyzing the effects of different policies in innovative ways are also part of the responsibilities you must undertake. To do this, you must extensively study world issues, as well as trends and effective strategies implemented in different countries that ensure positive results. You might also be tasked with generating ideas for new programs, policies, research studies and approaches in assigned subject areas.
- Statistical and economic data collection and analysis: Economists are responsible for obtaining, compiling, organizing and analyzing financial data. This responsibility includes leading the collection and analysis of data, performing rigorous testing and verification of economic assumptions and applying quantitative methods and techniques to evaluate information concerning mathematical, statistical or economic factors. It's important to remember you must select critical elements of real-world systems for inclusion in models and apply financial techniques in innovative ways. A few software and programming languages are necessary to perform tasks such as econometric modeling such as Stata and R.
- Reporting: In roles that perform research and data analysis, it's essential to be excellent at drafting reports. You will find yourself creating graphs, tables and other writings and publications which will discuss various local, industrial and even international economic issues.
- Communication skills: Arguably one of the most critical skills for economists is to demonstrate excellent communication skills. Your responsibilities will include briefing study sponsors and high-level officials on the findings and conclusions of studies and relationships for existing and proposed policies and policy options. Those in this role may find themselves speaking directly with reporters, holding press conferences and writing public reports.
- Leadership skills: Economists may serve as project leaders, assuming responsibility for the development of project planning, coordination of overall team efforts and maintaining appropriate lines of communication. While you may find yourself working alone, you'll also have to work as part of a team on investigations or play a significant role in data collection and analysis. You'll also lead critical debates touching on your industry from an economic perspective.
- Staying on top of trends: Economists don't just work with data; they also stay on top of the latest news concerning their industry or sector. It's their responsibility to brief their team on economic and financial trends, including what risks they need to be aware of to help their company or department reach its goals.
Educational Requirements for Economists
DegreeFor entry-level jobs, the minimum educational requirement is a bachelor of science degree in economics, statistics, mathematics, finance or business. However, most roles ask for at least a master's degree and sometimes even a doctorate in economics. You also require between zero to two years of experience in economic consulting and analysis to be eligible for an entry-level position.
Some degrees you can consider if you're interested in pursuing a career as an economist are:
- UC Berkeley's master's degree program in Statistics and their dual B.S. and M.S. Financial Engineering degrees.
- NYU's master's degree in Applied Statistics for Social Science Research, their major in Statistics and their dual B.A. and M.A. in Economics. They also offer an MBA in Finance and a master's degree in Mathematics in Finance and Quantitative Finance.
- Princeton University, Massachusetts Inology (MIT) and Harvard all offer some of the top doctorate programs in economics.
CertificationsCertifications might not be mandatory for the role of an economist, but they're beneficial to boost your credentials and validate your expertise in the field. These are especially advantageous if you want to specialize in a specific area or develop more experience. Here are some available options to continue developing your career as an economist:
- Universities and colleges: Many continuing education programs in universities and colleges offer professional, undergraduate and graduate certifications. For example, Berkeley Extension has a professional program in Data Analysis, a certificate program in Financial Planning and Analysis and one in Mathematics. Both Harvard and Cornell University offer a certificate program in Business Economics. Meanwhile, American University offers a graduate certificate in International Economic Relations while the University of Washington has a diploma in Economics and Data Science.
- Online education companies: Companies like edX offer a comprehensive catalog of courses in Data Analytics that encompass all the skills you need for general and specific industry analyses, whether you're working in business or the social sciences. This option includes courses in programming languages such as R and Python for Data Science. They also offer a wide selection of courses in Economics. Coursera is another great option with many offerings in the field of Economics and Finance.
- Organizations and associations: The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) has the Certified Economic Developer Program, the Entrepreneurship-led Economic Development Certification and a selection of training courses. You could also consider becoming a Certified Business Economist (CBE), a program offered by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE). The Association of Certified Chartered Economists (ACCE) also provides the Ch.E., an advanced professional program that can set you apart from the competition.
- Internships and fellowships: Internships and fellowships are a great way to gain professional firsthand experience in your chosen field. You can apply to plenty of these opportunities such as the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) internships or the summer scholarship program offered by the American Economic Association, an excellent option for undergraduates interested in continuing into a doctoral program in Economics. The Center for Economic and Social Justice also offers internship and fellowship programs you can consider applying to. Columbia University and Georgetown University both also have a few internship offerings in their Department of Economics. While the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) has two fellowship options on their College of Economics.
Economist Resume-Writing Tips
Crafting an eye-catching resume is important when seeking any job. Here are three tips you should remember when creating your resume to impress your an employer during your job hunt as an economist:
- Create a worthy accomplishments section. Job seekers often fail to pass the first resume scan due to a poorly structured accomplishments section. For example, suppose you participated in financial decisions with positive outcomes but poorly explained it in your resume summary. This could lead to the reader not taking that accomplishment seriously. You must make sure to highlight all achievements in prior roles through quantifiable measures such as “increased sales by 10% thanks to discovered revenue loss”.
- Dig deep to unveil the invisible gems in your career story. Quantifying results or actions in numbers, dollars, or percentages helps show your capabilities. For example, explain that you helped your company cut costs by 24%.
- Include in-demand soft skills. Since an economist needs to deal with branches of sociology and psychology, soft skills can help you stand out. Some of the top soft skills include empathy, communication management, adaptability and self-motivation.
Who are the largest employers of economists?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal government, scientific research institutions, consulting services (Management, Scientific & Technical), state governments and finance and insurance institutions are the largest employers of economists in the U.S.
What is the projected growth rate of employment for economists in the U.S.?
As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of economists will grow 14% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations and fields.