To Engage or to Ignore: Responding to Your Social Media Followers

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Technical though it might seem at times, content marketing is really a very relational discipline. The entire point of businesses creating content and sharing on social media is to develop relationships with clients—relationships marked by loyalty and enthusiasm. You want to let customers and clients see that they can trust you, and in turn ensure that they remember your brand for all their future needs—and for that matter, that they recommend your brand to friends and family.

This makes engagement key—but engagement is a two-way street. When your readers start responding to your tweets or leaving you comments on your Facebook posts, that’s typically a good sign. It doesn’t mean your work is done, though; you’re now faced with the task of addressing these comments, as substantially yet as succinctly as you can.

Then again: Should you always respond to social media followers? Not only is that time-consuming, but it may ultimately be a waste of time—especially if your followers aren’t truly interested in engaging, but rather are just talking to talk.

The truth is, there are times when social engagement is imperative—and times when it’s just not worth the effort. Here’s our quick guide to the different types of social media commenters you might get—and how you should address them.

  • The Compliment Leavers. You’re going to get some followers—especially peers and colleagues—who stop by just to say thank you for the content, to tell you that they enjoy your blog, or to make some other general, positive comment about your work. We recommend that you make it clear that the feeling is mutual—that you appreciate them for reading and engaging. This doesn’t have to be anything too complicated. Just offering a quick thank-you for the comment or the retweet can go a long way toward solidifying that relationship.
  • The Question Askers. Some of your social media followers, on the other hand, might ask for your opinion on issues pertaining to your industry, or simply about your products—perhaps following up or asking for clarification on a point you made in your company blog entry. We recommend answering the question briefly but substantively, if possible—but if the answer requires more than a sentence or two, try to move the conversation to another venue. Ask to speak via e-mail or, best of all, by phone.
  • The Agitators. Some social media followers may simply want to stir the pot. Those who seem to be asking purposefully controversial questions may actually mean well enough, so providing answers is a good idea when you can. If people are simply being belligerent or putting down your company for no reason, the best response is no response at all: Ignoring a bully really is the best way to make the bully go away.
  • The Spammers. Finally, be prepared to get some comments or tweets that are pure, outright spam. You can probably guess what to do with these comments: Just ignore them.

In the end, content marketing isn’t just about content creation. It’s also about user engagement. To learn more on this important topic, contact the Grammar Chic team today at http://www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Resume Buzzwords: Do They Mean What You Think They Mean?

Powerful word for winning a resume

“You keep on saying that. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

That’s one of the most famous, most frequently quoted lines from the classic film The Princess Bride—and while it wasn’t actually used in reference to resume writing, it might as well have been. Frankly, there are many job applicants whose resumes use words that they believe to mean one thing, but in fact mean something else altogether.

We’re not saying that these jobseekers are ignorant or illiterate, or that they’re using the words incorrectly, strictly speaking. While they may have the definition of the word right, however, they can miss the connotation of the word. In other words, they may be trying to say one thing, but recruiters and hiring managers might read it as something totally different—and less positive.

Here are just a few examples—some common resume buzzwords and clichés that may sound like they mean one thing, but actually mean something different:

  • Hard-working. You may use this term to denote that you have a burning passion to put in an honest day’s work, to devote 100 percent of yourself to whatever task you’re handed. The problem is, it’s sort of a vague term that almost anyone could use on a resume, and nobody could really prove. It lacks in specificity, which might lead recruiters to think you don’t have anything more specific or tangible to offer. The way they’ll read it, then, is as desperate.
  • Self- You may use this term to suggest that you’re an independent thinker and that you don’t need a lot of direction. Ironically enough, recruiters often take it in just the opposite way, assuming you to be, perhaps, a little too much of a free spirit, in desperate need of extra supervision to make sure you stay focused on company goals.
  • Team player. This one is almost the opposite as the last. Recruiters won’t necessarily take this to mean that you value unity and collaboration; they may take it to mean that you don’t like to lead or to take initiative, which isn’t always what they want to hear.
  • This isn’t really a word that gets the toes a-tappin’, is it? Applicants may use it to suggest that they are loyal and dependable, but recruiters will take it to mean that you’re not really a shining star—that you just show up and take up space, day in and day out.
  • People person. Reads as: Talks too much, or perhaps as Spends too much time at the water cooler.
  • Dynamic, problem-solver, creative thinker, or flexible. Same as hard-working. It just comes across as desperate.

When writing your resume, it’s important to think through the implications of each and every word—and, if possible, to pair every adjective you use with measurable, concrete results.

To learn more, or to schedule a resume consultation, we invite you to reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. resume writing team: Visit http://www.grammarchic.net, or call 803-831-7444.

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6 Things to Remove from Your Resume Right Now

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Sometimes, less really is more. It’s true of graduation speeches. Some would argue that it’s true of cilantro, of Christmas music, or of cologne. It can even be true of your resume.

That’s not to say that there isn’t some merit to a nicely detailed, filled-out resume. As you tell the story of your career, crafting a true narrative from your list of accomplishments and professional credentials, you want to be thorough, and you don’t want to leave any significant experience out of the document.

With that said, not everything you see on a resume is helpful, and not everything serves to enhance the allure of the candidate. Trust us: The Grammar Chic, Inc. resume writing team has seen resumes with headshots, ClipArt, and Comic Sans. True story: We even saw one resume that began with this clause: Well, I guess my only real skill is…

The point is, there is often more that you could add to your resume to make it complete; there also tends to be stuff you might leave off the resume to make it more appealing, more concise, more hard-hitting. Some examples of things you can cut from your resume right now include:

  1. Your personal section. Employers and recruiters care about the value you offer to them—period. Generally speaking, that means your professional life; it doesn’t mean your love of bike riding and romantic comedies, nor does it mean your community volunteerism. There are exceptions to this, when companies are looking to hire for cultural fit, but in those scenarios you’ll be asked to take some kind of personality test. Hobbies really don’t belong on a resume.
  2. Gaps in your career history. You can remove the gaps by filling them with brief, honest explanations—a Homemaker Sabbatical, a Medical Sabbatical, or time spent working part-time or consulting. Just don’t leave huge chunks of time unaccounted for.
  3. Photos. You don’t need them. Ever. Unless you’re applying to be a supermodel, maybe.
  4. Your career objective. We say this all the time, but it’s an enduring problem with many resumes: They contain an objective, which really says nothing at all. Your objective is to get a job, same as everyone else writing a resume—so why waste the space? Ditch it for a nice executive summary, instead.
  5. Third-person voice. A good example of a resume achievement is: “Increased sales revenues by 30 percent.” A bad, weird-sounding example is: “Margaret increased sales revenues by 30 percent.” Catch the difference?
  6. An e-mail address from your company employer. Remove it in favor of a personal e-mail address—because nobody wants to hire someone who obviously job searches on their current employer’s time!

Any of these elements will undermine an otherwise strong resume—so just cut ‘em.

For more tips on what to cut—or what to include—please contact our resume writing team today: Call 803-831-7444, or visit http://www.grammarchic.net.

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Proofreading 101: 5 Things to Watch

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You may not have been an English major, and you may find the task of revising your own written work to be frankly tedious—but proofreading is a skill that no executive, entrepreneur, or professional person should be without. Just as it is important to have some basic skills in writing and in accounting, so too is it imperative for business owners to have a command of some proofreading basics.

There will be times, of course, when you must write something—your website content, a Facebook post, a company press release, or a blog entry, for instance. Even if you outsource all of the above to a professional writing company like Grammar Chic, Inc., you’ll at least need to know how to compose your own professional e-mails. And for any of these writing projects, any typos or stylistic errors you make are ultimately going to undermine your authority and distract from the message you’re trying to convey. In a very real way, a grammatical flub-up can ruin a social media post or a marketing message.

This is not to say that you have to suddenly develop an encyclopedic knowledge of English grammar, but you should at least get into the habit of re-reading everything you write, scouring it for any words, letters, or punctuation marks that need to be corrected.

What exactly should you be looking for? The list is long, but five basic categories are mentioned here:

  • Checking your spelling is always important—but relying on SpellCheck is insufficient. SpellCheck won’t always catch homophones, which are words that differ in meaning and spelling, but are pronounced the same way. For example, their, they’re, and there all sound alike, and as you type it can be easy to enter one when you mean one of the others—but this is an exceedingly amateurish mistake that makes it plain your work hasn’t been re-read or edited at all. Keep an eye out for these as you revise your work!
  • Run-on sentences. There are right ways and wrong ways to splice two sentences/clauses together. The right way is to use a conjunction like and or Another way is to use a semicolon or comma. The wrong way is to simply jam them together without a transition of any kind. If you’re ever unsure, you might just err on the side of simplicity—ending one idea with a period, and then including the next idea as its own sentence. (So long as each sentence has a subject and a verb, you’re set!)
  • Formality. Depending on what you’re writing, contractions (like can’t, won’t, should’ve, or, well, you’re) may or may not be appropriate. They’re fine in a blog entry or on Facebook, but generally frowned upon in press releases or in more formal documents. As you read through your writing, be aware of whether you’ve used informalities, and whether or not it’s appropriate to do so. (Addressing the reader directly—you—is another informality to watch for.)
  • Subject/verb agreement. This one should be pretty easy to identify as you read back through your work; when the subject and verb do not agree, in number or in tense, it just sounds funny. Some examples: You always want to say the customer is first, not the customer are first and not the customers is first.
  • Finally, try to be aware of words that you may be overusing. You may really think your business is agile, but using the word agile in every sentence will make your writing tedious. Look up synonyms!

Of course, you may also wish to have a professional editing company you can call—and Grammar Chic is always available! Contact us today: Visit http://www.grammarchic.net, or call 803-831-7444.

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6 Reasons Your Facebook Fanpage Isn’t Gathering Likes

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For social media marketers, the Facebook “like” is one of the most valuable currencies there is. A like may not be an end in and of itself—the ultimate goal is to develop customers, converts, and brand ambassadors—but someone who likes your company page is that much closer to seeing your content, engaging with it, sharing it, and forming positive associations with your brand. The like isn’t everything, but it’s certainly important.

So when you invest time and energy into your Facebook Fanpage and don’t see it picking up too many likes—well, that can be frustrating.

There could be any number of reasons why your page isn’t generating the likes you need it to, but some of the likeliest causes are outlined below.

  • Your permission settings block viewers. We’ll start with one of the simplest and easiest bits of troubleshooting. We all know the importance of ensuring the right privacy settings for your personal Facebook page, but when it comes to your company page, you obviously want the content to be visible to more or less everyone. Check the “Manage Permissions” tab on your page just to make sure you’re not unintentionally restricting your viewership.
  • Your page looks shoddy or unprofessional. Nobody wants to like an obviously “DIY” Facebook Fanpage. If your images are blurry or low-res, or if you’re using cheap Clipart instead of compelling photos and graphics, then you’re not doing enough to make your page inviting.
  • You’re not sharing the page. Can people who visit your company website quickly and easily find your Facebook page, without having to go to Facebook and search for it? Do you have Facebook links on your e-mail signatures and blog entries? If you’re not actively sharing your Facebook page, or at least placing links to it in prominent locations, then you can’t expect it to gain much momentum.
  • You’re not posting enough. How much is “enough,” you ask? Well, you need to be posting with the kind of frequency that will ensure people remember who you are and what you offer. Use an editorial calendar to be consistent in updating—daily, if you can.
  • You’re posting way too much, in bulk. Facebook’s algorithms work to prevent you from bombarding people with posts, so don’t even try. If you’re posting ten times a day, but all ten posts come within the same 30-minute window, you’re essentially asking Facebook to hide those posts—so what’s the point? Be consistent in posting, but also know the value in restraint.
  • You’re only posting about yourself. At Grammar Chic, we are constantly warning our clients about the dangers of relentless self-promotion, but hear us out once more: Your Facebook page isn’t really about you; it’s about the value you can offer your clients. Informing and educating them is the single best way to get—and keep—their precious likes.

To learn more about Facebook Fanpage optimization, or about content marketing in general, reach out to Grammar Chic today. Call 803-831-7444, or visit http://www.grammarchic.net.

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A Quick Guide to Resume Writing in Your 50s

Resume Writing when over 50

Statistics show that more and more Americans are working longer than ever before—well past the “traditional” retirement age of decades past—and what’s more, Americans are switching careers more frequently than ever, the days of working for a lone employer for 40 or 50 years long over. Combine these two findings and you arrive at a simple conclusion: More people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s are looking to jump from one job to another, and as such they need to craft compelling resumes that will enable them to compete with younger jobseekers.

What Sets Fiftysomethings Apart?

The question is, how can this be done? The first thing for the jobseeker past age 50 to understand is that, in truth, they’re not competing with younger jobseekers—not in any meaningful way. Post-50 jobseekers bring something entirely different to the table than their younger colleagues and counterparts—namely, they bring an entire career’s worth of experience.

That experience is what makes post-50 jobseekers unique, and uniquely appealing to employers. As such, it’s what the resume should highlight. Your resume should be constructed in a way that it tells the story of your career, pulling every job and every position you’ve held into a tight narrative, highlighting results and accomplishments along the way.

Some Tips for Crafting Your Resume

Some specific tips for crafting a resume that tells the story of your career include:

  • Ditch the Objective—which suggests a kind of youthful naiveté—and instead begin your resume with an Executive Summary that spells out exactly who you are as an employee, focusing on the key skills and most significant achievements you have amassed.
  • Summarize your entire career in reverse chronological order. You don’t necessarily want to leave anything out—even if it’s a retail job you had right out of college—because every position you’ve held contributes to the larger narrative of your professional life. With that said, the focus should be on the past 10 or 15 years.
  • You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, as far as your resume formatting goes, and you don’t need any gimmicks to hook hiring managers or recruiters. Instead, your resume should be centered on the one thing that sets it apart from the resumes of younger folks—i.e., that it’s meatier, packed with more details from your professional life.
  • On that note, keep the focus on achievements, on success that you’ve had, on projects completed, and on quantifiable results. You’ve been in the workforce for a long time now—so what do you have to show for it?

Some post-50 jobseekers wonder if their age puts them at a disadvantage—but a good resume will put your experience to good use for you. After all, what could be more impressive to an employer than a long list of career achievements?

To learn more about crafting such a resume, we invite you to contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today. Call 803-831-7444, or visit http://www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Job Interview Questions Designed to Trip You Up

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It’s the human element that makes interviewing for a job so tricky, so daunting. You can hold all the practice interviews and rehearse all the canned answers you want, but at the end of the day you’re going to be sitting across from another human being, who can ask nearly any question that springs to mind. While it is both good and right to prepare for common, stock interview questions, the applicant must also go into each interview with the knowledge that anything could happen.

On that note: There are some surprisingly (and increasingly) popular interview questions that you should make a special effort to prepare for. These aren’t necessarily among the “stock” questions you’re familiar with, but they’re not uncommon among interviewers—and they’re designed to be a bit tricky, not necessarily with the intention of making you fall flat but rather of helping the interviewer see how well you think on your feet.

What are some of these surprising, tricky interview questions? We’ve highlighted five particularly treacherous ones below.

Why are you seeking a new employment opportunity?

In the surface, this one may seem fairly innocuous—and it can be. Maybe you’re looking for a new job because you’re currently unemployed, or maybe you’re simply ready for a change for you or your family. That’s all perfectly fine.

This question becomes insidious and damaging, however, when you start talking smack about your current employers. That’s really what it’s designed to do: To show the interviewer whether you’re a particularly negative person or not. If you show up at an interview and speak poorly of your current job, why should the interviewer expect you to be any more of a team player at this new company? Prepare for this question by reminding yourself not to air your dirty laundry in public, as far as your old employers are concerned.

How do you manage to find time for interviews?

This question is designed to uncover whether you’re effectively cheating your current employer or not—because if you are, there’s no reason to suspect you won’t cheat your next employers, too. You can deflect—and underscore your interest in the position—by stating that you’re taking personal time for the interview because the opportunity seems so perfect for you, so exciting.

Do you know anyone who currently works for our company?

Here’s another one that seems innocent enough. You may think it’s a great thing to have a friend on the inside, talking you up and recommending you to the hiring manager. It can be—but only if your friend is respected within the company. Remember that the friend’s characteristics and reputation are automatically going to become associated with you—so select your referrer wisely!

What’s your dream job?

The point of this question is to determine whether you’re applying for every job in sight, or taking a more targeted approach—and you want to underscore that you’re doing the latter. “This is the place I’d like to work,” you should say; as hokey as it might sound, this simple answer really is the best one.

What does the word X mean on your resume?

Finally, don’t be surprised to have interviewers ask you to explain certain words on your resume—a relatively recent response to the trend of meaningless buzzwords that proliferate on resumes. If you think you can get away with calling yourself “hard-working” or “diligent” without being able to offer up any concrete examples, well, think again.

This last one, of course, underscores the importance of having a really meaningful resume in place. To learn more about this important step in job search preparation, contact our team today: Call 803-831-7444, or visit http://www.grammarchic.net.

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