5 Ways to Escape from Your Job Search Rut

It’s hard to imagine anything more dispiriting than a job search rut. You desperately want new employment. You’ve made your resume and cover letter, you’ve reached out to your contacts, you’ve hit the pavement looking for openings—and nothing. You’ve not gotten any calls or interviews, much less job offers. You are, simply put, stuck.

The good news is, there are ways to get yourself unstuck. Rather than throwing in the towel, try these ways out of your job search rut.

Talk to people.

One of the most harrowing parts of the job search process is that so much of it is done online these days, without any room for human interaction.

That can take its toll emotionally and psychologically—so break out of that rut. Reach out to former co-workers and ask to have lunch or coffee with them. Mine your LinkedIn contacts for people you could get together with face-to-face.

You can view it as networking, or simply as a chance to get face time with actual humans. Either way, it will bolster your spirits—and possibly lead to some new doors opening, too.

Get feedback on your resume.

If your resume isn’t getting any bites, it could be that it’s just not a well-conceived resume.

Our resume writing experts can take a look and immediately diagnose any problems—and present you with a new resume that gets everything right.

Freshen up your LinkedIn profile.

Likewise, our team can help you optimize your LinkedIn page—boosting your chances of getting found by online recruiters within your industry.

Don’t leave it to chance. Get a LinkedIn profile that has all the right keywords in all the right places.

Broaden your search.

We’re not suggesting you change industries altogether. We’re just saying that, if your search is stuck, it could be that the focus is too narrow.

Try searching for jobs that maybe don’t quite fit the parameters you’ve been looking for in the past. Stretch yourself—just a little. Or simply try searching for similar positions with different job titles.

Take care of yourself.

It really is disheartening to be stuck in a job search that doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. That can rob you of some of your mental health and happiness, so make sure to take care of yourself.

Schedule some time for you—to do some yoga, get a massage, or just hit the gym. Whatever helps you deal with stress and anxiety in a healthy manner, that’s what you should be doing. And who knows? It may be just what you need to get some new perspective or a fresh burst of energy for your job search.

To learn more about advancing your job search, reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. team today. You can find us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Sending a Thank You Letter Could Cost You Your Job

As a jobseeker, it’s important for every piece of personal marketing collateral you send out to be error-free and professional.

This includes, obviously, your resume and cover letter. And, it includes the thank you note you send after your interview.

Believe it or not, the thank you note is more than just a formality. It could be the thing that seals the deal—or, the thing that breaks it.

No, really: It’s possible to email a post-interview thank you letter that’s so bad, you lose out on the position to another candidate.

Don’t believe us? Here are five ways in which your thank you letter can wreck your chances.

It’s full of mistakes.

“It was a pleasure to meat you today.” “I hope you choose to higher me.” Do you see the problem with these sentences? Hopefully you do, and hopefully you’ll proof your own thank you letter thoroughly enough to eliminate similar mistakes from your writing.

The bottom line is, there are probably multiple qualified candidates who interviewed for the position—and the hiring manager may very well make the final decision based on who didn’t send an email full of embarrassing typos.

It’s too casual.

Was the person who interviewed you super laid back, using a lot of casual slang and humor? That’s great! But it’s no reason to fill your thank you note with similar frivolities.

You don’t have the job yet. Just play it safe. Keep your email professional.

It’s too generic.

On the flipside, it’s very possible to send an email that’s reads like a form letter—and then, what’s the point?

Your thank you email should define you as a candidate. It should help differentiate you from other applicants. That’s why you need to get into some of the specifics of your experience, your interview, etc.

It’s too long.

Don’t come on too strong! If your email text wouldn’t fit onto a thank you card you bought at the store, then it’s too long.

It’s too late.

You should send your thank you email within 24 hours of the interview. If you’ve already waited a week, then just don’t bother sending it at all.

We’ll Write Your Thank You Email for You!

If you’re unsure of how to craft any of your personal branding materials—from the thank you letter to the resume itself—you can always call in the pros! Reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. resume writing team to learn more. Connect at www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444.

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7 Things to Do Before You Start a Content Marketing Campaign

It’s never too late for your company to launch its own outbound marketing strategy—building authority, establishing trust, and boosting conversion rates though compelling content distribution.

Though content marketing is nothing new, we still encounter many business owners who are coming to it for the first time, eager to drive value through blogging, video, social media, and beyond.

Enthusiasm goes a long way in content marketing, but wait: Before you get swept away, we have a few foundational steps you should take.

Before You Start Content Marketing…

  1. First, make sure you understand what content marketing actually is. Don’t do it just to do it. Do it because you really understand how value-adding content enhances your brand, cultivates loyalty, adds SEO power, and leads your buyers down the sales funnel. Take some time to read up on content marketing and to understand the merits of “selling without selling.”
  2. Set some goals. What do you hope to achieve through content marketing? How will you measure results and define success? Are you seeking better online reviews? Increased website traffic? Higher search engine visibility? A more robust and engaged social media following? Define your objectives and your major benchmarks before you get started.
  3. Know your audience. For whom are you creating content? Which values, pain points, and common queries should your content address? Create detailed buyer personas so that, when you start building a content portfolio, you’ll have someone specific to whom you can address it.
  4. Define the right channels. Most small businesses simply can’t spare the resources needed to maintain activity on a half dozen social media platforms, plus a blog, a YouTube channel, etc. Trying to do so can actually dilute the impact of your content, so it’s generally better to be focused and strategic in the content distribution channels you choose. Both your goals and your audience are relevant to this decision.
  5. Research your industry. What do your competitors do for content? What are the hot topics? What seem to be the best ways to garner attention? What room is there for your brand to carve out a niche for itself?
  6. Make an editorial calendar. You won’t succeed by creating new content on the fly, with no broader timeline or plan. It’s important to exercise some forethought in your content creation.
  7. Consider ghost bloggers and content marketing strategists. Content marketing can sometimes be a full-time job, and one that requires a high level of strategy. If you feel like it’s going to be a strain, reach out to the content marketing team at Grammar Chic, Inc. We’ll offer a free consultation about our services, answer any questions you have, and provide a detailed proposal.

Get Grammar Chic’s take on things, and make sure you have the foundations for content marketing success. Reach out to us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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The Right Way to Use SEO Keywords in Your Company Blog

One way to add SEO value to your written content is to include keywords. This is one of the oldest practices in all of digital marketing, yet also one of the least understood.

There have been a lot of pendulum shifts in the way marketers understand keywords; for a time, keywords were gleefully stuffed into every piece of content, and then there was a season when many wondered if keywords were on their way out.

The truth is that keywords still matter a great deal, and inserting them properly can add tremendous SEO value to your writing—yet judicious and strategic keyword use is something that requires some forethought and some discipline.

In this post, we’ll offer some basic practices for ensuring that, when you add keywords to your content, you do so effectively.

Keywords Drive Content—Not the Other Way Around

First, it’s really ideal if you use keywords as your starting point. Come up with your targeted keywords before you do any writing, and allow them to guide your approach—your topic selection, your structure, etc. This way, the keywords are worked into your content more organically.

The alternative is to write a piece of content and then add keywords after the fact. This isn’t optimal because it means the keywords will likely stick out like sore thumbs, or disrupt the flow of the writing. The goal should always be for your keyword use to be natural and seamless.

Keywords Reveal Something About Your Readers

Another important concept is keyword intent. If someone is searching for a particular keyword, it’s because he or she is seeking a certain kind of information. Think about why your buyers would be searching for a particular set of keywords, and what it says about their pain points and their ideal solutions.

This allows you to craft content where your keywords are not only present, but used in such a way to address the reader’s questions and provide a real sense of value. In other words, your keywords are in the content as answers, not just as SEO add-ons.

The Best Places to Include Keywords

Getting caught up in how many keywords is usually a dead end, but we do recommend trying to include keywords in a few strategic locations. Here are the places where keywords offer the most SEO value.

Headline

Include a keyword within the first 65 characters of your headline, if at all possible.

Body Text

The body of your blog post should have keywords used naturally throughout. Remember to never force them or stuff them; just use them where they fit naturally, ensuring that the content still reads well.

URL

A vanity URL slug, with your keyword included, is a great SEO feature.

Meta Description

Another great, often-overlooked place to add keywords is in your blog’s meta description.

Write Blogs with SEO Value

Keywords aren’t everything, but they can make your content more discoverable among search engine users. The Grammar Chic, Inc. team offers unsurpassed expertise in writing blog content with SEO value in mind. To talk to one of our ghost bloggers today, contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Remove the Word “Seasoned” from Your Resume Right Now

There are certain words and phrases that have become commonplace on resumes and cover letters, despite the fact that they really lack merit, and in some cases are actually turn-offs to recruiters and hiring managers. One of the key offenders? Seasoned.

Simply put, you should reserve that word for describing food. It has no place describing people, and it really has no place on your resume collateral.

Why “Seasoned” is a Word Best Avoided

There are a number of reasons to avoid this word. Start with this one: Recruiters know full well that “seasoned” can be a euphemism. People who describe themselves in this way are often trying to put a positive spin on the fact that they are, frankly, old, or that they have worked in the same profession for a long span of time. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to phrase things positively, of course. “Seasoned” just isn’t an effective way to do it.

In addition, the word is often used in a way that’s redundant. Say you describe yourself as a “seasoned professional with 20 years of experience.” What role does “seasoned” play in this statement? What does it communicate that the 20 years of experience doesn’t get at more specifically?

The bottom line: When you describe yourself with this word, you’re not giving the recruiter any good reason to keep reading your resume. It’s purely an empty cliché.

What to Say Instead

Fortunately, there are some choice alternatives available—words that arrive at something much more specific and impactful.

To show that you’re worked in the same industry for a long time but have climbed the ladder—rather than remaining stagnant in one single position—you could note that you are “steadily progressing.”

To denote that you have authority in your field, “industry-leading” is a qualifier that can pack a real punch. “Respected expert” is another option here.

And of course, you can always just let your specific career history do the talking for you, without any need to tell people how “seasoned” you are.

The bottom line for job seekers: Every word on your resume needs to be just right. A single hollow choice can cause the whole thing to come across as limp or uninspiring. For resume guidance that will make every word sparkle, we encourage you to contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today. Reach us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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These Skills Are Effective on ANY Resume

There are some skills that just don’t transfer well from one industry to another. For example, let’s say you know how to repair a broken sump pump. That’s an invaluable thing to include on your resume—if you happen to be looking for work as a plumber. But if you decide what you really want to be is an elementary school teacher, sump pump repair just isn’t as relevant.

On the other hand, there are skills that all employers want to see—skills that are in-demand regardless of industry. Being reliable, teachable, punctual, courteous, honest… no employer would ever spurn such enviable assets.

In other words, there are some skills that look good on any and all resumes—and assuming you can make an honest claim to them, we recommend including them on your own professional documents.

These Skills Are Appealing Across the Board

Here are some examples of those universally-appealing skills we’re talking about, in no particular order.

Negotiation skills. Even if you’re not working in sales, it never hurts to be able to persuade people into things.

Awareness of your industry. Thought leadership, and knowing what’s going on in your field, is something employers tend to prize.

Research and self-education. Are you able to figure things out, and develop skillsets, without needing a lot of hand-holding? That’s extraordinarily precious to employers.

Interpersonal skills. Not everyone plays well with others. Simply getting along with other employees is a big advantage.

Written and verbal communication. Can you write? Can you give a strong, motivating presentation? If you possess either of these traits, make sure they find their way onto your resume.

Work ethic. If you’re the kind of person who’s willing to put in the time to get a project right, employers will appreciate that.

Responsibility. Employers want people to whom they can entrust more and more responsibilities, and know that the work will get done on time and with sufficient levels of quality. Does this describe you?

Showing, Not Telling

Including these skills on your resume is never a bad idea, though we should offer one caveat. Simply saying that you posses these skills isn’t nearly as effective as illustrating them.

So, on your resume, don’t just say that you can teach yourself things. List specific examples of things you’ve mastered on your own. And don’t just note that you have a strong work ethic. Go into detail about some of your most ambitious and challenging projects.

A good resume is built on specifics—and general skillsets aren’t nearly as impactful as concrete achievements.

Are you ready to develop a resume that really shows your value, across the board? Our resume writing team can help. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net today.

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Yes, You CAN Proofread Your Resume Effectively

Your resume may be a powerful showcase of your skills, your achievements, and your professional trajectory—yet if there is even a single typo on the document, it could sink your chances at an interview, and derail your job search completely.

We’re not being hyperbolic, either. Hiring managers and recruiters are inundated with resumes, and they don’t need much reason at all to discard yours—giving themselves one less applicant to tangle with. And typos, while often perfectly innocent, can call into question your professionalism and your attention to detail. In short: They make you look bad!

When building your resume, proofreading is an essential step. We understand that you may not be confident in your own proofing skills, and we get it. It’s challenging to catch mistakes in your own work. But you can do it—and we’ll show you how.

Practical Ways to Proofread More Successfully

Here are some pragmatic fixes for your proofreading issues:

Print out your resume. Here’s why: The mind engages text on the screen differently than it does text on the page. By reading both ways, you can be more thorough in spotting potential errors.

Read out loud. When you read the text out loud, you not only pick up on more errors, but may also become aware of issues—like over-repetition of a particular word—that makes the resume seem a bit off.

Put a finger on each word. As you read, either on your tablet or a printed document, put your finger on each new word as you read it—preventing your mind from skipping over anything.

Read it backwards. Start at the bottom and work your way up! This ensures that you’re actually seeing the letters on the page, not getting distracted by the ideas, context, or logical flow.

Get a friend to help. No matter how rigorous you are, you can still benefit from having multiple sets of eyes.

Make Your Resume Look Perfect

Your resume should look like perfection, and proofreading is an essential part of that. One more thing you can do to ensure the right level of polish? Hire a professional resume writer. Ours are always happy to help, whether you need a quick review or a complete rewrite.

Reach out to the resume writing professionals on the Grammar Chic team today. You can connect with Grammar Chic, Inc. online at www.grammarchic.net, or call us at 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Editing, Resume Writing, Resumes