4 Job Search Worries You Can Stop Stressing About

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Seeking new employment can be stressful—especially when you’re not already earning a paycheck somewhere. That stress cannot be totally mitigated, but perhaps it can be reduced. At the very least, jobseekers can stop stressing about the things that just don’t matter, saving their worry and their attention for the bigger, more significant issues.

In other words: Know what you should legitimately be concerned about, and what you can let go of. We’ll offer a few quick examples of the latter—four things that many jobseekers worry about, but really don’t need to.

Job Search Anxieties You Can Let Go

  • The occasional gap on your resume. While it’s certainly problematic to have a resume riddled with holes, a few short gaps here and there—especially ones in the distant past—are really nothing to fret about. Maybe you took three months off from your career to care for an ailing parent, or you took a sabbatical while you returned to school. An employer may very well ask you about these gaps, but all you have to do is give your explanation, and the employer will almost surely understand. It’s nothing to get hung up about.
  • Requests to contact your current boss. You may be asked if the hiring manager can get in touch with your current employer, as a reference—and you may prefer that this not happen. More likely than not, your job search is something you’d rather keep secret. The good news is, employers understand that, and declining this request is perfectly normal. Don’t hesitate to ask the hiring manager not to let the cat out of the bag with your current boss.
  • Jobs left off your resume. In the interest of telling your story, as succinctly as possible, you may want to omit a job listing or two from your resume—and that’s okay! Now, should you leave off a major job that leaves a seven-year gap on your resume? Probably not. But if you need to cut off your summer internship from back when you were 18, well, that’s not likely to be an issue.
  • An unwieldy list of references. You may have former employers or colleagues on your list who have since moved on, or even retired. Contacting them might be challenging—but that’s not really your concern. When a hiring manager asks you for references, he or she is only asking for your permission to contact those folks. The logistics aren’t your concern!

Another way to eliminate worry from your job search? Make yourself confident by getting a sparkling new resume. Start the process today by contacting the Grammar Chic team! You can reach our resume writing pros at 803-831-7444, or at www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Job Search, Resume Writing, Resumes

Is It Time to Overhaul Your Resume?

If you’re like many people, you only give your resume a second glance when you’re looking for a new job. That can backfire when you’re in a rush to apply for open positions and you may not give off the best impression or emphasize your strongest assets. Keeping your resume up-to-date even when you’re not actively seeking a job can help you to be more prepared when an opportunity comes along.

Here are a few signs that it might be time to give your resume an overhaul and spruce things up:

It’s been years since you’ve revised it. Resume formats and trends have changed over the years, so if you’re submitting the same resume you used 10 years ago (or even 5), it’s going to be pretty obvious to recruiters and employers. Long gone are the days of objectives and “references available upon request.” Say goodbye to that AOL email or the address you’ve been using since college if it isn’t something professional. You want to ensure your resume is in line with what employers are looking for today and isn’t dating you.

Your resume could apply to anyone or any position. If your resume is filled with generic copy that doesn’t set you apart from the next applicant and doesn’t strongly demonstrate your capabilities, you’re wasting the opportunity to make a memorable first impression. In fact, you may find that your resume is being passed over more often than you’d like. Your resume should be a reflection of you and what you have accomplished throughout your career. Focus on your achievements and what you bring to the table.

You’re not getting many – or any – responses. You’ve submitted your resume to dozens of jobs yet hear nothing back. While part of this may be the competitiveness of the market and the particular jobs you are applying for, your resume may also be to blame. If employers can’t quickly see that you are a good fit, you have the skills they seek, and you can benefit their company, they’ll move on to someone who does fit the bill. Now may be a good time to really evaluate your resume and give it a good updating so that it works in your favor.

You’re getting calls for the wrong types of jobs. Are you getting calls for jobs that aren’t in line with what you’re looking for? Your resume may not be presenting you in the way you’re hoping it does. To you it may seem obvious what type of job you’re seeking or why you’re a good match, but to employers it may not be. Spell it out on your resume. Don’t let there be any doubt about your abilities or how you’re branding yourself. This is where a solid summary of qualifications and core competencies section come into play.

If your resume is missing the mark, or you’re just not sure where to start, the team at Grammar Chic is here to help. We will work with you to create an up-to-date resume that reflects you in a positive light and generates attention for the right reasons. Contact Grammar Chic at (803) 831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net today!

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Filed under Editing, Resume Writing, Resumes

Make Your Email Marketing a Summer Success

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Here’s a phenomenon you may have noticed: During the grueling hot months of summer, you’re much more likely to get out-of-office auto-responders from the people you try to reach by e-mail. It’s not that everyone’s avoiding you. It’s just that everyone’s on vacation—or so it seems, sometimes. Certainly, the summer season is touch-and-go when it comes to emails, which may tempt you to pack in your email marketing campaign for the summer, perhaps revisiting the ol’ email list when September rolls around.

That’s not an illegitimate temptation, nor is it necessarily a wrong one: Certainly, there is an argument to be made for scaling back on your marketing emails during the summer months, if not disbanding them completely.

No matter how many marketing emails you send over the next couple of months, though—just one or a baker’s dozen—we encourage you to implement some simple tweaks to your strategy, which can make those emails much more enticing to your recipients—and thus, likely to get opened and acted upon.

Get Your Marketing Emails Ready for Summer

Keep those subject lines succinct. A lot of your readers may be getting those emails while they’re waiting in line for movie tickets, a plane ride, or a trip down a roller coaster. They don’t have time for epic-length headings. Shoot for subject lines between 30 and 50 characters—never any more.

Cozy up to emojis! Summer time is fun time, right? There’s no better season to adorn your subject lines and your email messages with a few tasteful smiley faces or other festive icons. Don’t go overboard, and don’t sacrifice actual words for emojis, but do feel free to use them as they fit.

Resist the temptation toward click bait. Drop two swimsuit sizes in a week’s time may seem like a tempting promise, and if your product can actually deliver it, then good for you! Don’t fall into the trap of making cheap promises that you know you can’t keep, though, nor of writing subject headings that aren’t actually relevant to your content. You may get click-throughs, but you’ll also get a lot of annoyed customers.

Don’t let your emails fall into the junk pile. Nobody has a lot of time to sort through their junk folder, so avoid letting your emails end up there. Cut down on spam triggers, as we talked about in this previous post.

Need some further assistance getting your marketing emails summer-ready? We can help you strategize, write, format, and send. Reach out to Grammar Chic today at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Business Writing, Email Writing, Writing

Facebook is Changing its Algorithms. Here’s How Brands Can Adapt.

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In the coming days, Facebook will be making some not-insignificant tweaks to its newsfeed algorithms—prioritizing posts from friends and family members but reducing the visibility of branded posts. In other words, when you sign into your personal Facebook account, the first posts you see will be ones from the people you know and love. Posts from the businesses or public figures you follow will be second-tier.

For the consumer, this is probably welcome news. In fact, Facebook has said the entire impetus for this change is that so many users have complained about being inundated by branded content while missing out on the key updates from their friends and family members. For small business owners, though, this news isn’t welcome. What it means is that branded posts will be less visible on Facebook, and thus, Facebook referral traffic will likely take a dive.

Crafting Posts to Be Shared

So what’s the solution? Given how critical Facebook is to the marketing landscape, it can’t very well be abandoned. The good news is that there’s a way for companies to work around this algorithmic upheaval. Essentially, the way to get branded content into consumer newsfeeds is to have it shared by friends and family members. Engineering this kind of social connection can provide kind of a back door into more and more Facebook feeds.

In other words, we’re back to that timeless Facebook marketing question: What can you do to get your posts shared by as many people as possible? We’ve got a few tips and techniques—some of them tried and true, some a bit off the beaten path, but all Grammar Chic-tested and Facebook-approved.

Keep the narrative brief. Nobody wants to read an entire book just to get to the point of your Facebook post. Aim for text of no more than 80 characters or so, if you can help it.

Select a compelling image. Pictures are what get Facebook shares—period. Colorful, eye-catching images that provoke humor or sentiment are always going to be winners.

Avoid first-person as best you can. Make your post feel like it could come from anyone, to encourage people to share your thoughts. Keep your text to some brief, open-ended questions or short declarations.

Include a call to action where appropriate. Something as simple as “visit our blog for more” can be perfectly compelling.

Share content that’s actionable and advice-oriented. Make sure the blog posts you write and share have headlines that convey immediate, practical value for the reader.

Need some help crafting posts that’ll slide easily into Facebook’s new algorithms? Give Grammar Chic a call. Reach us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Content Writing, Social Media, Writing

5 Ways to Improve Your SEO Copywriting Today

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is a daunting topic: Because it’s ever in flux, you really never reach a point where you know everything there is to know about it—and that can be intimidating. Just when you think you’re a master, you realize how much you still have to discover.

That’s not to say that there are not some tried-and-true principles for you to lean on, though. This is especially true of SEO copywriting. The words you use to develop your Web content are crucial to SEO success—every bit as crucial as, say, page layout and navigation—and there are some reliable methods for making your SEO copy even stronger.

We’ll show you what we mean: Five ways you could improve the SEO value in your written content today.

Write for Actual Readers

This is so basic, but so important—and in many cases, so easily overlooked. You’ve got to break out of the mindset that you are writing for Google robots. You are, to some extent, but what those bots want is for you to develop content that is actionable and interesting to human readers—the people actually searching for information on the Web. That’s the audience to shoot for. As you write, ask yourself how you can answer questions and offer solutions to the people who might be seeking information on the Web.

Quit Keyword Stuffing

How many times should you use a long-tail keyword phrase in each piece of content? Two? Five? Ten? Three percent of the total word density? Frankly, if you’re getting caught up in these questions, it probably means you’re shoehorning words into places they don’t quite belong. Having a keyword or two to guide your content development is helpful, and including a keyword in titles and meta descriptions is always good, but beyond that, the best advice is to just be organic.

Don’t Let Your Words Stand Alone

Sharpen your words and enhance the impact of your copy by sprinkling in some other rich content—embedded videos, GIFs, and above all else some strong imagery. High-quality, relevant images can make the professionalism of your writing stand out all the more.

Spend More Time Writing Headlines

Your headline creates the first impression readers will have of your content, and in many ways the headline is what determines whether your content even gets read at all. It’s arguably the most important component in your online copywriting, then—so don’t rush through it. We’ve offered some specific headline-writing tips before.

Include Meta Descriptions

The meta description—a 150-characters-or-so snippet that’s displayed in Google search queries—is an invaluable piece of online real estate, and a free way to significantly boost your online traction. Make sure to use the full character count to provide a robust summary of your content; try including a keyword and a call to action, if you can.

Of course, you can also shape up your SEO copy by hiring the pros: Contact Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net to learn more.

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Filed under Business Writing, Content Writing, Web Content, Writing

5 Trust Symbols to Add to Your Website

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Do customers trust your brand?

That’s always been an important question for businesses and sales professionals to address, but it’s taken on a new urgency in the era of digital commerce. After all, if you’re doing business primarily through your website, customers may never have a chance to look you in the eye, shake your hand, or freely question you about the nature of your products or services. This does not in any way mean that your products and services are less trustworthy, but it does mean that some customers will struggle; they will need additional reassurances.

The good news is, there are ways to offer precisely that, simply by adding trust symbols to your website. The concept of a trust symbol is pretty self-explanatory: Anything that signifies your company as reputable and reliable can qualify. The question is, what are some of the main trust symbols that can be added to a small business website?

Trust Symbols to Consider for Your Site

The answer can vary slightly from one company to the next, and your brand may not really qualify for every one of these five symbols—but it will certainly qualify for a couple of them. Adding them to your business website can make a huge difference in fostering trust-based relationships with your treasured clients.

  1. There is no better way to engender faith in your product than to put a seal up showing that you offer a money-back guarantee. Note that there are different types of guarantee you can use. An absolute guarantee promises that your product will never break. A risk-free guarantee, meanwhile, might say that if the product does break down, all your money will be refunded. This second type of guarantee can actually be better for building trust: Promising your product will never break can seem too good to be true, while offering no risk if it does break feels more genuine.
  2. Consumer testimonials. Have other people used your products or services and responded favorably? Ask them to write a quick testimonial on your behalf. Usually, a loyal and happy customer, when asked politely and authentically, will be happy to do this for you. We proudly display client testimonials on the Grammar Chic page, and believe them to be important in showing that we know our stuff.
  3. Similarly, if your business receives five-star reviews on Google or Facebook, consider having those reviews embedded or linked to from your site. Just be sure you monitor the reviews in case you get some bad ones that need addressing!
  4. Helpful content. Does the content on your site support and educate your client? Do you have product guides, FAQs, demos, and tutorial videos? All can be vital for building trust on your brand’s behalf, and allowing the customer to move forward in confidence.
  5. A strong About Us page. Finally, you can build trust on your page by ensuring you lay out the details of what your company stands for and what value it offers. Don’t underestimate how far this can go in assuaging customer fears!

With the right trust symbols added, your website can really instill buyer confidence. To learn more about these strategies, we encourage you to get in touch with Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Brand Management, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Web Content

CHECKLIST: Is Your Website Working for You?

 

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Your company website is much more than an online placeholder—much more than the Google equivalent of a Yellow Pages listing. Ideally, your business website is the hardest-working member of your sales team, a brand ambassador that’s tireless in its effort to draw in new leads, convert them into customers, and ultimately showcase everything that’s great about your business. In a perfect world, your website keeps your e-mail inbox full of inquiries, your phone ringing off the hook.

Of course, this isn’t a perfect world, and it’s possible that you don’t exactly have a perfect website. Is it time to rewrite your website content, rethink the navigation, or even overhaul the site completely? Maybe. Before jumping to any conclusions, though, use our quick checklist to determine what you’re dealing with.

A Few Quick Questions to Ask About Your Website

Who are you trying to reach with your website? Who’s your target audience? Who are the people who benefit from your products/services? Who’s your ideal client? Who can you help? Think about the answer, and write down a simple, sentence-long statement about who you’re on a mission to serve. Use that as a guide for your website overhaul; you might even include that sentence somewhere on your home page.

Do you have a useful About page? A good About page isn’t really about you at all—not really. Nobody wants to read seven paragraphs of text about your company history. What people care about is the value you can provide. Does your About page suggest what’s in it for your customer?

Is the branding consistent? Does your website use a coherent vocabulary of colors and fonts—and are those branding choices reflected in other marketing collateral, like social media pages and brochures?

Do you have streamlined value propositions? Whether you have a list of individual Products, a list of Services, or something more general, you need to ensure that your website is to-the-point about how it makes your customer’s life better, how it solves problems, etc. Another way of asking this question: Does your website identify your clients’ problems, and posit your brand as the solution?

Are there strong calls to action on every page? Your site should lead customers through the sales funnel, and provide easy ways for them to engage with you.

Does your site capture leads? Are there forms on your page where customers can input their name and contact information, perhaps in exchange for an e-book or some other downloadable offer?

When was the last time your site was updated? A good website needs to be refreshed regularly with new content. When’s the last time you refurbished your page?

Use these questions to assess where your company website stands now—and perhaps start brainstorming some changes, if needed.

If you decide it’s time to rewrite the site, or simply add some new, fresh content, Grammar Chic can help. Give us a buzz at 803-831-7444, or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Brand Management, Content Marketing, Web Content