How to Address Long-Term Illness on Your Resume

Your resume is meant to tell the story of your career—but what happens when that story is interrupted by an extended medical leave? When you’re out of the workplace for months or years at a time—either because you’re ill or because you’re taking care of a sick family member—it leaves a gap in your employment history. Addressing that gap can be challenging, to say the least.

Change Your Mindset

The first thing you may want to do is change your point of view. A lot of us tend to think that working hard is the be-all and end-all of life, and that an extended medical leave is somehow a liability. The reality is that your health is critical and taking time to recover from an illness is nothing to be ashamed by.

In fact, taking medical leave can actually highlight positive attributes—including:

  • A sense of balance;
  • Personal responsibility;
  • Endurance through hard times;
  • Pragmatic problem-solving skills.

If your leave was to take care of a family member or loved one, meanwhile, it shows that you have a servant’s heart and a desire to improve the lives of others. All of these are positive things—both for you and for a potential employer.

Fill the Gaps

Even so, hiring managers will have questions about any gaps in your career history. Sometimes, it’s possible to fill those gaps—especially if your medical leave included any of the following:

  • Part-time work;
  • Freelance work;
  • Consulting work;
  • Volunteering

You can use these temporary positions to fill employment gaps, without leaving big openings in your resume and also without lying!

Shift Your Approach

If you have a number of medical leaves in your past, or if your medical leave was quite lengthy, you may benefit from taking an altogether different approach to your resume. Generally, Grammar Chic, Inc. recommends a chronological career history—but if that history has big interruptions, you may be better off writing a functional resume. This means a career history that focuses on particular skills you’ve developed, not necessarily on the straightforward chronology of your employment history.

Don’t Forget Your Cover Letter!

One final note: You have every right to keep the specific details of your illness private. However, it can sometimes be helpful to address it head-on. Use your cover letter to briefly note that you had an extended leave from the workplace, and that in this time you were able to grow and develop as a person and to learn how to face challenges with strength and perspective.

If you need help getting the wording just right, have questions about functional resumes, or simply want to learn more about addressing illness on a resume, contact the Grammar Chic, Inc. resume writing team. You can always reach us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Job Search, Resume Writing, Resumes

How to Perfect the Core Competencies Section on Your Resume

Often, hiring managers and recruiters receive dozens, if not hundreds of job applications for a single open position. They hardly have time to study every word on every resume, so what do they do? They skim. And if your resume isn’t skimmable, you may be losing out on career opportunities.

One of the best ways to make your resume skimmable is to create a core competencies section. This is a brief section of the resume that lists some of your basic skills and technical proficiencies, providing a condensed and easy-to-skim rundown of the value you offer to an employer.

Core competencies sections not only make your resume easier to parse with just a passing glance, but they also make your resume more accommodating to the computer programs that many companies now use to scan and review resumes, long before they are ever read by human beings.

In other words, a core competencies section is vital for any resume—but how can you write one that’s effective?

Keep it Short

First and foremost, keep your core competencies incredibly brief—just one to three words per competency. Something like budget forecasting or social media management is sufficient. You can go into more detail in your career history section. Remember that the core competencies section is meant to be “you in a nutshell,” an easily-skimmed rundown of your major talents and professional skills.

Position it Correctly

A core competencies section won’t do you much good if it’s at the end of your resume. We recommend putting it toward the top—just below your executive summary.

Format it for Readability

Remember, you’re trying to list your skills in a way that accommodates quick skimming. Bullet points are ideal for this.

Look at the Job Description

As for what you should include in the core competencies section, it’s always wise to review the position you’re applying for. Does it specify ghostwriting, or customer service, or HTML programming? If so, then make sure to include those exact words and phrases in your core competencies section. Just one catch: Be honest. If you don’t actually possess that skill, don’t list it!

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Often, your core competencies section will serve as the first impression you make to potential employers—a quick way for them to determine whether or not you have the needed qualifications for the job in question.

In other words, it’s a do-or-die section of your resume. Make sure yours is perfectly honed by working with a professional resume writer. Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today to schedule a resume consultation: 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Resume Writing, Resumes

8 Ways to Write Headlines that Pack a Punch

Every piece of content you write should have a headline. That headline sets the first impression readers have—and ideally, it helps encourage people to click through or to keep reading.

Indeed, it’s not unreasonable to say that the headline is the most important part of your content. You can write the best 800-word blog post of your life, but if the headline is boring and bland, that post may never get read.

That’s why it’s important to think long and hard about your headline constructions. Today, we’re going to offer eight tried and true trips for making your headlines more impactful.

How to Write Headlines That Get Results

  1. Use numbers. The human brain automatically gravitates toward numbers—so when you have a chance to throw in some specific digits, do so. Examples: 5 Tips for Writing Better Blog Posts; 8 Content Marketing Statistics You MUST See.
  2. Focus on value. What’s in it for your readers? Why should they care about this blog post? Write headlines that let them know they’ll benefit in some way from your content. Example: Hit All Your Sales Goals with These Lead Gen Tips.
  3. Use strong verbs. Whenever possible, skip to be verbs in favor of something more compelling and specific. For example, consider these two variations: 6 Ways to Be a Better Content Marketer 6 Ways to Write Better Content. The second option is simply punchier.
  4. Mention the reader. Play into the egos of your readers; invoke them in the headline, using you and your. This is a proven way to get people’s attention. Example: Discover 6 Ways You Can Inspire Your Team.
  5. Ask a question. If you’re stuck on your headlines, try converting statements into questions. Generate some curiosity. Example: Can Better Headlines Improve Your Blog Conversions?
  6. See what your competition is doing. Spend some time researching the blogs of your competitors or industry peers, and simply make note of how they phrase their Are there any lessons you can learn from them?
  7. Draft a bunch of headlines. Spend a few minutes with an open Word doc, and jot down all the headlines and variations that come to mind. Give yourself a bunch of options to compare and choose from.
  8. Make sure your headline is accurate. Avoid the ol’ bait-and-switch routine. Make sure the headline accurately reflects the content.

Discover Headline Hacks from the Content Marketing Pros

With these tips, you’re well on your way to stronger, more effective headlines. For additional help generating quality headlines—and the content to match—reach out to the writing team at Grammar Chic, Inc. Connect with us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog Writing, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Social Media

3 Easy Ways to Make Your Marketing Emails Highly Effective

 

Email marketing has long been the crown jewel of digital marketing; for all the advances we’ve seen in social media and targeted ad-buying, email is still the most effective way to reach out directly to consumers. It’s no surprise, then, that so many marketers still say email marketing is their top priority, their secret weapon.

But maybe you don’t see what all the fuss is about. Maybe your own email marketing efforts don’t yield those strong results. No worries: With a few simple tweaks, you can discover what makes email marketing such a gamechanger. Here are a few suggestions that are easy to implement and can make a huge difference in your email marketing ROI.

Think About Mobile

Statistics show that mobile devices have overtaken desktop computers in terms of overall Web use—and that certainly includes email. Just ask yourself: How often do you receive and read emails on your mobile device? Chances are, quite often. So, the emails you send should be optimized with mobile users in mind.

Some specific recommendations:

  • Keep it short! All your content—from the subject line to the body of the email—will appear much longer on the mobile screen, simply because the screen itself is narrower. Keep subject lines to six or seven words, if possible, and your body content to around 100.
  • Be careful with the images you use. Think about how they’ll look on mobile screens, especially when the phone is held vertically.
  • Ensure that all your CTAs are easy to tap! Big buttons are ideal.

Think About Timing

Another important email marketing consideration is when you send your messages. There are specific times that occasionally work better; the members of your target audience are more likely to read the emails they receive at certain junctures in their day. The tough part is figuring out when those prime times are.

Some tips:

  • Look at your campaign data. Experiment with some different sending times and see if you can identify a correlation between send time and open rates.
  • Also bear in mind your buyer personas. Walk yourself through a day in the life of your target consumer and think about when you would be most likely to open and read an email.

Think About Your Audience

The value of email marketing is that it allows you to send the right message to the right people—but of course, this is contingent on you segmenting your email list properly. When we talk about email segmenting, we simply mean dividing your list into different groups, allowing you to match your message to your recipients. (For example, Grammar Chic, Inc. has marketing and copywriting clients, and we have resume clients—two discreet groups with different interests, and thus, two distinct groups for email marketing messaging.)

There can be some overlap between segments, and you probably want to refine and revise your segments over time. The important thing is to ensure that the content you deliver matches the interests of your recipients, as well as their location in the sales funnel.

As you think about content creation, as well as big-picture email marketing strategy, we invite you to keep Grammar Chic in mind. Not only do our marketing professionals offer full content development services, but we can also work with you to put an email strategy in place—ensuring you get real results from your email list.

Schedule a consultation with our team today. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing, Email Writing, Social Media

How to Write an Effective Facebook Bio for Your Business

First impressions are everything—and while many consumers will first encounter your business through its official website, there are some who will be introduced to your business via its Facebook page. As such, it’s important to treat your company’s Facebook profile almost like a second home page—a succinct but effective summary of the things you do and the value you offer.

But how can you make your Facebook bio resonate? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Tips for Optimizing Your Business Facebook Bio

Start with your value proposition. You can’t include everything about your business, and it’s best not to try. Instead, focus on the things that make your company distinctive. What’s your elevator pitch? Or, why would a consumer pick your brand over the competitor’s? Those should be the focus points for your bio.

Be mindful of SEO. While it’s important not to stuff your Facebook bio with keywords, to the point where it reads as stiff and robotic, you do want to include some keywords whenever you can do so naturally. Geographically-specific keywords are especially important.

Don’t forget links. Invite your Facebook visitors to learn more about your company—and make sure to include a link to your home page! Alternatively, create a landing page for your Facebook visitors, a page that thanks them for their visit and invites them to take the next steps in learning about your brand.

Include CTAs, too. All good online content comes with a call to action. Use some compelling verbs to encourage your readers to call, email, or visit your website. Alternatively, simply invite them to like and follow your Facebook page!

Don’t waste space with redundant words. We see a lot of bloated Facebook bios that waste their precious online real estate. For example, telling your visitors that they have reached “the official Facebook home of [Company Name]” is needless. Trim the fat and focus on words that pack a punch.

Drive your benefits. Specifically, focus on language that conveys the value your brand delivers to consumers. Ultimately, your Facebook bio shouldn’t be about you; it should be about your consumers. It should be centered on what’s in it for them to dive into your brand.

Get a Facebook Facelift

Your Facebook bio is an important marketing asset. Make yours count. For help, reach out to Grammar Chic. Our writers are experts in crafting compelling Facebook bios, and we even offer full social media management services.

Set up a social media consultation with Grammar Chic, Inc. Contact us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media

6 Things to Ask Your Social Media Manager

While it’s not quite fair to say that everyone has a social media presence, the reality is that most of us do—and that number is only increasing as time goes by. Businesses and public figures can’t afford not to have a footprint on social media, which is where more and more consumers turn for news, recommendations, and connections.

Yet actively managing a social media presence is almost a full-time job in itself. That’s why a lot of small and mid-sized companies now outsource their social media management to a professional—someone who can coordinate postings, respond to comments, generate reports, and ensure strong, consistent brand messaging.

Before hiring a social media manager, though, it’s important to do your due diligence. Here are a few things you should ask to ensure you’re hiring the right person (or team) for the job.

 What to Ask When Hiring a Social Media Management Team

  1. What do you need from me? In theory, you’re hiring a social media management team to take that workload off your plate—yet for your social media presence to feel personal and authentic, you may need to weigh in on some of the content. That’s a tricky balance, and it’s always smart to find out what your social media manager will expect from
  2. How will you evaluate progress? One of the first things your social media manager will ask you is what you hope to achieve—what your goals are from the process. (If your social media team doesn’t ask this, that’s a red flag.) After telling them your goals, turn the tables: Ask how your social media manager will evaluate progress, and what metrics will be used to determine whether or not you’re hitting those goals.
  3. How often will I hear from you? Communication is key, and as you work with your social media manager, it’s good to have a clear idea of how often you’ll touch base, when you should expect reports to be generated, how accessible your manager will be should you have any questions, etc.
  4. What programs do you use for automation, reporting, etc.? A good social media manager will use programs like Hootsuite to ensure that posts are published promptly, and that data is generated consistently. Ask what kinds of programs your social media team will use, and make sure they’re doing what they need to do to make your campaign smooth and efficient.
  5. How will you respond to commenters? What will your social media manager do to answer questions, pass along feedback, or—if necessary—deal with trolls? There’s not necessarily one right answer here, but do make sure your team has a thoughtful plan in place, and that it’s something you feel comfortable with.
  6. What’s your approach to content? A good social media manager will post a good mix of curated and syndicated content—that is, stuff that’s original to your brand, and stuff from outside sources.

Of course, this is your social media presence on the line—so by all means, ask any questions that come to mind. Our team is happy to field all inquiries. Grammar Chic, Inc. provides robust and flexible social media management services, and we invite you to reach out today to set up a consultation. Contact us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under Brand Management, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media

How Med School Students Can Write the Perfect Resume

Whether you’re midway through your medical training or are nearing the end of it, you’ve probably got one eye cast toward the job market—and as such, you know that healthcare jobs are as competitive as ever.

The best way to get a leg up is to write a resume that showcases your promise as a physician. Here are a few tips for doing exactly that.

Make Education a Focus

Med school is a huge commitment, and as such, it tends to leave very little time left over for work experience. You may not have a long list of jobs to highlight, but you can showcase your educational achievements. Make sure to underscore anything that makes you stand out—including grades or special projects you completed. Put your brightest educational triumphs in a prominent place on your resume.

Include Grants and Scholarships

Has your potential as a med school student landed you with some noteworthy academic scholarships or research grants? These are things to consider including on your resume. Scholarships and grants are like endorsements—proof that someone saw something in you that they wanted to support and encourage.

Note Your Research Skills

As a med school student, you probably have more lab experience than clinical experience. Use that to your advantage. Use your resume to highlight your diligence, insight, and skill in the laboratory. Highlight your research interests and connect them to the field of medicine in which you hope to practice.

Do Some Volunteer Work

Again, you may not have a great deal of professional, clinical experience just yet—but you can still lend your time to medical missions or other healthcare-related volunteer positions. This shows your commitment to patient care and can provide some good fodder for your resume.

Customize Your Resume

While it’s wise to have a single “master resume” on file, we’d also recommend tailoring it to each specific job you apply for. Make sure to work in some keywords from the job listing and rearrange your core competencies to align with the position in question. One resume is never enough; customizing for each individual position is a must!

Get Help from the Pros

You’re going to school to become well-trained and qualified in the medical field—but nobody expects you to be an expert in resume writing. Grammar Chic’s writers have been well-trained and are certified in resume creation, however; we really are the experts! We know how to write and structure resumes for maximum effect, and we’re deeply familiar with the particulars of the healthcare job market.

We’d love to chat with you about your resume needs, and even to offer a review of your current resume documents. Reach out to our resume writers to get started. Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or at www.professionalresumewriters.net or www.grammarchic.net.

Leave a comment

Filed under Resume Writing, Resumes