Getting the Job (When You’re Not Really Qualified)

Few things are more discouraging than seeing an open job position that sounds just perfect for you—the kind of role you want, at a respected company, with great benefits—only to find that you’re not technically qualified for it. The recruiter wants five years of experience, and you just have two; or, there’s a list of specific skills needed, and you only possess a handful of them.

A lot of jobseekers run into situations like these and just move on. Of course, that’s perfectly reasonable—but here’s the thing: Underqualified people get hired for great roles all the time—and often, they end up really excelling.

So what can you do to make yourself competitive for a position that, on paper, you’re not suited for? Here are a few tips.

Going Beyond Your Qualification

Show off the skills you do have—enthusiastically.

The recruiter has a list of skills that they want to see—but your job is to take their mind off that list and focus them on your list. Use your resume to sell yourself, highlighting the breadth of your experience and the wide range of things you can do well. Focus on the value you offer, and the specific achievements you’ve had. Build a case for yourself as a uniquely talented and multi-faceted applicant.

Emphasize your potential.

You may lack some of the technical skills needed for the job, it’s true—but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn them. Use your resume to showcase the fact that you’re a quick study and an eager learner. Show off your continuing education and the ease with which you adopt new talents.

Provide context.

You can use a strong cover letter to fill in the gaps and really convince the recruiter that your candidacy is serious. Paint the big picture, portraying yourself as a talented and enthusiastic applicant who is ready and able to learn new things and really grow into the role.

Be a positive force in your interview.

When you sit down for the job interview, that’s when you really have to sell yourself effectively—shifting focus away from the ways in which you fall short of the requirements, and toward all the ways you shine. Avoid negative phrasing (“I’ve never done,” “I don’t know,” etc.) in favor of positivity: “I’d love to work on,” “I’m eager to learn,” etc.

Reach Higher

You may not be the best candidate on paper, but that doesn’t mean you have to take no for an answer. A solid resume and cover letter can get you in the door, and convince hiring managers that you’re just the right person for the job. Get your resume materials up to snuff with a little help from our team; contact Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444 or http://www.grammarchic.net.

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4 Ways to Make Your Copywriting SUPER Persuasive

Good online copywriting does more than just fill up the page, or offer fodder to the search engine algorithms. It also persuades. It encourages the reader to travel further down the sales path, either signing up for an email list, buying a product, or picking up the phone.

Or at least, that’s the way it should happen. We all know that much online copy just doesn’t move the dial; it doesn’t motivate the reader; and it certainly doesn’t improve the bottom line. That’s because it fails to persuade, often because it’s too steeped in tired, clichéd used-car-salesman tactics, or else bogged down in generalities.

So how can you make your copy not only pristine, but persuasive? Here are four steps to take right now.

Cut Meaningless Phrases

Consider this copywriting example: Our company produces world-class products that are bound to delight.

What does world class mean in this sentence? If your copywriting includes words or phrases you can’t readily explain, then it’s just not very good copy.

Specificity should always be your goal. Consider this rewrite:

Our products empower customers to increase their lead generation by 200 percent, representing the highest return on investment of any company in our industry.

Now that means something to your customers—and it’s better copy, because of it.

Use Numbers

Our second tip once again hinges on the idea of specificity. Simply put, using numbers and statistics is almost always more persuasive than speaking in generalities.

So, rather than saying that countless customers love your product, say something like, more than 200 businesses have trusted us with their email marketing needs, and we maintain an average 4.7-star rating among our clients.

Again, the specificity is eye-catching. It’s meaningful. It’s persuasive.

Get to the Point

A good rule of thumb with calls to action: Be direct, and tell your customer what to do next.

Consider these two variants:

If you’re interested in learning more, we encourage you to contact us at your convenience.

Or:

Call us now to start improving your lead generation by as much as 200 percent.

Which is more direct? And, which is more persuasive? The second, we’ll contend, is the option that conveys the most urgency and the most value.

Focus on Value

Your copy isn’t really about you. It’s about your customers, and the benefits they can gain from choosing your product or your brand.

Focusing on those benefits is the best way to persuade. Again, consider two variant CTAs:

Contact us today to learn more!

OR:

Contact us to empower your sales team and start capturing more leads.

Only the second option lays out a reason for your reader to take action—and that makes it by far the more persuasive of the two.

Get Help with Your Copywriting

Good writing should get results. At Grammar Chic, Inc., persuasive writing is our bread and butter. We can help you beef up your sales copy and start increasing your leads and conversions. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and start filling your website with compelling sales copy.

Reach Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Content Writing, Web Content, Writing

5 Ways You’re Botching Your Blog’s SEO

Blogging is one of the things we’re most proficient in here at Grammar Chic, Inc., and it’s a true honor to have so many small and medium-sized businesses entrust us with their blogging needs.

When new companies come to us wanting help on the blog front, they tend to have a couple of different emphases. First, they want something that will be compelling to their customers—compelling enough to elicit social media shares and perhaps even light up their phone lines. Second, they want something that will rank well on Google. After all, what’s the point of a business blog if no one can see it?

And here’s the tricky thing about blogging: It can be an absolutely critical tool for improving search engine visibility, but only if careful attention is paid to a few technical dimensions of the blog itself. Far too often, we see business blogs that have been written well, but not necessarily optimized well. Simply put, there are some key blunders that make otherwise-good blog posts less than SEO-friendly.

Naturally, you’ll want to avoid these blunders. Allow us to point out some of the most common ones.

Forgetting Keywords

There’s been a curious shift in the way people perceive keywords; where they used to be overemphasized, now they’re all too often overlooked. So let us clear this up: You definitely don’t want to force a bunch of ill-fitting keywords into your content, but you do want to have a couple of target keywords to guide your content creation. Use them as organically as you can, and try to smoothly work them into the following places:

  • Your title
  • Your meta description
  • Section sub-headings
  • Body content—not excessively, but wherever they naturally fit

Not Creating a Meta Description

Speaking of the meta description, each individual blog post should have one—roughly 150 characters to summarize your content, lay out your value proposition to readers, work in a keyword or two, and end with a call to action.

Not Formatting for Readability

Keep in mind just how many of your blogs will be read by people on their mobile devices, waiting in doctor’s officers, stuck in traffic, or taking a quick break from work. Making for fast, easy readability is key. Think:

  • Bullet points
  • Lists
  • Section sub-headings
  • Short paragraphs
  • Images and/or embedded video

Not Including a Call to Action

Every blog should have a strong call to action, inviting the reader to take the next step. Include your company contact information here for best results, especially in terms of local search.

Not Offering Value

A good blog post should be substantive and value-adding—which means providing take-away points for your readers; enough length to do your topic justice; and some external and/or internal links to related resources. Remember that by writing for the end user, you’re ultimately making your blog more appealing to Google.

Blog Better. Avoid SEO Blunders.

These are all potentially serious errors, yet they can also be very easily avoided. One way to steer clear of them: Trust your blogging to the pros. Learn more by contacting Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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

An Editor Changed Your Work. Now What?

Working with an editor can be a funny thing. Often, a writer will send work to an editor, ostensibly understanding the purpose of the editorial process—that is, to make the work tighter, clearer, better.

But then, once the editor returns the work, the writer is appalled to find that it’s different from what he or she submitted. The editor has made changes to the text! What audacity!

Of course, if the editor didn’t make changes, then there wouldn’t be much point to the editing process at all. Still, seeing your manuscript marked up with red ink can be a little vexing; you obviously have an emotional attachment to your work, and while you want it to be the best it can be, you also want it to hold true to your original vision.

So what should a writer do upon receiving significant changes from an editor? Here are our tips.

Coping with Editorial Changes

First, analyze the changes. Take some time to really go through the revisions and to consider why they were made. You may even need to give yourself a day or two of distance, to get your emotions in check. What you’ll probably find, though, is that the changes were made to render the work clear and concise. Your editor is on the same team, after all, and just wants your writing to shine. Chances are, the changes made don’t alter your original message; most are probably relatively minor things that just make the work that much better.

Choose your battles. With that said, you don’t want to go to war with your editor over every tiny revision made to your manuscript—but if you feel like the changes actually alter the message or spirit of your work, or miss the point of it altogether, that’s when you should push back—gently! Which brings us to…

Be kind! No need to blow your stack and send the editor a nasty email. Instead, be polite and clear in articulating why you’re not comfortable with the changes. Explain your intention with the work, and then how those changes compromise your vision. More likely than not, your editor will be able to work with you to find a good place to meet in the middle.

Remember that an editor’s revisions are suggestions, not prescriptions. It’s still your work, and nobody’s forcing you to accept changes you’re just not comfortable with. You can graciously decline a piece of feedback that you feel misses the point of your work. With that said, if you find yourself declining every suggested change, that may be a sign that you’re not getting the most out of the writer-editor relationship.

Work with a Good Editor

Of course, it goes without saying that working with a qualified and competent editor is key. At Grammar Chic, Inc., our editors are effective at making your words shine—without changing the character of your work altogether. Learn more. Call us for a consultation at 803-831-7444, or reach out through www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Editing, Writing

Four Ways to Ensure an Effective Cover Letter

Do recruiters and hiring managers actually read cover letters? Our resume writing professionals get this question all the time, and the short answer is yes, they absolutely do. A cover letter, when done right, provides a quick, concise window into the resume itself—and helps recruiters determine whether it’s really worth their while to investigate the job candidate further.

But wait. You’ll notice we said something about cover letters done right. Not all of them are, and a bad cover letter can hurt your case more than it helps it. So how can you be sure your cover letter is crafted to get results?

Make it short.

There are four recommendations we’ll offer, and the first is to keep it concise. Remember that the cover letter is a summary of your resume, so it doesn’t need to be as long as the resume itself! What we recommend:

  • Keep it under a page.
  • Write an introductory paragraph, then a paragraph or so of career summary—basically explaining why you’re the right person for the job.
  • Include three or four bullet points, highlighting your biggest career accomplishments.
  • Wrap it up with a conclusion and a signature.

Make it specific.

Remember that old writer’s rule, show, don’t tell? That’s certainly true when you’re writing a cover letter. Don’t just tell the recruiter that you’re dedicated or hard-working or energetic; those are just clichés. Actually furnish them with specific achievements that set you apart. Use stats and numbers whenever you can. You’re not going to go through your whole career history in the cover letter, but you can hash out a few high points.

Make it personalized.

Most of the time, you should be able to avoid the general To Whom It May Concern greeting, addressing your cover letter to the specific recruiter you’re meeting with. If you don’t have the name handy, some social media research or a call to the company’s HR department can often give you what you need. Keep it personal if at all possible.

Make it job-specific.

You can’t afford to have just one go-to, generic cover letter in your arsenal. You should be customizing it to fit each position you apply for, honing in on the skill and accomplishments that best fit the job description.

With these four points, you can ensure that your cover letter is built to garner attention—and to lead recruiters deeper into your resume. And of course, our resume writing team can assist you in putting together both resume and cover letter; reach out to us to learn more! Connect with Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Cover Letters, Resume Writing, Resumes

The Art of Writing Strong FAQ Content

There are certain website pages that are more or less standard. Every company website has a home page, for example. Most have an About page, and perhaps a page for Products and/or Services. A Contact Us page is also commonplace.

And then we come to the FAQ. While this is not a requirement for your business website, it is by no means uncommon, either. But would your company website be improved by an FAQ page? And if so, how can you write one effectively?

Do You Really Need an FAQ Page?

We’ll note from the get-go that not every company website needs to have a page for frequently asked questions. The Grammar Chic, Inc. site does not currently have one, for example. However, there are a few good reasons why you might consider adding an FAQ:

  • You actually do receive a lot of common or repeat questions, and wish to provide your customers with a quick and convenient resource.
  • You have a product or service that is a bit unusual or unfamiliar, and wish to build confidence and trust.
  • You believe there are some specific things that set your company apart from the competition, and want to articulate those in an FAQ. (For example, having a “how much does it cost?” section can be beneficial if you know your business bests all the competitor’s prices.)
  • You simply want to create a page that includes a lot of content/topics/keywords for SEO purposes—an FAQ can certainly be a good place to put a big bunch of content.

Again, the FAQ page is not for everyone—but if any of these bullet points resonate with you, perhaps it’s time to consider drafting one.

Writing a Good FAQ Page

The next question is, how do you write effective FAQ content? Here are some pointers.

  • Remember that—as with all of your online content—it’s not really about you. It’s about your readers and your customers. Make sure you’re writing an FAQ that’s actually helpful and value-adding—or else, don’t write one at all.
  • Going back through customer comments and emails to find real questions or areas of interest/concern is the best way to ensure your FAQ is relevant.
  • Be concise; offer the necessary information, but no fluff.
  • Remember to format for easy skimming, as most people aren’t just going to read an FAQ from top to bottom. Numbered lists and bullet points are key.
  • Remember that a good FAQ page will build trust, so avoid your sales pitch or marketing spiel here. The point of this content is to help the reader feel more at ease, not like you’re hammering them with your talking points.

Professional FAQ Writing Services from Grammar Chic, Inc.

One more thing: The Grammar Chic, Inc. team provides diverse Web content writing services for businesses all over the world, and as such as have plenty of experience writing compelling FAQ content. We’d love to write one for your business. Learn more by reaching out to us for a consultation. Hit us up at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Content Writing, Web Content

Choosing a Resume Writing Company That Fits Your Needs

Your resume is a precious thing; in many ways, your career trajectory could boil down to how well your resume lays out your achievements, your skills, and your value as an employee. That’s why more and more jobseekers trust their resume writing needs to the pros—but wait. Before you sign on the dotted line with a resume writing team, it’s smart to do some due diligence. Make sure your resume writers have the skills and perspective needed to help you shine—and if they don’t, look for help somewhere else!

What to Ask Your Resume Writing Team

As you vet potential resume writers, here are some questions you might ask.

What kind of resume writing experience do you have?

At the end of the day, anyone can say that they are professional resume writers—but you want to work with someone who has real experience. Seek resume writers who have been doing it for a while, and who handle a large volume of resumes.

Do you have experience writing resumes for my industry/field?

For the most part, resumes are pretty standard across the board—but in some fields (education, pastoral ministry, etc.) the conventions might be a little bit different. Make sure your resume writer understands the specifics of your field.

May I see a sample resume that you’ve done?

Any reputable resume writing company will be glad to provide you with a sample of their work.

Do you work with recruiters?

Some resume companies actually work closely with recruiting firms, ensuring that they are always up-to-date on what recruiters and employers are looking for. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but it’s always a good sign when your resume writer is in cahoots with a recruiter.

How to you stay current on resume writing practices?

Ask about how your resume writer pursues ongoing training, education, and certification.

What is the process like?

Ask your resume writer to walk you through the process; it needs to be something you feel comfortable with, or else why bother?

Why do you love writing resumes?

We really recommend working with someone who has a passion for resume writing; this helps ensure a truly excellent job, rather than a workmanlike one.

Any Questions?

Grammar Chic, Inc.’s resume writing team is always eager to address these questions, and to prove ourselves worthy of handling your resume needs. Reach out to us any time: www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Resume Writing, Resumes