Category Archives: Business Writing

Grammar Chic, Inc. Earns Accreditation with the Better Business Bureau

Since 2009, Grammar Chic, Inc. has been a trusted name in written content creation. Our ghostwriters have helped countless small and mid-sized businesses develop a competitive edge through original marketing collateral, while our resume writing team has assisted innumerable jobseekers land exciting new positions. Now, Grammar Chic’s reputation has been made official, thanks to formal accreditation by the Better Business Bureau.

About the BBB

For more than 100 years, the BBB has been an icon of trust in the marketplace. Companies that go through the accreditation are thoroughly vetted and validated as businesses of immense professionalism and honesty. It’s no wonder, then, that more than 70 percent of all consumers say they’d prefer to buy from a BBB-accredited business.

Grammar Chic, Inc. is proud to come out of this rigorous vetting process with the BBB’s seal of legitimacy, and we hope it further inspires trust from our customers and partners.

Our BBB Reviews

What’s more, our accreditation through the BBB means that customers who do business with Grammar Chic, Inc. can now leave us feedback on the BBB website, letting other customers know what their experience was like.

Our team has always sought honest feedback, and we’re thrilled to have another channel to hear from the clients we serve. Grammar Chic, Inc. welcomes reviews on our BBB profile, and as usual, we take very seriously the insights our clients have to offer.

Grammar Chic, Inc.’s Writing Services

With BBB accreditation in tow, Grammar Chic enters a new era of offering writing services to our clients—including:

  • Development of original, SEO-friendly website content.
  • Creation of blog posts, marketing emails, and other marketing collateral.
  • Management of social media accounts, including strategy, content creation, and reporting.
  • Editing and proofreading for business documents of all kinds.
  • Resume and cover letter creation for jobseekers at all levels.

To learn more about our trusted, value-adding writing services—all provided by in-house, salaried, native English-speaking writers—we invite you to contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today. Reach us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Write Content That Improves Dwell Time. Here’s How.

Is your website successful?

There are a number of different metrics you could use to answer this question—and in truth, there’s no one factor that determines website success. As you consider different ways to evaluate your online presence, though, one you should consider is dwell time.

What is Dwell Time? And Why Does It Matter?

What is dwell time, exactly? Simply put, it’s the amount of time readers spend on your website. In a sense, it’s almost the opposite of bounce rate—that is, the rate at which website visitors navigate away from your site. If you have high dwell time, it means your readers have found some reason to stay on your site for longer chunks of time—probably because you’ve produced some sort of content that’s engaged them.

Dwell time is by no means a vanity metric; it has real impact on your marketing efforts. For one thing, it’s an SEO ranking signal. If your dwell time is high, that tells the Google algorithms that your website is providing readers with something valuable—and that’s something Google loves.

It can also be good news for conversion rates. If someone’s staying on your site for long periods of time, that person is obviously interested in something you’re doing.

The question is, how can you improve the dwell time on your website?

How Can Your Content Improve Dwell Time?

Here are just a few tips to keep in mind:

Write a compelling headline, with content that matches. The first step to keeping people on the page is attracting them to the page—and that means writing a headline that promises real value. Don’t do clickbait, and don’t do bait-and-switch; make sure your headline offers something substantive, and your content delivers on that promise.

Go deep. While there’s no magic word count you need to hit, it is important to always do your subject justice; a quick and surface-deep post isn’t going to hold anyone’s attention for long. Take the time to go into real depth, offer some concrete illustrations, etc.

Make your content digestible. It’s also important for your website to be easy to read—and that means plenty of white space, section sub-headings, bulleted lists where applicable, and some images to break up the text.

Do some internal linking. One good way to keep users on your site is to provide a trail of crumbs that leads them from one topic to another—specifically through internal linking, providing a clear path between relevant topics.

Update your content as needed. A blog post about Google algorithms circa 2014 (for example) is hardly relevant in 2018—and thus, there’s little reason for readers to spend any kind of time with it. Make sure you freshen up your content as needed to ensure it maintains some value and resonance.

Get the Content You Need to Keep Readers on the Page

As you seek to keep your readers engaged, consider hiring a content partner with ample experience in SEO-driven copywriting. Grammar Chic, Inc. can provide you with the words you need to improve dwell time, Google search rankings, and customer engagement.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation: Visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Business Writing, Content Writing, Web Content

Brand Storytelling: Where to Start?

Present someone with a list of facts and figures and they’re likely to forget everything you told them; tell someone a story, meanwhile, and it just might linger with them.

That’s the basic concept behind brand storytelling, which is closely interwoven with content marketing. Basically, and very much unlike traditional advertising—which focuses on a laundry list of products or services—brand storytelling allows you to craft a narrative about your company. Who are you? What do you stand for? What are your values? And where does the customer enter the scene?

If that sounds like an ambitious undertaking, it is; your brand storytelling unfolds across many different platforms, from social media to your company’s About page, and it encompasses every piece of content you create plus every interaction you have with our customers.

So where do you get started? What are the opening pages of your brand’s story?

Getting Started with Brand Storytelling

  • Before you publish any content, take the time to write down your actual brand story—how long your company has been around; who it serves; the benefits it offers; the advantages you offer over your competition; and the reasons a customer might choose to do business with you. Keep this brand story handy as a kind of reference, ensuring that all your future content creation aligns with it.
  • Remember that good storytelling usually has some sense of conflict. For your brand, the conflict is this: Your customers have needs, or pain points, and your brand can provide the solution. That’s the central action of all your brand storytelling.
  • Know who you’re telling the story to; awareness of your audience is key. Know who they are and what they care about; what problems they face, and what solutions they are seeking. Creating buyer personas is often helpful here.
  • Also be aware that good storytelling isn’t just about the details you include, but also the details you omit. In particular, you can skip over those details that won’t hold the interest of your audience; keep the focus on them, and the benefits you provide them—not all the finer points of your company history, which may not be as interesting or as relevant to outsiders.
  • Choose the right media to tell your story. Some brands lend themselves very well to Facebook; others, to LinkedIn. Some brands benefit from video, and others really don’t. It’s all just a matter of where your audience is, and which formats make the most sense for the story you’re telling.
  • Along the same lines, always adapt your story to the platform you’re telling it on. For Snapchat, you can be informal; for LinkedIn, it’s usually better to be straight-laced and professional.
  • Good storytelling elicits emotion—and that’s certainly what you should aim for with your content. Always ask yourself how you want your audience to feel about the content you create and the story you’re telling. And, be strategic about how those feelings might prompt action.
  • Use natural language to tell your story. Your vocabulary and your diction should mirror the way your customers actually speak and actually search for information. This is more important than ever, here in the age of Voice Search.
  • Always provide your audience with a clear sense of how the story continues—specifically with a strong call to action in each piece of content.

Time to Start Your Story

Start telling the story of your brand today; allow your customers to see where they fit into it, and how you can help them resolve conflict and find solutions. In short: Tell them a story they won’t soon forget.

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Should Your Business Write Longer Tweets?

Last November, Twitter doubled its famous 140-character count, meaning that Twitter users now have the luxury of a full 280 characters in each tweet. At the time, it was presumed to be the death knell for the platform, which had long been celebrated for its forced brevity. Most Twitter users acclimated to the new format pretty quickly, however. And, in the months that followed, Grammar Chic has received a number of inquiries from social media clients, wondering if they should be using all of this available space.

To be sure, this isn’t a simple question to answer—and to a large extent, it depends on your brand, your audience, and the nature of your tweets. We don’t recommend writing 280-character tweets just because you can; if your message works best in 140 characters or less, stick with that.

With that said, there are certainly some benefits to the relaxed character count—and some reasons why your business might take advantage of this new spaciousness.

Media Attachments are More Feasible Than Ever

With the old Twitter, it was challenging to compose tweets that included photos, captions, links, and hashtags; simply attaching a photo to your post ate up 40 of those precious 140 characters, right out of the gate. But with the new Twitter, media attachments don’t count toward your character limit, so you’ve got a lot more wiggle room to include visual content and still have room to do some writing and some tagging.

That’s probably the best way to avail yourself of longer tweets; you don’t have to write the Great American Novel, but you can include fully fleshed-out thoughts, attention-grabbing images, and plenty of hashtags and @ mentions to increase your reach.

You’ve Got More Room for Your Messaging

An even more obvious point is that longer tweets mean you’ve got a little bit more room for your marketing messaging. Now, caution is in order: There’s still something to be said for brevity. With that said, it’s nice that marketers can include links to product pages or to new blog posts, along with some brief commentary and hashtags, without having to worry as much about spilling over that character limit.

Again, our advice isn’t necessarily that you should try to fill up each 280-character tweet with text; just use the space you have to ensure a full-bodied thought, along with appropriate tags, links, and media.

Be Strategic in Your Tweets

The debate over long vs. short content is nothing new, and it’s hardly confined to Twitter. By all means, stretch out your business tweets when you feel it’s appropriate, but make sure you’ve got a strategy in place to guide all your content creating decisions. We can help you develop one; reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Nobody’s Opening Your Marketing Emails. Here’s Why.

Email marketing is growing in its popularity and in its prevalence—but that doesn’t necessarily mean that marketers know what they’re doing. It’s as possible as ever to sink a lot of money into an email marketing campaign and get nothing out of it whatsoever.

This can happen for a few different reasons—poor tracking and lead capturing, unclear goals, or email content that doesn’t deliver any benefit to the reader. An even more fundamental and common problem is that marketing emails never get opened in the first place, either winding up in spam folders or in the trashcan.

Of course, a marketing email that’s never opened is a total waste of your ad dollars—so if you find that your open rate is criminally low, it’s good to ask yourself why that might be.

Here are some of the most common reasons.

Mysterious Subject Lines

Have you ever received an email from an unknown sender with a vague or cryptic subject line, and opened it out of pure curiosity? Probably not. Most of us only take the time to open emails when we know there’s something inside that we need to see. Your email’s subject lines should promise clear value; they should spell out what the email is about and why readers should care. A mysterious subject line is almost never a good one.

Wasting Space and Wasting Time

Do you reveal your business name in the sender line, the subject line, and then the opening sentence of each email you send? That’s redundant; it’s a waste of space; and, most critically, it’s a waste of your reader’s time. People don’t have a lot of time to read emails that don’t offer immediate value, so use your space wisely. Avoid vain repetition.

All About You

We’re constantly seeing emails with an opening sentence like this: “I wanted you to be the first to know about the new business I’m launching.” Or: “We have a new e-book on the way, and I wanted you to be the first to hear about it.” Look: Nobody really cares what you want. Your email readers want to know what’s in it for them. Marketing emails should focus on benefits, benefits, and benefits—period. Get to those benefits right away.

Names in Subject Lines

Have you ever received an email with your name in the subject line? If not, it’s because such emails have all ended up in your spam folder. Because only spammers use this tactic. Again, don’t waste space in your subject line with things your reader already knows. Get straight to the point, and to the value.

Write Emails That Get Read—and Get Results

Value-focused subject lines are an important start if you want your marketing emails to be read—and our team can help you create them. Grammar Chic, Inc. offers a full range of email marketing services, from content development to execution to tracking and reports. We’d love to talk with you about the value we can offer. Contact us today to schedule a consultation: 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

 

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Filed under Business Writing, Email Writing, Writing

Does Your Content Marketing Team Play Well with Others?

Effective marketing requires a multi-channel approach. Content creation can be one channel—in fact, we’d argue that it’s the cornerstone of any effective marketing endeavor—but even high-quality content won’t do you much good if it’s never discovered, consumed, and acted upon.

So how do you deploy content effectively? Again, there are multiple channels available, and the best approach unites several of them—social media, video marketing, PPC, and beyond. Search engine optimization is critical as well, helping your quality content get found by your targeted audience, all organically.

Different Disciplines, Different Experts

Uniting these different disciplines—SEO and content marketing, let’s say—may require the guidance of different experts. Grammar Chic, Inc. is living proof of this. We are not an SEO firm, strictly speaking—but we work with a number of SEO firms, who entrust us to build engaging and highly optimized content for them. Likewise, we do not do Web design, but we have partnerships with a number of Web design shops that hire us to add verbiage to their great designs.

These companies lean on us because we’re good writers, but also because we’re good at communicating with them, working within the frameworks they provide, and understanding how our content aligns with their more technical marketing goals. This kind of synergy isn’t just a nice bonus; for more and more companies that outsource their marketing, it’s absolutely critical.

Again: Digital marketing isn’t just one thing. It’s many different channels, brought together to be used in tandem. So when you seek a marketing provider, it’s important to make sure it’s someone who has key partnerships with other experts, and the ability to work well with those partners.

Primed for Partnership

To that end, Grammar Chic, Inc.’s content writing team delivers a few key benefits:

  • We can create quality content that is engaging and SEO-optimized (length, format, keywords, etc.) laid out by an SEO or Web design team.
  • We can create content designed to meet various marketing goals—whether it’s conversion-generation PPC ads or an educational Web page.
  • We can communicate directly with an SEO or Web design expert, speaking the same language to ensure we’re all on the same page.
  • We can advise SEO or Web design firms on the best ways to engage readers, stir emotions, generate shares, or accomplish other creative goals.

We’d love to talk with you more about Grammar Chic, Inc. and our role as a go-to content creator for top SEO and Web design shops. Reach out to us today to learn more, either at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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

Meta Descriptions are Longer—and More Important—Than Ever

Mere weeks ago, Google announced a fairly major shake-up to the status quo. Meta descriptions, which have long been limited to 160 characters, can now be up to 320 characters—effectively doubling the size of this crucial online real estate.

What are Meta Descriptions, and Why Do They Matter?

If you’re not sure what a meta description is, conduct a Google search right now. In the search results page, you’ll see a list of 10 (or so) blue links—i.e. your search results. Beneath each link you’ll see a brief blurb, summarizing what the content is about. That, basically, is the meta description.

Your meta descriptions matter because they provide Google with a sense of what your content is about—and, they offer search engine users with a sneak peek, helping them decide whether or not they want to click on your link.

“Meta descriptions play a big role in search results,” HubSpot notes. “The end goal is to convince and persuade the searcher to click through to your website. Any words that match the search term are bolded in the description.”

What to Do with Longer Meta Descriptions

Hopefully you can see why meta descriptions are so meaningful—but the question remains: What are marketers supposed to do with all this extra space at their disposal?

Your first instinct might be to say that this is a boon for content writers and SEOs, who now have twice as much space to insert keywords, to offer a content synopsis, and to entice users to click through to their page. And that’s true, but it can also be a double-edged sword.

Consider it this way: Meta descriptions were initially developed to provide a short, snappy summary of your content, aimed at search engine users. That hasn’t changed. And while having 320 characters may help you develop a more compelling summary in some cases, there are just as many instances where less is more.

In fact, there’s an argument to be made that longer meta descriptions do more harm than good. Given that most searches now happen on mobile devices, where users aren’t as keen to do a lot of reading, brevity is generally best. Getting right to the point, with a pithy meta description, may actually be more beneficial than testing your reader’s patience with the full 320.

Meta Descriptions: A Case Study

Imagine this scenario: You’ve conducted a Google search for content writing services, and you’ve found Grammar Chic’s content writing services page. Which of the following two meta descriptions would make you more likely to click the link?

Discover the value of outsourcing your content writing needs to a company like Grammar Chic! Arrange a consultation with a content writing professional today!

OR…

Content writing services can help you keep up with the demands of regular content creation, while also freeing your time to focus on other areas of your business. Learn more about the content writing services of Grammar Chic, which include social media, blogging, press releases, website content, and more!

Now, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with either of these meta descriptions—but it’s hard to deny that the first one is a little punchier, a little more straight-to-the-point, a little more likely to command your attention and result in a click.

Let that be a lesson: In writing meta descriptions, you’ve now got more room to maneuver than ever before—but that doesn’t always mean you should take it.

We’d love to talk with you more about your content writing strategy—from headlines to body content to meta descriptions and beyond! For meta description writing strategies, contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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How Jobseekers Can Make Their Networking Emails More Effective

Have you ever received an email from an unknown sender, with a generic greeting like “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madame?” Most of us have, and most of us respond to these emails in the same way—by promptly hitting the delete key.

But what if you’re on the sending side of that relationship? If you’re a jobseeker, this isn’t such an unlikely prospect. Jobseekers send cold emails all the time, to hiring managers or recruiters who they may have met at a networking event or a seminar, or who they know through a mutual friend.

These cold networking emails can be meaningful ways to establish key connections, but only if you actually get your message across—and that means sending emails that get opened and read, not immediately deleted.

As you seek an effective email strategy, here are some tips to keep in mind.

The Subject Line is Critical

Let’s be honest: A lot of us immediately delete emails we get from unknown senders, especially if they come with generic subject lines. It’s important to make yours specific, then; did you meet this contact through a mutual friend? Put the person’s name in the subject line. Did you meet this contact at a networking event? Mention the event in the subject line. Offer whatever memory joggers, whatever moments of recognition you can.

Be Personal

Even if the person you’re writing to is a middle-manager in a huge company, he or she still wants to feel like a person—not a cog in the wheel. In your opening paragraph, explain why you’re writing to this person, in particular. Citing common ground is always a good idea to establish that personal connection.

Don’t Beat Around the Bush

It’s always good to be up front about your intentions. You want a job, and should say as much. Don’t try to be too clever or too vague in your phrasing; saying “I just want to pick your brain about potential opportunities” is needlessly watered down. Say that you’re hoping for career advancement and would like to ask for the person’s help.

Keep it Brief

It’s also important to emphasize how much you respect the person’s time—something you can do by keeping your message succinct and to the point. A couple of paragraphs is usually sufficient.

Brag—a Little

Finally, don’t be afraid to shine the spotlight on yourself a little bit. You don’t want to rehash your entire resume, but do offer two or three bullet points that show the value you bring as an employee. This may feel immodest, but within the context of asking about job opportunities, it’s perfectly acceptable.

Have Your Documents Ready

Hopefully, your email will get results—and the next step will be sending along your resume and cover letter. Have those documents honed and ready to go—and if you need help doing so, don’t hesitate to contact our resume writing team. Grammar Chic, Inc. can furnish you with a resume and cover letter that truly help you shine as an employee. Reach out for a consultation today, either at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Business Writing, Cover Letters, Email Writing, Job Search, Resume Writing, Resumes

How to Brainstorm Content Ideas for Your Small Business

Often, the most challenging part of content marketing is simply coming up with good ideas. Perhaps you’ve had this experience: You set aside an hour of your day to write a post for your small business blog, then stare at your computer for a good 45 minutes trying to think of a topic. By that point, of course, you hardly have enough time left to write a solid introduction, much less a full post.

Something we recommend is keeping a list of topics ready to go—so that when you have those moments of scheduled content creation, you don’t have to waste time fumbling for inspiration. Still, the question remains: How do you come up with good ideas to populate your list?

Start with Content Categories

A good place to begin the brainstorming process is not with specific topics, but simply with categories.

Think about your areas of expertise—the services your company provides, the niche it serves. Try to think of five to seven big “buckets” into which content can be placed. For example, say you own a plumbing company. Your buckets might be Commercial Plumbing, Plumbing Repair, Drain Cleaning, Bathroom Remodeling, Household Plumbing Tips and Tricks, and HVAC.

Now, for each of these content buckets, try to come up with some subcategories—further ways to classify content. For each bucket, aim for a good five subcategories. For example, under Plumbing Repair, your sub-categories might include:

  • Fixing leaks
  • Water heater maintenance
  • Removing clogs
  • Preventative maintenance
  • When to call a plumber

Once you’ve written down those big buckets and their related sub-categories, you’ve got a pretty good blueprint to work from.

Brainstorming Content Ideas

Now we come to the part of the process where you actually jot down some content ideas.

Start with any of those subcategories you wrote down, and approach it from a couple of different angles:

  • First, there is the expertise angle—wherein you’re simply trying to impart some knowledge to your customers, sharing your expertise on the topic in question. What are some things you’d like your customers to know, as relates to this topic? What are some of the most common questions you get?
  • Second, there is the offering What are you trying to sell, as relates to this topic? Generating posts with an offering angle might mean listing the perks, benefits, or pros/cons of a specific service—for example, under the Preventative Maintenance category, your topic might be The Benefits of Preventative Plumbing Maintenance, underlining the value of homeowners having routine inspections from a certified plumber.

Even if you only come up with a couple of topics for each of your subcategories—an expertise angle and an offering angle—you’ll still have a fairly large list of topics at your ready.

And there are ways to take those topics and spin them into additional ideas. For example, if you land on the perfect angle for a blog post, type your working title into the Google search bar and just see what comes up. You may find that competitors or industry experts have written related or thematically-adjacent posts that can inspire your own work.

Outsource Your Content Creation

Having a list of pre-determined topics—and periodically spending some time expanding and revising it—can make content creation much more fluid, and much less frustrating.

And if you’re serious about generating quality content, you can take the next step—outsourcing your content creation to the writers at Grammar Chic, Inc. We can provide a full spectrum of services, from topic generation to writing, proofing, editing, and formatting. To talk content strategy, reach out to our writers at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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

10 Things You Should Remove from Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile Today

Jobseekers depend on their resume—and, to a slightly lesser extent, their LinkedIn profile—to inform recruiters and hiring managers about the skills they bring to the table. With that said, there is such a thing as having too much information on your job search documents—or, rather, having information that does more harm than good.

It’s worthwhile to periodically go through your professional documents and eliminate anything that’s dragging you down. We’ve prepared a checklist for you—10 things you’re safe to eliminate from your resume and your LinkedIn profile now.

What to Exclude from Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

  1. Secondary skills. It’s commonly assumed that your resume should mention every skill you possess—but that’s not always the case. If there are skills you’d rather not continue to hone at your next job, it’s often best to leave them off; focus on the things you love, the things you’re good at, and the things you want to keep doing.
  2. Silly email addresses. If you’re still using a goofy email handle from your college days—that Hotmail account you signed up for back in the day, perhaps—it’s time to set up a new, professional email account through which you can handle your job search.
  3. High school jobs. Unless you’ve just graduated from college and these are the only jobs you can list, it’s better to forget them.
  4. Hobbies and leisure activities. There are some isolated cases in which your hobbies belong on your resume—specifically, if they dovetail with the job you’re applying for—but usually, you’ll want to leave them off. Believe it or not, hiring managers don’t care that you love to play golf or collect vinyl records. They care about the value you can bring to their organization.
  5. Antiquated technology. By this point, there’s no need to specify that you know how to use email, Microsoft Word, or the Web browser. Everyone should be able to do these things—and listing them on your resume just dates you.
  6. Your home phone number. Just include your cell; make it clear to employers that you can always be reached, no matter what.
  7. Paragraphs of text. Your job descriptions should be easy to read—and for that matter, easy to skim. Always use bullet points. Big blocks of text are a major turn-off.
  8. Salary figures. You’re likely to either sell yourself short or position yourself as unattainable—and either way, it’s undermining your prospects.
  9. Generic job titles. Make sure your job titles give a pretty clear indication of what you actually did in that role; just saying “Manager” is usually not descriptive enough.
  10. Duties. This one may surprise you—and to be clear, your resume should provide some insight into what you’ve done at your different jobs. The point here is to focus more on achievements as opposed to a laundry list of responsibilities, whenever possible.

Make Your Resume Sleek and Effective

Writing an effective resume is as much about what you leave off as what you put on. For help fine-tuning your resume and LinkedIn profile—and making them powerful personal marketing collateral—contact us for a consultation. Reach out to the resume writers at Grammar Chic, Inc. via www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Business Writing, Cover Letters, Resume Writing, Social Media