Category Archives: Job Search

The Jobseeker’s Guide to the Holiday Season

Believe it or not, the holiday season is actually an ideal time to make progress on your job search. Many jobseekers don’t realize this, and as such they effectively go dormant between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Their loss is your gain: With a less crowded field, you can use the holiday season to really make some inroads with potential employers.

The Gatekeepers are Away

Here’s the first thing you should know about job seeking during the holidays: For many businesses, it’s actually a little bit of a lull. (Big exceptions include retail and hospitality—but those are discussions for another day.)

Indeed, for a lot of companies, the last few weeks of the year are a time when things slow down, people are out of the office, and many employees are simply getting their ducks in a row for the start of a new year. Most teams don’t launch big new projects in the dog days of December, so there’s more flexibility than you might think for you to schedule an interview or an informational meeting.

And here’s the exciting thing: With administrative assistants and other gatekeepers taking time off, you have a really good shot at making direct contact with a middle manager. In other words, your best time to engage with a potential employer may be at the height of the holidays. Take advantage of this unique window of opportunity!

Socialization is Key

While you’re making those connections, also be sure you’re showing up to holiday parties and gatherings. You don’t have to approach these get-togethers as networking opportunities; just show up to have some fun.

With that said, it’s bound to come up that you’re looking for work—and often, you’ll score some meaningful introductions without necessarily trying very hard. Again, this is a unique window, so make sure you make good use of any festive fellowship opportunities that come your way.

Get Busy and Get to Work

One more thing: The holiday season is as good a time as any to spruce up some of your personal marketing collateral. Why not reach out to a local photographer and have some professional headshots taken, then upload them to your LinkedIn profile? As the holiday card season dies down, you should have no trouble at all getting an appointment.

You can use the holidays as an excuse to send quick check-ins to your social media connections—perhaps triggering a conversation about the kinds of jobs you’re seeking.

And, you can use the holidays as a chance to fine-tune your resume—or get a new one written from scratch, ensuring you’re ready to start the new year on a strong note.

The holidays will be here before you know it—and if you’re targeting a new job, the time to strategize is now. We’d love to help. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. today and let’s talk about your resume and cover letter needs.

You can reach us directly at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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How to Be Self-Confident in Your Job Search

The job search is really all about salesmanship. You’re selling yourself to potential employers, seeking to persuade them of the value you can offer in return for their investment.

This type of selling comes easy to some, but for most of us it’s rather tricky. In fact, the job search can represent a low ebb in self-confidence—a season in which we have the hardest time believing in our own value. The more rejections and dead ends you accumulate, the worse the problem gets; and, when you’re feeling a lack of self-confidence, it makes it much tougher to sell yourself.

You can see what a vicious cycle this can be. Yet, it’s a cycle that can be broken. We’ll show you how. In this post, we’ll detail a few practical ways to inject self-confidence into your job search.

Deal with Your Inner Critic

Our self-confidence erodes when we spend too much time listening to our “inner critic”—the voice in our heads that tells us we’re not good enough, delighting in showing us all our faults.

Unfortunately, the job search experience can bring that inner critic out in full force, emboldened by every rejection or every bad interview.

So how do you silence the inner critic? A few possibilities include:

  • Practice positive self-talk. Every day, devote a few minutes to simply speaking affirmations to yourself. Remind yourself that you are worthy, and that you do have talents to offer. Speak them out loud to yourself.
  • Keep a list of your past career achievements—all the things you’ve done or accomplished that you can feel proud of. Refer back to your list whenever the inner critic pops up.
  • Have people in your life who can encourage you and remind you often that they believe in you. Their encouragements can stifle the inner critic.

Practice Self-Care

Something that can really take the wind out of your sails, and cause your confidence to further plummet, is neglecting self-care. Allowing yourself to become lethargic, overtired, undernourished, stressed out—all of these things can make confidence gaps even wider.

Be intentional about practicing self-care during your job search—and that means:

  • Getting enough sleep at night.
  • Eating three meals a day—actual nutrients, not just protein shakes or fast food!
  • Logging some physical activity each day, even if it’s just a brisk walk around the neighborhood.
  • Engaging in a stress-busting activity—yoga, meditation, drawing, journaling, etc.

Prepare Your Branding

One final thing you can do to inject some self-confidence in your job search: Make sure you have some personal branding materials you can feel proud of.

Remember, the job search is all about selling yourself—so make sure you have some sales materials that can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.

Having a strong resume and cover letter can allow you to enter into interviews with confidence—and even the process of drafting those materials, in conjunction with a professional resume writer, can remind you of past achievements in a way that bolsters your enthusiasm and self-esteem.

Talk with a resume writing pro who can really help you embrace the job search process, feeling confident in your abilities to land a rewarding new position. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to start the process: 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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How Recent Grads Should Handle Their Social Media

For recent college graduates who are now fully invested in the job search, social media can be either a blessing or a curse.

On the one hand, it can provide invaluable networking opportunities, chances to connect, to stay in touch, and to discover new opportunities. This is especially true if you know all the right social media tools to use.

Then again, when it’s used unwisely, social media can undercut your professionalism—and cause you to lose out on those opportunities. It’s all but certain potential employers will check out your online profiles before hiring you—and if all they see are those slovenly photos from your most recent spring break, that could be trouble!

So what should recent grads do about social media? And, what shouldn’t they do? Here are a few tips from the Grammar Chic, Inc. team.

What You Should Do on Social Media

We’ll start with the positives.

  1. Check your privacy settings. There’s nothing wrong with sharing personal photos with your close friends—but are those photos also visible to potential employers? Are you sure? Check your privacy settings to be sure.
  2. Search yourself. Do a quick Google search for your own name, and simply see what comes up. This might call up some older social media posts or Tumblr entries you want to delete!
  3. Create at least one strong, professional social media profile. Use LinkedIn to put your best foot forward, and to convey your professionalism and passion.
  4. Double and triple check your spelling and grammar. Sloppy writing on your LinkedIn page may cause you to get looked over for someone just a little more detail-oriented!
  5. Familiarize yourself with LinkedIn’s job search tools. Again, there are many great resources out there, for anyone willing to learn them.

What You Shouldn’t Do on Social Media

Now, the flipside.

  1. Don’t share a lot of controversial opinions. If you like talking about religion and politics on Facebook, be very careful with those privacy settings.
  2. Don’t complain. Even if you’re currently working a retail job you don’t especially care for, keep negativity off your feeds. Nobody wants to hire a complainer!
  3. Don’t think a LinkedIn profile replaces your need for a resume. While some information can be the same, for a successful job search, you really need both!

Whether you need help building that resume or getting your LinkedIn profile up to speed, our resume writing team is here to help. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. today to discuss your job search needs; contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Does Your Resume Highlight Your Passion?

In an increasingly competitive job market, passion can be your greatest competitive advantage—the thing that helps you stand out from the crowd. If you’re vying for a job along with similarly-experienced and similarly-skilled professionals, being the one who loves their work the most—the one with the most spirit and enthusiasm—can help you rise to the top.

But how are potential employers going to know you’re passionate? Hopefully, it will come through in your job interview. Even before you get to the interview, though, your resume can highlight what a passionate employee you are. Here are a few ways you can make that happen.

Using Your Resume to Showcase Your Enthusiasm

Highlight Your Awards and Accolades

Have you ever been formally honored for your professional achievements? If so, don’t be shy about it! List awards on your resume, as they signify not only that you care about what you do, but that your good work is seen and affirmed by your superiors.

Note Your Volunteer Work

Have you done volunteer work that’s somehow related to your industry or profession? For example, are you a healthcare professional who volunteers at free clinics during your off-time? That’s the kind of thing that definitely shows passion—enough passion that you’re willing to go above and beyond, even when you’re not on the clock.

Show That You Can Exceed Expectations

One way that passion manifests is in completing your work in a way that surpasses quotas and expectations. Do you complete projects on time and under budget? And can you attach numbers or proof to quantify it? If so, include it on your resume for sure!

Demonstrate a Commitment to Education

One final thing that shows passion is a commitment to learning. If you’ve voluntarily taken any continuing education or training courses, you might consider listing those credits on your resume—proof that you love your field so much you actively like to learn more about it.

Inject Passion into Your Resume

You might associate “passion” with “coming on too strong”—but clearly, that’s not the case. There are some subtle yet powerful ways you can use your resume to underscore your professional enthusiasm.

For help crafting a robust and effective resume, reach out to our writing team. Our resume experts can help develop a resume that captures all your skills, experience, and enthusiasm. Set up a resume consultation today by contacting Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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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.

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6 Resume Tweaks for Executive-Level Jobseekers

The job search is anything but standard; the way one person finds his or her dream job—or simply ascends the next step on the corporate ladder—may not be the method that works for you. Certainly, when you reach the C-suite, there are things you should do to distinguish yourself, and to convey your expertise at each stage of your job hunt.

One way to do this is to make some subtle tweaks to your resume—minor changes that can ultimately go a long way toward branding you as the executive of choice to fill the role you seek.

Here are some easy yet substantive changes we’d recommend, based on what we’ve seen with some of our own executive-level resume clients.

Important Tweaks for Your Executive-Level Resume

  1. Don’t list your home phone number. There’s really no need to list home, work, and cell numbers—and in fact, doing so may make you look like a bit of a dinosaur. A lot of tenured executives are simply in the habit of providing full contact information, but the reality is that recruiters and headhunters want someone they know they can access around the clock—and a cell number pretty well covers it.
  2. Update your old email address. We see a lot of executives who are still using antiquated email platforms, like AOL or Hotmail. These addresses may have served you well as you were building your career, but today, they appear a bit dated. Switching to a Gmail address is easy and can potentially be quite beneficial.
  3. Don’t oversell your experience. Your resume should speak for itself and convey your depth of experience through your list of previous jobs and career accomplishments. There’s no reason to oversell it with words like “veteran” or “seasoned.” Those words are a little weak, and all they’re likely to do is make recruiters think you’re old.
  4. Clear out your undergraduate achievements. When you’re seeking your first-ever job, or just starting to climb the corporate ladder, things like summer internships and undergraduate awards can help beef up your resume. Once you make it to the C-suite, though, there’s no longer any need to include these items.
  5. Be a ruthless editor. Executive-level jobseekers are allowed to let their career histories spill over onto a second page, but very rarely do you want to go past two pages, and never over three. Remember that you’re curating your own personal story, and sometimes it’s best to omit things that have little relevance on who you are today. Keep your resume focused and bloat-free!
  6. Ensure an optimized LinkedIn page. Your resume will need an up-to-date LinkedIn profile to augment it—and that means a current photograph, proper keywords, and a streamlined career history.

How to Improve Your Executive Resume

You need a resume that speaks to your success, and to your efficacy as a leader—and that requires you to pay attention to even these fairly minor details.

For help crafting the optimal C-suite resume—or LinkedIn presence—reach out to the resume writing team at Grammar Chic, Inc. Contact us at 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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