Category Archives: Job Search

Don’t Let Recruiters Know You’re Desperate

You may feel desperate to find new employment—but that doesn’t mean you should show it, especially not to recruiters and hiring managers. Generally speaking, desperation makes you look sloppy, unprofessional, and simply not as competent and put-together as employers wish.

In a word, you want to project confidence—not jitters. The question is how. Here are a few of the most common ways in which jobseekers reveal their underlying desperation; start by avoiding these at all costs.

Avoiding the Signs of Job Search Desperation

  • Applying for dozens of different jobs at the same company. It’s always important to take a targeted approach; zero in on the one job you’re really excited about and qualified You don’t want to give the impression that you’ll just take anything.
  • Using your resume or cover letter to beg. You may really want the job in question, but it’s best not to get down on your hands and knees to plead for it—figuratively or literally.
  • Bragging about how much your past employer loved you. It’s far better to cite your actual achievements and professional milestones, and to ask the recruiter or hiring manager what they’re looking for in an employee. Your old boss’ opinion just isn’t relevant.
  • Asking for immediate feedback. The single worst way to end a job interview is by asking, “So how did I do?” That’s Desperate with a capital D. Be a professional. Wait for the callback like everyone else.
  • Leaving constant follow-ups. It’s wise to send a thank-you note after an interview, and perhaps to call with a follow-up after a week or so has passed. Leaving daily emails or voicemails, though, is just irritating, and highly unprofessional.
  • Immediately sending a LinkedIn connection request to your interviewer. The only thing more inappropriate is immediately sending a Facebook friend request.
  • Apologizing for something you said or did in an interview. You may think you made a huge blunder or put your foot in your mouth, but honestly, most interviewers forget these things almost immediately. There’s no need to remind them of it.
  • Sending gifts to your interviewer. Yes, this includes things like homemade cookies. There’s no need to send treats; it’s not going to sweeten your prospect any.

Any one of these little gaffes can make you come across as desperate—and that’s never what you want to convey. Make sure you control your emotions, and let your resume speak for itself. To make sure yours is up to snuff, reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc.’s resume writing team today. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

 

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Don’t Let Lack of Education Tank Your Resume

College isn’t for everyone; there are many who don’t pursue higher education, and for any number of reasons. Perhaps it isn’t financially feasible, or perhaps it makes more sense for the individual to jump straight into the workforce. There is nothing wrong with any of this, of course, but it can complicate your resume writing process.

Specifically, it can land you with some tough decisions to make about how you address your lack of education. It is customary for resumes to include information about college degrees—but what do you do if you don’t have one?

We’ll tell you one thing you shouldn’t do, and that’s lie about it. If you pretend to have a degree that you don’t actually have, your employer is very likely to find out about it—and you’ll likely be terminated as a result.

Thankfully, there are some honest and effective alternatives here.

List Completed Coursework

If you started a degree program and simply didn’t receive enough credits to graduate, you can make note of it on your resume—showing the employer that you do have some education beyond high school.

List the school where you took classes, and say something like, “Coursework toward Bachelor’s degree in _____.” You might even include the number of credits you have, especially if you’re quite close to completing the degree requirements.

Think Beyond College Degrees

Not all advanced training comes with a college degree, of course. You may have taken some seminars or classes, and even received some certifications or technical distinctions, that have nothing to do with a Bachelor’s degree.

Often, these technical skillsets offer a lot of workplace value, and are highly prized by employers—so by all means list them, assuming they have anything at all to do with the job you’re applying for.

Other Options for Addressing Education

Two more options exist. One is to seek out ways to get some extra training, even if that’s enrolling in a single online college class. That way, you can not only broaden your skill set, but also state on your resume that your degree is in progress—without needing to lie.

The final option is to just not mention education at all. While this can be seen as a liability, you can make up for it by really emphasizing the skills and achievements you’ve amassed on the job. With a good approach to resume writing and personal branding, lack of education does not have to be a detriment.

However, you want to approach the issue, we’d like to help. Contact our resume writing experts today. Call Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or visit us on the Web at www.grammarchic.net.

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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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How to Write a Post-Interview Thank You Note

Job interviews are all about making a positive impression—and that’s something you can do even once the interview itself is technically over. Within a day or two of your job interview, send a thank you note to the person you interviewed with. It doesn’t matter whether the interview was a triumph or a total disaster; it doesn’t even matter whether you still want the job or not. You never know when you might encounter someone from that organization again, and it’s simply wise to make sure you leave that strong impression.

Before You Leave the Interview

Even before you exit from the interview, one thing you can do is ask everyone you’re interviewing with for a business card. That way, when you send thank you notes, you don’t leave anyone out—and you don’t get anyone’s name wrong! At the very least, take an extra minute to confirm that you have all the names right before you leave the office.

How to Write Your Thank You Note

As for actually composing your thank you note, here are some tips to keep you on the straight and narrow.

  • Send an individual thank you note for everyone you interview with—not just one blanket thank you for the group. That personal touch goes a long way!
  • If at all possible, send your thank you note within 24 hours of the interview—48 at the very most.
  • Mention specifics. Make note of something about the company you found to be exciting, e.g., “I was excited to hear about New Client A,” or “I think new app B sounds like a tremendous asset.”
  • Highlight a particular skill or achievement from your own resume that you think will align with the position in question.
  • Affirm once more why you feel as though you’re a good fit for the position.
  • Make sure each thank you note is unique! Remember that the people who receive them may compare them, so you don’t want each thank you note you send to be a generic form letter.
  • Keep the letter fairly brief and straight to the point; you want to reaffirm your thankfulness for the interview and your interest in the position, but you don’t need to belabor things. A good thank you note is usually a paragraph or two.

Always Send a Note

Again, it’s always good to send a thank you note—even if you don’t really want the position. Keep those impressions positive—and your bridges from burning.

By the way: Sending your thank you note via email is almost always acceptable, unless you know the company to be especially formal or old-fashioned—like a law firm, perhaps.

And if you need help composing a robust, effective thank you note, we encourage you to use our team. Grammar Chic, Inc. can help you craft the perfect resume, cover letter, and yes, even the perfect thank you note. Reach out to us today to learn more: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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4 Ways to Improve Your Digital Job Search Today

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When you’re a jobseeker, the Internet offers countless tools for promoting your personal brand, connecting to desired employers, and moving your career forward. Of course, all of this is contingent on you identifying and exploiting those tools, making the most out of the available resources.

If you feel like you could be getting more out of your digital job search, well, you’re probably right. Allow us to suggest a few ways you can make better use of your online resources today.

Know Your Personal SEO Keywords

Businesses target certain keywords to connect with customers, and jobseekers should target certain keywords to connect with employers. There are plenty of places where you can deploy keywords, including your Facebook “About” blurb and your LinkedIn profile. To know the right keywords, just look at some job postings in your field, and see what kind of language is used to describe key skills and job titles. Make sure your own terminology is not too dated; for example, you don’t want to call yourself a “webmaster” if that term has been replaced with “Web developer.”

Google Yourself

Why Google yourself? Because potential employers are definitely going to. Hopefully you’ll find positive results—your LinkedIn profile, perhaps a personal website. If you come across an old and out-of-date blog, you may wish to delete it. And if you find that you share a name with someone disreputable—like, someone who’s been involved with public scandals—you may actually want to consider adding a middle initial to your online profiles, distinguishing yourself. Your name is a vital set of online keywords, and it’s crucial to manage them.

Show Your Knowledge

Something else you’ll want to do is showcase your subject matter expertise. Prove yourself to be a true industry insider, an authoritative figure within your industry. The best platform for doing this is LinkedIn Pulse. Post regular blog updates where you display your familiarity with industry trends and practices. If you need help ghostwriting these posts, Grammar Chic can deliver it!

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

Finally, we recommend a thorough audit of your LinkedIn profile, ensuring that each section is filled out completely and phrased with the right keywords. We can help with that, too, and in fact we offer full LinkedIn optimization services, which help you put your best foot forward on the Web.

You can start that process right now. Contact Grammar Chic to ask how we can help you position yourself better on the Web. Reach out to us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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5 Bad Job Search Habits That You Need to Break

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Nail biting. Interrupting people when they speak. Eating junk food. All of us develop a few bad habits over the course of our lifetime, and if we’re really alert, we’ll take note of them and work to break them. The same holds true in the job search. Jobseekers can’t help but pick up a few less-than-helpful practices, but success depends on breaking those habits and replacing them with healthier ones.

So what are your bad job search habits? Maybe you’re already aware of them. If not, allow us to list five of the most common examples. If you recognize any of these habits in yourself, it goes without saying that you should try to turn over a new leaf!

Bad habit: Being vague about what you want.

Say you’re at a party or a networking event, and you mention that you’re looking for work. “Oh, what kind of a job are you interested in?” someone might say. Don’t respond with something generic: “Well, I dunno, maybe something in marketing… or something where I can write… really anything that’s creative…” Nobody wants to hire someone so wishy-washy. It’s better to have a specific job search objective, and to be ready to voice it—like a well-honed elevator pitch.

Bad habit: Applying for every job you see.

Some jobseekers take sort of a scattershot approach to their job search, throwing out five or 10 applications every day to any and every open position they see. It’s almost impossible to truly follow up with such an all-over-the-place search, though, and being focused on applying for only jobs that truly fit your skillset and career objective makes more sense.

Bad habit: Using the same resume for every job.

This goes back to what we said about being generic. Each job opening calls for its own, precisely honed resume—one that highlights how you’re a good fit for that specific role. Having a few versions of your resume that you can choose from is invaluable.

Bad habit: Trying to be too creative with your resume.

Some jobseekers are constantly looking for new fonts, formats, or colors that can set their resume apart—but in the process, they are undermining their own professionalism. The best way to stand out is with a resume that’s organized smoothly and highlights achievements and core competencies clearly.

Bad habit: Not following up.

Applying for a job is one thing, but following up on an application is where the magic usually happens. If you’re not in the habit of routine follow up, it’s time to get there!

Another habit we recommend? Periodic resume tune-ups from the Grammar Chic team. You can start the process by giving us a call at 803-831-7444, or by visiting www.grammarchic.net.

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Why the Holiday Season is a Great Time for Job Searching

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There are countless excuses you can make for suspending your job search through the month of December: You need a break. You want to enjoy the holidays. Nobody’s really hiring anyway. Most companies are worried about end-of-the-year financials and holiday parties. You can start your job search again in mid-January, once things are back to normal.

We’re here to tell you that, in spite of all the excuses, the holiday season is actually a great time to look for work. If you’re already searching, keep doing it—full speed ahead. And if you’ve been thinking about launching a new job search, there really is no time like the present.

Reasons to Job Search During the Holidays

Why do we think the holiday season is so ideal for job searching? Here’s our argument:

Your competitors are taking time off for the holidays. You might assume that hiring managers receive many fewer resumes and cover letters during the holiday season—and you’re not wrong. That’s all the more reason for you to step up and seize this opportunity to shine in a less-crowded field of applicants.

You’ll have a lot of opportunities to network over the holidays. Parties, open houses, charity events… this is a season that brings with it plenty of chances to meet and mingle, which can really be an asset to jobseekers.

You have a great excuse to reconnect with old contacts. The holidays give you a perfect reason to send quick emails or LinkedIn messages to former colleagues and classmates, and to let them know you’re thinking about them and wish them a happy holiday season. Of course, you can also let them know you’re in the market for work.

You may actually have an easier time reaching hiring managers. It’s not unusual for administrative assistants and mid-level managers to take holiday time, so if you call a potential employer, there’s a decent shot of you connecting more easily to the ultimate decider. This gives you a unique opportunity to form a connection!

You can position yourself for January turnover. The beginning of the year can bring a lot of departures—so even if you’re not hired before Christmas, you can at least have your name in the ring for a shot in January.

You can prove yourself to be serious. Job seeking over the holiday season is, as we’ve already established, a pretty bold move—and it’ll show hiring managers that you’re really committed.

Make Your Move

There’s no time like now to put your best foot forward—and one way to do so is to spruce up your resume. We’d love to give you the holiday-season resume overhaul you need. Contact our team at Grammar Chic to make it happen: 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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