Category Archives: Job Search

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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Jobseekers Don’t Need New Year’s Resolutions

The start of the year brings with it the promise of new opportunities—a clean slate and a fresh beginning. That’s why so many of us—with only the best intentions—begin each new year with a set of resolutions.

There’s nothing at all wrong with New Year’s resolutions, of course—but if you’re a jobseeker, you really don’t need them. That’s because, for jobseekers, your resolution could only possibly be one thing: to find a job. After all, isn’t that the whole point here?

So scratch the whole resolutions thing. There are better ways to think about your job search, and to revamp it for the new year. Instead of making resolutions for yourself, why not make a checklist—things you can update and refresh to make sure you’re firing on all cylinders as you carry your hunt into 2018?

All Things New: A Jobseeker’s Checklist for the New Year

Get a new cover letter.

Your cover letter is often the first thing a hiring manager will see as they consider your candidacy—and if it’s not written properly, it can be the last thing, too. Scrap your old cover letter and develop a new one that emphasizes two to four of your key skills; that provides some context for your career achievements; and that thanks the hiring manager for his or her time and attention. Also, leave room to customize your cover letter to match the specifics of each job you apply for.

Get a new resume.

Has your resume been reviewed by a professional resume writer? If not, contact the Grammar Chic team today and let us give it a thorough evaluation. We can point out some opportunities to tighten your writing, improve your formatting, and better showcase the values you offer as an employee. If needed, we can rewrite your resume from scratch, and ensure it’s something that will win the attention of hiring managers.

Get a new LinkedIn page.

It’s increasingly common for recruiters to check you out on LinkedIn before they ever consult your resume—which means your LinkedIn profile should be polished and optimized. Again, this is something Grammar Chic can assist with. Contact us for a review of your LinkedIn profile, and we’ll highlight some areas where you can improve keyword use or better showcase your skills and achievements.

Get a new social media presence.

Even Facebook and Twitter can be important to your job search, as potential employers use these social platforms to investigate candidates before making hiring decisions. Do your social media profiles create a strong first impression? Do they make you more relatable? More professional? Or is there some dubious content that needs to be scrubbed?

Get a new list of targeted employers.

Finally, make sure you’re heading into the new year with a well-researched list of employers you’d like to target—complete with information about potential openings and HR contacts. Use this list to guide you as you customize each iteration of your resume and cover letter!

Start Strong

The new year is indeed a new opportunity for jobseekers—but you don’t really need resolutions to take advantage of it. You just need to make sure all your job search collateral is honed and polished. To make that happen, contact Grammar Chic, Inc.’s resume writing team at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Thank You Notes are Invaluable to the Job Search

Recently, the Grammar Chic blog has championed the long-lost art of thank you note writing, both in the context of the holiday gift season and in the context of weddings/bridal showers.

Today, we address still another occasion on which sending a thank you note is imperative—and that’s when you’re in the midst of a job search.

Why Should Jobseekers Send Thank You Notes?

Following a job interview, you should always send a thank you note to whichever people you interviewed with—and for a few reasons:

  • First, it’s just the polite thing to do; the interviewer gave you some of their valuable time, and you should let them know you appreciate it.
  • It’s a great way to get in just a little more contact with your (potential) future boss—and more contact is always a good thing!
  • Finally, most recruiters and hiring managers prefer receiving thank you notes. According to a study cited in the Chicago Tribune, 70 percent of hiring managers say receiving a thank you note impacts their final decision. Meanwhile, 16 percent say that completely dismiss any candidate who does not send a thank you note!

Bottom line: It’s always in your best interests to send a note, even if you feel as though the interview went badly.

What if You Interviewed with Multiple People?

In some cases, of course, one note won’t cut it; if you interview with multiple people at the same company, it’s best to send a thank you note to each one of them individually. Make sure to personalize each one!

When Should You Send Your Thank You Note?

As for the timing, always aim to send your thank you notes within 24 hours! Note: Emailing them is perfectly fine.

What Should You Include in the Note?

As for what to say, you just need a few short sentences. Make sure you:

  • Address the person by name (check spelling!)
  • Personalize the card with something you learned about the person during the initial “small talk” phase of your interview
  • Reiterate your interest in the position
  • Underscore one or two key reasons why you think you’re qualified for the job; no need to rehash your whole resume, just some main bullet points
  • State how much you appreciate the person’s time and interest

One more thing: If you’re not sure of your thank you note writing skills, the Grammar Chic resume writing team is happy to help. Lean on our expertise for all your job search needs. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

 

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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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