Category Archives: Resume Writing

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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3 Ways to Get Your Resume Down to a Page

Some jobseekers—experienced professionals, C-suite executives, those who’ve had long and robust career histories—may need their resumes to span two or three full pages. That’s perfectly fine. Other jobseekers—the younger, the less experienced—can make do with just one. That’s fine, too.

The trouble comes when you find yourself in the middle ground—with a resume that doesn’t fill two pages, but also doesn’t quite fit into one.

The last thing you want is a resume with a lot of empty space on it. So that one-and-a-half-pager? It’s gotta get cut down.

The question is how. Making razor-thin margins or opting for a microscopic font aren’t good options, because then your resume isn’t readable. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to tighten up your resume and get it down to one action-packed page—helping you portray maximum value quickly and cleanly.

Get Rid of Old Jobs

For starters: How far back are you going in your career history? A good rule of thumb is that employers are most interested in what you’ve done recently—so jobs that are more than 10-15 years old usually don’t need to be included on a resume.

If you’re one of those more experienced workers, and if you have seven or eight different listings in your career history, there’s a good chance you can cut one or two of them to save space.

Eliminate Unnecessary Stuff

Are you including any of the following items on your resume?

  • Hobbies
  • Volunteer positions
  • References
  • “References available upon request”
  • Your high school or college GPA

If so, then just getting rid of these items may be the best approach.

We’re not saying these items never have a place on your resume—but if you’re looking to save space, they can definitely be axed without any great loss.

Keep Your Bullet Points Short

Your career history should take up the bulk of the space on your resume—so that’s ultimately where you need to look as you try to keep things brief.

The best resumes list job accomplishments and responsibilities in bullet points—and most of the time, you should be able to keep each bullet point to a single line. If yours are longer, trim them down, focusing each one on strong action words, numbers, and statistics, while removing any “fluff” or filler.

Also remember to remove any redundancies. If you “provided exemplary customer service” in your last four jobs, you don’t necessarily need to list it under each one; saying it just once is usually sufficient.

Bring Focus to Your Resume

At the end of the day, a good resume is a focused resume—and if you’re having a hard time finding focus, that’s something we can help you with. Schedule a call with one of our resume writing professionals today. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. by visiting www.grammarchic.net or calling 803-831-7444.

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5 Ways Jobseekers Can Address Employment Gaps—Positively

Everyone’s story is different. Maybe you got your first job when you were still in high school, and have been working steadily ever since. Then again, maybe you left the workforce for an extended period of time— whether to go back to school, to raise a child, or to contend with some medical issues.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that, of course—but it can lead to some resume complications. How can jobseekers address gaps in their employment history? Here are a few positive, pragmatic tips from our resume writing team.

Addressing Employment Gaps on Your Resume

Whatever You Do, Don’t Apologize

First and foremost: Remind yourself that there is nothing wrong with taking time off for pursuits as noble as raising a kid or going back to school. It may give you an unconventional career trajectory, but it is nothing to feel ashamed or sorry about. Avoid taking any sort of an apologetic tone on your resume—because frankly, that can scan as negativity, which is the last thing you want on your resume.

Use Your Cover Letter to Your Advantage

Your resume doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting! If you have a year or two where you weren’t working, you can bring it up in your cover letter—noting succinctly (and unapologetically!) that you briefly detoured out of the workforce to care for an ailing parent, seek medical attention, or whatever else. Don’t be timid about offering a quick and direct explanation, then moving on.

Consider an Alternative Resume Format

Most of the time, we recommend a chronological work history—but if your work chronology is a little weird or wonky, you may benefit from a functional resume, one that’s laid out by skills/competencies rather than a straight job history. This can be a smart way to emphasize your strengths while being discreet about your absence from the workforce.

Avoid Complaining About Old Bosses

Sometimes, an absence from the workforce is all because you had a really bad wok experience, and just couldn’t stick around any longer. That’s fine, but make sure you never lapse into complaining about a former boss—no matter how bad the boss was! Simply put, nobody wants to hire a complainer. Don’t brand yourself that way.

Keep the Emphasis on Your Achievements

If you missed a few months or a few years of work, it’s important to let employers know that you didn’t lose your mojo in the interim. Make sure you include plenty of strong, specific achievements from before and after your time off. And if you’ve not yet returned to the workforce after a long absence, include some details about what you did during your time off—such as volunteer work, freelance projects, or continuous education. Just make it clear you weren’t sitting idly by!

Get a Tune-Up for Your Resume

Could your resume do a better job of addressing an employment gap? Ask our resume writers to help. Give us a call and schedule a resume consultation—www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Your Cover Letter Should Include These Six Elements

When submitting a resume to a recruiter or hiring manager, it’s usually a good idea to include a cover letter, as well—even if you’ve been told that cover letters are “optional.” Simply put, a cover letter gives you an additional chance to pitch yourself; it’s one more piece of marketing collateral that can help you convey your value as an employee and stand out from the competition.

But all of this is contingent on your cover letter being well-constructed. If you’ve never drafted a cover letter before, you may wish to consider consulting with one of our resume writers, who can ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

Or, consider these brief guidelines—six elements that characterize an effective cover letter.

Six Things Every Cover Letter Needs

  1. Specifics. Using bullet points, outline two to four of your most significant career accomplishments—and whenever possible, use statistics and numbers to lend those achievements some specificity. Hiring managers respond better to quantifiable accomplishments than to generalities; “increased sales by 35 percent” is always better than just “increased sales.”
  2. Personalization. Every cover letter you send out should be customized; don’t simply copy and paste the same text for every job opportunity. Whenever possible, do a little online research and find the name of the hiring manager or HR head who’s going to be receiving the cover letter, and address it to them individually.
  3. Brevity. This isn’t the place to tell your life story. It’s not even the place to outline your career history; that’s what your resume is for! A good cover letter is more like an elevator pitch, quick and punchy. You never want it to exceed a page; often, half a page is sufficient.
  4. Keywords. Another important way in which you can customize your cover letter? Look through the job description for the role you’re seeking, and try to incorporate some of that verbiage into your cover letter—emphasizing your fit for the position. If the job description uses the phrase “customer service” two or three times, that’s a phrase you should include in the cover letter.
  5. Contact information. Your name, address, phone number, and email address should all be included in the cover letter—always!
  6. Value. The big picture here is that you’re trying to show a potential employer the benefits you can offer them—and that means displaying the unique value you have as a professional. Try to articulate those things you believe make you special as an employee. This is where those specific accomplishments come in handy; and, where generalizations like hard-working and motivated generally come up short.

These guidelines should point you toward a strong cover letter—but if you still have questions, we’d love to look over your resume and cover letter and suggest some revisions. Reach out to the resume writing team at Grammar Chic, Inc. to schedule a consultation. Connect with us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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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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5 Ways to Customize Your Resume and Get the Job You Want

There’s never anything cookie-cutter about the job search. Your resume will inevitably be different from the next applicant’s—and what’s more, your resume should change and evolve with every job you apply for.

That’s right—you really need a different resume for each position, one that’s tailored to address the job in question. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to rewrite your resume from scratch each time, but it does mean you should take some time to customize. There are a few ways you can do that.

Use Language from the Job Posting

The ultimate goal of customization is to prove that you read the job description, and to convince the hiring manager that you fit it to a T. That means paying close attention to the verbiage of the job listing itself. How does the employer describe this position? Which words and phrases are used to describe the ideal candidate? Whenever possible, incorporate those words and phrases into your resume. (For example, maybe your resume lists team building, but the job description says team development; there’s no reason not to tweak your resume to match the language of your potential employer.)

Think in Terms of Pain Points

Stop and think about the job you’re applying for. What pain points is it meant to address? What problems is it meant to solve? What issues must the company be having to necessitate this new position—too much turnover? Too much employee demand? Slowed sales growth? Consider ways in which your resume can position you as the solution to these problems. Pitch yourself as a useful resource for whatever issues the company’s facing.

Cut Irrelevant Jobs

One of the most basic ways to customize your resume is to delete, or at least minimize, older jobs that don’t have any relevance to the one you’re seeking. The goal here is to craft a narrative, and to ensure that everything on your resume showcases your qualification for the job in question. If you have entries in your career history that don’t match the position you’re applying for, downplay them to make that narrative as streamlined and as uncluttered as possible.

Make Use of Your Executive Summary

You can’t assume that a hiring manager will read your entire resume from top to bottom—so spell out your most important qualifications early on. This is where your executive summary comes into play. Tweak this section for each job you apply for, making sure it covers some of the most qualifying skills and achievements of your career, as relative to the position you’re applying for.

Hire a Resume Writer

A final step to effective resume customization: Hire a professional resume writer, who will have ample experience in crafting resumes to match specific positions. If there’s a job you’re zealous for, send the listing, and your resume, to the Grammar Chic team, and we’ll be glad to help you make the proper modifications. Learn more by contacting Grammar Chic, Inc. today, via www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Get the Most Out of Your Resume Writing Service

If your resume isn’t landing you the kinds of interviews or job offers you’d hoped for—or if you’re struggling to assemble a respectable resume in the first place—there may be some merit to working with a professional resume writing service.

A professional resume writer will have both the stylistic flair and the technical acumen to articulate your professional achievements in the most compelling and condensed way possible; and, to ensure the resume is properly formatted for optimal results. What’s more, your professional resume writer can help you craft auxiliary documents, such as a cover letter and thank-you notes.

Your role in the process is not a passive one. You’ll need to make a little time for the resume writer to interview you, getting to know your history and your professional strengths.

In addition, there are some small steps you can take to make this interview as productive as possible, and to get the absolute most out of your resume writing journey.

Three Steps for a Better Resume Writing Experience

Three particular steps you can follow:

  1. Know what your goals are. Come to your resume writing interview ready to talk about the kinds of jobs you want to apply for—or better yet, the specific job openings that you’re interested in. Remember that an effective resume is tailored to match the job in question, so being able to provide this information can help your resume writer be as precise as possible.
  2. Gather information. The more information you can provide about your career history, the better. Your current and past resumes can be useful resources for creating your new one. Additionally, spend a little time thinking back on your previous jobs, and jot down some of your core achievements. Specifically try to think of any awards or honors you’ve received, and furnish your writer with the details.
  3. Be ready for feedback. You’ll naturally feel protective of your resume—since it’s essentially your story. But remember that the resume writer is your ally, and that you have the same goals. What’s more, you may know your career history, but your resume writer knows what does and does not belong on a good resume, and how it all comes together to form a compelling document. Be open to certain parts of your career history being worded a bit differently, or perhaps cut completely, to make the messaging stronger overall.

These three small steps can help make your resume writing experience more enjoyable—and more fruitful. If you’re ready to take the next step and consult with a resume writing professional, reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. today at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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