Category Archives: Resume Writing

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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10 Steps For a Lean, Focused, and Effective Job Search

Few things are more exhausting—and potentially more demoralizing—than seeking a new job opportunity. It’s tough work, a full-time job in and of itself—and when you don’t get results, you might feel despair.

Don’t. Instead, take time to refocus and revitalize your job search. Make it lean, focused, and efficient. Here are 10 steps to make it happen.

Treat it like an actual job.

We weren’t kidding when we said job searching was like a full-time gig in and of itself. Get up early each morning, head to a home office or favorite coffee shop, and put in the hours—fine-tuning your resume, filling out applications, researching new positions, etc. (If you already have a full-time job, of course, the time you can spend job searching will be more limited, though we still recommend a formal, disciplined, and scheduled approach.)

Give yourself a break.

We recommend the 50/10 rule, or some variation of it: Work hard for 50 minutes, then give yourself 10 to get up, stretch, go for a walk, watch a funny YouTube clip, or do something else to maintain your mental health.

Recharge your batteries.

If you treat your job search as a full-time gig, that means you can allow yourself to take a little time off here and there—think of it as vacation time. When the application process starts to feel wearying, spend a day doing something fun and life-giving.

Research the companies that excite you.

Research is an undervalued part of the job search process. Spend time reading up on different companies, keeping a list of the ones you want to apply to and targeting different positions within the company.

Follow the companies you’re interested in on social media.

Often, that’s how you can be the first to hear about new job openings.

Narrow your job search according to salary.

You know how much money you need to pay the bills, and you know which salary ranges you would and wouldn’t accept. Don’t waste time looking for jobs you know you won’t take.

Find a friend.

Having a support structure is key. Make sure you’re regularly checking in with someone who can speak positivity into your job process, and help you maintain high spirits.

List keywords.

As you look at different job opportunities within your industry, keep notes about the keywords you see across these various listings. Use those to structure and optimize your resume.

Perfect your resume.

That’s where we come in. Schedule a consultation with a Grammar Chic resume writing pro, then let us turn your resume into something that will command attention.

Optimize your LinkedIn profile.

Along the same lines, Grammar Chic’s team can rehabilitate your social media presence, and help you be seen as the candidate of choice among recruiters and hiring managers.

Start taking these steps toward a more efficient job search today—and make sure you call us for those last two! Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Does Your Resume Suffer from TMI?

The role of any good resume is to provide valuable information—data that helps a recruiter or hiring manager make their decision, and ideally material that causes them to decide in your favor. It is possible, however, for your resume to have too much information. The result? A resume that is either unfocused or simply difficult to read.

But where do you draw the line? When have you officially reached the point where you’re trying to pack too much content into your resume? Here are some warning signs for every resume writer to be aware of.

Signs Your Resume Has Too Much Information

Your resume is too long. Most candidates will have a two-page resume with only senior or C-level job seekers extending their document to three. On the other side of that, one-page resumes are usually only for entry-level job seekers. Remember that your resume is meant to curate your career highlights and arrange them in a way that’s impactful; it’s not meant to be a transcript of everything you’ve ever done or said while on the job.

Your resume has big blocks of text. Your core competency and career history sections should both take the form of bulleted lists—condensing your noteworthy points into brief, easy-to-read points. If you have huge blocks of text, anywhere outside of your executive summary, that likely means you haven’t trimmed or curated well enough.

Your resume repeats itself. There’s really no need to pad your resume by reiterating the exact same skillsets for every single job listing. By all means, opt for a shorter resume instead of a needlessly repetitive one.

Your resume has personal information. To be clear, some personal details are legitimate—even vital. Think specifically of contact information—name, address, phone number, email address. What you don’t need to include are age, marital status, race, etc.

Your resume contains superfluous information. Along the same lines, there are some details that simply don’t belong on a resume. Some common examples:

  • High school or college GPA
  • Classes you took in school
  • Reasons for leaving your previous job
  • Salary history—unless it’s specifically requested
  • Hobbies—unless they directly tie into the job you’re applying for

Make Your Resume Lean, Focused, and Effective

A good resume packs a wallop by telling your full story without any needless information or repetition. Our resume writers can help you achieve that kind of focus. Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today to schedule your resume consultation: You can reach us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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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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Don’t Let Your Job Search Get Sloppy

When you’re seeking new employment, it’s always important to make strong first impressions. This includes your resume—your first and best chance to impress a recruiter or hiring manager. It also includes your conduct during the interview process. If you allow yourself to appear sloppy or haphazard, it could undercut whatever goodwill your resume has engendered.

So what are some of the common mistakes that cause a job search to appear shoddy or unfocused? Here are a few for you to watch out for.

Showing up for an interview without knowing much about the company.

Make it clear that you’re invested in the process, and interested in finding the best possible fit. One way to do that? Spend some time researching the company in advance. Before an interview, read their website, recent press releases, and company blog posts to get a feel for what the business really does and what its culture is like.

Showing up for an interview without knowing which position you’re seeking.

Many companies will be hiring for multiple positions at once. Make sure you know the title and job description of the position you’re applying for. Pay attention to the language used in the job posting—skills needed, etc.—and try to employ some of that verbiage in your interview.

Failing to prepare thoughtful questions for the interviewer.

Questions about the culture, goals, and vision of the company show that you’re invested, and that you care about more than just earning a paycheck.

Dressing way too casually for the interview.

You can generally get a good sense of how to dress from the company’s website or employee LinkedIn profiles; when in doubt, ask your recruiter, or just err on the side of formality.

Showing up to the interview empty-handed.

What should you bring to a job interview? A few extra copies of your resume. A pen. And, a notepad where you can jot down any notes.

Going to the interview, then not following up.

Thank you notes are critical.

Broaching deal-breaking issues at the last possible minute.

Do you need to give a full 30-days’ notice to your current employer? Or to be able to work from home on certain days of the week? If you have any big issues like this, you need to address them early in the process—not once a job offer is made!

Settling for a substandard resume.

Of course, you won’t even get in for an interview if your resume doesn’t shine—and that’s where the Grammar Chic team comes in. Our resume writers can help you portray yourself as an impeccably valuable candidate. Get a resume consultation today by contacting us directly: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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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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