Category Archives: Resumes

Four Ways to Ensure an Effective Cover Letter

Do recruiters and hiring managers actually read cover letters? Our resume writing professionals get this question all the time, and the short answer is yes, they absolutely do. A cover letter, when done right, provides a quick, concise window into the resume itself—and helps recruiters determine whether it’s really worth their while to investigate the job candidate further.

But wait. You’ll notice we said something about cover letters done right. Not all of them are, and a bad cover letter can hurt your case more than it helps it. So how can you be sure your cover letter is crafted to get results?

Make it short.

There are four recommendations we’ll offer, and the first is to keep it concise. Remember that the cover letter is a summary of your resume, so it doesn’t need to be as long as the resume itself! What we recommend:

  • Keep it under a page.
  • Write an introductory paragraph, then a paragraph or so of career summary—basically explaining why you’re the right person for the job.
  • Include three or four bullet points, highlighting your biggest career accomplishments.
  • Wrap it up with a conclusion and a signature.

Make it specific.

Remember that old writer’s rule, show, don’t tell? That’s certainly true when you’re writing a cover letter. Don’t just tell the recruiter that you’re dedicated or hard-working or energetic; those are just clichés. Actually furnish them with specific achievements that set you apart. Use stats and numbers whenever you can. You’re not going to go through your whole career history in the cover letter, but you can hash out a few high points.

Make it personalized.

Most of the time, you should be able to avoid the general To Whom It May Concern greeting, addressing your cover letter to the specific recruiter you’re meeting with. If you don’t have the name handy, some social media research or a call to the company’s HR department can often give you what you need. Keep it personal if at all possible.

Make it job-specific.

You can’t afford to have just one go-to, generic cover letter in your arsenal. You should be customizing it to fit each position you apply for, honing in on the skill and accomplishments that best fit the job description.

With these four points, you can ensure that your cover letter is built to garner attention—and to lead recruiters deeper into your resume. And of course, our resume writing team can assist you in putting together both resume and cover letter; reach out to us to learn more! Connect with Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Choosing a Resume Writing Company That Fits Your Needs

Your resume is a precious thing; in many ways, your career trajectory could boil down to how well your resume lays out your achievements, your skills, and your value as an employee. That’s why more and more jobseekers trust their resume writing needs to the pros—but wait. Before you sign on the dotted line with a resume writing team, it’s smart to do some due diligence. Make sure your resume writers have the skills and perspective needed to help you shine—and if they don’t, look for help somewhere else!

What to Ask Your Resume Writing Team

As you vet potential resume writers, here are some questions you might ask.

What kind of resume writing experience do you have?

At the end of the day, anyone can say that they are professional resume writers—but you want to work with someone who has real experience. Seek resume writers who have been doing it for a while, and who handle a large volume of resumes.

Do you have experience writing resumes for my industry/field?

For the most part, resumes are pretty standard across the board—but in some fields (education, pastoral ministry, etc.) the conventions might be a little bit different. Make sure your resume writer understands the specifics of your field.

May I see a sample resume that you’ve done?

Any reputable resume writing company will be glad to provide you with a sample of their work.

Do you work with recruiters?

Some resume companies actually work closely with recruiting firms, ensuring that they are always up-to-date on what recruiters and employers are looking for. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but it’s always a good sign when your resume writer is in cahoots with a recruiter.

How to you stay current on resume writing practices?

Ask about how your resume writer pursues ongoing training, education, and certification.

What is the process like?

Ask your resume writer to walk you through the process; it needs to be something you feel comfortable with, or else why bother?

Why do you love writing resumes?

We really recommend working with someone who has a passion for resume writing; this helps ensure a truly excellent job, rather than a workmanlike one.

Any Questions?

Grammar Chic, Inc.’s resume writing team is always eager to address these questions, and to prove ourselves worthy of handling your resume needs. Reach out to us any time: www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Is Your Resume Making You Look Unprofessional?

What if you walked into a job interview wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt, ripped jeans, and bright orange sneakers? In most cases, the interviewer would rightly conclude that you’re not very professional. You may actually be a supremely talented and hard-working employee, and a great fit for the company—but your lack of professionalism could rob you of the opportunity.

In much the same way, a resume can sometimes scream “unprofessional” to whoever sees it. That may not be a fair appraisal of your character, but it’s what the resume conveys—and just like the tie-dyed T-shirt, this lack of professionalism can cost you a career opportunity.

But how do you know your resume is giving off an unprofessional vibe? Here are a few dead giveaways.

Goofy Email Handles

Going by the RunnerGal77, WeezerFan_01, or a similarly flippant email handle can actually be a turn-off to employers, for the simple reason that it comes across as juvenile and, well, unprofessional.  Make sure your resume has a clean, reputable email address on it—some variation on your name, with a recognized email platform like Gmail. Recent grads might also use their school email handle.

Typos of Any Kind

A true professional would take a few minutes to proofread their resume rather than send sloppy writing to a potential boss. Make sure your own resume is free of these unfortunate errors.

A Wall of Text

A resume needs to be readable, and as a courtesy to hiring managers, yours should include plenty of white space, section headings, and bullet points. If it’s just a big lump of unbroken text, that’s a headache for the reader—and not very professional at all.

Pure Fluff

A true professional is able to articulate his or her value and achievements—so a resume that just lists dates and job titles, without going into any kind of depth, is a missed opportunity.

Attempts at Being “Unique”

You should stand out for your achievements, your skills, and your experience—not because you were the one goofball who used Comic Sans, or laid out your resume with a bunch of strange colors.

Inject Professionalism into Your Resume

Your resume should exude professionalism from top to bottom—and we can help you achieve that lofty goal. Reach out to our professional resume writing team today. You can connect with Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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5 Ways to Escape from Your Job Search Rut

It’s hard to imagine anything more dispiriting than a job search rut. You desperately want new employment. You’ve made your resume and cover letter, you’ve reached out to your contacts, you’ve hit the pavement looking for openings—and nothing. You’ve not gotten any calls or interviews, much less job offers. You are, simply put, stuck.

The good news is, there are ways to get yourself unstuck. Rather than throwing in the towel, try these ways out of your job search rut.

Talk to people.

One of the most harrowing parts of the job search process is that so much of it is done online these days, without any room for human interaction.

That can take its toll emotionally and psychologically—so break out of that rut. Reach out to former co-workers and ask to have lunch or coffee with them. Mine your LinkedIn contacts for people you could get together with face-to-face.

You can view it as networking, or simply as a chance to get face time with actual humans. Either way, it will bolster your spirits—and possibly lead to some new doors opening, too.

Get feedback on your resume.

If your resume isn’t getting any bites, it could be that it’s just not a well-conceived resume.

Our resume writing experts can take a look and immediately diagnose any problems—and present you with a new resume that gets everything right.

Freshen up your LinkedIn profile.

Likewise, our team can help you optimize your LinkedIn page—boosting your chances of getting found by online recruiters within your industry.

Don’t leave it to chance. Get a LinkedIn profile that has all the right keywords in all the right places.

Broaden your search.

We’re not suggesting you change industries altogether. We’re just saying that, if your search is stuck, it could be that the focus is too narrow.

Try searching for jobs that maybe don’t quite fit the parameters you’ve been looking for in the past. Stretch yourself—just a little. Or simply try searching for similar positions with different job titles.

Take care of yourself.

It really is disheartening to be stuck in a job search that doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. That can rob you of some of your mental health and happiness, so make sure to take care of yourself.

Schedule some time for you—to do some yoga, get a massage, or just hit the gym. Whatever helps you deal with stress and anxiety in a healthy manner, that’s what you should be doing. And who knows? It may be just what you need to get some new perspective or a fresh burst of energy for your job search.

To learn more about advancing your job search, reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. team today. You can find us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Sending a Thank You Letter Could Cost You Your Job

As a jobseeker, it’s important for every piece of personal marketing collateral you send out to be error-free and professional.

This includes, obviously, your resume and cover letter. And, it includes the thank you note you send after your interview.

Believe it or not, the thank you note is more than just a formality. It could be the thing that seals the deal—or, the thing that breaks it.

No, really: It’s possible to email a post-interview thank you letter that’s so bad, you lose out on the position to another candidate.

Don’t believe us? Here are five ways in which your thank you letter can wreck your chances.

It’s full of mistakes.

“It was a pleasure to meat you today.” “I hope you choose to higher me.” Do you see the problem with these sentences? Hopefully you do, and hopefully you’ll proof your own thank you letter thoroughly enough to eliminate similar mistakes from your writing.

The bottom line is, there are probably multiple qualified candidates who interviewed for the position—and the hiring manager may very well make the final decision based on who didn’t send an email full of embarrassing typos.

It’s too casual.

Was the person who interviewed you super laid back, using a lot of casual slang and humor? That’s great! But it’s no reason to fill your thank you note with similar frivolities.

You don’t have the job yet. Just play it safe. Keep your email professional.

It’s too generic.

On the flipside, it’s very possible to send an email that’s reads like a form letter—and then, what’s the point?

Your thank you email should define you as a candidate. It should help differentiate you from other applicants. That’s why you need to get into some of the specifics of your experience, your interview, etc.

It’s too long.

Don’t come on too strong! If your email text wouldn’t fit onto a thank you card you bought at the store, then it’s too long.

It’s too late.

You should send your thank you email within 24 hours of the interview. If you’ve already waited a week, then just don’t bother sending it at all.

We’ll Write Your Thank You Email for You!

If you’re unsure of how to craft any of your personal branding materials—from the thank you letter to the resume itself—you can always call in the pros! Reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. resume writing team to learn more. Connect at www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444.

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Remove the Word “Seasoned” from Your Resume Right Now

There are certain words and phrases that have become commonplace on resumes and cover letters, despite the fact that they really lack merit, and in some cases are actually turn-offs to recruiters and hiring managers. One of the key offenders? Seasoned.

Simply put, you should reserve that word for describing food. It has no place describing people, and it really has no place on your resume collateral.

Why “Seasoned” is a Word Best Avoided

There are a number of reasons to avoid this word. Start with this one: Recruiters know full well that “seasoned” can be a euphemism. People who describe themselves in this way are often trying to put a positive spin on the fact that they are, frankly, old, or that they have worked in the same profession for a long span of time. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to phrase things positively, of course. “Seasoned” just isn’t an effective way to do it.

In addition, the word is often used in a way that’s redundant. Say you describe yourself as a “seasoned professional with 20 years of experience.” What role does “seasoned” play in this statement? What does it communicate that the 20 years of experience doesn’t get at more specifically?

The bottom line: When you describe yourself with this word, you’re not giving the recruiter any good reason to keep reading your resume. It’s purely an empty cliché.

What to Say Instead

Fortunately, there are some choice alternatives available—words that arrive at something much more specific and impactful.

To show that you’re worked in the same industry for a long time but have climbed the ladder—rather than remaining stagnant in one single position—you could note that you are “steadily progressing.”

To denote that you have authority in your field, “industry-leading” is a qualifier that can pack a real punch. “Respected expert” is another option here.

And of course, you can always just let your specific career history do the talking for you, without any need to tell people how “seasoned” you are.

The bottom line for job seekers: Every word on your resume needs to be just right. A single hollow choice can cause the whole thing to come across as limp or uninspiring. For resume guidance that will make every word sparkle, we encourage you to contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today. Reach us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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These Skills Are Effective on ANY Resume

There are some skills that just don’t transfer well from one industry to another. For example, let’s say you know how to repair a broken sump pump. That’s an invaluable thing to include on your resume—if you happen to be looking for work as a plumber. But if you decide what you really want to be is an elementary school teacher, sump pump repair just isn’t as relevant.

On the other hand, there are skills that all employers want to see—skills that are in-demand regardless of industry. Being reliable, teachable, punctual, courteous, honest… no employer would ever spurn such enviable assets.

In other words, there are some skills that look good on any and all resumes—and assuming you can make an honest claim to them, we recommend including them on your own professional documents.

These Skills Are Appealing Across the Board

Here are some examples of those universally-appealing skills we’re talking about, in no particular order.

Negotiation skills. Even if you’re not working in sales, it never hurts to be able to persuade people into things.

Awareness of your industry. Thought leadership, and knowing what’s going on in your field, is something employers tend to prize.

Research and self-education. Are you able to figure things out, and develop skillsets, without needing a lot of hand-holding? That’s extraordinarily precious to employers.

Interpersonal skills. Not everyone plays well with others. Simply getting along with other employees is a big advantage.

Written and verbal communication. Can you write? Can you give a strong, motivating presentation? If you possess either of these traits, make sure they find their way onto your resume.

Work ethic. If you’re the kind of person who’s willing to put in the time to get a project right, employers will appreciate that.

Responsibility. Employers want people to whom they can entrust more and more responsibilities, and know that the work will get done on time and with sufficient levels of quality. Does this describe you?

Showing, Not Telling

Including these skills on your resume is never a bad idea, though we should offer one caveat. Simply saying that you posses these skills isn’t nearly as effective as illustrating them.

So, on your resume, don’t just say that you can teach yourself things. List specific examples of things you’ve mastered on your own. And don’t just note that you have a strong work ethic. Go into detail about some of your most ambitious and challenging projects.

A good resume is built on specifics—and general skillsets aren’t nearly as impactful as concrete achievements.

Are you ready to develop a resume that really shows your value, across the board? Our resume writing team can help. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net today.

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