Category Archives: Resumes

How to Perfect the Core Competencies Section on Your Resume

Often, hiring managers and recruiters receive dozens, if not hundreds of job applications for a single open position. They hardly have time to study every word on every resume, so what do they do? They skim. And if your resume isn’t skimmable, you may be losing out on career opportunities.

One of the best ways to make your resume skimmable is to create a core competencies section. This is a brief section of the resume that lists some of your basic skills and technical proficiencies, providing a condensed and easy-to-skim rundown of the value you offer to an employer.

Core competencies sections not only make your resume easier to parse with just a passing glance, but they also make your resume more accommodating to the computer programs that many companies now use to scan and review resumes, long before they are ever read by human beings.

In other words, a core competencies section is vital for any resume—but how can you write one that’s effective?

Keep it Short

First and foremost, keep your core competencies incredibly brief—just one to three words per competency. Something like budget forecasting or social media management is sufficient. You can go into more detail in your career history section. Remember that the core competencies section is meant to be “you in a nutshell,” an easily-skimmed rundown of your major talents and professional skills.

Position it Correctly

A core competencies section won’t do you much good if it’s at the end of your resume. We recommend putting it toward the top—just below your executive summary.

Format it for Readability

Remember, you’re trying to list your skills in a way that accommodates quick skimming. Bullet points are ideal for this.

Look at the Job Description

As for what you should include in the core competencies section, it’s always wise to review the position you’re applying for. Does it specify ghostwriting, or customer service, or HTML programming? If so, then make sure to include those exact words and phrases in your core competencies section. Just one catch: Be honest. If you don’t actually possess that skill, don’t list it!

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Often, your core competencies section will serve as the first impression you make to potential employers—a quick way for them to determine whether or not you have the needed qualifications for the job in question.

In other words, it’s a do-or-die section of your resume. Make sure yours is perfectly honed by working with a professional resume writer. Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today to schedule a resume consultation: 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

 

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How Med School Students Can Write the Perfect Resume

Whether you’re midway through your medical training or are nearing the end of it, you’ve probably got one eye cast toward the job market—and as such, you know that healthcare jobs are as competitive as ever.

The best way to get a leg up is to write a resume that showcases your promise as a physician. Here are a few tips for doing exactly that.

Make Education a Focus

Med school is a huge commitment, and as such, it tends to leave very little time left over for work experience. You may not have a long list of jobs to highlight, but you can showcase your educational achievements. Make sure to underscore anything that makes you stand out—including grades or special projects you completed. Put your brightest educational triumphs in a prominent place on your resume.

Include Grants and Scholarships

Has your potential as a med school student landed you with some noteworthy academic scholarships or research grants? These are things to consider including on your resume. Scholarships and grants are like endorsements—proof that someone saw something in you that they wanted to support and encourage.

Note Your Research Skills

As a med school student, you probably have more lab experience than clinical experience. Use that to your advantage. Use your resume to highlight your diligence, insight, and skill in the laboratory. Highlight your research interests and connect them to the field of medicine in which you hope to practice.

Do Some Volunteer Work

Again, you may not have a great deal of professional, clinical experience just yet—but you can still lend your time to medical missions or other healthcare-related volunteer positions. This shows your commitment to patient care and can provide some good fodder for your resume.

Customize Your Resume

While it’s wise to have a single “master resume” on file, we’d also recommend tailoring it to each specific job you apply for. Make sure to work in some keywords from the job listing and rearrange your core competencies to align with the position in question. One resume is never enough; customizing for each individual position is a must!

Get Help from the Pros

You’re going to school to become well-trained and qualified in the medical field—but nobody expects you to be an expert in resume writing. Grammar Chic’s writers have been well-trained and are certified in resume creation, however; we really are the experts! We know how to write and structure resumes for maximum effect, and we’re deeply familiar with the particulars of the healthcare job market.

We’d love to chat with you about your resume needs, and even to offer a review of your current resume documents. Reach out to our resume writers to get started. Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or at www.professionalresumewriters.net or www.grammarchic.net.

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4 Ways Tech Resumes are Different

When you’re applying for work as an IT professional, it’s important to have a resume that speaks clearly and concisely to your technical competencies and the value you bring to employers. Of course, this is true for any profession, but technologists face some unique challenges and opportunities as they develop their resumes.

Before sending your resume to a hiring manager or an Information Technology staffing agency, then, it’s important to make sure you’re sweating the small stuff and paying close attention to the details of your resume.

Many Tech Resumes are Far Too Long

Brevity is desirable for any resume, no matter the field you’re in—but it’s especially valuable for those in tech.

Why? Because technology is always changing, and the skills you mastered a decade ago may have little or no relevance in today’s IT ecosystems.

As such, technologists probably don’t need to go back to 1980 with their career history; chances are, those older skillsets just don’t have much meaning today.

Keywords are Critical

A good tech resume should have a core competencies section, where you bullet-point some of the primary technical skillsets you bring to the table.

Again, this is true for all resumes, but it’s especially important for those who work in technology, and where lack of proficiency in a very specific system or software suite might be a deal breaker.

Your core competencies section is the place where you show off the specific technical skills that make you a good candidate for the job.

List Certifications—Assuming They’re Current

Again, as you write your resume, it’s important to remember that tech is always changing and evolving.

By all means, list any certifications you maintain—but double and triple-check to make sure they reflect current technologies. The last thing you want is to include dated certifications that make you look like a dinosaur.

The Resume Should Fit the Job

Finally, take some time to carefully read through each job opening you plan to apply for—and to tailor your resume to match it.

Remember that IT roles can vary from one company to the next—and the best way to present yourself as the best candidate for the job is to focus on skills, keywords, and verbiage used within the job posting itself.

No matter how you plan to apply for a technology job—through an Information Technology staffing agency or simply through your own online search—having a strong, tech-centered resume is critical. Use these tips to head in the right direction—and for help crafting the perfect resume, reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

 

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5 Reasons Why You Should Customize Your Resume

For jobseekers, a single resume just isn’t enough. While Grammar Chic’s resume writers recommend having a single “master resume” you can use as a reference, that document should be tailored to meet the requirements of each new job you apply for. Here are a few reasons why.

It Helps You Stand Out

If nothing else, having a customized resume helps you stand out from the competition. Imagine: 150 people apply for a single position, and 149 of them have the same old boring, cookie-cutter resume language—but yours is the one resume that’s actually been tweaked to address the specifics of the job in question. Immediately, you’re a standout candidate (and a breath of fresh air to the hiring manager).

It Shows That You Care

Not everyone takes the time to customize their resume—so what does it say about you when you do take the time? Well, for one thing, it says that you really do want the job. Spending a few minutes tailoring your resume to the job in question shows that you’re already going the extra mile, and that you’re willing to put in some work to land this position. Employers love to see that sort of thing!

It Highlights Your Qualifications

The reality is, most hiring managers spend mere seconds reviewing a resume before they determine whether or not you’re qualified. So you may be qualified, but if all the pertinent details are buried at the bottom of your resume, the hiring manager may never see them. When you customize your resume, it helps you put the best, most qualifying information front and center.

It Gives You a Chance to Include Keywords

When tailoring your resume, you should always read the job posting, make note of any major keywords that it contains, and include them in your resume wherever applicable. Make sure you’re using the same verbiage the hiring manager’s using, emphasizing your qualification for the role.

It Proves Your Awareness

Finally, it’s wise to customize your resume because it shows the hiring manager that you know how competitive the job market is—and you know how important it is to use every tool at your disposal to rise to the top. Again, your potential boss will love to see that sort of initiative.

Of course, having a single master resume is fine—but make sure you take the time to customize it for each role you apply for. And if you need guidance from certified resume professionals, reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. 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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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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