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Job Search Getting You Down? Try These Tweaks

Being on the job search for a couple of days can be frustrating. Being on the job search for a couple of months can be downright maddening. And when a job search drags on for very long, it can leave the job seeker feeling discouraged and dispirited.

There’s no way around that. We won’t sugarcoat it: Job hunting is difficult, and facing rejection and dead ends is all the more so. The good news is that there are a few attitude tweaks that can make a dragging job search seem a little more bearable.

Use Rejections as Opportunities for Improvement

For starters, make sure you seize every rejection and every failure as an opportunity to make yourself an even better candidate for the next time around. Hopefully, the hiring managers who turn you down will provide you with some feedback—and if they don’t, you can always ask. More generally, you can use a rejection as a chance to update your LinkedIn profile, clean up your social media presence, or get your resume rewritten. You might also spend more time running job interview drills with a friend.

Take Some Time to Hone Your Skills

A prolonged job search gives you a chance to become a better candidate not just on paper, but actually in the workplace. You can take the time you have available to you to develop new skills or even attain new certifications. In many industries, online education courses are easy to come by, and generally affordable. And if you can’t find any, you can always sign up for some volunteerism or internship work—allowing you to keep your practical, hands-on skills sharp.

Give Yourself a Break

You may be itching to be back at the grind, earning a living for yourself and your family, but maybe this non-voluntary down time you’ve got is a blessing in disguise. You can almost certainly benefit from a few extra hours each week to exercise, or to give yourself some mental health breaks—ensuring that when you do land a new job, you’ll be rested, focused, and ready to thrive!

Again, none of these attitude adjustments will make the job search easy, per se—but they might help you stay motivated and positive, even when things get tough.

For help with your resume or social media presence, of course, the Grammar Chic team is always available. Reach us at 804-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Resume Writing Disasters (And How to Avoid Them)

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Food for thought: There is no magic formula or special combination of words that will guarantee your resume lands successfully, securing you an interview and ultimately paving the way toward your dream job. There are, however, some seemingly small yet deeply significant blunders that will get your resume thrown into the trashcan 99 percent of the time.

Those odds may seem pretty daunting, but the good news is this: These resume blunders, while alarmingly common, are also easily fixable. You just have to know what to watch out for.

Five of the biggest resume writing disasters include:

  1. Being way too wordy.

We’ve written before about the importance of having some good, strong resume keywords—but there’s a difference between strategic keywords and just having a bunch of words vomited on to the page.

Your resume should certainly speak to your value as an employee, but it’s important to be succinct in weaving this narrative. Don’t change your margins to allow for more words, and—with rare exceptions—don’t go over a couple of pages. Remember that to get hired, your resume needs to impress an actual HR manager—not just computer programs and robots—and very few managers have time to read a 5-page resume.

  1. Using words that don’t mean anything.

Since you need to be judicious in the words you use, make sure you don’t waste valuable space on words that really don’t mean anything or convey specific value—words like hard-working or driven or self-starter. Again, we’ve blogged about this before. Focus on more concrete competencies, achievements, and results—not on these generic words and workplace euphemisms.

  1. Not including a clear summary.

You may end up putting a lot of time and energy into your resume, but don’t be too disappointed to learn that, well, hiring managers may not read the full thing. They may glance at it for just a minute or two, which means you need something to catch their eye and tell your story in a nutshell—a good, strong executive summary at the top of the page.

  1. Not editing.

There is zero excuse for having typos and grammatical errors on your resume. Use Spell Check, have a friend proofread it for you, or just hire Grammar Chic to give your resume a once-over.

  1. Making it overly detailed.

Should you include a lot of technical details about a project you worked on 20 years ago? Maybe—but only if those details directly relate to your current career goals. Again, make good use of your limited resume real estate, and orient everything around your basic career narrative.

Of course, an easy way to avoid all of these pratfalls is to hire the Grammar Chic team to review and refine your resume; call us today at 803-831-7444, or visit us online at www.grammarchic.net.

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Job Search Success is a Matter of Attitude

Jobless man

Does looking for work fill you with dread, despair, and anxiety?

Or do you view it as something exciting, something hopeful, something inherently optimistic?

If we’re really being honest with ourselves, most of us would probably fall into the former category. The job search isn’t something that energizes us. It’s something that leaves us drained. But maybe that’s the problem. Maybe our attitude about the job search is precisely what keeps us from being more successful at it.

The Power of Positive Thinking

A recent article from Psych Central makes the case. According to the article, new research suggests that “those who can look at the process as a self-growth opportunity will have more success finding their dream jobs.” Those who go into the job search process not with pessimism or despair but with the eagerness to learn new things and seize new opportunities ultimately find satisfying career opportunities much sooner than those who do not.

Or, as one of the researchers summarizes it: “Attitude means a lot.”

Setting the Right Goals

This points back to something the Grammar Chic team has said before—that setting goals is a critical part of the job search process. Of course, all jobseekers have the one goal—to find employment—but if that’s all you’re aiming for, you may become dispirited when it does not happen as quickly as you’d like it to.

Alternatively, those who set more manageable benchmarks—to meet five new employers this week, to send out 20 targeted resumes, or simply to learn something every day—will be able to accomplish more, and ultimately feel more hopeful and energized by their progress. That attitude is what can carry jobseekers toward success in their ultimate goal of career progress.

Honing Your Skills

Something else to note: Seeking employment is a skill—and the more you practice it, the better at it you become. This is especially true if you’re actively invested in the learning process. By viewing each day as an opportunity to learn something new, you can actually grow more confident and more savvy in how you reach out to employers.

So make today the day you start thinking about the job search as an opportunity—not a fool’s errand, not a necessary evil, not a chore. Get a new resume to give you confidence, and then start reaching toward your goals.

Learn more by contacting the Grammar Chic, Inc. team at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

 

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6 Ways Facebook is Hurting Your Job Search

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It’s been said before that what you post on Facebook can ultimately determine the efficacy of your job search—that in many cases, what you post (or even what you don’t post) can cost you a job you might otherwise have landed. Consider this, though: According to a recent study, reported by Inside Facebook, a staggering 77 percent of all employers use Facebook to find candidates, while more than 20 percent will scrutinize Facebook profiles in order to screen candidates. Given these statistics, it is surely worth saying again: When you’re searching for employment, you must be careful about what you do or say on Facebook.

What exactly are some of the ways in which your Facebook profile can impede your career progress? According to our Grammar Chic, Inc. professional services team, some of the primary problems with a given Facebook profile include:

  • You’re too negative. It’s reasonable to assume that, if you’re in the market for a new job, you’re on some level unsatisfied where you currently work, and may even be downright unhappy there. That doesn’t give you license to take to Facebook and complain about your current employer, though. Employers need to see that you can be a positive member of their workforce, and a true team player—so complaining on Facebook is a huge turnoff.
  • You exhibit poor communication skills. Do u rite like this on FB? It could be trouble 4 your job search! Yes, Facebook is meant to be fun and casual on some level, but employers need to see some evidence that you can communicate in a professional and sophisticated way. Don’t give them reason to think otherwise.
  • You’re lying about your qualifications. This might sound obvious, but: Employers will surely take note of any contradictions between your resume and your Facebook profile. If you say on your resume that you have an advanced degree from a big-name school, but your Facebook profile only lists a two-year degree—well, that could be a warning sign. This isn’t necessarily a matter of lying on your profile, either; your career prospects may be hurt simply because you are incomplete or less-than-thorough in filling out your profile.
  • You post about drinking or taking drugs. We’re not here to judge you, but many employers will look down on you for this kind of thing—simple as that.
  • You post discriminatory comments. This is another thing that may seem obvious, and you may think nobody would ever do this—but statistics show that employers routinely weed out job candidates because they post offensive or inflammatory things on Facebook.
  • You don’t exhibit true professional depth. All of these potential pitfalls might make you think you’re better off just making your profile private—but not so fast: You can get a leg up on your competition by using Facebook to share insights or articles that relate to your line of work, thus proving that you’re serious about it and invested in it. In other words, you can use Facebook as a platform for proving your knowledge and your competence—which can make you that much more attractive to potential employers.

Facebook is what you make of it—and for jobseekers, it is important to make Facebook into a true competitive advantage. To learn more, we invite you to contact the Grammar Chic team today: Visit www.grammarchic.net, or call 803-831-7444.

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What Children’s Books Can Teach Us About Content Marketing

Children Literature

Perform a quick Google search for the term “top children’s books” and you’ll immediately see a lineup of familiar favorites: Where the Wild Things Are. Green Eggs and Ham. Goodnight Moon. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The Cat in the Hat. And, for slightly older children, Charlotte’s Web and A Wrinkle in Time.

These books have enduring appeal: Even if you don’t have any kids of your own—even if it’s been a few years since you were a child yourself!—you know these books, at least by title and likely by content, as well. Several of them have been turned into movies in recent years, and most of them could be obtained at your local Target right now—and certainly at any library or bookstore.

They’ve sunk their hooks in, these books—and they’ve created loyal, enthusiastic fans the world over. When you think about it, that’s sort of what content marketing is supposed to do for your business. This begs the question: What lessons can content marketers learn from children’s literature?

Lessons Learned from Children’s Lit

As it turns out, kids’ books have an awful lot going for them:

–       Let us not be dismissive of the fact that many of them possess brevity—because of course, you’re not going to have much luck getting a toddler to sit still for a 900-page opus, nor would you have the time or patience to sit and read it to them! Online content doesn’t necessarily have to be short, and in fact there is an important place for long-form content. With that said, you should always be mindful of the realities of online attention spans—and precise in making your point as fully yet succinctly as possible.

–       Another thing you’ll notice about a lot of these children’s books is that they come adorned with beautiful illustrations. You may have never read Brown Bear, Brown Bear or The Very Hungry Caterpillar, yet you’d recognize the book covers if you saw them. It’s no wonder kids are drawn to books packaged so colorfully and so stylishly. Similarly, content marketers understand the importance of using bright, vivid, attention-grabbing artwork and imagery, in blog posts, on Facebook, and so on.

–       Speaking of style, these books have got it in spades—and not just visual style, either. Take Green Eggs and Ham: We all know the basic cadence of Dr. Seuss’ rhymes, and in fact you can probably recite some of the book from memory. It’s not just the content, but the way the content is presented that makes it memorable and winsome. (Or, y’know, not.)

–       A lot of children’s books com with a moral at the end of the story—sometimes obvious and sometimes less so: We might rightly say that Charlotte’s Web is a book about friendship, whereas Brown Bear, Brown Bear is excellent for teaching your kids to recognize colors. Your online content, meanwhile, doesn’t necessarily need a “moral,” but it should have a takeaway—some actionable point that the reader can take and implement right away.

–       You’ll also note that many of these children’s books are interactive. Brown Bear is one that invites you to pause and let your kids point out their favorite critters or colors, as depicted in the story. Great online content also encourages engagement—whether it’s to leave a comment or simply to share on Twitter or Facebook.

–       Finally, and most importantly of all: The books we’ve mentioned here—the truly classic children’s books—all boast supreme imagination. There’s no substitute for it, not in children’s lit and not in content marketing. Don’t settle for rehashing the same ol’ articles; strive for something distinct!

For help with that, reach out to Grammar Chic’s content marketing team. We can be reached at 803-831-7444 or via http://www.grammarchic.net.

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What The Walking Dead Teaches Us About Online Marketing

the-walking-dead1The Walking Dead is more than a zombie show featuring Daryl Dixon’s cutoff flannel shirts and Carl’s 21st century insensitivity — it’s about personal relationships, mob mentality, and a few elements you can incorporate into your company’s branding campaigns.

We love TWD at Grammar Chic. It’s a ritual for many of us, sitting down to watch characters we’ve grown close to survive in the wild and wicked world they fight through every day. But whether you’re a die-hard fan, have never seen a single episode, or would prefer the role of a walker, the cast reflects a number of marketing successes and failures that easily translate into today’s world.

Survivalist Branding

Every character on the show has opinions, makes mistakes, and has a defined personality. Here’s a spoiler-free rundown of what our favorite “survivors” (no spoilers, I promise!) can teach us about building relationships via content marketing, social media, and business-based branding:

  • Rick: Rick’s flip-flop role as a leader has hurt his reputation among the other survivors. They all know what he can do, but his hesitancy and overalls (it’s a farmer joke?) have made him weak. He is stuck trying to be a father, a survivor, a leader, and a pacifist — how can a brand expect to survive by playing all of these roles?
  • Daryl: This crossbow-wielding hero became a fan favorite right out of the gate. His originality, convictions, touching monologues (re-watch “Cherokee Rose” and try not to tear up), and all-around badassery sheds light on the most important aspect of branding: Principles. He knows what he wants and does it. Daryl doesn’t need to be told — he acts. It’s not too late to be more like Daryl and market like you mean it.
  • The Governor: The Governor has an “eye” fixed on the future. He wants consistency in Woodbury, peace, safety — three things he failed miserably at. Why? Because he’s a psychopath. He wants the unobtainable and doesn’t understand that other people (i.e. consumers) have their own wants and needs. When marketing, you have to balance your business’ goals and meet demand in the middle.
  • Lori: Also known as the head-in-the-box co-star of Prison Break, Lori adds a motherly element to TWD. She, however, teaches marketers the key element behind any campaign: Your actions dictate the opinions of others. What you say about yourself (i.e. your company) means everything, but what you do can have lasting repercussions. Businesses have to consider the partnerships they make and the company they keep (*cough* Shane), because the actions of others, as well as your own, can bring your brand down.
  • Shane: Don’t be a Shane — enough said.

I’ll sum up Carol, Michonne, and Carl as a whole. These characters are definite side-effects of the times, each struggling to find a place in the zombified world. Michonne takes on walkers with a one-edge approach that works, though she lacks the sociability to draw any other survivor’s sympathy. Carol has adapted well enough to Z-day, though her judgment is clouded by sacrificing her humanity for those she protects. When branding, you have to keep everyone’s wellbeing in mind and find middle-ground approaches that don’t end in flames. Carl? Our little cowboy is just trying to evolve. He knows what is expected of him in this new world and would do well in a zombie-business sense because he understands it better than most.

Walkers 101

It took Rick a few episodes to coin the term “Walker” and figure out that A) They are bitey and B) Have a flesh fetish. These walkers are a bit less civilized and decayed than your average consumer, but there is still a thing or two to learn from the show’s reanimated corpses. Like the living, walkers respond to stimuli. Noise and smell do the trick when it comes to unwittingly attracting them. You, as a brander, social media aficionado, or marketer, understand that every consumer reacts differently to incentives, but nonetheless all react.

You need to find your ideal walker (i.e. client or shopper) and learn what they love. Is it deals? Witty social media? Free cheese samples on rainy Sundays? Your ideal, repeat customer is the one to focus on. Like a herd of walkers, once you figure out how to maneuver the one, you’re able to tap into the many. This mob-marketing mentality applies to every industry and, like when clearing out a prison yard, it’s more efficient to take a direct hammer-to-the-head (We’ll see about you, Tyreese…) approach than it is to surgically initiate specific brain-bashing strategies for every walker.

This method fits social marketing perfectly. Crowd hashtags like #OneLeggedHershel were a big hit. Why? Because it was crude, accurate, and insanely viral. It, like other episode tags, was initiated by Chris Hardwick, the host of that one show DVRs don’t record after The Walking Dead. The tag, while gruesome, tapped into viewers’ imaginations and gave them something to say about the current episode. Jokes like “Will Hershel die? I’m stumped” and others surfaced at once, though TWD did exactly what you should do for your own media campaigns. It wasn’t afraid to try something new and current.

Between The Talking Dead, iOS and Android apps, AMC’s Story Sync (the follow-along 2nd screen experience), and participation between cast and crew in social media, TWD has a multi-pronged approach to engaging its fan horde. Though it has teams to handle this marketing load, it isn’t impossible for you to expand your own tactics to reel in more followers and fans.

Think of it like a prison or, if you’re not that far in the series, a farm or an RV: How do I get along with everyone, avoid getting bitten from an online reputation standpoint, and brand myself? Does this mean becoming a Dale and trying to micromanage everybody at once? Or the Daryl approach of simply getting the job done? It’s up to you, really, on how you’re going to help your brand survive.

Personally, I’d recommend being a Glenn as it relates to your content marketing strategy. He’s likable, has partnered wisely (Maggie), and doesn’t mind rushing headlong into a herd as long as he knows he’s helping someone else. Or Daryl. Everyone should be more like Daryl…

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3 Costly Content Marketing Errors You Might Be Making

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Content marketing is something of a balancing act. Do it right and you can cultivate real authority and relatability for your company—driving traffic to your website and ultimately boosting your sales, in the process. Do it wrong and you’re essentially spending your valuable time and money creating online content that does little, if anything, to serve your business needs. Obviously, it is paramount for companies to avoid this kind of waste and excess.

But how? Start by alerting yourself to some of the most common content marketing mistakes that are out there. There are three, in particular, that many companies make without realizing it, but which can ultimately prove quite costly.

Curating Too Much Content

One of the key components of any content marketing campaign is content curation. Via a company Facebook page, Twitter account, or blog, content curators will share useful, industry-related information from other sources. For example, if you own a financial planning firm, and a New York Times article comes out heralding the importance of independent financial planners, you might want to share that article with your social media followers and fans. The article is informative and helpful to your clients, and it also offers third-party validation for your business—which makes it a homerun, right?

Well, yes—unless that’s the only thing you’re doing. Content curation is ideal for building prestige for your brand. It’s not so great for driving traffic to your website. Sharing curated content is necessary and prudent, then, but it’s critical to make certain that you’re also sharing original content, like blog entries, that drive some traffic directly to your business website.

Putting Things Behind a Gate

A common practice in content marketing is to create a lengthy article or white paper—something that offers immediate benefit to readers—and then to lock it behind a gate, offering it to users only when they submit their name and contact information. As lead generation, this is smart; as marketing, it leaves something to be desired.

Simply put, putting great content behind a gate means you’re not getting the most out of it. By offering a preview of the article—making the first couple of points free, and requiring users to submit their information for the conclusion of the article—you can better entice people to read your content. Additionally, repurposing some of the content, breaking it down and using pieces of it as blog entries, can help you maximize your bang for buck.

Mistiming Your Updates

Posting three tweets and two Facebook updates daily is ideal, right? Not necessarily; if all of your posting takes place at 6:00 AM—long before most people are checking their social media accounts—then you may not be getting much visibility or user traction. It is generally advised to spread out posts throughout the day, rather than unleashing them all in one fell swoop.

As for the best times of day to post, that’s something that’s difficult to pin down. It depends on the user, on the social network in question, and even on the time zone you’re in. Using your social media analytics to determine which times of day seem to generate the most activity is a good starting point, however.

The bottom line is that just doing content marketing is not enough. You also need to make sure you’re doing it right.

The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.

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