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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Is Your Resume Behind the Times? Here are 5 Warning Signs.

The workforce is always changing—and with it, the job search changes, too. Take the resume. What once was standard and agreed-upon may no longer be acceptable among hiring managers and recruiters. Simply put, if you’re writing your resume in 2017 the same way you wrote it in 1997, you’re going to look like a dinosaur—and most hiring managers do not want to hire dinosaurs.

So how do you know if your resume is out of date? What are the telltale signs of an antiquated job search document? Here are five things we’d recommend you watch out for.

How to Know Your Resume is Out of Date

You have an objective. Yes, there was a time when every resume had an objective—but then we all just sort of realized something: Everyone’s job search objective is basically the same. We all want to get a job—period. The objective is obsolete, and its presence on your resume makes it look way behind the times. Skip the objective and include an executive summary, instead.

Your resume lacks core competencies and keywords. Today, resumes are typically scanned by a software program before they ever make it onto the desk of an actual human being. If you want your resume to make it to the hiring manager, you first need to get it past the computer—and that includes employing some keywords. Here’s a hint: The keywords you need are usually included in the job listing itself. Scan it for any key skills that are listed, and see if you can work them into your resume.

Your resume includes skills that are past their prime. Simply put, everybody should know how to use email, Web browsers, and Microsoft Word by now. Including these skills on your resume does not make you look more accomplished. It makes you look dated.

Your resume is generic. The days of generalized resumes are long gone—period. You should always tweak your resume to match the position you’re applying for. Again, looking at the actual job listing, and using some of that verbiage to shape your resume, is key.

Your resume is badly formatted. It’s much easier than it used to be to make your resume look clean and readable. Bullet points, subheadings, and clear fonts are all recommended. If you want to see what a modern-looking, easy-to-read resume looks like, just reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. team.

We’re standing by to help you clean up your resume and bring it into the current day. Get resume help today by calling 803-831-7444, or visiting www.grammarchic.net.

 

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Do These Four Things to Land More Eyeballs on Your Content

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, did it really happen? And if your brand produces the world’s greatest content but nobody reads it, will it make any impact?

We can tell you with certainty that the answer to this last question is no. Content creation is innately limited by content promotion; if you can’t get eyeballs on your blog posts and other written content, you’re not going to reap any of the benefits of improved brand recognition, consumer trust, etc.

Yet getting people to read your content is one of the true challenges of content marketing. It’s something small businesses especially struggle with. Sure, it’s easy for Fortune 500 companies to generate interest in what they do—but what can the little guy do to build buzz?

Actually, there are four practical steps you can take today to boost your content’s reach and its readership. These aren’t flashy or gimmicky strategies, but they do really work, and Grammar Chic uses each of them on our own content.

Here are those four recommendations.

Tag Industry Influencers

First and foremost, you should always be sharing your content on Twitter—but don’t stop there. Start a conversation around it. Bring in the movers and shakers within your field, inviting them to be part of the dialogue.

There are different ways to do this. If you can, cite their work in your own content—then tag them on Twitter, giving them due credit and encouraging them to share the content. Or, you could simply ping their Twitter handles and ask them to weigh in with their feedback. Whatever attention you can bring to your content is good, especially when it’s attention from industry stalwarts.

Use Facebook Ads

There’s a time and a place for Promoted Posts, but what’s even more effective is going into Ads Manager, where you can actually target the people you want to reach with your content—by demographics, by relationship to your brand, etc.

Yes, this will involve some financial investment on your part—but did you know that solid content is one of the keys to ad success? If you have a good content offer, paired with some ad dollars, that can really make waves.

Include Content in Your Newsletter

A periodic email, including links and summaries of your best content, is a great way to win a few clicks from people who might not otherwise be following along with your blog. Plus, it allows you to repurpose your content; not only does it show up on your blog, but it’s fodder for your email list, too—killing two birds with one stone.

Publish to Medium or LinkedIn Pulse

Finally, remember that you can publish on many different channels—and we’ve had great success sharing some of our best posts on Medium and Pulse. Both publishing platforms have good, built-in SEO traction that makes it so much easier for your content to be discovered, even by people who aren’t otherwise familiar with your brand.

The bottom line? There are small steps you can take to make sure your content isn’t invisible. To learn more about bringing in traffic, reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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The Time to Start Your Holiday Marketing Campaign is Now

You may be the sort of person who grimaces at the sight of early-display Christmas candy and other holiday goods, so often pushed onto store shelves before Halloween even arrives. For consumers, it can certainly be annoying how much earlier the holidays tend to arrive. For marketers, though, these are giant opportunities to snatch—but to do so, you’ve got to act quickly.

The Data on Holiday Marketing Prep

How quickly? Quicker than ever. According to a new report published in Marketing Land, 37.5 percent of businesses say they’re going to be launching their holiday season marketing preparations earlier than they did last year.

And that’s not all. “Overall, online retailers are feeling good about their preparations, with 88 percent expecting an increase in holiday revenue,” the article states. “Forty percent of the survey respondents are forecasting a more than 25 percent increase in holiday sales over last year’s earnings.”

Finally, the Marketing Land report finds that 64 percent of businesses expect the majority of their holiday sales to come through their company website. Brick and mortar stores come in second, trailed by Amazon and Facebook sales.

Is Your Holiday Marketing Ready to Roll Out?

The implications of this data are twofold. One, the holiday season can potentially be a very big deal for online sales. Two, it’s only going to happen if you prepare—and the sooner you do so, the better.

So the question is, what can your company start doing to prepare its holiday marketing efforts right now?

Here are some of our tips:

  • Start planning holiday sales, including Black Friday or Cyber Monday promos. Know what discounts you’ll be offering, but also how you’ll market them. Start preparing some sales copy, ad text, etc.
  • Set up landing pages for any holiday-specific products, discounts, or deals you want to offer. Have them ready to launch a bit later in the year.
  • Start segmenting your email list into different groups or demographics, and write compelling emails you can send out later in the year.
  • Start bidding on Facebook or AdWords ads to build brand recognition and lead consumers down the sales funnel.
  • Create content—blogs, white papers, etc.—that you can use to boost your authority and educate your holiday shoppers.

It’s not too early to start thinking about holiday marketing. There’s much at stake, so do it right. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. for help. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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6 Skills You SHOULDN’T Put on Your Resume

Your resume should showcase all the skills you bring to the table—everything you know how to do, everything you’re good at, everything that delivers value to your employer.

But that doesn’t mean your resume should be a laundry list of every little thing you’ve ever learned. In fact, taking this everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach can actually cause your resume to be bloated, unfocused, and ineffective.

Simply put, there are certain skills that don’t belong on your resume—and here are a few examples from Grammar Chic’s own resume writing team.

Leave These Skills Off Your Resume

Basic technological skills.  There was a time when it might have been genuinely impressive for a jobseeker to know how to use Microsoft Word, or to be proficient sending emails. These days, it’s pretty much assumed that everyone can do these things. No need to cite them on your resume. In fact, doing so makes you look like a dinosaur.

Obsolete technological skills. Along the same lines, it’s not that impressive to have a mastery of technologies that are no longer in common use. Make sure your resume shows that you’re up to date on the current technologies being used in your industry.

Languages you learned in high school. Just because you loved your semester of Spanish doesn’t mean you’re fluent. If you speak Spanish well enough that you could actually use it on the job, that’s one thing—but barring real proficiency, second languages don’t add anything to your resume.

Social media. If you are actually skilled in social media strategy, ads, analytics, etc., that’s one thing. But having a bunch of Twitter followers does not make you a social media strategist. Leave it off your resume unless you are truly a pro.

Joke skills. Some jobseekers think it’s clever to list themselves as “office foosball champion” or “all-time Nintendo master.” It’s not.

Exaggerated or fraudulent skills. Good rule of thumb: If you can’t really do something well, don’t put it on your resume. Resume lies are always a bad idea.

Emphasize the Skills That Matter

By cutting the fluff from your resume, you’ll have more space to list the skills that really matter. And if you need help with that, we’re here for you. We can help you catalog your skills in a way that will truly catch the eye of recruiters and hiring managers. Reach out to the Grammar Chic resume writing team today at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Your Brand Can Now Post a Facebook Story—But Is There Any Point?

You’re probably familiar with the social media “Stories” that have been popular over the last couple of years—an idea pioneered by Snapchat, the Story has also found great success on Instagram. Basically, the Story is a temporary post where users can briefly share photos and videos from their day, along with captions, emoji, graphics, and more. These ephemeral posts disappear after a short span of time, yet their impact is sizable; Stories have been wildly popular among users of all kinds, including individuals, celebrities, and brands.

And then there’s Facebook.

Facebook is Floundering

In an effort to keep pace with this popular new social media feature, Facebook introduced its own version of Stories earlier this year. It hasn’t gone over well. Just open your Instagram or Snapchat apps and see how many Stories you see; then open Facebook and count the Stories you find there. Chances are, you’ll find the Facebook number to be pretty lame, comparatively.

But Facebook isn’t giving up on Stories. In fact, it’s expanding them. Now, it’s not just individual users who can share Stories. You can share Stories from a branded page, too—even from your small business page.

Expanded Stories

Obviously, Facebook hopes this will kick up the popularity of its Stories feature—but whether this gamble is successful remains to be seen.

It’s worth noting that, according to Facebook’s own product managers, this push for expanded stories has been met with some demand. A lot of people in the community want pages to have their own Stories, it seems—so perhaps a new wave of branded storytelling is coming.

Then again, Stories are closely associated with Instagram and Snapchat, and it could be argued that they simply don’t align with the Facebook experience; most of us don’t sign into Facebook to check out the latest Stories, and seeing a bunch of brand storytelling isn’t likely to change that—especially not when our real-life friends aren’t also posting Stories for us to consume.

Should Your Brand Share Stories?

If you’re interested in using the Stories feature on social media, you might have better luck starting out on Instagram or Snapchat—at least until Facebook’s feature proves its mettle and its staying power.

By contrast, to use Facebook effectively, you don’t necessarily have to jump on this new trend. There are plenty of ways to find success using organic posts and Facebook Ads. We’d love to show you how.

For now, we’ll take a wait-and-see approach to Facebook Stories. Know that the option is there for you, but also know that there are plenty of ways to promote your brand on Facebook.

Any questions? Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Words Fortune 500 Executives Use on Their LinkedIn Profiles

Language matters, even in your LinkedIn profile. That’s why Grammarly recently combed through hundreds of LinkedIn profiles from Fortune 500 employees—entry-level workers all the way up through the C-suite—to see if any words or phrases stood out. The results offer some compelling insights into how truly high-level jobseekers brand themselves online.

Specifically, Grammarly found that director- and executive-level employees tend to use certain keywords that distinguish their LinkedIn profiles from those of their lower-level counterparts. Five words in particular stand out—and they may be words worth adding to your own LinkedIn account.

Five Smart Words for Your LinkedIn Profile

Leader. How would you describe yourself? As a worker? An employer? Or a real leader? Apparently, asserting your authority is a good way to make your LinkedIn profile persuasive.

Strategic. Close to a third of all director-level employees use this word in their LinkedIn profile—compared to just five percent of entry-level folks. Use it to show that you take a long-term, big-picture view.

Solution. Your future employer doesn’t want someone who will spin their wheels and do busywork. They want someone who will solve problems. Make sure your LinkedIn profile demonstrates this.

Innovative. When you use this word, and pair it with specific examples of when you’ve gone against the grain and it’s paid off, you can expect recruiters to pay attention.

ROI. Can you show that you boosted your company’s return on investment? As in, I increased ROI by more than 135 percent? That’s one concrete way in which the ablest jobseekers set themselves apart.

Branding Yourself on LinkedIn

As ever, we stress that simply using buzzwords is not enough to make your LinkedIn presence winsome. You have to show, not just tell, which means including specific examples of how you’ve shown leadership, innovated, been strategic, etc. Statistics and lists of key achievements matter more than mere buzzwords.

Even so, there’s obviously something to be said for these keywords, when used judiciously within a robust LinkedIn career summary. They can help you stand out, and put you into the upper echelon of jobseekers.

We’d love to show you the ropes with your own LinkedIn profile optimization; to start presenting yourself as a truly A-level candidate, reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. resumes team today. Contact us online at www.grammarchic.net, or call us directly at 803-831-7444.

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