Before You Hire an Editor, Ask These Questions

Not all editors are created equal—and if you want to find the person who best fits your style, your disposition, and the parameters of your project, it’s important to do some due diligence.

This is true whether you’re hiring an editor for your company emails, your business brochure, or the novel you’ve been cranking out: You should vet potential editors before hiring them. You can start by interviewing a potential editor and asking these key questions.

The Right Questions for Your Potential Editor

What kind of experience do you have? You probably want someone who’s done professional editing work before, and on projects like your own. If you’re looking for someone to edit a business document, you may not want an editor who only works in fiction.

What kind of training do you have? Anyone can call themselves an editor—but you have every right to seek someone who has actual, formal training in this role.

What is your editorial style? What sort of notations can you expect to see? Will the editing be conceptual, developmental, or purely proofreading? How will your editor convey suggested edits to you? Will the editor offer an overall summary of your work?

What sort of consultation do you offer? You want to find an editor who will not only annotate your work, but also spend some time with you talking through the suggested revisions.

What is your goal as an editor? You want to find an editor whose mission is to make both the writer and the writing shine.

What is your turnaround? Get an idea of how long the editing process will take.

What are the deliverables? Will you receive a marked-up document? A document with “track changes” on? A more formal editorial letter?

What’s the fee? Naturally, you’ll want to ask about pricing on the front end of your arrangement.

Get an Editor Who Will Make Your Writing Shine

The bottom line: There are a lot of good editors out there, and it’s worth taking the time to locate the person whose style best fits your needs. These questions will point you in the right direction.

Grammar Chic’s editors are always happy to answer these questions and any other you might have. To ask us about the editing process, contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today. Reach us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Is Your Content Marketing Working? Take Inventory.

When you publish a new piece of online content—whether a video, a blog post, or a simple tweet—it can be exciting. It can also be very uncertain. You have big aspirations for how your content will impact your brand, but no way of knowing, in the moment, whether those lofty plans will pan out.

That’s what makes data so important, of course; by digging into website analytics, you can get some sense of how well your content is (or isn’t) working.

But even armed with numbers from, say, Google Analytics, it can be a little bit challenging to determine just how well your content is working out. As you take an inventory, consider these seven questions. Your honest answers may reveal much about the quality and efficacy of your content marketing endeavors.

Ask the Right Questions About Your Content Marketing

What keywords do people use to locate my content? Hopefully, you have a list of keywords you’re using on blog posts as well as PPC ads. And ideally, your Google Analytics show you that these keywords are indeed relevant to your website traffic. But if you don’t even know your keywords, it probably means you haven’t laid a good foundation for content marketing success.

What types of content do my readers engage with the most? Do you have a sense of which topics and channels get the most traction—and do you have data to back that up? Again, if you don’t know the answers, it suggests that you’re flying blind.

How long do readers stay on my website? A high bounce rate means the content on your site isn’t doing its job, plain and simple—and that it’s time to make your online presence more valuable and appealing.

Is your social engagement increasing? Using your social media dashboard of choice (say, Hootsuite) or simply the internal data provided by Facebook and other channels, you should have a good idea of whether your social engagement is growing, shrinking, or remaining static. Hopefully, your likes and shares are becoming more numerous over time.

Is your content creating website traffic? Are your social media pages primary traffic referrers for your company website? It’s always a good sign when they are!

Is your email list growing? If more people are signing up for your company email list, it bodes well for the kind of content you’re producing.

How is my online reputation? Do a quick Google search for your brand, and see what comes up. If it’s positive reviews, favorable mentions, and your own digital assets, that’s definitely a good sign.

Get Content Marketing That Works

If you’re not pleased with your answers to these questions, maybe it’s time for a consultation with content marketing professionals. The Grammar Chic, Inc. team can help you develop content that gets real results. Contact us today at 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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7 Reasons to Hire a Professional Editor

Good writing and good editing go hand in hand; it’s impossible to imagine one without the other. If you want your writing to shine, then, it’s smart to consider working with a professional editor—and that’s true whether the work in question is a press release for your business or the first draft of that novel you’ve always wanted to write.

But what, specifically, are the benefits of working with an editor? We’ll list just a few of them.

Why Hire an Editor?

  1. An editor will offer you a fresh pair of eyes. The hardest part of editing your own work is that, after staring at the same document for hours, or reading it dozens of times over the span of many days or weeks, you just can’t help but gloss over your own mistakes. A third party will spot the things you miss.
  2. Editors are objective and unbiased. The editor doesn’t have any duty to uphold your feelings or bolster your self-esteem; the editor’s duty is to make the work as good as it can possibly be. The ruthlessness of a good editor can help you put aside vanity and really create the best writing possible.
  3. Editors know how to choose the best words. Good editing isn’t just about avoiding typos. It’s about expressing yourself in the clearest, most effective language possible—something an editor can assist you with.
  4. You can get help on your project at the developmental stage. If you have a piece of writing you’re just not sure about, or need to bounce off someone before you commit too much time to it, you can always enlist an editor to help you vet your ideas and make sure they’ve got real promise.
  5. Editors save you time. You could spend another few days re-evaluating your work, fussing and fretting over it again and again—or you could send it to an editor and then move on to your next project.
  6. Editors save you headaches, too. Editors are a special breed. They don’t mind going over word choices and grammatical constructions with a fine-tooth comb, or evaluating every clause and punctuation mark at the minutest level. That may sound tedious and frustrating to you, so why not get an editor to do it for you?
  7. An editor will help you distill your message. A good editor won’t try to remake your writing in their own image, but rather will help bring your work to its clearest, most effective state. You don’t need to worry about your message getting lost. A good editor will make sure that just the opposite happens.

Hire an Editor

No matter your writing project, a good editor can help you achieve its full potential. Hire an editor today by reaching out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. team at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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How to Work Well with an Editor (And Maybe Even Enjoy It)

Writers know that they need editors to provide an unbiased assessment of their work; to bring precision and focus; and to help shape and mold the writing until it’s as perfect as can be, ready for public consumption.

They know it—but they don’t always like it.

And it’s not hard to understand why. Your writing is personal, and you have every reason to feel proud of it. Having a third party come in and start making changes can feel a little bit like a personal attack, though of course it isn’t.

With that said, you can have a fruitful and enjoyable experience working with an editor—whether on a piece of fiction or on the copy you’ve written for your business website.

Here are some suggestions we’d offer.

Get Along with Your Editor

Remember that your editor is on your side. You and your editor both have the exact same goal in mind: To produce the best piece of written content possible. You may be coming at it from different perspectives, but you ultimately want the same thing—so remember that criticisms you receive aren’t personal attacks. They’re honest attempts to make the work better.

Be open minded. Go into the process assuming that your editor’s suggestions are reasonable and worth considering. That doesn’t mean you have to act on every single one of them. It just means you should let them sit for a while rather than dismissing them out of hand. Even suggestions that initially strike you as ludicrous may reveal themselves to be really smart when you really give them a chance.

Give yourself some time and space. After you receive feedback from an editor, step away from your work for a day or two. Don’t rush to any judgments. Just allow yourself time and distance to make an informed and thoughtful decision.

Don’t fear that you’ll lose control. A good editor isn’t going to rewrite your work. A good editor will offer you guidelines for making it better—but you’ll always be in the driver’s seat, and it will always be your vision. You don’t have to worry that the work’s going to become something else altogether. And if you do have an editor who rewrites everything in his or her own image, well, that’s when it’s time to find a better editor.

Remember that editors are people, too. A good editor will be right much of the time, but not all the time. You probably shouldn’t ignore all your editor’s feedback, but pushing back against an item or two is perfectly reasonable.

Communicate. Ask questions. Get clarification. Try to find out why an editor is making his or her suggestions. Communication is key to any relationship, including the one between writer and editor.

Start a Productive Relationship Today

One more thing: It really is important to find a good, experienced editor. We’d love to talk with you about our own editorial lineup. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to learn more. Contact us 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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