Tag Archives: Job Hunting advice

4 Good Ways to Get Your Resume Noticed

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There’s an old saying: If you want to stand out, be outstanding. That’s all well and good, of course, but how do you stand out in a crowded field of job applicants? How can you be outstanding when you’re competing with dozens, if not hundreds of other people for the attention of a hiring manager?

Certainly, there are some bad ways to make your resume stand out: Typing it in a weird font, putting a head shot on it, formatting it in a way that is willfully weird or difficult to read. These things can all make your resume attract attention, but not the kind of attention you want.

What’s important is making your resume appealing to a hiring manager who’s just skimming through it, while also maintaining a sense of professional decorum. And it’s not impossible to strike this balance. We’ll offer you four strategies for doing exactly that.

Customize Your Cover Letter and Resume

You already know that your cover letter should be tailored to address the specific job you’re applying for—but did you know that your resume should also be modified to match the specific job you’re seeking? Look at the job posting and take note of the pertinent skills and competencies that are listed, and make sure you highlight those on your resume, moving them to the top of your list. You don’t have to rewrite your whole resume, but do tweak it to convey your qualification for the specific job you’re trying to land.

Be as Specific as You Can Be

Do you know what really gets a hiring manager’s attention? Numbers. If you can include statistics or actual data to boost your credentials, that’s ideal. Anything that lends specificity to your resume, as opposed to vague descriptions of your past experience, is bound to help.

Focus on Transferable Skills

If you’re looking for a position in a new industry, you’ll want to make sure you explicitly connect your past experience to the new job you’re seeking. Make note of the skills you have that can carry over from one industry to another. Don’t assume the hiring manager will make these connections; draw them out yourself.

Emphasize Your Most Relevant Past Positions

Some of your past work experience may have a direct bearing on the job you’re seeking; spend a lot of time discussing those on your resumes. Others may be less pertinent; you can downplay those.

As you can tell, the one-resume-fits-all approach just isn’t going to work here. Getting the attention of hiring managers means having a resume for every occasion—and that’s something the Grammar Chic resume team can help you with.

We’d love to provide you with a resume consultation. Contact us today to learn more: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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9 Words and Phrases That are Ruining Your Resume

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Every word on your resume matters—for better or for worse. There’s no such thing as a neutral resume content; anything that’s not making you more desirable to hiring managers is making you less desirable. Of course, those are the things you want to scrub, but how do you know what’s helping and what’s actually hurting?

To get you started, we’re put together a list of nine words and phrases that we still see on resumes all the time; hopefully, they’re not on yours, but if they are, we’d urge you to strike them right away.

Remove These Words from Your Resume

  1. “Unemployed.” The employment dates on your resume should make it clear whether or not you currently have work; there’s really no need to highlight it, especially with such a bummer of a word.
  2. “Hardworking.” The same goes for any of these vague adjectives that can’t really be qualified. Every jobseeker claims to be hardworking, but there’s really no way to prove it, so it doesn’t mean much for you to say it.
  3. “On time.” It’s assumed that you’ll do your work on time; there’s no need to brag about it.
  4. “Objective.” Every jobseeker’s objective is the same—i.e., to get a job—so there’s no need to say it. Use an executive summary instead, highlighting all the things that make you a good candidate.
  5. “References available upon request.” It should go without saying that you’ll provide references for any employer who asks for them.
  6. Anything that’s misspelled. You need a proofreader for your resume, because a single typo is all it takes to get your resume tossed into the trash can.
  7. Any outdated technical competencies. In 2017, there’s no reason for you to brag about your familiarity with email, Microsoft Office, or Internet Explorer. In fact, doing so just makes you look out of touch.
  8. Any meaningless corporate buzzwords. What does synergy even mean? If you can’t define it pretty readily, don’t put it on your resume.
  9. “Can’t” or “won’t.” A resume should be positive! Don’t bog it down with negative words.

Is Your Resume Full of Wasted Words?

If your resume is riddled with these harmful words, it may be a good idea to get a professional tune-up. The Grammar Chic team can provide you with a resume that’s both efficient and effective. Contact us today at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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How You Know You’ve Taken the Wrong Job (And What to Do About It)

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When you accept a new job, you always hope for the best. You cross your fingers and make yourself believe that the job might be forever—or at least, until you retire. At the very least you want to feel happy and settled in your new position for a good long while. Sadly, things always don’t work out this way.

You may realize, weeks or month or years down the road, that the job you’re in just isn’t a good fit. Or, you may realize it almost immediately. That’s never a good feeling to have, but here’s the good news: You don’t have to stay in a bad job forever. No matter how long (or how short) you’ve been in your current role, you’re always allowed to polish your resume and start reaching out for a new, hopefully better opportunity.

Signs You’re in a Bad Job

So how do you know that the job you’ve accepted is a bad fit? Here are some definite red flags:

  • You arrive at your new job and find that nobody was ready for your arrival—that your desk or office area isn’t prepared and that nobody really knows what to do with you.
  • You begin your orientation and discover that the appealing job description you signed up for was a fantasy; that the actual role is something totally different.
  • You find yourself surrounded by complainers—people who clearly don’t like their jobs and don’t mind saying so.
  • You notice a clear sense of dysfunction in the office—people who do not work well together, or betray animosity for one another.
  • Your direct boss or supervisor seems to be completely invisible—always holed up in the office, missing from meetings and huddles.
  • You have a hard time finding anyone who can answer your questions about the job, about the company’s vision, or about your place within it.

Make the Leap

All of these are reasons to immediately start looking for a new opportunity; toxic workplaces aren’t likely to get better overnight, and there’s no sense in being unhappy any longer than you have to.

Even if you feel like you’ve just completed the job search, make a leap, and try to find a new position where you will be happier. Enter the search with a fresh perspective—and a fresh resume. Get in touch with our resume writing team to start the process. Reach Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Don’t Let Job Hopping Derail Your Resume

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There was a time in American history where it may have been fairly common for an individual to hold a single job—or at least work for a single employer—for 10, 20, sometimes 30 or more years. But things have changed: Today, it’s much more common for individuals to hold several jobs over the course of a lifetime, changing positions, employers, and sometimes even changing industries.

In fact, some statistics show that the 42 percent of all employees change their job every one to two years—a phenomenon known as job hopping. This is an especially common practice among millennials, who are ever in search of personal development and career progression. There is nothing wrong with job hopping, and for some employees it can indeed provide a path to professional fulfilment. Where things get tricky is when you write your resume.

How Job Hopping Impacts Your Resume

The thing is, hiring managers and recruiters don’t necessarily want to spend time and money to get a new employee, train that employee, immerse that employee in company culture… and then lose that employee in just a few months’ time. Employers want a commitment—and whether you are really able to make that commitment or not, it’s important to have a resume that downplays your job hopping and brings some sense of cohesion to your professional experience.

This is all entirely possible, but it depends on the construction of your resume. Here are some tips we’d recommend.

How to Downplay Job Hopping on Your Resume

Include a professional summary, which should consolidate all your career experience into a single narrative. Maybe you’ve worked for five different marketing companies in the last decade. You can present that like this: “Marketing professional with 10 years of diverse experience.” Show how all the pieces in your career history come together. Identify the unifying threads. Guide the reader through the basic trajectory of your professional life.

Offer a summary of previous employment. Rather than going into great detail about your last dozen jobs, you might instead want to focus ample attention to the three or four most recent, and then provide a bulleted list of previous career experience. Rather than list a specific time frame for each of these bulleted items, just provide an overall, collective start and end date, i.e., Previous Employment, 2000-2008.

Tell a story with your different jobs and positions. The important thing is to convey some sense of narrative, which in some instances may mean leaving out positions that don’t relate to the big picture; if you primarily work in accounting, you might leave off that one summer where you worked as a cashier at CVS. Also try to emphasize how each new position brought you increased responsibility. Show that you have been growing, not just changing jobs on a whim.

Focus on accomplishments. If you were only at one employer for 18 months and basically twiddled your thumbs, that doesn’t really reflect well on you; but if you actually got a lot of major projects done in that short span of time, that’s altogether more positive. Make sure each section of your resume highlights concrete achievements and meaningful accomplishments.

Get Help on Your Resume

All of this may take a little finessing, which happens to be something our resume team does rather well. Get a consultation for your resume today, and make sure your professional narrative shines. Contact Grammar Chic at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Why the Holidays are Ideal for Launching a Job Search

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It’s a question our resume division receives every year around this time: Is the holiday season really a good time to launch a job search?

And our answer is always the same thing: An overwhelming, resounding yes.

And we’ll tell you why.

‘Tis the Season… for a New Career

  1. A lot of jobseekers actually delay or suspend their search over the holidays. The conventional wisdom is that the holiday season is a poor time to look for employment—many jobseekers are so overwhelmed with other holiday responsibilities that they simply take themselves off the market between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day.

That’s good news for you. Less competition means more opportunities for you to shine—so while other jobseekers sit things out, you should put yourself in the game.

  1. Many companies go through a lot of turnover during the holidays. This is one of the prime times of year for established employees to start itching for a change—putting in their notice and heading off for greener pastures.

So if you think a lot of companies don’t hire over the holidays, think again: There are a lot of opportunities, and a lot of openings you could fill.

  1. The holiday season makes networking easier. There’s an old saying that, in jobseeking, it’s not what you know but who you know.

Well, you’ll have plenty of ways to reconnect with the people you know during the holidays—sending Christmas cards and LinkedIn greetings, or bumping into people at holiday parties. These are all great opportunities to build your network and let people know you’re looking.

Clearly, this is a fine season to really bump your job search into high gear—assuming you’re willing to put in some hustle and approach your search strategically.

A good place to start is with a new resume—and our team is standing ready, even during this busy time of year, to give yours the polish it needs.

Get started on your holiday job search. Contact Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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3 Job Search Methods That Just Don’t Work

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When it comes to finding a job, there’s no such thing as right or wrong. Maybe you found your job because you know a guy. Maybe you found your job through diligently crafting a resume, sending it to a hundred recruiters, and following up regularly. Or maybe you just lucked into it—right place, right time.

What matters, of course, is the outcome. If you end up with a job that satisfies you—and that pays the bills—what does it matter how you got it?

It doesn’t matter, not a whit—but with that said, there are some job search methods that tend to be worthwhile, and some that simply don’t. There are even some job search methods that remain weirdly popular, despite the fact that they’re really just wastes of your time and energy.

For example…

Attending job fairs. You may have heard some wonderful, glowing reports from people who found their jobs via job fairs. And back in the day, job fairs really were pretty effective. That’s because you could go to a job fair, learn about different companies, and actually have a chance to meet with recruiters and interview for jobs on the spot.

That sounds great, right? Well, yeah, it was. But job fairs don’t really work that way anymore. These days, when you go to a job fair, you’re going to meet an awful lot of nice recruiters who tell you to… visit the company website and apply there.

So save yourself the trouble. Skip the fair and just do some online research on your own.

Resume blasting. A resume blast service does exactly what it sounds like: It blasts your resume out to a couple hundred employers, taking a shotgun approach to the application process.

But the way to win the attention of an employer isn’t with this scattershot approach. It’s with customizing your resume to fit the specific position—something resume blasting just doesn’t allow for.

You’re better off sending out three customized resumes, with personalized cover letters, than blasting a general resume to 300 different companies. Really.

Social media. No, wait! We very much believe in the importance of using social media to enhance your personal brand. In fact, Grammar Chic offers full LinkedIn optimization services, something we recommend to many jobseekers.

But what we don’t buy is that very many people get their dream job by hounding a company on Twitter, or that you can interview for a job over LinkedIn messages.

Social media is good, but it’s not that good. Don’t waste your time pursing an outcome that’s really just not very likely.

And don’t waste your time job-searching without a solid resume. Get yours professionally crafted by contacting Grammar Chic today: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Always Personalize Your Job Search Communications

The process of job searching typically entails a great deal of correspondence—and if you’re serious about making a positive impression on potential employers, it’s important that you personalize those correspondences.

What do we mean by personalize? Ultimately, you should really never begin an e-mail, thank-you-note, or cover letter with Dear Sir or Madam or To Whom it May Concern.

As you know from personal experience, these impersonal salutations always come across as spammy. When you get letters addressed like that in your own mail box, you probably throw them out immediately. And why would you think hiring managers would respond any differently?

The question is, how do you know how to personalize your correspondence? Hopefully, the job posting itself lists a specific contact person, in which case your job is pretty easy. Just make out the cover letter to either Dear Mr. [Last Name] or Dear Ms. [Last Name], and you should be good.

If no specific contact person is mentioned, of course, you’ll have to do some digging—on the company website first, and on the company LinkedIn page second. If you do your research and still can’t find a contact person from the hiring department, well, you’ve done your due diligence, and in this case you can get away with a generic greeting. Chances are, the person you’re writing to will be aware that he or she is tough to locate on the Web.

Once you actually make it into the office for an interview, you can always grab a business card of the person you interview with—ensuring you can personalize your handwritten thank-you note and all future e-mails.

And sending personalized follow-ups is something we recommend: It’s a small yet significant way to keep your name in front of hiring managers and decision makers, and to prove yourself to be an applicant of real distinction.

For help writing compelling, personalized correspondences, reach out to Grammar Chic at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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