Tag Archives: Job Hunting advice

Should Your Resume List Hobbies?

It’s a common conundrum among jobseekers: You want to stand out. You want to draw attention to yourself. You want to come across like a living, breathing, real human being on your resume. You’re just not sure how to do it.

One common solution to this problem is to list your hobbies. The resume writers here at Grammar Chic see a lot of resumes that have full hobby sections at the bottom—but is this really the best way to make your case to future employers?

Our Take on the Hobby Question

Generally speaking, we’re of the opinion that hobby sections should be avoided. They take up valuable space on your resume that could be devoted to a clearer portrayal of your professional value.

Remember that, when they look at your resume, recruiters and hiring managers just want to know one thing: Are you going to bring value to their organization? A list of career accomplishments, core competencies, or key metrics might answer this question. A list of hobbies probably doesn’t. Simply put, the fact that you like to play golf or read mystery novels doesn’t really matter to potential employers, and it dilutes the power of a good resume.

How to Showcase your Hobbies—Subtly

That’s not to say that there are not a few ways to highlight your personal, out-of-the-office interests, however. Here are a few more appropriate ways to shed some light on what you like to do in your spare time.

Highlight Volunteer Experience

Voluntarism can be a way for you to hint at some of your broader interests, especially if your work for non-profits dovetails with your other hobbies—for example, if you want to show that you’re a runner, you might list your voluntarism with local charity runs.

Use Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter can be the place where you mention that your love of travel has made you more culturally literate, or that coaching your son’s soccer team has taught you a lot about teamwork and leadership. Just make sure you tie your hobbies with actual workplace skills.

Don’t Forget LinkedIn

LinkedIn doesn’t allow you to list hobbies per se, but you can certainly join up with groups that hint at your broader interests—a sly but effective way to humanize yourself in the eyes of potential recruiters.

Focus on Your Professional Value

The bottom line? Your resume is your value proposition—and hobbies don’t really belong there. You can make yourself look both valuable and relatable, though, with a complete and powerful resume. Get one today by reaching out to the Grammar Chic resume writing team; connect with us at 803-831-7444, or at www.grammarchic.net.

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How to Write a Resume That Recruiters Will Read

Recruiters spend a lot of their time reading resumes. It’s just part of the job—and a fairly big part of the job, at that. Because recruiters have so many resumes to read each day, they can’t afford to linger long on any one of them. In fact, the average recruiter spends mere seconds on a resume before deciding whether to investigate further, or toss it in the trash. Not minutes. Seconds.

What this means for you as a jobseeker is that you’ve got to make a huge first impression. You’ve got to grab attention. And the only way to do that is with a well-formatted and engaging resume document.

So how can you ensure that your resume lands a punch within that brief window of time your recruiter gives it? Here are five tried and true methods.

Make a Strong First Impression with Your Resume

Make it Skimmable

Remember that, with just a few seconds to spare, your recruiter isn’t going to read every word of your resume. Rather, he or she will skim through it, trying to catch on to the basic progression of your career. Make your resume one that’s easy to navigate at a glance. Divide it into three or four main sections—a professional summary, a list of core competencies, a professional history, and an education section, perhaps. Make sure each section is clearly delineated.

Top-Load It

The first section of your resume should be an executive summary—not a career objective—that clearly lays out your brand and the value you bring to employers. Following that, include a list of core skills—a bulleted list of keywords and key phrases that correspond with what you’re proficient in.

Get Straight to It

Don’t beat around the bush! Every word and every second count. Rather than open your sentences with florid prose or with fluff, lead off with strong verbs—action words that convey immediate impact.

Use Numbers

Nothing grabs a recruiter’s attention like the presence of numbers, which quantify your achievements. Not all professions lend themselves to clear metrics, but any numbers you can share are helpful, and should be included.

Format Consistently

Make sure your font, format, and style choices don’t fluctuate across your resume; if you bold company names in one section, bold them everywhere else. If you capitalize job titles here, capitalize them there. This is another way in which you can make your resume easy to skim, easier to make sense of at a glance.

Write for Recruiters

The bottom line: As you construct your resume, you’ve got to remember that a recruiter might read it—and that recruiters need something that will make an immediate impact. To make sure your resume packs a punch, we welcome you to work with our resume writing team. Schedule a resume consultation by connecting with us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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How to Keep Your Cover Letter Short

If you’ve ever applied for a job before, then you’ve probably composed a cover letter—but do you know what a cover letter is for, exactly? Basically, it’s meant to grab the attention of the recruiter or hiring manager and encourage him or her to take a look at your resume. What it’s not meant to do is serve as your memoir, your life story, or a fill-in for the resume itself.

All of this means that your cover letter should be short and to the point. How short? Well, if you go over a single page, you’ve almost surely gone too far. The question is, how can you ensure a cover letter that’s truly tight and focused?

Steps for a Shorter Cover Letter

We’d recommend that you first take some time to carefully review the job description itself, which should offer you some clues as to the top two to four skills the employer is seeking. After you determine what those skills are, think about how your own experience coincides with them. Hopefully you can come up with a few short bullet points that don’t rehash your entire career, but do point out the ways in which you are well qualified for the role in question.

Remember that your cover letter will be accompanied by your resume—so you don’t have to include everything, and you don’t have to worry about leaving something out. All you need to do is focus in on the handful of career achievements you’ve had that overlap with that job description.

You can condense your cover letter into a few impactful points, then, without the need for tricks—tricks like tighter margins or microscopic fonts. Those gimmicks are transparent, and besides, they make your cover letter more difficult to read. Just focus on summarizing, and beyond that, let your resume speak for itself.

Finalize Your Cover Letter—Then Send!

Once you finish your succinct and powerful cover letter, proofread it a few times, double and triple check your contact information, and then you should be set—all ready to pair the cover letter with your resume, and to present yourself in the best possible light to hiring managers and recruiters.

For help with any of these steps, don’t hesitate to reach out to our resume and cover letter writing team. Contact Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or at www.grammarchic.net.

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No, You Shouldn’t Include References on Your Resume

Often, the things you don’t include on your resume are just as important as the ones you do.

Case in point: We blogged just a few days ago about the Career Objective, and how it really has no place on a resume.

Today, we’ve got another resume element you’re better off ditching—and that’s your list of references.

Why References Are Out

Our resume team still sees a lot of resumes that come with reference lists—but in truth these lists are unnecessary, and in some cases, can be harmful.

The main reason why we recommend against reference lists is that they simply aren’t in keeping with modern resume trends. When you include one, it makes you look older, out of touch. Of course, what you want is a resume that does just the opposite.

An alternative to listing resumes is to say that references are available upon request—but we’re not big on this, either. The reason is that this is redundant. Employers know that you’re willing to offer references if they ask for them—if you’re serious about the job, anyway. No job candidate is going to deny a request to provide a few references. There’s just no need to state your willingness on the resume, and doing so wastes invaluable real estate.

The bottom line is that your resume should be about you. That’s what hiring managers care about—and a list of other people’s names isn’t going to tell them much.

Rethinking the Reference List

Does this mean you should delete your reference list altogether?

Not necessarily. We still recommend keeping a reference list. We’d just advise that you make it a separate document—not part of your resume.

Have a file where you have references on hand, so that when a hiring manager does request to see them, you can provide them quickly and easily.

Make sure that, when you hand out a reference sheet, you let your references know; nothing good can come of them being caught off guard by a request from a potential employer, and besides, it’s just good manners to fill them in.

Update Your Resume Today

You need a resume that’s compact and powerful—and reference lists take away from that. Get your resume up to date today. Reach out to the Grammar Chic resume writing team for a full resume makeover. Call 803-831-7444 or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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7 Times You Should Update Your Resume

Your resume is a living document—fluid, ever-changing, evolving just as your own career evolves. As such, it’s never something you should just set and forget. It’s smart for any professional to make regular resume updates—even when you don’t happen to be in the job market.

So, when is it smart to go through your resume and make a few tweaks and additions? Here are seven instances when a resume update is absolutely called for.

When to Update Your Resume

  1. Any time you finish a significant new project at work. Take a few moments to record it on your resume, lest your achievement go unmentioned. Make note of your own responsibilities for the project, the people you collaborated with, the skills you employed, the challenges you faced, and the results you obtained.
  2. Any time you receive new metrics. Did you just receive this month’s client satisfaction scores, or this quarter’s sales figures? Take just a second to log them in your resume, where numbers and statistics carry tremendous power.
  3. Any time you complete a new training course or obtain a certification. Log your continuing education achievements on your resume to show that you’re still growing, still learning, still pushing yourself.
  4. Any time you consider freelance or side positions. Take a minute to customize your resume, really highlighting the value you can bring to that specific job.
  5. Any time you want to speak at a conference or seminar. Customize your resume to show why you deserve the gig!
  6. Any season of tumult or transition at your current company. Hopefully you won’t find yourself on the receiving end of a layoff, but there’s certainly no harm in being prepared for it, just in case.
  7. At the start of the new calendar year. When January rolls around, and as you think through your New Year’s resolutions, make one of them to make some updates to your resume, keeping it fresh and up to date.

Get Help Changing Your Resume

Here’s a bonus one for you: If you can’t remember the last time you updated your resume, now is as good a time as any to do it. And if you need some help with it, we’ve got you covered. Contact the Grammar Chic resume writing team today, and we’ll get your resume in good working order! Reach out at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Should Your Resume Include an Objective?

The art of writing a strong resume is always changing, and what worked 20 years ago might not be en vogue today. If you’ve got an older resume lying around—or if you’ve just been handed some dated advice—there’s a decent chance your resume could stand some sprucing up.

One thing you definitely want to check is whether or not your current resume has an objective at the top. The inclusion of an objective was once standard practice, but now it’s something that’s generally discouraged—but why? And what should be included in place of your objective?

The Problem with Objectives

Let us start with that first question—why are objectives out?

Well, primarily, an objective is simply redundant. If you’re distributing resumes, your objective should be clear—you’re trying to get a job. In that sense, every jobseeker’s resume is pretty much the same.

Moreover, a resume is really very focused on you. Your objective may be something like “to use my skills and experience in the advertising sector to contribute to the progressive vision of a forward-thinking ad agency.” The problem with this is that it’s really all about what you want, not what specific value you can offer to an employer. Hiring managers, however, really want to know what’s in it for them.

Replacing Your Objective

In lieu of an objective, we recommend a summary of qualifications—a few short sentences that summarize your value, list your strongest skillsets, and essentially serve as your personal elevator pitch to hiring managers.

There are many benefits to this approach. Hiring managers may not have time to look through your entire work history, but a good summary of qualifications can make your case for you, even to those who just skim the resume. A summary of qualifications basically condenses everything that makes you a good candidate into a paragraph or so; it focuses on the unique value you deliver to the hiring organization. And, it’s something you can easily tweak as you try to target different employers, ensuring a finely-honed approach to your job search.

Bring Your Resume Up to Date

If you’re still working with an objective, it’s time to make your resume current—and that’s something we can help you with. Reach out to our team at Grammar Chic to get the resume facelift you need. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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How to Fit Your Resume on a Single Page

One of the most common questions received by our resume writing team is about length: How many pages should a good resume be, exactly? Our answer: It just depends.

For a seasoned executive with decades of experience, a two- or even three-page resume can be totally appropriate, and necessary for summarizing all pertinent career information. For someone who’s fresh out of college and looking for entry-level work, though, a one-page resume is usually sufficient.

For some jobseekers, condensing a resume to fit a single page is challenging. It’s especially frustrating when your resume takes up just a few lines of text on the second page, but you can’t figure out what to cut in order to shrink it down to one.

We can provide a few tips for making your resume nice and compact.

Don’t Sacrifice Readability

First, a quick word about what not to do. Don’t choose a super-small font—that is, don’t pick anything smaller than a 12. And don’t shrink the margins. These little cheats are transparent to recruiters, but more than that, they make the document harder to read—which means your one-page resume may simply get tossed into the garbage.

Make Your Writing Succinct

A better way to shorten your resume is to make your language tighter, more to the point. Eliminate first-person pronouns. Get rid of needless adverbs and other superfluous descriptors. And don’t hesitate to use any acronyms that are truly standard and well-known—for example, if you report to the Chief Executive Officer, it’s fine to just say CEO.

Eliminate Anything That’s Redundant or Unnecessary

This includes:

Try Putting All Your Contact Info on Just One Line

Using vertical lines to separate things, you can probably condense your address, phone number, and email address into one line. It’s worth a shot, anyway.

Get Help form the Resume Experts

It might also be wise to get a second pair of eyes, and to hear from an outside expert what can go and what needs to stay on your resume. The Grammar Chic team can help with this. Learn more by reaching out to us today—www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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