Tag Archives: Job Hunting advice

5 Ways to Customize Your Resume and Get the Job You Want

There’s never anything cookie-cutter about the job search. Your resume will inevitably be different from the next applicant’s—and what’s more, your resume should change and evolve with every job you apply for.

That’s right—you really need a different resume for each position, one that’s tailored to address the job in question. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to rewrite your resume from scratch each time, but it does mean you should take some time to customize. There are a few ways you can do that.

Use Language from the Job Posting

The ultimate goal of customization is to prove that you read the job description, and to convince the hiring manager that you fit it to a T. That means paying close attention to the verbiage of the job listing itself. How does the employer describe this position? Which words and phrases are used to describe the ideal candidate? Whenever possible, incorporate those words and phrases into your resume. (For example, maybe your resume lists team building, but the job description says team development; there’s no reason not to tweak your resume to match the language of your potential employer.)

Think in Terms of Pain Points

Stop and think about the job you’re applying for. What pain points is it meant to address? What problems is it meant to solve? What issues must the company be having to necessitate this new position—too much turnover? Too much employee demand? Slowed sales growth? Consider ways in which your resume can position you as the solution to these problems. Pitch yourself as a useful resource for whatever issues the company’s facing.

Cut Irrelevant Jobs

One of the most basic ways to customize your resume is to delete, or at least minimize, older jobs that don’t have any relevance to the one you’re seeking. The goal here is to craft a narrative, and to ensure that everything on your resume showcases your qualification for the job in question. If you have entries in your career history that don’t match the position you’re applying for, downplay them to make that narrative as streamlined and as uncluttered as possible.

Make Use of Your Executive Summary

You can’t assume that a hiring manager will read your entire resume from top to bottom—so spell out your most important qualifications early on. This is where your executive summary comes into play. Tweak this section for each job you apply for, making sure it covers some of the most qualifying skills and achievements of your career, as relative to the position you’re applying for.

Hire a Resume Writer

A final step to effective resume customization: Hire a professional resume writer, who will have ample experience in crafting resumes to match specific positions. If there’s a job you’re zealous for, send the listing, and your resume, to the Grammar Chic team, and we’ll be glad to help you make the proper modifications. Learn more by contacting Grammar Chic, Inc. today, via www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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How to Address Long-Term Illness on Your Resume

Your resume is meant to tell the story of your career—but what happens when that story is interrupted by an extended medical leave? When you’re out of the workplace for months or years at a time—either because you’re ill or because you’re taking care of a sick family member—it leaves a gap in your employment history. Addressing that gap can be challenging, to say the least.

Change Your Mindset

The first thing you may want to do is change your point of view. A lot of us tend to think that working hard is the be-all and end-all of life, and that an extended medical leave is somehow a liability. The reality is that your health is critical and taking time to recover from an illness is nothing to be ashamed by.

In fact, taking medical leave can actually highlight positive attributes—including:

  • A sense of balance;
  • Personal responsibility;
  • Endurance through hard times;
  • Pragmatic problem-solving skills.

If your leave was to take care of a family member or loved one, meanwhile, it shows that you have a servant’s heart and a desire to improve the lives of others. All of these are positive things—both for you and for a potential employer.

Fill the Gaps

Even so, hiring managers will have questions about any gaps in your career history. Sometimes, it’s possible to fill those gaps—especially if your medical leave included any of the following:

  • Part-time work;
  • Freelance work;
  • Consulting work;
  • Volunteering

You can use these temporary positions to fill employment gaps, without leaving big openings in your resume and also without lying!

Shift Your Approach

If you have a number of medical leaves in your past, or if your medical leave was quite lengthy, you may benefit from taking an altogether different approach to your resume. Generally, Grammar Chic, Inc. recommends a chronological career history—but if that history has big interruptions, you may be better off writing a functional resume. This means a career history that focuses on particular skills you’ve developed, not necessarily on the straightforward chronology of your employment history.

Don’t Forget Your Cover Letter!

One final note: You have every right to keep the specific details of your illness private. However, it can sometimes be helpful to address it head-on. Use your cover letter to briefly note that you had an extended leave from the workplace, and that in this time you were able to grow and develop as a person and to learn how to face challenges with strength and perspective.

If you need help getting the wording just right, have questions about functional resumes, or simply want to learn more about addressing illness on a resume, contact the Grammar Chic, Inc. resume writing team. You can always reach us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Customize Your Resume

For jobseekers, a single resume just isn’t enough. While Grammar Chic’s resume writers recommend having a single “master resume” you can use as a reference, that document should be tailored to meet the requirements of each new job you apply for. Here are a few reasons why.

It Helps You Stand Out

If nothing else, having a customized resume helps you stand out from the competition. Imagine: 150 people apply for a single position, and 149 of them have the same old boring, cookie-cutter resume language—but yours is the one resume that’s actually been tweaked to address the specifics of the job in question. Immediately, you’re a standout candidate (and a breath of fresh air to the hiring manager).

It Shows That You Care

Not everyone takes the time to customize their resume—so what does it say about you when you do take the time? Well, for one thing, it says that you really do want the job. Spending a few minutes tailoring your resume to the job in question shows that you’re already going the extra mile, and that you’re willing to put in some work to land this position. Employers love to see that sort of thing!

It Highlights Your Qualifications

The reality is, most hiring managers spend mere seconds reviewing a resume before they determine whether or not you’re qualified. So you may be qualified, but if all the pertinent details are buried at the bottom of your resume, the hiring manager may never see them. When you customize your resume, it helps you put the best, most qualifying information front and center.

It Gives You a Chance to Include Keywords

When tailoring your resume, you should always read the job posting, make note of any major keywords that it contains, and include them in your resume wherever applicable. Make sure you’re using the same verbiage the hiring manager’s using, emphasizing your qualification for the role.

It Proves Your Awareness

Finally, it’s wise to customize your resume because it shows the hiring manager that you know how competitive the job market is—and you know how important it is to use every tool at your disposal to rise to the top. Again, your potential boss will love to see that sort of initiative.

Of course, having a single master resume is fine—but make sure you take the time to customize it for each role you apply for. And if you need guidance from certified resume professionals, reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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6 Resume Tweaks for Executive-Level Jobseekers

The job search is anything but standard; the way one person finds his or her dream job—or simply ascends the next step on the corporate ladder—may not be the method that works for you. Certainly, when you reach the C-suite, there are things you should do to distinguish yourself, and to convey your expertise at each stage of your job hunt.

One way to do this is to make some subtle tweaks to your resume—minor changes that can ultimately go a long way toward branding you as the executive of choice to fill the role you seek.

Here are some easy yet substantive changes we’d recommend, based on what we’ve seen with some of our own executive-level resume clients.

Important Tweaks for Your Executive-Level Resume

  1. Don’t list your home phone number. There’s really no need to list home, work, and cell numbers—and in fact, doing so may make you look like a bit of a dinosaur. A lot of tenured executives are simply in the habit of providing full contact information, but the reality is that recruiters and headhunters want someone they know they can access around the clock—and a cell number pretty well covers it.
  2. Update your old email address. We see a lot of executives who are still using antiquated email platforms, like AOL or Hotmail. These addresses may have served you well as you were building your career, but today, they appear a bit dated. Switching to a Gmail address is easy and can potentially be quite beneficial.
  3. Don’t oversell your experience. Your resume should speak for itself and convey your depth of experience through your list of previous jobs and career accomplishments. There’s no reason to oversell it with words like “veteran” or “seasoned.” Those words are a little weak, and all they’re likely to do is make recruiters think you’re old.
  4. Clear out your undergraduate achievements. When you’re seeking your first-ever job, or just starting to climb the corporate ladder, things like summer internships and undergraduate awards can help beef up your resume. Once you make it to the C-suite, though, there’s no longer any need to include these items.
  5. Be a ruthless editor. Executive-level jobseekers are allowed to let their career histories spill over onto a second page, but very rarely do you want to go past two pages, and never over three. Remember that you’re curating your own personal story, and sometimes it’s best to omit things that have little relevance on who you are today. Keep your resume focused and bloat-free!
  6. Ensure an optimized LinkedIn page. Your resume will need an up-to-date LinkedIn profile to augment it—and that means a current photograph, proper keywords, and a streamlined career history.

How to Improve Your Executive Resume

You need a resume that speaks to your success, and to your efficacy as a leader—and that requires you to pay attention to even these fairly minor details.

For help crafting the optimal C-suite resume—or LinkedIn presence—reach out to the resume writing team at Grammar Chic, Inc. Contact us at 803-831-7444.

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How Jobseekers Can Make Their Networking Emails More Effective

Have you ever received an email from an unknown sender, with a generic greeting like “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madame?” Most of us have, and most of us respond to these emails in the same way—by promptly hitting the delete key.

But what if you’re on the sending side of that relationship? If you’re a jobseeker, this isn’t such an unlikely prospect. Jobseekers send cold emails all the time, to hiring managers or recruiters who they may have met at a networking event or a seminar, or who they know through a mutual friend.

These cold networking emails can be meaningful ways to establish key connections, but only if you actually get your message across—and that means sending emails that get opened and read, not immediately deleted.

As you seek an effective email strategy, here are some tips to keep in mind.

The Subject Line is Critical

Let’s be honest: A lot of us immediately delete emails we get from unknown senders, especially if they come with generic subject lines. It’s important to make yours specific, then; did you meet this contact through a mutual friend? Put the person’s name in the subject line. Did you meet this contact at a networking event? Mention the event in the subject line. Offer whatever memory joggers, whatever moments of recognition you can.

Be Personal

Even if the person you’re writing to is a middle-manager in a huge company, he or she still wants to feel like a person—not a cog in the wheel. In your opening paragraph, explain why you’re writing to this person, in particular. Citing common ground is always a good idea to establish that personal connection.

Don’t Beat Around the Bush

It’s always good to be up front about your intentions. You want a job, and should say as much. Don’t try to be too clever or too vague in your phrasing; saying “I just want to pick your brain about potential opportunities” is needlessly watered down. Say that you’re hoping for career advancement and would like to ask for the person’s help.

Keep it Brief

It’s also important to emphasize how much you respect the person’s time—something you can do by keeping your message succinct and to the point. A couple of paragraphs is usually sufficient.

Brag—a Little

Finally, don’t be afraid to shine the spotlight on yourself a little bit. You don’t want to rehash your entire resume, but do offer two or three bullet points that show the value you bring as an employee. This may feel immodest, but within the context of asking about job opportunities, it’s perfectly acceptable.

Have Your Documents Ready

Hopefully, your email will get results—and the next step will be sending along your resume and cover letter. Have those documents honed and ready to go—and if you need help doing so, don’t hesitate to contact our resume writing team. Grammar Chic, Inc. can furnish you with a resume and cover letter that truly help you shine as an employee. Reach out for a consultation today, either at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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10 Things You Should Remove from Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile Today

Jobseekers depend on their resume—and, to a slightly lesser extent, their LinkedIn profile—to inform recruiters and hiring managers about the skills they bring to the table. With that said, there is such a thing as having too much information on your job search documents—or, rather, having information that does more harm than good.

It’s worthwhile to periodically go through your professional documents and eliminate anything that’s dragging you down. We’ve prepared a checklist for you—10 things you’re safe to eliminate from your resume and your LinkedIn profile now.

What to Exclude from Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

  1. Secondary skills. It’s commonly assumed that your resume should mention every skill you possess—but that’s not always the case. If there are skills you’d rather not continue to hone at your next job, it’s often best to leave them off; focus on the things you love, the things you’re good at, and the things you want to keep doing.
  2. Silly email addresses. If you’re still using a goofy email handle from your college days—that Hotmail account you signed up for back in the day, perhaps—it’s time to set up a new, professional email account through which you can handle your job search.
  3. High school jobs. Unless you’ve just graduated from college and these are the only jobs you can list, it’s better to forget them.
  4. Hobbies and leisure activities. There are some isolated cases in which your hobbies belong on your resume—specifically, if they dovetail with the job you’re applying for—but usually, you’ll want to leave them off. Believe it or not, hiring managers don’t care that you love to play golf or collect vinyl records. They care about the value you can bring to their organization.
  5. Antiquated technology. By this point, there’s no need to specify that you know how to use email, Microsoft Word, or the Web browser. Everyone should be able to do these things—and listing them on your resume just dates you.
  6. Your home phone number. Just include your cell; make it clear to employers that you can always be reached, no matter what.
  7. Paragraphs of text. Your job descriptions should be easy to read—and for that matter, easy to skim. Always use bullet points. Big blocks of text are a major turn-off.
  8. Salary figures. You’re likely to either sell yourself short or position yourself as unattainable—and either way, it’s undermining your prospects.
  9. Generic job titles. Make sure your job titles give a pretty clear indication of what you actually did in that role; just saying “Manager” is usually not descriptive enough.
  10. Duties. This one may surprise you—and to be clear, your resume should provide some insight into what you’ve done at your different jobs. The point here is to focus more on achievements as opposed to a laundry list of responsibilities, whenever possible.

Make Your Resume Sleek and Effective

Writing an effective resume is as much about what you leave off as what you put on. For help fine-tuning your resume and LinkedIn profile—and making them powerful personal marketing collateral—contact us for a consultation. Reach out to the resume writers at Grammar Chic, Inc. via www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Jobseekers Don’t Need New Year’s Resolutions

The start of the year brings with it the promise of new opportunities—a clean slate and a fresh beginning. That’s why so many of us—with only the best intentions—begin each new year with a set of resolutions.

There’s nothing at all wrong with New Year’s resolutions, of course—but if you’re a jobseeker, you really don’t need them. That’s because, for jobseekers, your resolution could only possibly be one thing: to find a job. After all, isn’t that the whole point here?

So scratch the whole resolutions thing. There are better ways to think about your job search, and to revamp it for the new year. Instead of making resolutions for yourself, why not make a checklist—things you can update and refresh to make sure you’re firing on all cylinders as you carry your hunt into 2018?

All Things New: A Jobseeker’s Checklist for the New Year

Get a new cover letter.

Your cover letter is often the first thing a hiring manager will see as they consider your candidacy—and if it’s not written properly, it can be the last thing, too. Scrap your old cover letter and develop a new one that emphasizes two to four of your key skills; that provides some context for your career achievements; and that thanks the hiring manager for his or her time and attention. Also, leave room to customize your cover letter to match the specifics of each job you apply for.

Get a new resume.

Has your resume been reviewed by a professional resume writer? If not, contact the Grammar Chic team today and let us give it a thorough evaluation. We can point out some opportunities to tighten your writing, improve your formatting, and better showcase the values you offer as an employee. If needed, we can rewrite your resume from scratch, and ensure it’s something that will win the attention of hiring managers.

Get a new LinkedIn page.

It’s increasingly common for recruiters to check you out on LinkedIn before they ever consult your resume—which means your LinkedIn profile should be polished and optimized. Again, this is something Grammar Chic can assist with. Contact us for a review of your LinkedIn profile, and we’ll highlight some areas where you can improve keyword use or better showcase your skills and achievements.

Get a new social media presence.

Even Facebook and Twitter can be important to your job search, as potential employers use these social platforms to investigate candidates before making hiring decisions. Do your social media profiles create a strong first impression? Do they make you more relatable? More professional? Or is there some dubious content that needs to be scrubbed?

Get a new list of targeted employers.

Finally, make sure you’re heading into the new year with a well-researched list of employers you’d like to target—complete with information about potential openings and HR contacts. Use this list to guide you as you customize each iteration of your resume and cover letter!

Start Strong

The new year is indeed a new opportunity for jobseekers—but you don’t really need resolutions to take advantage of it. You just need to make sure all your job search collateral is honed and polished. To make that happen, contact Grammar Chic, Inc.’s resume writing team at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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