Tag Archives: job searching

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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4 Ways to Improve Your Digital Job Search Today

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When you’re a jobseeker, the Internet offers countless tools for promoting your personal brand, connecting to desired employers, and moving your career forward. Of course, all of this is contingent on you identifying and exploiting those tools, making the most out of the available resources.

If you feel like you could be getting more out of your digital job search, well, you’re probably right. Allow us to suggest a few ways you can make better use of your online resources today.

Know Your Personal SEO Keywords

Businesses target certain keywords to connect with customers, and jobseekers should target certain keywords to connect with employers. There are plenty of places where you can deploy keywords, including your Facebook “About” blurb and your LinkedIn profile. To know the right keywords, just look at some job postings in your field, and see what kind of language is used to describe key skills and job titles. Make sure your own terminology is not too dated; for example, you don’t want to call yourself a “webmaster” if that term has been replaced with “Web developer.”

Google Yourself

Why Google yourself? Because potential employers are definitely going to. Hopefully you’ll find positive results—your LinkedIn profile, perhaps a personal website. If you come across an old and out-of-date blog, you may wish to delete it. And if you find that you share a name with someone disreputable—like, someone who’s been involved with public scandals—you may actually want to consider adding a middle initial to your online profiles, distinguishing yourself. Your name is a vital set of online keywords, and it’s crucial to manage them.

Show Your Knowledge

Something else you’ll want to do is showcase your subject matter expertise. Prove yourself to be a true industry insider, an authoritative figure within your industry. The best platform for doing this is LinkedIn Pulse. Post regular blog updates where you display your familiarity with industry trends and practices. If you need help ghostwriting these posts, Grammar Chic can deliver it!

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

Finally, we recommend a thorough audit of your LinkedIn profile, ensuring that each section is filled out completely and phrased with the right keywords. We can help with that, too, and in fact we offer full LinkedIn optimization services, which help you put your best foot forward on the Web.

You can start that process right now. Contact Grammar Chic to ask how we can help you position yourself better on the Web. Reach out to us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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5 Bad Job Search Habits That You Need to Break

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Nail biting. Interrupting people when they speak. Eating junk food. All of us develop a few bad habits over the course of our lifetime, and if we’re really alert, we’ll take note of them and work to break them. The same holds true in the job search. Jobseekers can’t help but pick up a few less-than-helpful practices, but success depends on breaking those habits and replacing them with healthier ones.

So what are your bad job search habits? Maybe you’re already aware of them. If not, allow us to list five of the most common examples. If you recognize any of these habits in yourself, it goes without saying that you should try to turn over a new leaf!

Bad habit: Being vague about what you want.

Say you’re at a party or a networking event, and you mention that you’re looking for work. “Oh, what kind of a job are you interested in?” someone might say. Don’t respond with something generic: “Well, I dunno, maybe something in marketing… or something where I can write… really anything that’s creative…” Nobody wants to hire someone so wishy-washy. It’s better to have a specific job search objective, and to be ready to voice it—like a well-honed elevator pitch.

Bad habit: Applying for every job you see.

Some jobseekers take sort of a scattershot approach to their job search, throwing out five or 10 applications every day to any and every open position they see. It’s almost impossible to truly follow up with such an all-over-the-place search, though, and being focused on applying for only jobs that truly fit your skillset and career objective makes more sense.

Bad habit: Using the same resume for every job.

This goes back to what we said about being generic. Each job opening calls for its own, precisely honed resume—one that highlights how you’re a good fit for that specific role. Having a few versions of your resume that you can choose from is invaluable.

Bad habit: Trying to be too creative with your resume.

Some jobseekers are constantly looking for new fonts, formats, or colors that can set their resume apart—but in the process, they are undermining their own professionalism. The best way to stand out is with a resume that’s organized smoothly and highlights achievements and core competencies clearly.

Bad habit: Not following up.

Applying for a job is one thing, but following up on an application is where the magic usually happens. If you’re not in the habit of routine follow up, it’s time to get there!

Another habit we recommend? Periodic resume tune-ups from the Grammar Chic team. You can start the process by giving us a call at 803-831-7444, or by visiting www.grammarchic.net.

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Why the Holiday Season is a Great Time for Job Searching

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There are countless excuses you can make for suspending your job search through the month of December: You need a break. You want to enjoy the holidays. Nobody’s really hiring anyway. Most companies are worried about end-of-the-year financials and holiday parties. You can start your job search again in mid-January, once things are back to normal.

We’re here to tell you that, in spite of all the excuses, the holiday season is actually a great time to look for work. If you’re already searching, keep doing it—full speed ahead. And if you’ve been thinking about launching a new job search, there really is no time like the present.

Reasons to Job Search During the Holidays

Why do we think the holiday season is so ideal for job searching? Here’s our argument:

Your competitors are taking time off for the holidays. You might assume that hiring managers receive many fewer resumes and cover letters during the holiday season—and you’re not wrong. That’s all the more reason for you to step up and seize this opportunity to shine in a less-crowded field of applicants.

You’ll have a lot of opportunities to network over the holidays. Parties, open houses, charity events… this is a season that brings with it plenty of chances to meet and mingle, which can really be an asset to jobseekers.

You have a great excuse to reconnect with old contacts. The holidays give you a perfect reason to send quick emails or LinkedIn messages to former colleagues and classmates, and to let them know you’re thinking about them and wish them a happy holiday season. Of course, you can also let them know you’re in the market for work.

You may actually have an easier time reaching hiring managers. It’s not unusual for administrative assistants and mid-level managers to take holiday time, so if you call a potential employer, there’s a decent shot of you connecting more easily to the ultimate decider. This gives you a unique opportunity to form a connection!

You can position yourself for January turnover. The beginning of the year can bring a lot of departures—so even if you’re not hired before Christmas, you can at least have your name in the ring for a shot in January.

You can prove yourself to be serious. Job seeking over the holiday season is, as we’ve already established, a pretty bold move—and it’ll show hiring managers that you’re really committed.

Make Your Move

There’s no time like now to put your best foot forward—and one way to do so is to spruce up your resume. We’d love to give you the holiday-season resume overhaul you need. Contact our team at Grammar Chic to make it happen: 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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4 Job Search Worries You Can Stop Stressing About

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Seeking new employment can be stressful—especially when you’re not already earning a paycheck somewhere. That stress cannot be totally mitigated, but perhaps it can be reduced. At the very least, jobseekers can stop stressing about the things that just don’t matter, saving their worry and their attention for the bigger, more significant issues.

In other words: Know what you should legitimately be concerned about, and what you can let go of. We’ll offer a few quick examples of the latter—four things that many jobseekers worry about, but really don’t need to.

Job Search Anxieties You Can Let Go

  • The occasional gap on your resume. While it’s certainly problematic to have a resume riddled with holes, a few short gaps here and there—especially ones in the distant past—are really nothing to fret about. Maybe you took three months off from your career to care for an ailing parent, or you took a sabbatical while you returned to school. An employer may very well ask you about these gaps, but all you have to do is give your explanation, and the employer will almost surely understand. It’s nothing to get hung up about.
  • Requests to contact your current boss. You may be asked if the hiring manager can get in touch with your current employer, as a reference—and you may prefer that this not happen. More likely than not, your job search is something you’d rather keep secret. The good news is, employers understand that, and declining this request is perfectly normal. Don’t hesitate to ask the hiring manager not to let the cat out of the bag with your current boss.
  • Jobs left off your resume. In the interest of telling your story, as succinctly as possible, you may want to omit a job listing or two from your resume—and that’s okay! Now, should you leave off a major job that leaves a seven-year gap on your resume? Probably not. But if you need to cut off your summer internship from back when you were 18, well, that’s not likely to be an issue.
  • An unwieldy list of references. You may have former employers or colleagues on your list who have since moved on, or even retired. Contacting them might be challenging—but that’s not really your concern. When a hiring manager asks you for references, he or she is only asking for your permission to contact those folks. The logistics aren’t your concern!

Another way to eliminate worry from your job search? Make yourself confident by getting a sparkling new resume. Start the process today by contacting the Grammar Chic team! You can reach our resume writing pros at 803-831-7444, or at www.grammarchic.net.

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