Tag Archives: job searching

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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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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Thank You Notes are Invaluable to the Job Search

Recently, the Grammar Chic blog has championed the long-lost art of thank you note writing, both in the context of the holiday gift season and in the context of weddings/bridal showers.

Today, we address still another occasion on which sending a thank you note is imperative—and that’s when you’re in the midst of a job search.

Why Should Jobseekers Send Thank You Notes?

Following a job interview, you should always send a thank you note to whichever people you interviewed with—and for a few reasons:

  • First, it’s just the polite thing to do; the interviewer gave you some of their valuable time, and you should let them know you appreciate it.
  • It’s a great way to get in just a little more contact with your (potential) future boss—and more contact is always a good thing!
  • Finally, most recruiters and hiring managers prefer receiving thank you notes. According to a study cited in the Chicago Tribune, 70 percent of hiring managers say receiving a thank you note impacts their final decision. Meanwhile, 16 percent say that completely dismiss any candidate who does not send a thank you note!

Bottom line: It’s always in your best interests to send a note, even if you feel as though the interview went badly.

What if You Interviewed with Multiple People?

In some cases, of course, one note won’t cut it; if you interview with multiple people at the same company, it’s best to send a thank you note to each one of them individually. Make sure to personalize each one!

When Should You Send Your Thank You Note?

As for the timing, always aim to send your thank you notes within 24 hours! Note: Emailing them is perfectly fine.

What Should You Include in the Note?

As for what to say, you just need a few short sentences. Make sure you:

  • Address the person by name (check spelling!)
  • Personalize the card with something you learned about the person during the initial “small talk” phase of your interview
  • Reiterate your interest in the position
  • Underscore one or two key reasons why you think you’re qualified for the job; no need to rehash your whole resume, just some main bullet points
  • State how much you appreciate the person’s time and interest

One more thing: If you’re not sure of your thank you note writing skills, the Grammar Chic resume writing team is happy to help. Lean on our expertise for all your job search needs. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

 

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10 Steps For a Lean, Focused, and Effective Job Search

Few things are more exhausting—and potentially more demoralizing—than seeking a new job opportunity. It’s tough work, a full-time job in and of itself—and when you don’t get results, you might feel despair.

Don’t. Instead, take time to refocus and revitalize your job search. Make it lean, focused, and efficient. Here are 10 steps to make it happen.

Treat it like an actual job.

We weren’t kidding when we said job searching was like a full-time gig in and of itself. Get up early each morning, head to a home office or favorite coffee shop, and put in the hours—fine-tuning your resume, filling out applications, researching new positions, etc. (If you already have a full-time job, of course, the time you can spend job searching will be more limited, though we still recommend a formal, disciplined, and scheduled approach.)

Give yourself a break.

We recommend the 50/10 rule, or some variation of it: Work hard for 50 minutes, then give yourself 10 to get up, stretch, go for a walk, watch a funny YouTube clip, or do something else to maintain your mental health.

Recharge your batteries.

If you treat your job search as a full-time gig, that means you can allow yourself to take a little time off here and there—think of it as vacation time. When the application process starts to feel wearying, spend a day doing something fun and life-giving.

Research the companies that excite you.

Research is an undervalued part of the job search process. Spend time reading up on different companies, keeping a list of the ones you want to apply to and targeting different positions within the company.

Follow the companies you’re interested in on social media.

Often, that’s how you can be the first to hear about new job openings.

Narrow your job search according to salary.

You know how much money you need to pay the bills, and you know which salary ranges you would and wouldn’t accept. Don’t waste time looking for jobs you know you won’t take.

Find a friend.

Having a support structure is key. Make sure you’re regularly checking in with someone who can speak positivity into your job process, and help you maintain high spirits.

List keywords.

As you look at different job opportunities within your industry, keep notes about the keywords you see across these various listings. Use those to structure and optimize your resume.

Perfect your resume.

That’s where we come in. Schedule a consultation with a Grammar Chic resume writing pro, then let us turn your resume into something that will command attention.

Optimize your LinkedIn profile.

Along the same lines, Grammar Chic’s team can rehabilitate your social media presence, and help you be seen as the candidate of choice among recruiters and hiring managers.

Start taking these steps toward a more efficient job search today—and make sure you call us for those last two! Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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