Tag Archives: job searching

Don’t Let Recruiters Know You’re Desperate

You may feel desperate to find new employment—but that doesn’t mean you should show it, especially not to recruiters and hiring managers. Generally speaking, desperation makes you look sloppy, unprofessional, and simply not as competent and put-together as employers wish.

In a word, you want to project confidence—not jitters. The question is how. Here are a few of the most common ways in which jobseekers reveal their underlying desperation; start by avoiding these at all costs.

Avoiding the Signs of Job Search Desperation

  • Applying for dozens of different jobs at the same company. It’s always important to take a targeted approach; zero in on the one job you’re really excited about and qualified You don’t want to give the impression that you’ll just take anything.
  • Using your resume or cover letter to beg. You may really want the job in question, but it’s best not to get down on your hands and knees to plead for it—figuratively or literally.
  • Bragging about how much your past employer loved you. It’s far better to cite your actual achievements and professional milestones, and to ask the recruiter or hiring manager what they’re looking for in an employee. Your old boss’ opinion just isn’t relevant.
  • Asking for immediate feedback. The single worst way to end a job interview is by asking, “So how did I do?” That’s Desperate with a capital D. Be a professional. Wait for the callback like everyone else.
  • Leaving constant follow-ups. It’s wise to send a thank-you note after an interview, and perhaps to call with a follow-up after a week or so has passed. Leaving daily emails or voicemails, though, is just irritating, and highly unprofessional.
  • Immediately sending a LinkedIn connection request to your interviewer. The only thing more inappropriate is immediately sending a Facebook friend request.
  • Apologizing for something you said or did in an interview. You may think you made a huge blunder or put your foot in your mouth, but honestly, most interviewers forget these things almost immediately. There’s no need to remind them of it.
  • Sending gifts to your interviewer. Yes, this includes things like homemade cookies. There’s no need to send treats; it’s not going to sweeten your prospect any.

Any one of these little gaffes can make you come across as desperate—and that’s never what you want to convey. Make sure you control your emotions, and let your resume speak for itself. To make sure yours is up to snuff, reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc.’s resume writing team today. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

 

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Is Your Resume Behind the Times? Here are 5 Warning Signs.

The workforce is always changing—and with it, the job search changes, too. Take the resume. What once was standard and agreed-upon may no longer be acceptable among hiring managers and recruiters. Simply put, if you’re writing your resume in 2017 the same way you wrote it in 1997, you’re going to look like a dinosaur—and most hiring managers do not want to hire dinosaurs.

So how do you know if your resume is out of date? What are the telltale signs of an antiquated job search document? Here are five things we’d recommend you watch out for.

How to Know Your Resume is Out of Date

You have an objective. Yes, there was a time when every resume had an objective—but then we all just sort of realized something: Everyone’s job search objective is basically the same. We all want to get a job—period. The objective is obsolete, and its presence on your resume makes it look way behind the times. Skip the objective and include an executive summary, instead.

Your resume lacks core competencies and keywords. Today, resumes are typically scanned by a software program before they ever make it onto the desk of an actual human being. If you want your resume to make it to the hiring manager, you first need to get it past the computer—and that includes employing some keywords. Here’s a hint: The keywords you need are usually included in the job listing itself. Scan it for any key skills that are listed, and see if you can work them into your resume.

Your resume includes skills that are past their prime. Simply put, everybody should know how to use email, Web browsers, and Microsoft Word by now. Including these skills on your resume does not make you look more accomplished. It makes you look dated.

Your resume is generic. The days of generalized resumes are long gone—period. You should always tweak your resume to match the position you’re applying for. Again, looking at the actual job listing, and using some of that verbiage to shape your resume, is key.

Your resume is badly formatted. It’s much easier than it used to be to make your resume look clean and readable. Bullet points, subheadings, and clear fonts are all recommended. If you want to see what a modern-looking, easy-to-read resume looks like, just reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. team.

We’re standing by to help you clean up your resume and bring it into the current day. Get resume help today by calling 803-831-7444, or visiting www.grammarchic.net.

 

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5 Ways to Make Your Fall Job Search Count

January and February are generally recognized as the best months for launching a new career, as many companies need to fill vacancies from employees who departed at year’s end. According to the experts, though, September and October run a close second place, presenting a fruitful time for jobseekers to reach for the next rung on their career ladder.

If you’re planning to seek new employment over the autumn months, there are a few steps you can take to maximize your odds of success. Here are a few best practices from the Grammar Chic resumes team.

Get Your Family’s Support

The fall season can be busy for everyone, yet it’s important for you to set aside some dedicated time for the job search—for fine-tuning your resume, building your network, and applying for jobs. Take the initiative to talk with your family members and explain to them your job search goals. Let them know that you covet their support, even if that means giving you a few uninterrupted hours each week to focus on advancing your career.

Do Your Research

The best way to make those job search hours count isn’t to lunge at every open opportunity you see. It’s to be steady and intentional. Create a list of targeted companies and opportunities, then do some research into those workplace cultures and values. Put your effort into really optimizing your chances for those jobs you really want and are really qualified for. Set a patient, deliberate pace for your job search.

Curate Your Online Presence

Have you invested some time in LinkedIn optimization? How about removing any old blogs that still pop up on Google, and maybe don’t convey your professionalism as well as you might like? Should you set your Facebook account to private? Do you have the time to publish some good, informative articles on LinkedIn Pulse, showcasing your industry know-how? These are all critical considerations. Above all, know this: Potential hiring managers and recruiters will look you up on Google. Plan accordingly.

Make Connections

It’s wise to reach out to old contacts, but also to try forging some new ones. Any opportunities you have to attend professional networking events or industry-specific seminars can be invaluable—especially if you go in with the mindset of expanding your network and advancing your job search. Even an event with your local Chamber of Commerce or other nearby professional organizations can have potential.

Update Your Marketing Documents

As the season changes, perhaps your resume and cover letter should change, too. Revitalize them, ensuring they convey your value as an employee vividly, specifically, and succinctly. For help, reach out to the experts at Grammar Chic, Inc.

We’re here to help you land your dream job, via marketing documents that get results. For a resume or cover letter consultation, reach out to our team at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Sending a Thank You Letter Could Cost You Your Job

As a jobseeker, it’s important for every piece of personal marketing collateral you send out to be error-free and professional.

This includes, obviously, your resume and cover letter. And, it includes the thank you note you send after your interview.

Believe it or not, the thank you note is more than just a formality. It could be the thing that seals the deal—or, the thing that breaks it.

No, really: It’s possible to email a post-interview thank you letter that’s so bad, you lose out on the position to another candidate.

Don’t believe us? Here are five ways in which your thank you letter can wreck your chances.

It’s full of mistakes.

“It was a pleasure to meat you today.” “I hope you choose to higher me.” Do you see the problem with these sentences? Hopefully you do, and hopefully you’ll proof your own thank you letter thoroughly enough to eliminate similar mistakes from your writing.

The bottom line is, there are probably multiple qualified candidates who interviewed for the position—and the hiring manager may very well make the final decision based on who didn’t send an email full of embarrassing typos.

It’s too casual.

Was the person who interviewed you super laid back, using a lot of casual slang and humor? That’s great! But it’s no reason to fill your thank you note with similar frivolities.

You don’t have the job yet. Just play it safe. Keep your email professional.

It’s too generic.

On the flipside, it’s very possible to send an email that’s reads like a form letter—and then, what’s the point?

Your thank you email should define you as a candidate. It should help differentiate you from other applicants. That’s why you need to get into some of the specifics of your experience, your interview, etc.

It’s too long.

Don’t come on too strong! If your email text wouldn’t fit onto a thank you card you bought at the store, then it’s too long.

It’s too late.

You should send your thank you email within 24 hours of the interview. If you’ve already waited a week, then just don’t bother sending it at all.

We’ll Write Your Thank You Email for You!

If you’re unsure of how to craft any of your personal branding materials—from the thank you letter to the resume itself—you can always call in the pros! Reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. resume writing team to learn more. Connect at www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444.

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Yes, You CAN Proofread Your Resume Effectively

Your resume may be a powerful showcase of your skills, your achievements, and your professional trajectory—yet if there is even a single typo on the document, it could sink your chances at an interview, and derail your job search completely.

We’re not being hyperbolic, either. Hiring managers and recruiters are inundated with resumes, and they don’t need much reason at all to discard yours—giving themselves one less applicant to tangle with. And typos, while often perfectly innocent, can call into question your professionalism and your attention to detail. In short: They make you look bad!

When building your resume, proofreading is an essential step. We understand that you may not be confident in your own proofing skills, and we get it. It’s challenging to catch mistakes in your own work. But you can do it—and we’ll show you how.

Practical Ways to Proofread More Successfully

Here are some pragmatic fixes for your proofreading issues:

Print out your resume. Here’s why: The mind engages text on the screen differently than it does text on the page. By reading both ways, you can be more thorough in spotting potential errors.

Read out loud. When you read the text out loud, you not only pick up on more errors, but may also become aware of issues—like over-repetition of a particular word—that makes the resume seem a bit off.

Put a finger on each word. As you read, either on your tablet or a printed document, put your finger on each new word as you read it—preventing your mind from skipping over anything.

Read it backwards. Start at the bottom and work your way up! This ensures that you’re actually seeing the letters on the page, not getting distracted by the ideas, context, or logical flow.

Get a friend to help. No matter how rigorous you are, you can still benefit from having multiple sets of eyes.

Make Your Resume Look Perfect

Your resume should look like perfection, and proofreading is an essential part of that. One more thing you can do to ensure the right level of polish? Hire a professional resume writer. Ours are always happy to help, whether you need a quick review or a complete rewrite.

Reach out to the resume writing professionals on the Grammar Chic team today. You can connect with Grammar Chic, Inc. online at www.grammarchic.net, or call us at 803-831-7444.

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How to Write a Post-Interview Thank You Note

Job interviews are all about making a positive impression—and that’s something you can do even once the interview itself is technically over. Within a day or two of your job interview, send a thank you note to the person you interviewed with. It doesn’t matter whether the interview was a triumph or a total disaster; it doesn’t even matter whether you still want the job or not. You never know when you might encounter someone from that organization again, and it’s simply wise to make sure you leave that strong impression.

Before You Leave the Interview

Even before you exit from the interview, one thing you can do is ask everyone you’re interviewing with for a business card. That way, when you send thank you notes, you don’t leave anyone out—and you don’t get anyone’s name wrong! At the very least, take an extra minute to confirm that you have all the names right before you leave the office.

How to Write Your Thank You Note

As for actually composing your thank you note, here are some tips to keep you on the straight and narrow.

  • Send an individual thank you note for everyone you interview with—not just one blanket thank you for the group. That personal touch goes a long way!
  • If at all possible, send your thank you note within 24 hours of the interview—48 at the very most.
  • Mention specifics. Make note of something about the company you found to be exciting, e.g., “I was excited to hear about New Client A,” or “I think new app B sounds like a tremendous asset.”
  • Highlight a particular skill or achievement from your own resume that you think will align with the position in question.
  • Affirm once more why you feel as though you’re a good fit for the position.
  • Make sure each thank you note is unique! Remember that the people who receive them may compare them, so you don’t want each thank you note you send to be a generic form letter.
  • Keep the letter fairly brief and straight to the point; you want to reaffirm your thankfulness for the interview and your interest in the position, but you don’t need to belabor things. A good thank you note is usually a paragraph or two.

Always Send a Note

Again, it’s always good to send a thank you note—even if you don’t really want the position. Keep those impressions positive—and your bridges from burning.

By the way: Sending your thank you note via email is almost always acceptable, unless you know the company to be especially formal or old-fashioned—like a law firm, perhaps.

And if you need help composing a robust, effective thank you note, we encourage you to use our team. Grammar Chic, Inc. can help you craft the perfect resume, cover letter, and yes, even the perfect thank you note. Reach out to us today to learn more: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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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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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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