Tag Archives: Professional Resume Writers

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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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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Why the Holidays are Ideal for Launching a Job Search

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It’s a question our resume division receives every year around this time: Is the holiday season really a good time to launch a job search?

And our answer is always the same thing: An overwhelming, resounding yes.

And we’ll tell you why.

‘Tis the Season… for a New Career

  1. A lot of jobseekers actually delay or suspend their search over the holidays. The conventional wisdom is that the holiday season is a poor time to look for employment—many jobseekers are so overwhelmed with other holiday responsibilities that they simply take themselves off the market between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day.

That’s good news for you. Less competition means more opportunities for you to shine—so while other jobseekers sit things out, you should put yourself in the game.

  1. Many companies go through a lot of turnover during the holidays. This is one of the prime times of year for established employees to start itching for a change—putting in their notice and heading off for greener pastures.

So if you think a lot of companies don’t hire over the holidays, think again: There are a lot of opportunities, and a lot of openings you could fill.

  1. The holiday season makes networking easier. There’s an old saying that, in jobseeking, it’s not what you know but who you know.

Well, you’ll have plenty of ways to reconnect with the people you know during the holidays—sending Christmas cards and LinkedIn greetings, or bumping into people at holiday parties. These are all great opportunities to build your network and let people know you’re looking.

Clearly, this is a fine season to really bump your job search into high gear—assuming you’re willing to put in some hustle and approach your search strategically.

A good place to start is with a new resume—and our team is standing ready, even during this busy time of year, to give yours the polish it needs.

Get started on your holiday job search. Contact Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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6 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Resume

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You’ve found an online job posting that’s gotten you really excited. You’ve filled out the online form. Now it’s time to upload your resume, hit submit, then sit back and wait for your phone to ring.

But wait: Before you do that, why not take an extra five minutes to double and triple check your resume? You’ve probably looked it over a hundred times before, but it never hurts to verify that your resume is spotless, professional, and appealing.

Read through your resume just one more time before you send it off, and as you read it ask yourself these quick questions:

Is your contact information accurate, complete, and up to date? Yes, this seems like a no-brainer—but you would be amazed at how many resumes we see where digits in the phone number are transposed, or there is a typo in the e-mail address, or there is no physical mailing address listed at all. Read through your contact information caaaaaarefullly to ensure it says what you want it to say.

Does your resume have keywords that mirror the job posting? If the job posting itself emphasizes “customer relations” or “social media strategy,” well, you probably want to make sure those phrases appear in your actual resume. Tweak your document to include as many pertinent keywords as you can.

Does your resume list actual accomplishments? Employers don’t just want to see what your previous job responsibilities were; they want to see what you achieved. Are there places you could add specific numbers or other figures to prove your effectiveness?

Does your resume convey an actual narrative? Your resume should tell the story of your career—which means denoting a clear trajectory, showing promotions, proving that each job held builds on the last, and not including any employment gaps.

Is your resume scannable? Can a potential employer skim your resume with relative ease? Remember that these are busy people, and a resume that can’t be skimmed may not get considered at all. Things to look for: Plenty of white space, clearly marked sections, a bulleted list of core competencies, and a resume that doesn’t go too long (one page is often enough, two is usually the max).

Does your resume include anything superfluous? Take one more look to see if you included hobbies or other personal information that doesn’t factor into your employability—and if so, axe it!

If you look over your resume and don’t like what you see, never fear: The Grammar Chic resume team is here to help! Reach out to us today at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

 

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Jobseeker, What’s Your Greatest Weakness?

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We recently shared a few tips on answering some of the most common—and most tricky—job interview questions. One of those questions is sufficiently slippery that it deserves some blog space all its own. You probably know the question already: So tell us… what’s your biggest weakness?

This question is a staple of the job interview process, and if an interviewer asks you to identify your biggest strengths, you can rest assured that a question about weakness is coming next. This question is designed to do a few different things. It evaluates how well you think under pressure. It evaluates your level of self-awareness and candor. And it allows the interviewer to see if you handle a treacherous scenario with aplomb, or if you deteriorate into a flop sweat.

Answering the Question

With that said, how can jobseekers prepare for this question—and when it comes, how can they answer it gracefully and satisfactorily?

Make sure you have an answer ready in advance. You’re probably going to be asked this question, so come up with your answer in advance; on-the-fly responses tend to come across like BS.

Give an answer that is related to your work. This is not the time to address a “weakness” in your marriage or in your out-of-the-office relationships. Don’t drag emotional baggage into the interview.

Be willing to laugh at yourself. If you can think of a humorous example of the weakness you’re discussing, that’s all the better, because it shows real confidence when you’re willing to be the butt of your own joke.

Make it something teachable. The best weaknesses to identify are the ones that you can be coached and trained on—because of course, your new employer can always coach and train!

Explain how you’ve worked on it. Emphasize that your weakness is something you recognize and are invested in improving on.

Don’t do a “humble brag.” Saying your biggest problem is that you work too hard or care too much is lame, and won’t fool anyone.

Arrive in your interview expecting this question—and knowing how you’re going to respond. For more job search tips, hit us up at www.grammarchic.net or 804-831-7444.

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What Your Job Search Needs is an Elevator Pitch

iStock_000020173836XSmallIf you’re in the market for a new job, you need to have a strong, hooky elevator pitch. You need it for a couple of reasons. One, you may actually find yourself in the proverbial elevator with someone—or, you know, having a drink with someone after a conference or seminar—and have an opportunity to do a quick sell for yourself. Of course, you want to be prepared!

You also need an elevator pitch for the job interview itself. Odds are, the interviewer will ask you some version of this tried-and-true job interview question: Why are you the best fit for this position? Or maybe you’ll just get a simple, So tell me about yourself. In either case, the correct response is to offer a succinct summary of your value as an employee. In short: An elevator pitch!

Crafting the Perfect Elevator Pitch

But what does a good elevator pitch entail? Here are a few tips for honing yours:

Remember what an elevator pitch is, and what it isn’t. A good elevator pitch is a 15-to-30-second synopsis of who you are as an employee. It is not a full walk through your resume. As such, you should be focused on high points and the general overview, not on hitting every single job you’ve ever had or every single skill in your toolbox.

Think in terms of value. You don’t want your elevator pitch to be a laundry list of skills. Rather, you want it to be a quick appraisal of the value you can offer an employer. Maybe you work as a Human Resources professional. Don’t list all of your skills in payroll, compliance, or whatever else; instead, say something like, “I can make your team members more motivated, engaged, and productive, and I can do it with a very small budget.”

Start with a full resume. One way to get your elevator pitch perfected is to start with a full page that includes all the things you want to say to a potential employer. Then, cut it down to half a page; then, to a quarter page; and finally, to just a few precious lines.

Rehearse your elevator pitch. The pitch isn’t just about the words, but how they are delivered. You should be able to give your pitch with total confidence. It should be as easy to you as giving your own name.

You need an elevator pitch, just as surely as you need a good resume. We can help with both. Reach out to Grammar Chic at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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