Tag Archives: Professional Resume Writing

5 Ways Jobseekers Can Address Employment Gaps—Positively

Everyone’s story is different. Maybe you got your first job when you were still in high school, and have been working steadily ever since. Then again, maybe you left the workforce for an extended period of time— whether to go back to school, to raise a child, or to contend with some medical issues.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that, of course—but it can lead to some resume complications. How can jobseekers address gaps in their employment history? Here are a few positive, pragmatic tips from our resume writing team.

Addressing Employment Gaps on Your Resume

Whatever You Do, Don’t Apologize

First and foremost: Remind yourself that there is nothing wrong with taking time off for pursuits as noble as raising a kid or going back to school. It may give you an unconventional career trajectory, but it is nothing to feel ashamed or sorry about. Avoid taking any sort of an apologetic tone on your resume—because frankly, that can scan as negativity, which is the last thing you want on your resume.

Use Your Cover Letter to Your Advantage

Your resume doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting! If you have a year or two where you weren’t working, you can bring it up in your cover letter—noting succinctly (and unapologetically!) that you briefly detoured out of the workforce to care for an ailing parent, seek medical attention, or whatever else. Don’t be timid about offering a quick and direct explanation, then moving on.

Consider an Alternative Resume Format

Most of the time, we recommend a chronological work history—but if your work chronology is a little weird or wonky, you may benefit from a functional resume, one that’s laid out by skills/competencies rather than a straight job history. This can be a smart way to emphasize your strengths while being discreet about your absence from the workforce.

Avoid Complaining About Old Bosses

Sometimes, an absence from the workforce is all because you had a really bad wok experience, and just couldn’t stick around any longer. That’s fine, but make sure you never lapse into complaining about a former boss—no matter how bad the boss was! Simply put, nobody wants to hire a complainer. Don’t brand yourself that way.

Keep the Emphasis on Your Achievements

If you missed a few months or a few years of work, it’s important to let employers know that you didn’t lose your mojo in the interim. Make sure you include plenty of strong, specific achievements from before and after your time off. And if you’ve not yet returned to the workforce after a long absence, include some details about what you did during your time off—such as volunteer work, freelance projects, or continuous education. Just make it clear you weren’t sitting idly by!

Get a Tune-Up for Your Resume

Could your resume do a better job of addressing an employment gap? Ask our resume writers to help. Give us a call and schedule a resume consultation—www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Your Cover Letter Should Include These Six Elements

When submitting a resume to a recruiter or hiring manager, it’s usually a good idea to include a cover letter, as well—even if you’ve been told that cover letters are “optional.” Simply put, a cover letter gives you an additional chance to pitch yourself; it’s one more piece of marketing collateral that can help you convey your value as an employee and stand out from the competition.

But all of this is contingent on your cover letter being well-constructed. If you’ve never drafted a cover letter before, you may wish to consider consulting with one of our resume writers, who can ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

Or, consider these brief guidelines—six elements that characterize an effective cover letter.

Six Things Every Cover Letter Needs

  1. Specifics. Using bullet points, outline two to four of your most significant career accomplishments—and whenever possible, use statistics and numbers to lend those achievements some specificity. Hiring managers respond better to quantifiable accomplishments than to generalities; “increased sales by 35 percent” is always better than just “increased sales.”
  2. Personalization. Every cover letter you send out should be customized; don’t simply copy and paste the same text for every job opportunity. Whenever possible, do a little online research and find the name of the hiring manager or HR head who’s going to be receiving the cover letter, and address it to them individually.
  3. Brevity. This isn’t the place to tell your life story. It’s not even the place to outline your career history; that’s what your resume is for! A good cover letter is more like an elevator pitch, quick and punchy. You never want it to exceed a page; often, half a page is sufficient.
  4. Keywords. Another important way in which you can customize your cover letter? Look through the job description for the role you’re seeking, and try to incorporate some of that verbiage into your cover letter—emphasizing your fit for the position. If the job description uses the phrase “customer service” two or three times, that’s a phrase you should include in the cover letter.
  5. Contact information. Your name, address, phone number, and email address should all be included in the cover letter—always!
  6. Value. The big picture here is that you’re trying to show a potential employer the benefits you can offer them—and that means displaying the unique value you have as a professional. Try to articulate those things you believe make you special as an employee. This is where those specific accomplishments come in handy; and, where generalizations like hard-working and motivated generally come up short.

These guidelines should point you toward a strong cover letter—but if you still have questions, we’d love to look over your resume and cover letter and suggest some revisions. Reach out to the resume writing team at Grammar Chic, Inc. to schedule a consultation. Connect with us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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What You Need to Know About Choosing a Resume Writing Service

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There is no denying that the job market is a fierce and competitive place. Dozens – and sometimes hundreds – of people vying for the same openings. As a job seeker, you want to stand out among the crowd, and one of the first opportunities to do so is to have a strong resume.

Hiring a professional resume writing service can be a great place to start. Let’s face it: not everyone excels at writing or being able to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. Some people haven’t written or updated their resume in years and expectations have changed. But in most cases, your ability to write a resume doesn’t impact your ability to do the job for which you’re applying. We turn to individuals and companies to support us in so many other facets of our lives, so why not writing a resume?

Tips for Choosing a Resume Writing Service

When it comes down to choosing a resume writing service, not all businesses are the same. It’s important to select a company that you can trust and whose services align with your needs. So what should you look for?

  • Beware of guarantees.

No one can guarantee that you will get a job or even an interview. That relies on many other factors aside from your resume. However, a solid resume can increase your chances of landing an interview.

  • Look for personalization.

Do you simply submit all of your information online and in a few days your new resume appears? Or do you actually get to collaborate with the writer? Grammar Chic engages in a one-on-one phone call with each client to learn more about them, their background, career path, work history, accomplishments, strengths, and more. This allows for a more personalized resume aligned with the client’s unique needs and capabilities.

  • Compare packages.

What are you getting in return for the cost? Going with the cheapest or most expensive company is not always the best choice. Look at what they offer. What type of consultation do you receive? Are edits or revisions included? What is the turnaround time? Is LinkedIn uploading provided? Do they offer other services such as cover letters and thank you notes? Paying a little more upfront can be beneficial if you’re receiving comprehensive services.

  • Ask about results.

You’re paying for a professional service – it’s okay to ask questions! Find out what type of results you can expect and what other clients have to say about the company. Check out the company website and reviews.

  • Get involved.

Gather as much information as you can to provide to the resume writer. This includes old resumes, job descriptions, performance reviews, awards, certifications, professional development, etc. Spend some time reflecting on your career and the things you are proud of. What skills have you developed that will benefit your next employer? What you do you feel your best strengths are? This can help to ensure that your new resume is a positive and accurate reflection of who you are. Just make sure you’re being honest.

There’s nothing wrong with hiring a resume writing service to help you with your resume. The job market is always changing and a professional company stays up-to-date with the latest trends and standards that you may have overlooked. If you’re unsure about where to start when it comes to your resume, or you’re not getting the results you had hoped for in your job search, contact Grammar Chic today to learn more about our resume writing services. Email info@grammarchic.net or call (803) 831-7444 to get started.

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Is It Time to Overhaul Your Resume?

If you’re like many people, you only give your resume a second glance when you’re looking for a new job. That can backfire when you’re in a rush to apply for open positions and you may not give off the best impression or emphasize your strongest assets. Keeping your resume up-to-date even when you’re not actively seeking a job can help you to be more prepared when an opportunity comes along.

Here are a few signs that it might be time to give your resume an overhaul and spruce things up:

It’s been years since you’ve revised it. Resume formats and trends have changed over the years, so if you’re submitting the same resume you used 10 years ago (or even 5), it’s going to be pretty obvious to recruiters and employers. Long gone are the days of objectives and “references available upon request.” Say goodbye to that AOL email or the address you’ve been using since college if it isn’t something professional. You want to ensure your resume is in line with what employers are looking for today and isn’t dating you.

Your resume could apply to anyone or any position. If your resume is filled with generic copy that doesn’t set you apart from the next applicant and doesn’t strongly demonstrate your capabilities, you’re wasting the opportunity to make a memorable first impression. In fact, you may find that your resume is being passed over more often than you’d like. Your resume should be a reflection of you and what you have accomplished throughout your career. Focus on your achievements and what you bring to the table.

You’re not getting many – or any – responses. You’ve submitted your resume to dozens of jobs yet hear nothing back. While part of this may be the competitiveness of the market and the particular jobs you are applying for, your resume may also be to blame. If employers can’t quickly see that you are a good fit, you have the skills they seek, and you can benefit their company, they’ll move on to someone who does fit the bill. Now may be a good time to really evaluate your resume and give it a good updating so that it works in your favor.

You’re getting calls for the wrong types of jobs. Are you getting calls for jobs that aren’t in line with what you’re looking for? Your resume may not be presenting you in the way you’re hoping it does. To you it may seem obvious what type of job you’re seeking or why you’re a good match, but to employers it may not be. Spell it out on your resume. Don’t let there be any doubt about your abilities or how you’re branding yourself. This is where a solid summary of qualifications and core competencies section come into play.

If your resume is missing the mark, or you’re just not sure where to start, the team at Grammar Chic is here to help. We will work with you to create an up-to-date resume that reflects you in a positive light and generates attention for the right reasons. Contact Grammar Chic at (803) 831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net today!

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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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4 Ways You’re Unintentionally Slowing Your Job Search

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Job hunting is usually not a very casual business: More likely than not, if you’re seeking a new job it’s because you desperately need or fervently want one, sooner rather than later. You don’t have the luxury of time, and you wouldn’t dream of doing anything that would slow your process.

Or at least, you wouldn’t do it on purpose—but what if you’re accidentally impeding your own progress, using job search strategies that slow things down rather than move things forward?

Strategies that Slow Your Job Search

We’ll show you what we mean. These are just some of the approaches that can add days, weeks, or even months to your quest for employment—in other words, strategies you’ll want to avoid!

Taking a shotgun approach to applications. Applying for every job you see may seem like a great idea, but actually it decreases, not increases, your odds of finding employment. That’s because you spend way too much time applying for jobs you’re not suited for or wouldn’t really want. It’s far better to make a targeted list of employers and to really be judicious about the companies you apply to, and then to pour more time and effort into those companies.

Sending generic resumes and cover letters. As you target specific employers, you’ll want to make sure your resume and cover letter matches, which means tweaking each one to fit the company you’re applying for. Generic resumes and cover letters are easy to spot and may make the hiring manager think you’re unserious about the position—which means your application is really just a waste of your time.

Submitting resumes that are way too long. For the vast majority of jobseekers, a good resume length is somewhere between one and two pages. There are rare instances where more than two pages is fine, but—unless you’re a C-suite executive or a PhD—you’re probably wasting time and turning off employers when you send them lengthy, rambling resumes.

Neglecting your LinkedIn page. Think social media is a waste of time? Think again. Most employers now do their homework online before they call you in for an interview—so if your profile isn’t optimized, you may be missing a lot of opportunities. Spending an afternoon tweaking your LinkedIn page can be a significant investment in your job search success.

To speed up your job search, move on from these unproductive strategies—and if you need help, don’t hesitate to ask us! Reach out to Grammar Chic at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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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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