Tag Archives: Professional Writing Service

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 Any outdated technical competencies.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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Job Search Success is a Matter of Attitude

Jobless man

Does looking for work fill you with dread, despair, and anxiety?

Or do you view it as something exciting, something hopeful, something inherently optimistic?

If we’re really being honest with ourselves, most of us would probably fall into the former category. The job search isn’t something that energizes us. It’s something that leaves us drained. But maybe that’s the problem. Maybe our attitude about the job search is precisely what keeps us from being more successful at it.

The Power of Positive Thinking

A recent article from Psych Central makes the case. According to the article, new research suggests that “those who can look at the process as a self-growth opportunity will have more success finding their dream jobs.” Those who go into the job search process not with pessimism or despair but with the eagerness to learn new things and seize new opportunities ultimately find satisfying career opportunities much sooner than those who do not.

Or, as one of the researchers summarizes it: “Attitude means a lot.”

Setting the Right Goals

This points back to something the Grammar Chic team has said before—that setting goals is a critical part of the job search process. Of course, all jobseekers have the one goal—to find employment—but if that’s all you’re aiming for, you may become dispirited when it does not happen as quickly as you’d like it to.

Alternatively, those who set more manageable benchmarks—to meet five new employers this week, to send out 20 targeted resumes, or simply to learn something every day—will be able to accomplish more, and ultimately feel more hopeful and energized by their progress. That attitude is what can carry jobseekers toward success in their ultimate goal of career progress.

Honing Your Skills

Something else to note: Seeking employment is a skill—and the more you practice it, the better at it you become. This is especially true if you’re actively invested in the learning process. By viewing each day as an opportunity to learn something new, you can actually grow more confident and more savvy in how you reach out to employers.

So make today the day you start thinking about the job search as an opportunity—not a fool’s errand, not a necessary evil, not a chore. Get a new resume to give you confidence, and then start reaching toward your goals.

Learn more by contacting the Grammar Chic, Inc. team at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

 

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How Content Marketing Can Make Your Law Firm Stand Out

Law-firm-content-marketing-success-300x200Is content marketing an effective and appropriate strategy for legal professionals? You likely know the answer to this already: Content marketing is all about building an image of authority and expertise—and who, more than an attorney, needs to come across as authoritative and expertise? Branding yourself as the lawyer of true experience—the lawyer with real solutions—is the best way to stand apart from your competitors, and content marketing gives you the tools to do exactly that.

Of course, law firms can’t quite approach content marketing in the same way that, say, an online retailer might, or even a plumber. Attorneys need to create content that addresses potential client concerns and inquiries while also displaying the seriousness and the gravity—to say nothing of the empathy and compassion—that people like to see in attorneys.

How can attorneys and legal practice managers succeed in their content marketing endeavors? We might offer the following tips and techniques:

  • You’ve got to hone in on your niche. There will be many opportunities to blog or to tweet about big legal developments in our world—but not all of those opportunities are going to be particularly relevant to what you do, or what your clients expect of you. For example, there may be a lot going on with healthcare laws or immigration reform, and those topics can prove some great fodder for your firm’s blog—if you focus on insurance law or on immigration. If you’re primarily a divorce lawyer, though, then these topics just aren’t as pertinent. Remember to stay focused on your vertical, and not to cast so wide a net that your firm loses its identity.
  • Your blog needs to offer something valuable to your audience. Your expertise is valuable, to an extent, but it really needs to connect with the specific concerns or questions that your readers have. Return to the topic of health insurance law. Talking about changes in health insurance requirements is one thing; offering a step-by-step assessment of how this affects doctors, or how employers need to adapt their practices, is even better.
  • Your content should offer solutions. You may think that a new law is wildly unfair to business owners, or to fathers fighting for custody of their children, or to first-time criminal offenders—and it’s fine for you to say that. You also need to give potential clients some reason to seek your legal expertise anyway, however—by showing them that you do have an answer for them, or that there are ways for them to achieve the best possible legal outcome to whatever issue they’re facing.
  • Your content needs to be personal. Rather than blog about laws in the abstract, make sure to tie it to real people and real problems. Content marketing can and should show expertise and authority, but it should also demonstrate compassion. It should show that you care.

Content marketing is ultimately an investment in your clients and potential clients—an investment of our expertise, your empathy, and your valuable time. When done properly, this investment can yield incredible returns down the road.

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How to Reach Mobile Users with Your Content Marketing

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It’s the most obvious thing in the world to say that smartphones have changed our culture—but are you aware of just how much? According to the most recent Pew Research Center data, more than 90 percent of adults in this country own smartphones. What’s more, more than 63 percent use those phones for regular Internet access; more than a third access the Internet primarily from their mobile devices.

You can guess the implication: Marketers have been shifting their strategies away from desktop users and toward mobile users. Now, more than ever, Internet marketing requires that careful attention be paid to on-the-go mobile Web browsers.

Shifting Paradigms

To address mobile users requires business owners to make a real paradigm shift. It’s not just the device that changes, from desktop Internet browsers to mobile users. It’s the very behavior involved. Those using their mobile devices need content that’s brief, attention-grabbing, and directly applicable to their consumer questions and concerns.

A tall order for small business owners seeking to ensure that their content marketing reaches any and all Web users? Not necessarily. Just try to keep in mind some of the following tips.

How to Optimize Your Content for Mobile Users

  • The first step is to understand that this is not a passing fad; some reports indicate that as many as half of all Web searches take place on mobile devices, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. The mobile mindset needs to apply to content creation at the deepest level, then. Taking long-form content and breaking it down into bullet points may work in the short-term, but not in the long haul. You’ve got to rethink everything you’re doing with content creation.
  • It’s not just about making content shorter. In fact, Google’s algorithms reward content that’s long—but only if people actually read it. The question is, can you create content so gripping that people will spend their entire bus commute reading your 1,000-page article? If so, then great. If not, a more digestible article is probably best.
  • Mobile users aren’t going to take the time to read an article—or even to open it—unless the headline compels them. A good headline, optimized for mobile readers, should have an emotional hook. It should convey value—in short, it should answer the question of what’s in it for me.
  • For mobile readers, the first paragraph or two are essential. Don’t waste their time with a long lead-in. Instead, offer a quick, bullet-point synopsis of the article’s content to convince them to read on.
  • Formatting matters! Big fonts, popping colors, and streamlined layouts are all important. Also ensure that your call-to-action elements are tappable—i.e., that mobile users can click the phone number on the screen to call you directly.
  • Above all, write conversationally. Make it easy to read what you’re writing. There’s no need for fancy words and jargon in an article optimized for busy, on-the-go readers.

Remember: Mobile is here to stay—and it’s vital that your content reflects that.

The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.

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How to Address Long-Term Unemployment on a Resume

Woman handing over resume at meeting.

Spending a significant amount of time out of work can make a person feel as if they’re up against the clock, racing to find a job, and it can also cause considerable stress when crafting a resume. A job seeker may worry about how potential employers will view their extended unemployment, and fear that they’ll never get back into the workforce. Fortunately, hiring managers are starting to care less about the length of an individual’s unemployment, and more about how the person handled this period.

New research from CareerBuilder illustrates that 85 percent of hiring managers and human resource professionals are more understanding about employment gaps than they were before the recession. So how do the five million people who have been out of work for more than six months address this gap in employment on their resume?

  • Use the time productively: It’s easy to get discouraged about extended unemployment, but a person must make a point to use their time out of work in a productive way. Whether you’re taking a class or getting another certification, 61 percent of hiring managers explain that additional education is a great way to use the down time. Attending professional seminars and enrolling in community college courses helps to keep skills sharp and show that you’re interested in staying up-to-date on the industry and will present well on a resume.
  • Give back to the community: Sixty percent of hiring managers who were surveyed explain that volunteering helps to bolster a candidate’s appeal. Doing community service emphasizes a person’s strong character and work ethic. To help make volunteer work benefit you, choose opportunities that complement your previous experience and can then get woven into your resume. If you were working in marketing prior to the loss of your job, help out with PR efforts for a local charity. If you spent time working with kids, get involved at a children’s hospital.
  • Pick up temporary work: Temporary or contract assignments are no longer just for entry-level employees. These kinds of opportunities help a professional to keep their skills sharp and also allow them to build connections in the industry. Various opportunities are available across a range of job types. Seventy-nine percent of hiring managers explain that contract or temporary work is beneficial for jobseekers; it allows an individual to continue to develop skills and will also provide data and details for the white space that is looming on a resume.

Hiring managers also explain that those looking for work frequently make blunders that prevent them from getting a job. Two-thirds of workers fail to follow up with an employer after they’ve sent their materials in for consideration. A quick e-mail that comes a week or two after a submission can prompt the person doing the hiring to give the resume a second look.

Other job seekers also fail to thoroughly research the organization they’re hoping to work for, which prevents them from performing their best in an interview. The ability to speak fluently about the company both in an interview and on a cover letter helps to show a potential employer that you’re passionate about their business and can contribute in an educated way.

The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.

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Ten Content Marketing Mistakes Even Social Media Pros Make – PART TWO

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In my last post, I detailed some major content marketing mistakes that you may be making without realizing it. Now that you know how to steer clear of those blunders, it’s time to cover some other unintentional faux pas that professionals frequently make when it comes to their content marketing strategy:

  •  Lack of support from management: You may have the best content marketing strategy on the planet, but if the rest of your organization doesn’t get behind it, it will probably fail. Company marketing efforts need to be cohesive, and require support from all levels of management in order to ensure success.
  • Inconsistency: If you only update your blog every few months, chances are that this feature is doing you more harm than good. Not only do people lose interest when content is too sporadic, but outdated blogs also give the whole website the impression of being dated and out of touch. If you want to blog, stick with it and update frequently.
  • Confusion about SEO: Part of getting exposure for your material is utilizing basic SEO principles. There’s no point in publishing material if it’s nearly impossible to find during a Google search. To make the most of your time, get an understanding of SEO basics.
  • Unapproachable vocabulary: You want your writing to sound conversational. No one is going to look through your work if they need to keep referring to the dictionary to understand what you’re saying. Skip the slang, but also leave the SAT words out too.
  • Aversion to social media: Users on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms are looking for compelling content. Take advantage of this captive audience by publicizing your work on these channels.
  • Ignoring subscribers: In many ways, your company’s subscribers are its most valuable contacts. These are people who have told you that they care about what you have to say. They’re either customers or potential buyers. When you get e-mail subscribers, treat them well. Provide them with useful content or deals.
  • A boring layout: Humans are very visual creatures. Sure, we like to read words, but we like them much more when there are pictures too. Don’t make your blog a long block of text. Break it up with compelling images. It makes it much easier to read.
  • Flat titles: First impressions count, even on blogs. If you’re giving your posts snooze-worthy titles, don’t be surprised when no one clicks on the link.
  • Lack of call to action: Once you’ve got readers spending time on your site, you want to turn them into paying customers. Every blog post on your site should include a call to action. Make it easy for the user to figure out what he or she should do next. Do you want them to download an e-book? Subscribe to your e-mail list? Make that known. Internet users need a little guidance.
  • Stale content: There’s always a way to put a new spin on a topic, but it’s also important to know when an issue has received plenty of coverage. Readers want to hear your take on a subject, but they don’t want to continue seeing redundant posts. Make sure that the materials you’re creating are fresh and appealing.

The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.

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5 Common Content Marketing Mistakes You May Not Know You’re Making – PART ONE

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Every business professional knows the importance of promoting their brand through content marketing, however this action is not always as easy as it sounds. There’s a fine line between a positive contribution and efforts that are misinformed. It’s easy to do damage to your organization simply by the way you handle your content marketing. Here are some common blunders that you may not even realize you’re committing:

1.)    You lack a well-defined strategy: Many businesses know that they need to be blogging and interacting with their clients and partners online, but are unsure how to go about doing so. They launch their efforts with no real plan or direction, and end up doing more harm than good. When it comes to your content marketing strategy, make sure you have a carefully coordinated strategy, and that all of your employees and content creators are on board with these goals.

2.)    You engage in nonstop self-promotion: In today’s culture, people are resistant to the ideas of advertising. They don’t want to feel like they’re being sold to; instead, they prefer valuable information without a catch. Skip the content that just hawks your products and put the focus on what your audience is looking for. Provide them with useful information that will help to establish your company as an authoritative voice in your field.

3.)    You’re not publicizing yourself at all:  On the other side of this spectrum, many businesses believe that those who are interested in their information will just stumble across it during their time on the Internet. They may feel that promoting their content is tacky. In reality, the Internet is a busy place. Many people may be interested in your information, but not even know that exists. You shouldn’t feel ashamed about publicizing the content you create, as long as it’s done in a respectful way. Make it easier for interested users to find you.

4.)    You’re not providing value to a reader: You have a relatively short amount of time to show a visitor why they should continue to explore your content. If the pages a user visits are packed with nothing but promotional material, they will quickly hit “x” in favor of a company that provides intriguing information. Some businesses believe that giving knowledge away is a risky decision; in reality, sharing relevant facts helps to establish your brand as a leader in your field. Don’t offer up all of your services for free, but provide enough material to become an invaluable resource to your readers.

5.)    Your blog is bland: Ultimately, consumers want to hear messaging that comes from other humans. If your blog sounds like it was written by a robot, it will become unappealing. Give life to your voice. Include emotions or funny stories. Incorporating personality doesn’t mean that your marketing materials are not professional, it just makes them much more enjoyable to read.

The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.

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