Tag Archives: Professional Writing Service

The Jobseeker’s Guide to the Holiday Season

Believe it or not, the holiday season is actually an ideal time to make progress on your job search. Many jobseekers don’t realize this, and as such they effectively go dormant between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Their loss is your gain: With a less crowded field, you can use the holiday season to really make some inroads with potential employers.

The Gatekeepers are Away

Here’s the first thing you should know about job seeking during the holidays: For many businesses, it’s actually a little bit of a lull. (Big exceptions include retail and hospitality—but those are discussions for another day.)

Indeed, for a lot of companies, the last few weeks of the year are a time when things slow down, people are out of the office, and many employees are simply getting their ducks in a row for the start of a new year. Most teams don’t launch big new projects in the dog days of December, so there’s more flexibility than you might think for you to schedule an interview or an informational meeting.

And here’s the exciting thing: With administrative assistants and other gatekeepers taking time off, you have a really good shot at making direct contact with a middle manager. In other words, your best time to engage with a potential employer may be at the height of the holidays. Take advantage of this unique window of opportunity!

Socialization is Key

While you’re making those connections, also be sure you’re showing up to holiday parties and gatherings. You don’t have to approach these get-togethers as networking opportunities; just show up to have some fun.

With that said, it’s bound to come up that you’re looking for work—and often, you’ll score some meaningful introductions without necessarily trying very hard. Again, this is a unique window, so make sure you make good use of any festive fellowship opportunities that come your way.

Get Busy and Get to Work

One more thing: The holiday season is as good a time as any to spruce up some of your personal marketing collateral. Why not reach out to a local photographer and have some professional headshots taken, then upload them to your LinkedIn profile? As the holiday card season dies down, you should have no trouble at all getting an appointment.

You can use the holidays as an excuse to send quick check-ins to your social media connections—perhaps triggering a conversation about the kinds of jobs you’re seeking.

And, you can use the holidays as a chance to fine-tune your resume—or get a new one written from scratch, ensuring you’re ready to start the new year on a strong note.

The holidays will be here before you know it—and if you’re targeting a new job, the time to strategize is now. We’d love to help. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. today and let’s talk about your resume and cover letter needs.

You can reach us directly at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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An Editor Changed Your Work. Now What?

Working with an editor can be a funny thing. Often, a writer will send work to an editor, ostensibly understanding the purpose of the editorial process—that is, to make the work tighter, clearer, better.

But then, once the editor returns the work, the writer is appalled to find that it’s different from what he or she submitted. The editor has made changes to the text! What audacity!

Of course, if the editor didn’t make changes, then there wouldn’t be much point to the editing process at all. Still, seeing your manuscript marked up with red ink can be a little vexing; you obviously have an emotional attachment to your work, and while you want it to be the best it can be, you also want it to hold true to your original vision.

So what should a writer do upon receiving significant changes from an editor? Here are our tips.

Coping with Editorial Changes

First, analyze the changes. Take some time to really go through the revisions and to consider why they were made. You may even need to give yourself a day or two of distance, to get your emotions in check. What you’ll probably find, though, is that the changes were made to render the work clear and concise. Your editor is on the same team, after all, and just wants your writing to shine. Chances are, the changes made don’t alter your original message; most are probably relatively minor things that just make the work that much better.

Choose your battles. With that said, you don’t want to go to war with your editor over every tiny revision made to your manuscript—but if you feel like the changes actually alter the message or spirit of your work, or miss the point of it altogether, that’s when you should push back—gently! Which brings us to…

Be kind! No need to blow your stack and send the editor a nasty email. Instead, be polite and clear in articulating why you’re not comfortable with the changes. Explain your intention with the work, and then how those changes compromise your vision. More likely than not, your editor will be able to work with you to find a good place to meet in the middle.

Remember that an editor’s revisions are suggestions, not prescriptions. It’s still your work, and nobody’s forcing you to accept changes you’re just not comfortable with. You can graciously decline a piece of feedback that you feel misses the point of your work. With that said, if you find yourself declining every suggested change, that may be a sign that you’re not getting the most out of the writer-editor relationship.

Work with a Good Editor

Of course, it goes without saying that working with a qualified and competent editor is key. At Grammar Chic, Inc., our editors are effective at making your words shine—without changing the character of your work altogether. Learn more. Call us for a consultation at 803-831-7444, or reach out through www.grammarchic.net.

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7 Reasons to Hire a Professional Editor

Good writing and good editing go hand in hand; it’s impossible to imagine one without the other. If you want your writing to shine, then, it’s smart to consider working with a professional editor—and that’s true whether the work in question is a press release for your business or the first draft of that novel you’ve always wanted to write.

But what, specifically, are the benefits of working with an editor? We’ll list just a few of them.

Why Hire an Editor?

  1. An editor will offer you a fresh pair of eyes. The hardest part of editing your own work is that, after staring at the same document for hours, or reading it dozens of times over the span of many days or weeks, you just can’t help but gloss over your own mistakes. A third party will spot the things you miss.
  2. Editors are objective and unbiased. The editor doesn’t have any duty to uphold your feelings or bolster your self-esteem; the editor’s duty is to make the work as good as it can possibly be. The ruthlessness of a good editor can help you put aside vanity and really create the best writing possible.
  3. Editors know how to choose the best words. Good editing isn’t just about avoiding typos. It’s about expressing yourself in the clearest, most effective language possible—something an editor can assist you with.
  4. You can get help on your project at the developmental stage. If you have a piece of writing you’re just not sure about, or need to bounce off someone before you commit too much time to it, you can always enlist an editor to help you vet your ideas and make sure they’ve got real promise.
  5. Editors save you time. You could spend another few days re-evaluating your work, fussing and fretting over it again and again—or you could send it to an editor and then move on to your next project.
  6. Editors save you headaches, too. Editors are a special breed. They don’t mind going over word choices and grammatical constructions with a fine-tooth comb, or evaluating every clause and punctuation mark at the minutest level. That may sound tedious and frustrating to you, so why not get an editor to do it for you?
  7. An editor will help you distill your message. A good editor won’t try to remake your writing in their own image, but rather will help bring your work to its clearest, most effective state. You don’t need to worry about your message getting lost. A good editor will make sure that just the opposite happens.

Hire an Editor

No matter your writing project, a good editor can help you achieve its full potential. Hire an editor today by reaching out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. team at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Should Your Resume Include an Objective?

The art of writing a strong resume is always changing, and what worked 20 years ago might not be en vogue today. If you’ve got an older resume lying around—or if you’ve just been handed some dated advice—there’s a decent chance your resume could stand some sprucing up.

One thing you definitely want to check is whether or not your current resume has an objective at the top. The inclusion of an objective was once standard practice, but now it’s something that’s generally discouraged—but why? And what should be included in place of your objective?

The Problem with Objectives

Let us start with that first question—why are objectives out?

Well, primarily, an objective is simply redundant. If you’re distributing resumes, your objective should be clear—you’re trying to get a job. In that sense, every jobseeker’s resume is pretty much the same.

Moreover, a resume is really very focused on you. Your objective may be something like “to use my skills and experience in the advertising sector to contribute to the progressive vision of a forward-thinking ad agency.” The problem with this is that it’s really all about what you want, not what specific value you can offer to an employer. Hiring managers, however, really want to know what’s in it for them.

Replacing Your Objective

In lieu of an objective, we recommend a summary of qualifications—a few short sentences that summarize your value, list your strongest skillsets, and essentially serve as your personal elevator pitch to hiring managers.

There are many benefits to this approach. Hiring managers may not have time to look through your entire work history, but a good summary of qualifications can make your case for you, even to those who just skim the resume. A summary of qualifications basically condenses everything that makes you a good candidate into a paragraph or so; it focuses on the unique value you deliver to the hiring organization. And, it’s something you can easily tweak as you try to target different employers, ensuring a finely-honed approach to your job search.

Bring Your Resume Up to Date

If you’re still working with an objective, it’s time to make your resume current—and that’s something we can help you with. Reach out to our team at Grammar Chic to get the resume facelift you need. Contact us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Resume Writing, Resumes

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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