Tag Archives: resume writing advice

6 Ways Your Resume Can Make You Look Unprofessional

Your resume is a piece of marketing collateral—and what it’s marketing is you. A good resume will help you to look competent, dependable, hard-working, and professional—but of course, the inverse also holds true: A bad resume can compromise your appeal as a job candidate, and in some cases cause you to come across as downright unprofessional.

But you can avoid that by putting some time into honing your resume—and we’ll show you how. In this post, we’re going to list six resume goofs that can seriously damage your professional image. Needless to say, you’ll want to avoid them—and if you’re not sure how, reach out to our resume writing team for an assist!

Avoid These Resume Writing Blunders

Here are six things that cause your resume to undercut your professionalism:

  1. Goofy, juvenile, or inconsistent font use. It’s fine if you like Comic Sans, but it’s not fine to use it on a resume—nor is it acceptable to toggle between different fonts throughout the resume. Stick with the agreed-upon, readable resume fonts—Calibri or Helvetica.
  2. Using vague descriptors. Terms like hard-working, driven, and motivated are unprovable—which means they are basically meaningless. Cut them from your resume, and stick with quantifiable and specific descriptors instead.
  3. Including a head shot on your resume. Unless you are applying to be a supermodel, there’s no need to include a picture on your resume.
  4. Ending your resume with half a page to go. We’re all about keeping your resume concise, but you don’t want half a page of blank space at the bottom. Make sure you fill out the entire document.
  5. Using an unprofessional email address. Your handle should be some variation on your own name—plain and simple.
  6. Sending your resume without a cover letter. Or, getting an interview, but then failing to send a thank-you note. Your resume works best when it’s sent in tandem with these other documents!

Write a Resume That Makes You Shine

Your resume should give the impression that you are a consummate professional—and any one of these mistakes can undermine that impression. Avoid them—but also be proactive in writing a resume where your appeal as a candidate shines through. We can help; reach out to the Grammar Chic team to ask about our resume writing services. Contact us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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7 Things to Do Before You Send Your Resume

You only have one chance to make a first impression—so you don’t want to send your resume to a recruiter or a hiring manager until you’re sure that it’s perfect. Pause for a minute before you upload your document, and make sure your resume is polished. We’ll show you how.

Before You Send Your Resume: A Checklist

  1. First, proofread, proofread, and proofread! Yeah, you know this already—a single typo or grammatical error can cause the hiring manager to move on to the next resume in the pile. Yet countless resumes are sent with major errors, and it’s all because jobseekers don’t allow plenty of time to proofread. Get a second and a third set of eyes to help you spot any typos or sloppy mistakes!
  2. Check for correct verb tenses. This is simple: If you did something as part of a prior job, use the past tense. If it’s related to your current position, though, the present tense is more appropriate.
  3. Verify readability. It’s imperative that your resume is clear and easy to navigate. You might even share it with some friends or family members to get their take on it. Make sure your font choices, margins, and layout all make your resume easy on the eye!
  4. Ensure consistency. Do you use multiple fonts in your resume? Do you use bold and italic text inconsistently? Be thorough in reviewing these elements and ensuring steady, unchanging design choices throughout your resume.
  5. Eliminate technical jargon. Is there anywhere in your resume where you can substitute plainer, more user-friendly language for your high-level industry buzzwords? Generally speaking, you want to minimize jargon to keep your resume widely accessible.
  6. Look at the job description you’re applying for. Are there any words, phrases, or key skills listed there that you could incorporate into your own resume? This is almost always a good idea!
  7. Don’t forget the cover letter! If you have an opportunity to send a cover letter along with your resume, that can go a long way toward getting your document read! Of course, you’ll also want to ensure your cover letter is well-proofed, well-formatted, etc.

How Can We Help?

As you put the final spit and polish on your resume, we’d love to help in any any way we can—proofing, critiquing, consulting, or rewriting your resume and cover letter from scratch! Let’s talk. Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today to chat with a resume consultant. Reach us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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5 Ways to Enhance Your Resume’s Style

It can be hard to separate style from substance—especially where resumes are concerned. Indeed, the way your resume looks can be just as important as what it says, either providing readability or detracting from it; either suggesting professionalism or undermining it. It’s important to put thought into the style of your resume—and to ensure the stylistic choices you’re making help rather than hinder.

But what exactly does that entail? Allow us to offer a few basic pointers.

Your Resume Font

First, let’s talk font. This is an area where your aim is to be professional and to make your resume easy to read—not to be creative, clever, or outside-the-box. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, because doing so may result in a resume that just doesn’t look respectable.

The fonts we recommend are Calibri, Helvetica, and Cambria. Times New Roman and Arial are also fine—definitely not flashy, but they get the job done.

As for font size, 10 and 12 are the two levels we recommend. Anything smaller is hard to read; anything larger makes it seem like you’re trying to accommodate for limited content.

What About Bolding?

Another matter to consider is bolding. The long and short of it: You should use bolding sparingly to emphasize section headers, company or job titles, degrees, or awards. You don’t want to use bolding any more than that, though. This is one of those stylistic flourishes where a little bit goes a long way.

Enhancing Readability

One of the main roles of your resume style should be improving readability—and that means making sure your resume isn’t merely a long string of unbroken text. You should have clearly defined sections, and lots of white space.

Two ways to do that include using bullet points—especially in your Core Competencies and Employment History sections—and inserting horizontal lines to show where one section ends and the next begins.

Your Resume Margins

Here, we’ll just make a quick point: You don’t want to mess with your margins too much. A tiny tweak to better fit your resume content is alright, but too much monkeying with your margins will make the whole thing look odd, outside the norm. Plus: You run the risk of a recruiter scanning/printing your resume and parts of it being cut off.

Pictures on Your Resume?

A final consideration: Should you include graphics, tables, charts, or images anywhere on your resume? There’s an easy answer: No. It’s not needed, and it’s not professional. Just avoid these elements altogether.

The stylistic choices you make matter very much—and if you need further help ensuring your resume looks good, we’d love to offer it. Contact the Grammar Chic resume writing team at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Resume Checklist: 5 Dos and 5 Don’ts

Writing a resume is relatively easy—but perfecting one takes work. There are just so many components you have to keep in mind, so many elements you have to juggle—all while keeping the final product brief and to-the-point.

So we thought we’d help you out. As you refine your own resume, use this quick checklist—which includes five things your resume needs, and then five things it really doesn’t.

5 Things to Include on Your Resume

This is by no means an exhaustive list of resume must-haves, but it certainly covers some important basics.

  1. Include a strong summary of qualifications. The top of your resume should feature a synopsis of your career thus far—basically, a value proposition, a statement of the benefits you might bring to an employer. Even if a recruiter doesn’t read anything else on your resume, this summary should provide a basic sense of who you are and why you should be hired.
  2. Also include a list of core competencies. Your resume needs a bulleted list of some of your key skills—ideally tailored to match the keywords/skills listed in the job description you’re eyeing.
  3. Include action-oriented statements. Your career summary should be focused on things you’ve done—achievements with metrics and measurable results, whenever possible.
  4. Include white space! Also make sure there are section breaks to make your resume easier to read.
  5. Include clear, consistent branding. Everything on your resume should ultimately indicate why you’re the best person for the job in question.

5 Things NOT to Include on Your Resume

And, here are five things you can omit from your resume document:

  1. Don’t include a career objective. If you have an executive summary—as we talked about above—there is simply no need for an objective. Additionally, a career objective will date you; frankly put, they are no longer used.
  2. Don’t include anything that makes your resume difficult to read. Tiny font, unbroken blocks of text, slim margins—remember that the point isn’t to cram everything onto the page, but rather to present a nice, fluid summary of your value.
  3. Don’t have typos or grammatical errors, either. Proof, proof, proof!
  4. Don’t include a mere list of responsibilities. Focus not just on what you did, but on your impact.
  5. Don’t include information that is overly personal. Your photo, your birthday, your religious or political preferences, even your hobbies—such things are almost never necessary or helpful on your resume.

Craft the Perfect Resume—With Our Help

The perfect resume requires you to consider all these elements and more—and that’s not always easy. For help, we invite you to reach out to the Grammar Chic team. Allow us to give your resume a professional touch. Connect at www.grammarchic.net or by calling 803-831-7444.

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What’s the Difference Between a Resume and a CV?

When you apply for a job, it’s important to provide some piece of marketing collateral—but should it be a resume, or a CV? Both of these terms get thrown around a lot, and with a lot of people they’re used somewhat interchangeably. It’s important for jobseekers to understand that these two types of document are not the same thing, and that some career opportunities call for one over the other.

What is a CV?

Let’s define the two terms, then, starting with the CV. More formally called a curriculum vita, the CV is most often used in academic and medical fields. You can think of this as a detailed professional timeline, showing the chronological trajectory of your employment history but also listing major awards you’ve won, academic appointments, publications, major research projects, funding and grants, speaking opportunities, etc.

CVs usually don’t provide a lot of detail for each job listed; it’s usually just a straight chronology. There are some other key differences, too. While we recommend most jobseekers keep their resumes to one or two pages, a CV can be limitless. Also, while resumes should be tailored for each particular job opportunity, a CV stays pretty consistent; it should be updated with new information as your career progresses, but that’s about it.

What is a Resume?

Most jobseekers are more familiar with resumes, which is more of a brief career overview—just a page or two, and not necessarily including every job, every award, or every honor you’ve ever had. It’s more like a summary of the potential you provide to employers; with that said, it can also provide more detail about specific responsibilities or achievements within given positions.

The other big difference? You need to be customizing your resume to each job you apply for. It is by no means a static thing. Using the Executive Summary and Core Competencies sections, in particular, your resume should speak to why you’re a great fit for the job you’re currently applying for.

Choosing Between a CV and a Resume

So which one should you have on hand? Well, ideally both, as it never hurts to be able to provide an employer with a resume or with a CV, depending on the position. Some employers might ask for a quick career summary, in which case a CV makes sense; others will want something that does a better job condensing your career into a narrative, and that’s when a resume will be necessary.

We can help you with both, and invite you to contact the Grammar Chic resume team today to get started on these key documents. Reach out to us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net to begin.

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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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5 Things That Make Your Resume Unreadable

The goal of writing is always to articulate your point clearly—and that’s true whether you’re penning a novel, a company blog post, or your own resume. A resume that is unclear, or that makes the reader work way too hard to find the desired information, isn’t going to be much of an asset to your job search. In fact, it’s probably just going to be discarded. Recruiters and hiring managers tend to get a lot of resumes for any open position; if yours is the one they have a hard time deciphering, there’s not much point in them keeping it around.

So what makes a resume such a chore to read? There are a few common resume design elements that fall under that heading. Here are five of the most common—all things you definitely want to avoid.

Making Your Resume Unreadable

A Lack of White Space

The eye naturally wants to see some empty space on the page—not just one big block of unbroken text. So when you put in super-thin margins, tiny fonts, and no real breaks in your resume narrative, that makes the whole thing look like a headache. We know you may want to condense 30 years of work history onto one page, but there are better ways of achieving brevity in your resume.

“Unique” Fonts

Calibri and Helvetica are a couple of font choices we really recommend. Anything else is immediately on shaky ground. These are the agreed-upon resume formats because they’re easy on the eye; don’t risk the use of a fancier font, which might just be annoying for your reader.

Too Much Industry Jargon!

You want to make it clear that you know your industry well, but you also want to make sure the resume is readable to someone who isn’t in your field—as many recruiters won’t be. Try to avoid industry buzzwords as much as you can.

A Lack of Metrics

Here’s a little secret: A lot of hiring managers and recruiters like to skim resumes before really reading them in earnest, and what they’re looking for as they skim is numbers. Metrics and statistics catch the eye and make your resume more appealing. Include them when you can.

Poor Spelling or Grammar

Spelling and grammar matter because they make your resume easier to read—period. Typos are inherently confusing, to say nothing of unprofessional. Proof well!

Write Resumes That Get Read

Anything that makes your resume harder to read is compromising your job search. It’s vital to make your resume easy to digest—and that’s something the Grammar Chic resume writing team can help you with. Contact us today for a resume consultation. You can reach us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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