Tag Archives: resume writing advice

Don’t Let Your Job Search Get Sloppy

When you’re seeking new employment, it’s always important to make strong first impressions. This includes your resume—your first and best chance to impress a recruiter or hiring manager. It also includes your conduct during the interview process. If you allow yourself to appear sloppy or haphazard, it could undercut whatever goodwill your resume has engendered.

So what are some of the common mistakes that cause a job search to appear shoddy or unfocused? Here are a few for you to watch out for.

Showing up for an interview without knowing much about the company.

Make it clear that you’re invested in the process, and interested in finding the best possible fit. One way to do that? Spend some time researching the company in advance. Before an interview, read their website, recent press releases, and company blog posts to get a feel for what the business really does and what its culture is like.

Showing up for an interview without knowing which position you’re seeking.

Many companies will be hiring for multiple positions at once. Make sure you know the title and job description of the position you’re applying for. Pay attention to the language used in the job posting—skills needed, etc.—and try to employ some of that verbiage in your interview.

Failing to prepare thoughtful questions for the interviewer.

Questions about the culture, goals, and vision of the company show that you’re invested, and that you care about more than just earning a paycheck.

Dressing way too casually for the interview.

You can generally get a good sense of how to dress from the company’s website or employee LinkedIn profiles; when in doubt, ask your recruiter, or just err on the side of formality.

Showing up to the interview empty-handed.

What should you bring to a job interview? A few extra copies of your resume. A pen. And, a notepad where you can jot down any notes.

Going to the interview, then not following up.

Thank you notes are critical.

Broaching deal-breaking issues at the last possible minute.

Do you need to give a full 30-days’ notice to your current employer? Or to be able to work from home on certain days of the week? If you have any big issues like this, you need to address them early in the process—not once a job offer is made!

Settling for a substandard resume.

Of course, you won’t even get in for an interview if your resume doesn’t shine—and that’s where the Grammar Chic team comes in. Our resume writers can help you portray yourself as an impeccably valuable candidate. Get a resume consultation today by contacting us directly: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Don’t Let Lack of Education Tank Your Resume

College isn’t for everyone; there are many who don’t pursue higher education, and for any number of reasons. Perhaps it isn’t financially feasible, or perhaps it makes more sense for the individual to jump straight into the workforce. There is nothing wrong with any of this, of course, but it can complicate your resume writing process.

Specifically, it can land you with some tough decisions to make about how you address your lack of education. It is customary for resumes to include information about college degrees—but what do you do if you don’t have one?

We’ll tell you one thing you shouldn’t do, and that’s lie about it. If you pretend to have a degree that you don’t actually have, your employer is very likely to find out about it—and you’ll likely be terminated as a result.

Thankfully, there are some honest and effective alternatives here.

List Completed Coursework

If you started a degree program and simply didn’t receive enough credits to graduate, you can make note of it on your resume—showing the employer that you do have some education beyond high school.

List the school where you took classes, and say something like, “Coursework toward Bachelor’s degree in _____.” You might even include the number of credits you have, especially if you’re quite close to completing the degree requirements.

Think Beyond College Degrees

Not all advanced training comes with a college degree, of course. You may have taken some seminars or classes, and even received some certifications or technical distinctions, that have nothing to do with a Bachelor’s degree.

Often, these technical skillsets offer a lot of workplace value, and are highly prized by employers—so by all means list them, assuming they have anything at all to do with the job you’re applying for.

Other Options for Addressing Education

Two more options exist. One is to seek out ways to get some extra training, even if that’s enrolling in a single online college class. That way, you can not only broaden your skill set, but also state on your resume that your degree is in progress—without needing to lie.

The final option is to just not mention education at all. While this can be seen as a liability, you can make up for it by really emphasizing the skills and achievements you’ve amassed on the job. With a good approach to resume writing and personal branding, lack of education does not have to be a detriment.

However, you want to approach the issue, we’d like to help. Contact our resume writing experts today. Call Grammar Chic, Inc. at 803-831-7444 or visit us on the Web at www.grammarchic.net.

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Is Your Resume Behind the Times? Here are 5 Warning Signs.

The workforce is always changing—and with it, the job search changes, too. Take the resume. What once was standard and agreed-upon may no longer be acceptable among hiring managers and recruiters. Simply put, if you’re writing your resume in 2017 the same way you wrote it in 1997, you’re going to look like a dinosaur—and most hiring managers do not want to hire dinosaurs.

So how do you know if your resume is out of date? What are the telltale signs of an antiquated job search document? Here are five things we’d recommend you watch out for.

How to Know Your Resume is Out of Date

You have an objective. Yes, there was a time when every resume had an objective—but then we all just sort of realized something: Everyone’s job search objective is basically the same. We all want to get a job—period. The objective is obsolete, and its presence on your resume makes it look way behind the times. Skip the objective and include an executive summary, instead.

Your resume lacks core competencies and keywords. Today, resumes are typically scanned by a software program before they ever make it onto the desk of an actual human being. If you want your resume to make it to the hiring manager, you first need to get it past the computer—and that includes employing some keywords. Here’s a hint: The keywords you need are usually included in the job listing itself. Scan it for any key skills that are listed, and see if you can work them into your resume.

Your resume includes skills that are past their prime. Simply put, everybody should know how to use email, Web browsers, and Microsoft Word by now. Including these skills on your resume does not make you look more accomplished. It makes you look dated.

Your resume is generic. The days of generalized resumes are long gone—period. You should always tweak your resume to match the position you’re applying for. Again, looking at the actual job listing, and using some of that verbiage to shape your resume, is key.

Your resume is badly formatted. It’s much easier than it used to be to make your resume look clean and readable. Bullet points, subheadings, and clear fonts are all recommended. If you want to see what a modern-looking, easy-to-read resume looks like, just reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. team.

We’re standing by to help you clean up your resume and bring it into the current day. Get resume help today by calling 803-831-7444, or visiting www.grammarchic.net.

 

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6 Skills You SHOULDN’T Put on Your Resume

Your resume should showcase all the skills you bring to the table—everything you know how to do, everything you’re good at, everything that delivers value to your employer.

But that doesn’t mean your resume should be a laundry list of every little thing you’ve ever learned. In fact, taking this everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach can actually cause your resume to be bloated, unfocused, and ineffective.

Simply put, there are certain skills that don’t belong on your resume—and here are a few examples from Grammar Chic’s own resume writing team.

Leave These Skills Off Your Resume

Basic technological skills.  There was a time when it might have been genuinely impressive for a jobseeker to know how to use Microsoft Word, or to be proficient sending emails. These days, it’s pretty much assumed that everyone can do these things. No need to cite them on your resume. In fact, doing so makes you look like a dinosaur.

Obsolete technological skills. Along the same lines, it’s not that impressive to have a mastery of technologies that are no longer in common use. Make sure your resume shows that you’re up to date on the current technologies being used in your industry.

Languages you learned in high school. Just because you loved your semester of Spanish doesn’t mean you’re fluent. If you speak Spanish well enough that you could actually use it on the job, that’s one thing—but barring real proficiency, second languages don’t add anything to your resume.

Social media. If you are actually skilled in social media strategy, ads, analytics, etc., that’s one thing. But having a bunch of Twitter followers does not make you a social media strategist. Leave it off your resume unless you are truly a pro.

Joke skills. Some jobseekers think it’s clever to list themselves as “office foosball champion” or “all-time Nintendo master.” It’s not.

Exaggerated or fraudulent skills. Good rule of thumb: If you can’t really do something well, don’t put it on your resume. Resume lies are always a bad idea.

Emphasize the Skills That Matter

By cutting the fluff from your resume, you’ll have more space to list the skills that really matter. And if you need help with that, we’re here for you. We can help you catalog your skills in a way that will truly catch the eye of recruiters and hiring managers. Reach out to the Grammar Chic resume writing team today at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Your Resume Should Be Personal—But Not Too Personal

Here’s a common question from jobseekers: How personal should a resume be?

Well, that depends on what you mean by personal.

Certainly a resume should reflect who you are as an individual job applicant and potential employee. It should be tailored to reflect your skills, your achievements, and the value you bring to an employer. The cookie-cutter, or one-size-fits-all approach, never really works in resume writing. Rather than writing an anonymous resume, you should aim to write a distinctive one—and that certainly involves some personalization.

At the same time, a resume is ultimately about the professional side of your life—and as such, there are some personal details that you should generally omit, not just from resumes but also from cover letters.

Personal Details to Omit from Your Resume

Here are just a few examples:

Headshots. There is simply no need to include a photo of yourself with your resume; it goes against established job search decorum, and anyway, the recruiter or hiring manager will see what you look like in your interview. Exceptions to this rule: Resumes for models or actors, and for certain overseas jobs that specifically request you include a photo.

Hobbies. Generally speaking, your hobbies are not relevant to the job, or to the value you offer your employer—though by all means list any relevant volunteer experience.

Personal email addresses. You should have an email address that looks professional—your name and a recognizable email platform, such as Gmail or mac.com. An email handle like RunnerDude or YogaChick has no business on your resume. If you need to sign up for a new email account, just for your job search, by all means do so.

Personal details. Some additional information that’s not needed on your resume: Age, religion, political affiliation, race, marital status. Not only is this none of the employer’s business, but it could potentially make you the target of discrimination. An exception here: It is wise to note whether you need visa sponsorship from your next employer. This actually is relevant to the hiring process.

A Matter of Balance

So how personal should your resume be? Well, it should always be individualized—but not unprofessional. That’s a tricky balance, but our resume writing team can help you strike it. We’d love to talk with you about how we can polish and personalize your resume. Reach out to us today at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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5 Ways to Make Your Fall Job Search Count

January and February are generally recognized as the best months for launching a new career, as many companies need to fill vacancies from employees who departed at year’s end. According to the experts, though, September and October run a close second place, presenting a fruitful time for jobseekers to reach for the next rung on their career ladder.

If you’re planning to seek new employment over the autumn months, there are a few steps you can take to maximize your odds of success. Here are a few best practices from the Grammar Chic resumes team.

Get Your Family’s Support

The fall season can be busy for everyone, yet it’s important for you to set aside some dedicated time for the job search—for fine-tuning your resume, building your network, and applying for jobs. Take the initiative to talk with your family members and explain to them your job search goals. Let them know that you covet their support, even if that means giving you a few uninterrupted hours each week to focus on advancing your career.

Do Your Research

The best way to make those job search hours count isn’t to lunge at every open opportunity you see. It’s to be steady and intentional. Create a list of targeted companies and opportunities, then do some research into those workplace cultures and values. Put your effort into really optimizing your chances for those jobs you really want and are really qualified for. Set a patient, deliberate pace for your job search.

Curate Your Online Presence

Have you invested some time in LinkedIn optimization? How about removing any old blogs that still pop up on Google, and maybe don’t convey your professionalism as well as you might like? Should you set your Facebook account to private? Do you have the time to publish some good, informative articles on LinkedIn Pulse, showcasing your industry know-how? These are all critical considerations. Above all, know this: Potential hiring managers and recruiters will look you up on Google. Plan accordingly.

Make Connections

It’s wise to reach out to old contacts, but also to try forging some new ones. Any opportunities you have to attend professional networking events or industry-specific seminars can be invaluable—especially if you go in with the mindset of expanding your network and advancing your job search. Even an event with your local Chamber of Commerce or other nearby professional organizations can have potential.

Update Your Marketing Documents

As the season changes, perhaps your resume and cover letter should change, too. Revitalize them, ensuring they convey your value as an employee vividly, specifically, and succinctly. For help, reach out to the experts at Grammar Chic, Inc.

We’re here to help you land your dream job, via marketing documents that get results. For a resume or cover letter consultation, reach out to our team at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Four Ways to Ensure an Effective Cover Letter

Do recruiters and hiring managers actually read cover letters? Our resume writing professionals get this question all the time, and the short answer is yes, they absolutely do. A cover letter, when done right, provides a quick, concise window into the resume itself—and helps recruiters determine whether it’s really worth their while to investigate the job candidate further.

But wait. You’ll notice we said something about cover letters done right. Not all of them are, and a bad cover letter can hurt your case more than it helps it. So how can you be sure your cover letter is crafted to get results?

Make it short.

There are four recommendations we’ll offer, and the first is to keep it concise. Remember that the cover letter is a summary of your resume, so it doesn’t need to be as long as the resume itself! What we recommend:

  • Keep it under a page.
  • Write an introductory paragraph, then a paragraph or so of career summary—basically explaining why you’re the right person for the job.
  • Include three or four bullet points, highlighting your biggest career accomplishments.
  • Wrap it up with a conclusion and a signature.

Make it specific.

Remember that old writer’s rule, show, don’t tell? That’s certainly true when you’re writing a cover letter. Don’t just tell the recruiter that you’re dedicated or hard-working or energetic; those are just clichés. Actually furnish them with specific achievements that set you apart. Use stats and numbers whenever you can. You’re not going to go through your whole career history in the cover letter, but you can hash out a few high points.

Make it personalized.

Most of the time, you should be able to avoid the general To Whom It May Concern greeting, addressing your cover letter to the specific recruiter you’re meeting with. If you don’t have the name handy, some social media research or a call to the company’s HR department can often give you what you need. Keep it personal if at all possible.

Make it job-specific.

You can’t afford to have just one go-to, generic cover letter in your arsenal. You should be customizing it to fit each position you apply for, honing in on the skill and accomplishments that best fit the job description.

With these four points, you can ensure that your cover letter is built to garner attention—and to lead recruiters deeper into your resume. And of course, our resume writing team can assist you in putting together both resume and cover letter; reach out to us to learn more! Connect with Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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