Tag Archives: resume writing advice

No, You Shouldn’t Include References on Your Resume

Often, the things you don’t include on your resume are just as important as the ones you do.

Case in point: We blogged just a few days ago about the Career Objective, and how it really has no place on a resume.

Today, we’ve got another resume element you’re better off ditching—and that’s your list of references.

Why References Are Out

Our resume team still sees a lot of resumes that come with reference lists—but in truth these lists are unnecessary, and in some cases, can be harmful.

The main reason why we recommend against reference lists is that they simply aren’t in keeping with modern resume trends. When you include one, it makes you look older, out of touch. Of course, what you want is a resume that does just the opposite.

An alternative to listing resumes is to say that references are available upon request—but we’re not big on this, either. The reason is that this is redundant. Employers know that you’re willing to offer references if they ask for them—if you’re serious about the job, anyway. No job candidate is going to deny a request to provide a few references. There’s just no need to state your willingness on the resume, and doing so wastes invaluable real estate.

The bottom line is that your resume should be about you. That’s what hiring managers care about—and a list of other people’s names isn’t going to tell them much.

Rethinking the Reference List

Does this mean you should delete your reference list altogether?

Not necessarily. We still recommend keeping a reference list. We’d just advise that you make it a separate document—not part of your resume.

Have a file where you have references on hand, so that when a hiring manager does request to see them, you can provide them quickly and easily.

Make sure that, when you hand out a reference sheet, you let your references know; nothing good can come of them being caught off guard by a request from a potential employer, and besides, it’s just good manners to fill them in.

Update Your Resume Today

You need a resume that’s compact and powerful—and reference lists take away from that. Get your resume up to date today. Reach out to the Grammar Chic resume writing team for a full resume makeover. Call 803-831-7444 or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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7 Times You Should Update Your Resume

Your resume is a living document—fluid, ever-changing, evolving just as your own career evolves. As such, it’s never something you should just set and forget. It’s smart for any professional to make regular resume updates—even when you don’t happen to be in the job market.

So, when is it smart to go through your resume and make a few tweaks and additions? Here are seven instances when a resume update is absolutely called for.

When to Update Your Resume

  1. Any time you finish a significant new project at work. Take a few moments to record it on your resume, lest your achievement go unmentioned. Make note of your own responsibilities for the project, the people you collaborated with, the skills you employed, the challenges you faced, and the results you obtained.
  2. Any time you receive new metrics. Did you just receive this month’s client satisfaction scores, or this quarter’s sales figures? Take just a second to log them in your resume, where numbers and statistics carry tremendous power.
  3. Any time you complete a new training course or obtain a certification. Log your continuing education achievements on your resume to show that you’re still growing, still learning, still pushing yourself.
  4. Any time you consider freelance or side positions. Take a minute to customize your resume, really highlighting the value you can bring to that specific job.
  5. Any time you want to speak at a conference or seminar. Customize your resume to show why you deserve the gig!
  6. Any season of tumult or transition at your current company. Hopefully you won’t find yourself on the receiving end of a layoff, but there’s certainly no harm in being prepared for it, just in case.
  7. At the start of the new calendar year. When January rolls around, and as you think through your New Year’s resolutions, make one of them to make some updates to your resume, keeping it fresh and up to date.

Get Help Changing Your Resume

Here’s a bonus one for you: If you can’t remember the last time you updated your resume, now is as good a time as any to do it. And if you need some help with it, we’ve got you covered. Contact the Grammar Chic resume writing team today, and we’ll get your resume in good working order! Reach out 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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How to Fit Your Resume on a Single Page

One of the most common questions received by our resume writing team is about length: How many pages should a good resume be, exactly? Our answer: It just depends.

For a seasoned executive with decades of experience, a two- or even three-page resume can be totally appropriate, and necessary for summarizing all pertinent career information. For someone who’s fresh out of college and looking for entry-level work, though, a one-page resume is usually sufficient.

For some jobseekers, condensing a resume to fit a single page is challenging. It’s especially frustrating when your resume takes up just a few lines of text on the second page, but you can’t figure out what to cut in order to shrink it down to one.

We can provide a few tips for making your resume nice and compact.

Don’t Sacrifice Readability

First, a quick word about what not to do. Don’t choose a super-small font—that is, don’t pick anything smaller than a 12. And don’t shrink the margins. These little cheats are transparent to recruiters, but more than that, they make the document harder to read—which means your one-page resume may simply get tossed into the garbage.

Make Your Writing Succinct

A better way to shorten your resume is to make your language tighter, more to the point. Eliminate first-person pronouns. Get rid of needless adverbs and other superfluous descriptors. And don’t hesitate to use any acronyms that are truly standard and well-known—for example, if you report to the Chief Executive Officer, it’s fine to just say CEO.

Eliminate Anything That’s Redundant or Unnecessary

This includes:

Try Putting All Your Contact Info on Just One Line

Using vertical lines to separate things, you can probably condense your address, phone number, and email address into one line. It’s worth a shot, anyway.

Get Help form the Resume Experts

It might also be wise to get a second pair of eyes, and to hear from an outside expert what can go and what needs to stay on your resume. The Grammar Chic team can help with this. Learn more by reaching out to us today—www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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4 Good Ways to Get Your Resume Noticed

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There’s an old saying: If you want to stand out, be outstanding. That’s all well and good, of course, but how do you stand out in a crowded field of job applicants? How can you be outstanding when you’re competing with dozens, if not hundreds of other people for the attention of a hiring manager?

Certainly, there are some bad ways to make your resume stand out: Typing it in a weird font, putting a head shot on it, formatting it in a way that is willfully weird or difficult to read. These things can all make your resume attract attention, but not the kind of attention you want.

What’s important is making your resume appealing to a hiring manager who’s just skimming through it, while also maintaining a sense of professional decorum. And it’s not impossible to strike this balance. We’ll offer you four strategies for doing exactly that.

Customize Your Cover Letter and Resume

You already know that your cover letter should be tailored to address the specific job you’re applying for—but did you know that your resume should also be modified to match the specific job you’re seeking? Look at the job posting and take note of the pertinent skills and competencies that are listed, and make sure you highlight those on your resume, moving them to the top of your list. You don’t have to rewrite your whole resume, but do tweak it to convey your qualification for the specific job you’re trying to land.

Be as Specific as You Can Be

Do you know what really gets a hiring manager’s attention? Numbers. If you can include statistics or actual data to boost your credentials, that’s ideal. Anything that lends specificity to your resume, as opposed to vague descriptions of your past experience, is bound to help.

Focus on Transferable Skills

If you’re looking for a position in a new industry, you’ll want to make sure you explicitly connect your past experience to the new job you’re seeking. Make note of the skills you have that can carry over from one industry to another. Don’t assume the hiring manager will make these connections; draw them out yourself.

Emphasize Your Most Relevant Past Positions

Some of your past work experience may have a direct bearing on the job you’re seeking; spend a lot of time discussing those on your resumes. Others may be less pertinent; you can downplay those.

As you can tell, the one-resume-fits-all approach just isn’t going to work here. Getting the attention of hiring managers means having a resume for every occasion—and that’s something the Grammar Chic resume team can help you with.

We’d love to provide you with a resume consultation. Contact us today to learn more: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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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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How You Know You’ve Taken the Wrong Job (And What to Do About It)

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When you accept a new job, you always hope for the best. You cross your fingers and make yourself believe that the job might be forever—or at least, until you retire. At the very least you want to feel happy and settled in your new position for a good long while. Sadly, things always don’t work out this way.

You may realize, weeks or month or years down the road, that the job you’re in just isn’t a good fit. Or, you may realize it almost immediately. That’s never a good feeling to have, but here’s the good news: You don’t have to stay in a bad job forever. No matter how long (or how short) you’ve been in your current role, you’re always allowed to polish your resume and start reaching out for a new, hopefully better opportunity.

Signs You’re in a Bad Job

So how do you know that the job you’ve accepted is a bad fit? Here are some definite red flags:

  • You arrive at your new job and find that nobody was ready for your arrival—that your desk or office area isn’t prepared and that nobody really knows what to do with you.
  • You begin your orientation and discover that the appealing job description you signed up for was a fantasy; that the actual role is something totally different.
  • You find yourself surrounded by complainers—people who clearly don’t like their jobs and don’t mind saying so.
  • You notice a clear sense of dysfunction in the office—people who do not work well together, or betray animosity for one another.
  • Your direct boss or supervisor seems to be completely invisible—always holed up in the office, missing from meetings and huddles.
  • You have a hard time finding anyone who can answer your questions about the job, about the company’s vision, or about your place within it.

Make the Leap

All of these are reasons to immediately start looking for a new opportunity; toxic workplaces aren’t likely to get better overnight, and there’s no sense in being unhappy any longer than you have to.

Even if you feel like you’ve just completed the job search, make a leap, and try to find a new position where you will be happier. Enter the search with a fresh perspective—and a fresh resume. Get in touch with our resume writing team to start the process. Reach Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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