Tag Archives: resume writing advice

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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Is It Time to Overhaul Your Resume?

If you’re like many people, you only give your resume a second glance when you’re looking for a new job. That can backfire when you’re in a rush to apply for open positions and you may not give off the best impression or emphasize your strongest assets. Keeping your resume up-to-date even when you’re not actively seeking a job can help you to be more prepared when an opportunity comes along.

Here are a few signs that it might be time to give your resume an overhaul and spruce things up:

It’s been years since you’ve revised it. Resume formats and trends have changed over the years, so if you’re submitting the same resume you used 10 years ago (or even 5), it’s going to be pretty obvious to recruiters and employers. Long gone are the days of objectives and “references available upon request.” Say goodbye to that AOL email or the address you’ve been using since college if it isn’t something professional. You want to ensure your resume is in line with what employers are looking for today and isn’t dating you.

Your resume could apply to anyone or any position. If your resume is filled with generic copy that doesn’t set you apart from the next applicant and doesn’t strongly demonstrate your capabilities, you’re wasting the opportunity to make a memorable first impression. In fact, you may find that your resume is being passed over more often than you’d like. Your resume should be a reflection of you and what you have accomplished throughout your career. Focus on your achievements and what you bring to the table.

You’re not getting many – or any – responses. You’ve submitted your resume to dozens of jobs yet hear nothing back. While part of this may be the competitiveness of the market and the particular jobs you are applying for, your resume may also be to blame. If employers can’t quickly see that you are a good fit, you have the skills they seek, and you can benefit their company, they’ll move on to someone who does fit the bill. Now may be a good time to really evaluate your resume and give it a good updating so that it works in your favor.

You’re getting calls for the wrong types of jobs. Are you getting calls for jobs that aren’t in line with what you’re looking for? Your resume may not be presenting you in the way you’re hoping it does. To you it may seem obvious what type of job you’re seeking or why you’re a good match, but to employers it may not be. Spell it out on your resume. Don’t let there be any doubt about your abilities or how you’re branding yourself. This is where a solid summary of qualifications and core competencies section come into play.

If your resume is missing the mark, or you’re just not sure where to start, the team at Grammar Chic is here to help. We will work with you to create an up-to-date resume that reflects you in a positive light and generates attention for the right reasons. Contact Grammar Chic at (803) 831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net today!

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3 Job Search Methods That Just Don’t Work

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When it comes to finding a job, there’s no such thing as right or wrong. Maybe you found your job because you know a guy. Maybe you found your job through diligently crafting a resume, sending it to a hundred recruiters, and following up regularly. Or maybe you just lucked into it—right place, right time.

What matters, of course, is the outcome. If you end up with a job that satisfies you—and that pays the bills—what does it matter how you got it?

It doesn’t matter, not a whit—but with that said, there are some job search methods that tend to be worthwhile, and some that simply don’t. There are even some job search methods that remain weirdly popular, despite the fact that they’re really just wastes of your time and energy.

For example…

Attending job fairs. You may have heard some wonderful, glowing reports from people who found their jobs via job fairs. And back in the day, job fairs really were pretty effective. That’s because you could go to a job fair, learn about different companies, and actually have a chance to meet with recruiters and interview for jobs on the spot.

That sounds great, right? Well, yeah, it was. But job fairs don’t really work that way anymore. These days, when you go to a job fair, you’re going to meet an awful lot of nice recruiters who tell you to… visit the company website and apply there.

So save yourself the trouble. Skip the fair and just do some online research on your own.

Resume blasting. A resume blast service does exactly what it sounds like: It blasts your resume out to a couple hundred employers, taking a shotgun approach to the application process.

But the way to win the attention of an employer isn’t with this scattershot approach. It’s with customizing your resume to fit the specific position—something resume blasting just doesn’t allow for.

You’re better off sending out three customized resumes, with personalized cover letters, than blasting a general resume to 300 different companies. Really.

Social media. No, wait! We very much believe in the importance of using social media to enhance your personal brand. In fact, Grammar Chic offers full LinkedIn optimization services, something we recommend to many jobseekers.

But what we don’t buy is that very many people get their dream job by hounding a company on Twitter, or that you can interview for a job over LinkedIn messages.

Social media is good, but it’s not that good. Don’t waste your time pursing an outcome that’s really just not very likely.

And don’t waste your time job-searching without a solid resume. Get yours professionally crafted by contacting Grammar Chic today: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Always Personalize Your Job Search Communications

The process of job searching typically entails a great deal of correspondence—and if you’re serious about making a positive impression on potential employers, it’s important that you personalize those correspondences.

What do we mean by personalize? Ultimately, you should really never begin an e-mail, thank-you-note, or cover letter with Dear Sir or Madam or To Whom it May Concern.

As you know from personal experience, these impersonal salutations always come across as spammy. When you get letters addressed like that in your own mail box, you probably throw them out immediately. And why would you think hiring managers would respond any differently?

The question is, how do you know how to personalize your correspondence? Hopefully, the job posting itself lists a specific contact person, in which case your job is pretty easy. Just make out the cover letter to either Dear Mr. [Last Name] or Dear Ms. [Last Name], and you should be good.

If no specific contact person is mentioned, of course, you’ll have to do some digging—on the company website first, and on the company LinkedIn page second. If you do your research and still can’t find a contact person from the hiring department, well, you’ve done your due diligence, and in this case you can get away with a generic greeting. Chances are, the person you’re writing to will be aware that he or she is tough to locate on the Web.

Once you actually make it into the office for an interview, you can always grab a business card of the person you interview with—ensuring you can personalize your handwritten thank-you note and all future e-mails.

And sending personalized follow-ups is something we recommend: It’s a small yet significant way to keep your name in front of hiring managers and decision makers, and to prove yourself to be an applicant of real distinction.

For help writing compelling, personalized correspondences, reach out to Grammar Chic at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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6 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Resume

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You’ve found an online job posting that’s gotten you really excited. You’ve filled out the online form. Now it’s time to upload your resume, hit submit, then sit back and wait for your phone to ring.

But wait: Before you do that, why not take an extra five minutes to double and triple check your resume? You’ve probably looked it over a hundred times before, but it never hurts to verify that your resume is spotless, professional, and appealing.

Read through your resume just one more time before you send it off, and as you read it ask yourself these quick questions:

Is your contact information accurate, complete, and up to date? Yes, this seems like a no-brainer—but you would be amazed at how many resumes we see where digits in the phone number are transposed, or there is a typo in the e-mail address, or there is no physical mailing address listed at all. Read through your contact information caaaaaarefullly to ensure it says what you want it to say.

Does your resume have keywords that mirror the job posting? If the job posting itself emphasizes “customer relations” or “social media strategy,” well, you probably want to make sure those phrases appear in your actual resume. Tweak your document to include as many pertinent keywords as you can.

Does your resume list actual accomplishments? Employers don’t just want to see what your previous job responsibilities were; they want to see what you achieved. Are there places you could add specific numbers or other figures to prove your effectiveness?

Does your resume convey an actual narrative? Your resume should tell the story of your career—which means denoting a clear trajectory, showing promotions, proving that each job held builds on the last, and not including any employment gaps.

Is your resume scannable? Can a potential employer skim your resume with relative ease? Remember that these are busy people, and a resume that can’t be skimmed may not get considered at all. Things to look for: Plenty of white space, clearly marked sections, a bulleted list of core competencies, and a resume that doesn’t go too long (one page is often enough, two is usually the max).

Does your resume include anything superfluous? Take one more look to see if you included hobbies or other personal information that doesn’t factor into your employability—and if so, axe it!

If you look over your resume and don’t like what you see, never fear: The Grammar Chic resume team is here to help! Reach out to us today at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

 

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