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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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Should Your Resume List Hobbies?

It’s a common conundrum among jobseekers: You want to stand out. You want to draw attention to yourself. You want to come across like a living, breathing, real human being on your resume. You’re just not sure how to do it.

One common solution to this problem is to list your hobbies. The resume writers here at Grammar Chic see a lot of resumes that have full hobby sections at the bottom—but is this really the best way to make your case to future employers?

Our Take on the Hobby Question

Generally speaking, we’re of the opinion that hobby sections should be avoided. They take up valuable space on your resume that could be devoted to a clearer portrayal of your professional value.

Remember that, when they look at your resume, recruiters and hiring managers just want to know one thing: Are you going to bring value to their organization? A list of career accomplishments, core competencies, or key metrics might answer this question. A list of hobbies probably doesn’t. Simply put, the fact that you like to play golf or read mystery novels doesn’t really matter to potential employers, and it dilutes the power of a good resume.

How to Showcase your Hobbies—Subtly

That’s not to say that there are not a few ways to highlight your personal, out-of-the-office interests, however. Here are a few more appropriate ways to shed some light on what you like to do in your spare time.

Highlight Volunteer Experience

Voluntarism can be a way for you to hint at some of your broader interests, especially if your work for non-profits dovetails with your other hobbies—for example, if you want to show that you’re a runner, you might list your voluntarism with local charity runs.

Use Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter can be the place where you mention that your love of travel has made you more culturally literate, or that coaching your son’s soccer team has taught you a lot about teamwork and leadership. Just make sure you tie your hobbies with actual workplace skills.

Don’t Forget LinkedIn

LinkedIn doesn’t allow you to list hobbies per se, but you can certainly join up with groups that hint at your broader interests—a sly but effective way to humanize yourself in the eyes of potential recruiters.

Focus on Your Professional Value

The bottom line? Your resume is your value proposition—and hobbies don’t really belong there. You can make yourself look both valuable and relatable, though, with a complete and powerful resume. Get one today by reaching out to the Grammar Chic resume writing team; connect with us at 803-831-7444, or at 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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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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