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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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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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5 Words Fortune 500 Executives Use on Their LinkedIn Profiles

Language matters, even in your LinkedIn profile. That’s why Grammarly recently combed through hundreds of LinkedIn profiles from Fortune 500 employees—entry-level workers all the way up through the C-suite—to see if any words or phrases stood out. The results offer some compelling insights into how truly high-level jobseekers brand themselves online.

Specifically, Grammarly found that director- and executive-level employees tend to use certain keywords that distinguish their LinkedIn profiles from those of their lower-level counterparts. Five words in particular stand out—and they may be words worth adding to your own LinkedIn account.

Five Smart Words for Your LinkedIn Profile

Leader. How would you describe yourself? As a worker? An employer? Or a real leader? Apparently, asserting your authority is a good way to make your LinkedIn profile persuasive.

Strategic. Close to a third of all director-level employees use this word in their LinkedIn profile—compared to just five percent of entry-level folks. Use it to show that you take a long-term, big-picture view.

Solution. Your future employer doesn’t want someone who will spin their wheels and do busywork. They want someone who will solve problems. Make sure your LinkedIn profile demonstrates this.

Innovative. When you use this word, and pair it with specific examples of when you’ve gone against the grain and it’s paid off, you can expect recruiters to pay attention.

ROI. Can you show that you boosted your company’s return on investment? As in, I increased ROI by more than 135 percent? That’s one concrete way in which the ablest jobseekers set themselves apart.

Branding Yourself on LinkedIn

As ever, we stress that simply using buzzwords is not enough to make your LinkedIn presence winsome. You have to show, not just tell, which means including specific examples of how you’ve shown leadership, innovated, been strategic, etc. Statistics and lists of key achievements matter more than mere buzzwords.

Even so, there’s obviously something to be said for these keywords, when used judiciously within a robust LinkedIn career summary. They can help you stand out, and put you into the upper echelon of jobseekers.

We’d love to show you the ropes with your own LinkedIn profile optimization; to start presenting yourself as a truly A-level candidate, reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. resumes team today. Contact us online at www.grammarchic.net, or call us directly at 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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Choosing a Resume Writing Company That Fits Your Needs

Your resume is a precious thing; in many ways, your career trajectory could boil down to how well your resume lays out your achievements, your skills, and your value as an employee. That’s why more and more jobseekers trust their resume writing needs to the pros—but wait. Before you sign on the dotted line with a resume writing team, it’s smart to do some due diligence. Make sure your resume writers have the skills and perspective needed to help you shine—and if they don’t, look for help somewhere else!

What to Ask Your Resume Writing Team

As you vet potential resume writers, here are some questions you might ask.

What kind of resume writing experience do you have?

At the end of the day, anyone can say that they are professional resume writers—but you want to work with someone who has real experience. Seek resume writers who have been doing it for a while, and who handle a large volume of resumes.

Do you have experience writing resumes for my industry/field?

For the most part, resumes are pretty standard across the board—but in some fields (education, pastoral ministry, etc.) the conventions might be a little bit different. Make sure your resume writer understands the specifics of your field.

May I see a sample resume that you’ve done?

Any reputable resume writing company will be glad to provide you with a sample of their work.

Do you work with recruiters?

Some resume companies actually work closely with recruiting firms, ensuring that they are always up-to-date on what recruiters and employers are looking for. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but it’s always a good sign when your resume writer is in cahoots with a recruiter.

How to you stay current on resume writing practices?

Ask about how your resume writer pursues ongoing training, education, and certification.

What is the process like?

Ask your resume writer to walk you through the process; it needs to be something you feel comfortable with, or else why bother?

Why do you love writing resumes?

We really recommend working with someone who has a passion for resume writing; this helps ensure a truly excellent job, rather than a workmanlike one.

Any Questions?

Grammar Chic, Inc.’s resume writing team is always eager to address these questions, and to prove ourselves worthy of handling your resume needs. Reach out to us any time: www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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5 Ways to Escape from Your Job Search Rut

It’s hard to imagine anything more dispiriting than a job search rut. You desperately want new employment. You’ve made your resume and cover letter, you’ve reached out to your contacts, you’ve hit the pavement looking for openings—and nothing. You’ve not gotten any calls or interviews, much less job offers. You are, simply put, stuck.

The good news is, there are ways to get yourself unstuck. Rather than throwing in the towel, try these ways out of your job search rut.

Talk to people.

One of the most harrowing parts of the job search process is that so much of it is done online these days, without any room for human interaction.

That can take its toll emotionally and psychologically—so break out of that rut. Reach out to former co-workers and ask to have lunch or coffee with them. Mine your LinkedIn contacts for people you could get together with face-to-face.

You can view it as networking, or simply as a chance to get face time with actual humans. Either way, it will bolster your spirits—and possibly lead to some new doors opening, too.

Get feedback on your resume.

If your resume isn’t getting any bites, it could be that it’s just not a well-conceived resume.

Our resume writing experts can take a look and immediately diagnose any problems—and present you with a new resume that gets everything right.

Freshen up your LinkedIn profile.

Likewise, our team can help you optimize your LinkedIn page—boosting your chances of getting found by online recruiters within your industry.

Don’t leave it to chance. Get a LinkedIn profile that has all the right keywords in all the right places.

Broaden your search.

We’re not suggesting you change industries altogether. We’re just saying that, if your search is stuck, it could be that the focus is too narrow.

Try searching for jobs that maybe don’t quite fit the parameters you’ve been looking for in the past. Stretch yourself—just a little. Or simply try searching for similar positions with different job titles.

Take care of yourself.

It really is disheartening to be stuck in a job search that doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. That can rob you of some of your mental health and happiness, so make sure to take care of yourself.

Schedule some time for you—to do some yoga, get a massage, or just hit the gym. Whatever helps you deal with stress and anxiety in a healthy manner, that’s what you should be doing. And who knows? It may be just what you need to get some new perspective or a fresh burst of energy for your job search.

To learn more about advancing your job search, reach out to the Grammar Chic, Inc. team today. You can find us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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