Tag Archives: resume writing tips

Recruiters Don’t Care About Your Soft Skills

An effective resume is one that makes a convincing argument for your value as an employee—one that shows potential employers how they might benefit from hiring you. As such, it’s important for your resume to highlight your most precise, specific, and value-adding skills; the flipside of this is that your resume shouldn’t be bogged down with skills or competencies that don’t convey real results.

What this means is that, generally speaking, you can leave the soft skills off altogether. Things that are measurable and quantifiable? Absolutely include them on your resume. Things that make you distinct from other applicants? You bet. The same ol’ vague, mushy adjectives that everyone includes on their resume? Ditch ‘em.

The Soft Skills to Avoid on Your Resume

If you’re not sure what we’re talking about, here’s the rundown—some common buzzwords and nebulous skillsets that are going to make your resume seem mushy, vague, or unfocused.

Detail oriented. While it’s certainly nice to pay attention to details, this is one of those phrases that everyone uses to describe themselves—and there’s no real way to quantify or measure it. As such, including this phrase really doesn’t suggest value to recruiters and hiring managers.

Results oriented. See above. It’s great to care about results, but that’s not something you can empirically prove on a resume or in a job interview.

Experienced. A good resume will show that you’re experienced—so there’s no need to say it.

Hard working. Again, it’s wise to show, not tell. Listing some of your core accomplishments—complete with numerical results, when possible—is a lot more meaningful than just saying you work hard. See also: Motivated.

Team player. Your resume should include instances of you collaborating with people and working on teams to achieve goals—so, you shouldn’t need to state it like this.

Dynamic. What does this mean? Most jobseekers can’t really explain it, much less demonstrate it, so it’s probably not something you need on your resume.

Microsoft Office, Word, Excel, Email, Internet Explorer, etc. Proficiency in these everyday programs is not technically a soft skill, but at this point it should really go without saying. Inclusion of these skills on your resume will make you seem dated.

Tighten Up Your Resume

Ready to ditch the soft skills and make your resume streamlined, specific, and impactful? Our resume writing team can help. Contact Grammar Chic Inc. at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

 

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6 Ways Your Resume Can Make You Look Unprofessional

Your resume is a piece of marketing collateral—and what it’s marketing is you. A good resume will help you to look competent, dependable, hard-working, and professional—but of course, the inverse also holds true: A bad resume can compromise your appeal as a job candidate, and in some cases cause you to come across as downright unprofessional.

But you can avoid that by putting some time into honing your resume—and we’ll show you how. In this post, we’re going to list six resume goofs that can seriously damage your professional image. Needless to say, you’ll want to avoid them—and if you’re not sure how, reach out to our resume writing team for an assist!

Avoid These Resume Writing Blunders

Here are six things that cause your resume to undercut your professionalism:

  1. Goofy, juvenile, or inconsistent font use. It’s fine if you like Comic Sans, but it’s not fine to use it on a resume—nor is it acceptable to toggle between different fonts throughout the resume. Stick with the agreed-upon, readable resume fonts—Calibri or Helvetica.
  2. Using vague descriptors. Terms like hard-working, driven, and motivated are unprovable—which means they are basically meaningless. Cut them from your resume, and stick with quantifiable and specific descriptors instead.
  3. Including a head shot on your resume. Unless you are applying to be a supermodel, there’s no need to include a picture on your resume.
  4. Ending your resume with half a page to go. We’re all about keeping your resume concise, but you don’t want half a page of blank space at the bottom. Make sure you fill out the entire document.
  5. Using an unprofessional email address. Your handle should be some variation on your own name—plain and simple.
  6. Sending your resume without a cover letter. Or, getting an interview, but then failing to send a thank-you note. Your resume works best when it’s sent in tandem with these other documents!

Write a Resume That Makes You Shine

Your resume should give the impression that you are a consummate professional—and any one of these mistakes can undermine that impression. Avoid them—but also be proactive in writing a resume where your appeal as a candidate shines through. We can help; reach out to the Grammar Chic team to ask about our resume writing services. Contact us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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7 Things to Do Before You Send Your Resume

You only have one chance to make a first impression—so you don’t want to send your resume to a recruiter or a hiring manager until you’re sure that it’s perfect. Pause for a minute before you upload your document, and make sure your resume is polished. We’ll show you how.

Before You Send Your Resume: A Checklist

  1. First, proofread, proofread, and proofread! Yeah, you know this already—a single typo or grammatical error can cause the hiring manager to move on to the next resume in the pile. Yet countless resumes are sent with major errors, and it’s all because jobseekers don’t allow plenty of time to proofread. Get a second and a third set of eyes to help you spot any typos or sloppy mistakes!
  2. Check for correct verb tenses. This is simple: If you did something as part of a prior job, use the past tense. If it’s related to your current position, though, the present tense is more appropriate.
  3. Verify readability. It’s imperative that your resume is clear and easy to navigate. You might even share it with some friends or family members to get their take on it. Make sure your font choices, margins, and layout all make your resume easy on the eye!
  4. Ensure consistency. Do you use multiple fonts in your resume? Do you use bold and italic text inconsistently? Be thorough in reviewing these elements and ensuring steady, unchanging design choices throughout your resume.
  5. Eliminate technical jargon. Is there anywhere in your resume where you can substitute plainer, more user-friendly language for your high-level industry buzzwords? Generally speaking, you want to minimize jargon to keep your resume widely accessible.
  6. Look at the job description you’re applying for. Are there any words, phrases, or key skills listed there that you could incorporate into your own resume? This is almost always a good idea!
  7. Don’t forget the cover letter! If you have an opportunity to send a cover letter along with your resume, that can go a long way toward getting your document read! Of course, you’ll also want to ensure your cover letter is well-proofed, well-formatted, etc.

How Can We Help?

As you put the final spit and polish on your resume, we’d love to help in any any way we can—proofing, critiquing, consulting, or rewriting your resume and cover letter from scratch! Let’s talk. Contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today to chat with a resume consultant. Reach us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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3 Ways to Make Your Resume More Readable

There’s one thing that all good resumes have in common: They are easy to read. Readability is something of a courtesy that you extend to recruiters and hiring managers—but it’s more than just good manners. Consider this: A recruiter may get 100 resumes for a single position. If the other 99 resumes are all clear and concise, but yours is extremely difficult to read, it’s very likely that it’ll simply get tossed. In other words, poor readability compromises your prospects.

But what do we mean when we talk about readability? Well, for one thing, we mean a resume that’s laid out in a way that’s easy to navigate—section headings, bulleted lists, plenty of white space, a legible font choice, etc. We also mean a resume that’s written in clear, plain language.

There are many things you can do to enhance your resume’s readability—and today, we’ll summarize three of the big ones.

First, Review Your Style and Formatting

Before you look at the words themselves, just take in the big picture. Does your resume flow naturally? Is it easy on the eye? Here are some specific points to consider:

  • You’ll want to have a professional-looking font—we recommend Calibri or Helvetica—and a font size of 10, 11, or 12.
  • Also ensure that the different sections of your resume are clearly defined.
  • Use bullet points whenever you can—in particular in the Core Competencies and Professional History sections.
  • Ensure default settings for the margins, and plenty of white space throughout.
  • Eliminate any images or distracting design elements.

Second, Remove Needless Jargon

The next step we recommend is cleaning up your language, and ensuring your resume is free and clear or needless technical jargon. Some specific pointers:

  • Upon the first use of an acronym, make sure you spell it out. Remember, some acronyms can mean different things in different fields.
  • Don’t assume that recruiters understand all the technical aspects of your industry; provide context and clarity for your technical terminology.
  • If you can think of a less technical way of saying something, that’s usually the best approach. Avoid jargon for jargon’s sake.

Finally, Seek an Extra Pair of Eyes

One more thing we’d recommend: Share your resume with a friend or family member. Ideally, share it with several friends and family members. Get lots of opinions about your resume’s clarity and readability—and make any necessary changes based on the feedback you receive.

You might even take the step of enlisting a professional set of eyes. That’s where Grammar Chic, Inc. comes in. Our resume team can review your document and help you enhance its clarity and its readability. Start the process by calling us today at 803-831-7444. You can also connect with Grammar Chic online at www.grammarchic.net.

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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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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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