Tag Archives: resume writing

Four Ways to Ensure an Effective Cover Letter

Do recruiters and hiring managers actually read cover letters? Our resume writing professionals get this question all the time, and the short answer is yes, they absolutely do. A cover letter, when done right, provides a quick, concise window into the resume itself—and helps recruiters determine whether it’s really worth their while to investigate the job candidate further.

But wait. You’ll notice we said something about cover letters done right. Not all of them are, and a bad cover letter can hurt your case more than it helps it. So how can you be sure your cover letter is crafted to get results?

Make it short.

There are four recommendations we’ll offer, and the first is to keep it concise. Remember that the cover letter is a summary of your resume, so it doesn’t need to be as long as the resume itself! What we recommend:

  • Keep it under a page.
  • Write an introductory paragraph, then a paragraph or so of career summary—basically explaining why you’re the right person for the job.
  • Include three or four bullet points, highlighting your biggest career accomplishments.
  • Wrap it up with a conclusion and a signature.

Make it specific.

Remember that old writer’s rule, show, don’t tell? That’s certainly true when you’re writing a cover letter. Don’t just tell the recruiter that you’re dedicated or hard-working or energetic; those are just clichés. Actually furnish them with specific achievements that set you apart. Use stats and numbers whenever you can. You’re not going to go through your whole career history in the cover letter, but you can hash out a few high points.

Make it personalized.

Most of the time, you should be able to avoid the general To Whom It May Concern greeting, addressing your cover letter to the specific recruiter you’re meeting with. If you don’t have the name handy, some social media research or a call to the company’s HR department can often give you what you need. Keep it personal if at all possible.

Make it job-specific.

You can’t afford to have just one go-to, generic cover letter in your arsenal. You should be customizing it to fit each position you apply for, honing in on the skill and accomplishments that best fit the job description.

With these four points, you can ensure that your cover letter is built to garner attention—and to lead recruiters deeper into your resume. And of course, our resume writing team can assist you in putting together both resume and cover letter; reach out to us to learn more! Connect with Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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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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Is Your Resume Making You Look Unprofessional?

What if you walked into a job interview wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt, ripped jeans, and bright orange sneakers? In most cases, the interviewer would rightly conclude that you’re not very professional. You may actually be a supremely talented and hard-working employee, and a great fit for the company—but your lack of professionalism could rob you of the opportunity.

In much the same way, a resume can sometimes scream “unprofessional” to whoever sees it. That may not be a fair appraisal of your character, but it’s what the resume conveys—and just like the tie-dyed T-shirt, this lack of professionalism can cost you a career opportunity.

But how do you know your resume is giving off an unprofessional vibe? Here are a few dead giveaways.

Goofy Email Handles

Going by the RunnerGal77, WeezerFan_01, or a similarly flippant email handle can actually be a turn-off to employers, for the simple reason that it comes across as juvenile and, well, unprofessional.  Make sure your resume has a clean, reputable email address on it—some variation on your name, with a recognized email platform like Gmail. Recent grads might also use their school email handle.

Typos of Any Kind

A true professional would take a few minutes to proofread their resume rather than send sloppy writing to a potential boss. Make sure your own resume is free of these unfortunate errors.

A Wall of Text

A resume needs to be readable, and as a courtesy to hiring managers, yours should include plenty of white space, section headings, and bullet points. If it’s just a big lump of unbroken text, that’s a headache for the reader—and not very professional at all.

Pure Fluff

A true professional is able to articulate his or her value and achievements—so a resume that just lists dates and job titles, without going into any kind of depth, is a missed opportunity.

Attempts at Being “Unique”

You should stand out for your achievements, your skills, and your experience—not because you were the one goofball who used Comic Sans, or laid out your resume with a bunch of strange colors.

Inject Professionalism into Your Resume

Your resume should exude professionalism from top to bottom—and we can help you achieve that lofty goal. Reach out to our professional resume writing team today. You can connect with Grammar Chic, Inc. at 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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Remove the Word “Seasoned” from Your Resume Right Now

There are certain words and phrases that have become commonplace on resumes and cover letters, despite the fact that they really lack merit, and in some cases are actually turn-offs to recruiters and hiring managers. One of the key offenders? Seasoned.

Simply put, you should reserve that word for describing food. It has no place describing people, and it really has no place on your resume collateral.

Why “Seasoned” is a Word Best Avoided

There are a number of reasons to avoid this word. Start with this one: Recruiters know full well that “seasoned” can be a euphemism. People who describe themselves in this way are often trying to put a positive spin on the fact that they are, frankly, old, or that they have worked in the same profession for a long span of time. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to phrase things positively, of course. “Seasoned” just isn’t an effective way to do it.

In addition, the word is often used in a way that’s redundant. Say you describe yourself as a “seasoned professional with 20 years of experience.” What role does “seasoned” play in this statement? What does it communicate that the 20 years of experience doesn’t get at more specifically?

The bottom line: When you describe yourself with this word, you’re not giving the recruiter any good reason to keep reading your resume. It’s purely an empty cliché.

What to Say Instead

Fortunately, there are some choice alternatives available—words that arrive at something much more specific and impactful.

To show that you’re worked in the same industry for a long time but have climbed the ladder—rather than remaining stagnant in one single position—you could note that you are “steadily progressing.”

To denote that you have authority in your field, “industry-leading” is a qualifier that can pack a real punch. “Respected expert” is another option here.

And of course, you can always just let your specific career history do the talking for you, without any need to tell people how “seasoned” you are.

The bottom line for job seekers: Every word on your resume needs to be just right. A single hollow choice can cause the whole thing to come across as limp or uninspiring. For resume guidance that will make every word sparkle, we encourage you to contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today. Reach us at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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Yes, You CAN Proofread Your Resume Effectively

Your resume may be a powerful showcase of your skills, your achievements, and your professional trajectory—yet if there is even a single typo on the document, it could sink your chances at an interview, and derail your job search completely.

We’re not being hyperbolic, either. Hiring managers and recruiters are inundated with resumes, and they don’t need much reason at all to discard yours—giving themselves one less applicant to tangle with. And typos, while often perfectly innocent, can call into question your professionalism and your attention to detail. In short: They make you look bad!

When building your resume, proofreading is an essential step. We understand that you may not be confident in your own proofing skills, and we get it. It’s challenging to catch mistakes in your own work. But you can do it—and we’ll show you how.

Practical Ways to Proofread More Successfully

Here are some pragmatic fixes for your proofreading issues:

Print out your resume. Here’s why: The mind engages text on the screen differently than it does text on the page. By reading both ways, you can be more thorough in spotting potential errors.

Read out loud. When you read the text out loud, you not only pick up on more errors, but may also become aware of issues—like over-repetition of a particular word—that makes the resume seem a bit off.

Put a finger on each word. As you read, either on your tablet or a printed document, put your finger on each new word as you read it—preventing your mind from skipping over anything.

Read it backwards. Start at the bottom and work your way up! This ensures that you’re actually seeing the letters on the page, not getting distracted by the ideas, context, or logical flow.

Get a friend to help. No matter how rigorous you are, you can still benefit from having multiple sets of eyes.

Make Your Resume Look Perfect

Your resume should look like perfection, and proofreading is an essential part of that. One more thing you can do to ensure the right level of polish? Hire a professional resume writer. Ours are always happy to help, whether you need a quick review or a complete rewrite.

Reach out to the resume writing professionals on the Grammar Chic team today. You can connect with Grammar Chic, Inc. online at www.grammarchic.net, or call us at 803-831-7444.

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Effective Cover Letters ALWAYS Avoid These 5 Words

Words are powerful.

So powerful, in fact, that all it takes is one to completely sink your cover letter—and with it, your prospects at landing your desired job interview.

It’s that important to be judicious in what you say, in how you present yourself to recruiters and hiring managers. We’ll show you what we mean: In this post, we’ll list the five words that can ruin an otherwise effective cover letter, and also offer some strategies on working around them.

“Never”

First: Remember that a cover letter is meant to showcase the things that make you a good, positive candidate for the job in question. Negative words have no place here, and no word is more negative than never.

A lot of entry-level or recently graduated jobseekers feel the need to over-explain their lack of experience. “While I have never worked for an accounting firm, I feel…” Our advice? Skip the explanation and focus more on the positives—the internships or volunteer experience that you’ve accumulated, the other work experience with transferable skills, etc.

“Always”

Frankly, absolute statements are highly suspect. They reek of BS. You may say that you always do detail-oriented work or that you always complete your work on time—but really, that’s probably an exaggeration. And recruiters will immediately raise their eyebrows.

Instead of absolute statements, provide concrete examples of your good work. Instead of saying that you’re always the best, prove it.

“Really”

There’s no need to come across as over-eager. You may really want the job, but that doesn’t mean you have to say as much on your cover letter. Again, show your enthusiasm. Channel your eagerness into an engaged and alert job interview, not empty words on a cover letter.

“Feel”

Recruiters and hiring managers probably don’t care how you feel. Yes, that’s harsh, but it’s also true. You may feel like you’ve found your dream job, or that you are the perfect candidate, but those points simply aren’t relevant to the company that’s looking to hire you. Focus on demonstrating why you’re such a good choice for the position, with concrete achievements rather than statements of feeling.

“Honestly”

Are you a liar? Do you often make statements that are misleading or erroneous? If not, then there’s no need to clarify the moments when you’re being honest. It should go without saying.

All five of these words very subtly undercut your authority and your value as a candidate—and a good cover letter will skip over them. To fill your cover letter with words of power and persuasion, we encourage you to call us today. The Grammar Chic team can help! Reach out at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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