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23 Practical Resume Tips to Help You Get Hired (Plus a Resume Example)

A resume file folder.

Resume Tips

I’m just going to say this outright: resume tips are not going to get you hired. That is, resume tips won’t get you hired, but they will help get you hired.

The first step to landing a job is having a great resume, and having a great resume requires a lot of thought and effort put into every little detail. Tips are great for nailing down all of the details, and implementing many resume tips can add up to an overall better resume.

To help you put these tips into practice, the resume example below has been designed using the same tips offered in this article. Use this article and the resume example to guide you in creating a document that will land on the hiring manager’s desk instead of in the trash.

The Resume Tips

1. Choose the right format

There are four main types of resumes: chronological, functional, combination, and targeted. If you have a lot of experience in your field, you should use a chronological resume, but if your career path has been irregular or erratic, you should go with a functional resume. A combination resume lists both your experience and your skills, and the targeted resume is geared toward specific job requirements. You’ll want to choose the one that’s best for your background before you even begin writing your resume.

2. Make sure the style suits your background

Similarly, your resume should fit your background. There are a number of styles you can choose from, but three of the most common are classic, creative, and modern. A classic resume is best suited for professional jobs, as it provides a clean and simple format with information that is easy to find. A creative resume will help demonstrate your visual capabilities in an original and expressive way. Finally, a modern resume shows that you are up to date with current trends by providing a neat and refreshing document that avoids the outdated look of traditional resumes.

3. Know your audience

In any kind of writing, the best way to ensure you will write well is to know your audience. You should have a very good idea of what your potential employers do, how you can help them do what they do, and what you can get from doing something with them. Once you know these points, you’ll be able to begin writing your resume.

4. Look over your contact information

Write down your contact information at the top of the resume, where it will be easy for hiring managers to spot. Make sure you look it over several times. It’s a good idea to have somebody else look it over, too, because the last thing you want is to have written down the wrong information or to have left anything out.

5. List your experience, achievements, education, and skills

This is obvious, but outlining your resume in major sections will provide a clean document that is easy to follow and understand while providing all of the necessary information. You’ll need to include contact information, key skills, awards and achievements, education, employment, volunteering, and anything else that may be relevant for your prospective employer to know.

6. Only include what’s relevant

On that note, you should include only relevant information in your resume. If it doesn’t apply to the job at hand, that’s okay, but if it also doesn’t share any of the same skill sets, objectives, roles, responsibilities, or environment, you may not wish to include it on your resume. Conversely, if you don’t have a lot to include, be smart about how you use your time so you can include volunteer work or online courses that are relevant where nothing else is.

7. Use action verbs to describe your past roles

Action verbs draw the attention of your reader. However, avoid being too repetitive in your word choices. For creative jobs, you may wish to include verbs like brainstormed or designed. Similarly, if you are applying to a job with a leadership role, you’ll want to include words like established or improved.

8. Take keywords from the job description

If you’re struggling to come up with action verbs, you may want to take a look at the job description. Employers often, consciously or not, include action verbs that best suit the prospective employee’s skill sets. Since they know what they’re looking for, you can use these verbs to your advantage to come across as the perfect candidate.

9. Maintain a consistent tense

It’s important that you maintain a consistent tense in your action statements. You’ll use past tense for any jobs from the past and the present tense for anything you are still in the process of completing. Make sure you don’t switch tenses from bullet point to bullet point; doing so isn’t just wrong, it also gets confusing very quickly!

10. Avoid personal pronouns

Rather than using personal pronouns to describe your experiences, use strong, direct action statements to show potential employers what you have accomplished throughout your career and to give your main accomplishments the most attention.

11. Keep away from buzzwords

Stay away from overused descriptors like hardworking or team player. You can be hardworking and a team player, but instead of using watered-down, blanket terms, describe the accomplishments you’ve achieved through your dedication and ability to work with others.

12. Limit yourself to short and straightforward statements

Keep everything as brief as possible without losing context or necessary information. Include your core responsibilities in a detailed and concrete way. This will help you avoid generic statements (and the aforementioned personal pronouns and buzzwords). You should also try to remove any words that serve as filler, like unnecessary adjectives.

13. Only include what you can prove

For example, only list tangible skills or attributes, and avoid listing personal skills like adaptable or organized. Though these qualities are important, they are less impactful than tangible occupational skills because personal skills are much more difficult to prove.

Never lie on your resume.

14. Don’t lie

Never lie, exaggerate, or otherwise stretch the truth on a resume. Even if lying gets you to the interview stage, if employers discover that someone they have hired has lied about his or her academic or professional history, they will very likely terminate the employee immediately.

15. Choose or design a visually appropriate resume

An applicant may have impressive credentials and an extensive professional history, but without proper resume formatting, these credentials may be buried in an impenetrable block of text. You have worked hard to compile your resume’s content, so take care to ensure that you use proper formatting to grab a potential employer’s attention quickly.

16. Let the content speak for itself

Since your achievements and skills are the focus of your resume, you shouldn’t let its format consume the actual content. It is easy to get carried away with visuals, whether they’re colors, objects or fonts. However, your resume should be legible and professional rather than flashy or distracting.

17. Allow white space

Incorporating white space in a resume can be difficult; after all, you have a lot of information to include in a limited area. How can you make sure your resume is balanced? Use the quadrant test. Divide your resume into four equal sections, and make sure the text is evenly distributed in each section.

18. Customize your resume for every job

It’s a good idea to edit and revise your resume for every position you apply to, unless the resume will be submitted to several similar organizations with the same job requirements. This may seem tedious, but the more effort you put into creating your resume, the more you will gain from the entire job-seeking process.

19. Have references ready

You typically don’t have to provide your references on your resume, but you should prepare a list of references and their contact information so that they are available upon request. Ask the appropriate parties, and be sure that you notify your references when you are applying for a position so they can expect to be contacted in the near future.

20. Make sure nothing is missing

Ensure that all of the required sections are present, especially any information that is asked for in the job description or by the employer. In addition, make sure your name and contact information are there so the hiring manager can find you! When applying online, make sure you’ve completed all elements of the online application form, as the failure to do so demonstrates an inability to follow instructions.

21. Optimize your resume for applicant tracking systems

Applicant tracking systems automatically scan hundreds of applications for information related to job postings, including keywords, employment history, past employers, and educational background. So embed your resume with terms or phrases that represent the qualifications that are required for a position.

22. Think clean and simple

Look over your resume once it’s filled out. Are your name and contact information easy to find? Do the headings stand out from the body of the text? Is everything uniform? Is the formatting consistent? Have you used your white space efficiently? Are your statements short? Is everything legible? Are all of the fonts and visuals appropriate? Revise and make sure everything is clean and simple, from formatting to the actual content.

23. Have your resume professionally edited and proofread

It’s one thing to look over your resume for typos and errors; it’s another entirely to have a professional editor edit your resume. An editor doesn’t just catch spelling and grammar problems. He or she will also ensure that your biggest strengths are highlighted, everything is relevant, your resume is tailored specifically for the job at hand, the formatting is consistent, etc.

The Resume Example

The numbers in this resume example (the subject of which is Fight Club‘s own Tyler Durden, to keep it interesting) correspond with the above tips to show you how they can be implemented in your own resume.

Resume Example
Click to enlarge.

Conclusion

A resume on the hiring manager’s desk means your foot is in the door. After looking at the resume example and implementing these practical resume tips, you have a document that’s ready to land you a job!

How to Write a Resume

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14 Ways to Make a Bad Impression on Your First Day of Work

First Day of Work

First Day of Work

When you’re a kid, you have the first day of school to contend with. When it comes time to trying your hand at “adulting,” you have to meander your way through the first day of work. Your first day at a new job can be almost as anxiety-provoking as a blind date set up by your mom. It can be especially daunting if you’re obsessed with making a good impression. That’s why you should do what I do on all of my dates with my mom’s best friend’s daughter’s boyfriend’s brother: go in as if you have nothing to lose.

Striving for success is a recipe for certain failure. Making failure your goal in the first place is not only a big time-saver but also a great way to alleviate your first-day-of-work jitters. So, without further ado, here are 14 ways to make a bad impression on your first day of work. You’re welcome.

  1. Start by forgetting to set your alarm the night before. There’s no start quite like a late start.
  2. Dress inappropriately. Everyone knows that personal style is more important than social conformity, and this rings especially true when you’re trying to make a bad impression on your first day of work. Yoga pants, anyone?
  3. Don’t just show up a bit late; commit to your tardiness. After all, you’ve already had a slow start—why stress yourself out by rushing now?
  4. Once you finally arrive at work, make an unfavorable impression on your coworkers by neglecting to introduce yourself to any of them. Ignore everyone who tries to make your acquaintance, or at most, brush them off awkwardly.
  5. Don’t ask any questions. Instead, when faced with an unknown, take your best guess and hope for the best.
  6. To continue your antisocial behavior, you should really consider eating lunch in the bathroom. Sure, Sally from the next cubicle invited you to join her in the break room, but you certainly don’t want her to think that you’re capable of normal social interaction.
  7. Demonstrate almost immediately how you may have slightly fudged the details of your resume to get the job. (Sure, you can type 70 words per minute, but only if “70 words per minute” is actually code for “40 words on a good day,” and only then after two or three lattes.)
  8. Show off your impressive multitasking abilities in the best way you know how: by texting throughout the entire day, of course. Your coworkers will be totally impressed with how you’ve managed to brush off their attempts at friendliness while clearly communicating with someone else throughout your entire first day of work.
  9. Take lots of breaks. There’s no need to be too much of a keener when you’re trying to make a bad impression. A work-to-break ratio of 1:4 should suffice.
  10. If you get bored with being antisocial and want to take a different route to making a terrible impression, mix things up by making off-color jokes by the watercooler.
  11. Don’t just swear like a sailor—swear like a drunken sailor who’s forgotten his manners.
  12. When your efforts (or lack thereof) start making you sleepy, go ahead and put your head down on your desk for a while. No one will begrudge you a short nap on your first day of work. Well, they will, but that’s the whole point, right?
  13. Ask your co-worker when payday is. Then ask your HR representative, just to be sure. Then, for good measure, ask your boss. Everyone knows that important information should be verified at least three times by three separate (but equally knowledgeable) parties.
  14. Leave early for an appointment or some other previous engagement, but be sure to reassure your boss that this kind of thing doesn’t happen often.

There you have it. Just follow these 14 tips and you’ll be sure to make a terrible impression on your first day of work, maybe even before break time. Once you’ve accomplished your goal and have subsequently lost your new job, you’ll be ready to return to the drawing board and revamp that old resume.

If you’re back to square one, or if you’re one of those rare enigmas who are actually looking for a job to keep, check out How to Write a Resume, an online course by Inklyo. With so many dos and don’ts to consider, you’ll gain all the know-how to either attain or lose any job you’d like. It’s good to have options.

How to Write a Resume

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How to Write a Resume Objective

How to Write a Resume Objective

How to Write a Resume Objective

A resume objective is a brief, clearly written statement that explains your main skills and career goals. It is traditionally included at the beginning of your resume.

Resume objectives get a lot of bad press.

Many career and job-hunting experts say that including a resume objective is a surefire way to make your resume appear outdated. Even worse, resume objectives often come across as self-serving, focusing entirely on what the job seeker wants rather than the needs of the employer. And in the early stages of the recruiting process, the hiring manager likely has little interest in what you want as a job seeker.

However, resume objectives do serve a purpose: they give potential employers an idea of how your career has been progressing and where you hope to go. They also let you clarify what you want in your career, and they can help you ensure that your resume and career goals match a position or company.

Do some research to get a feel for how resume objectives are perceived in your field, and if you choose to include one, make sure you know how to write a resume objective that will catch the eye of hiring managers and help you secure a job. Keep the following best practices in mind when writing your objective:

Be brief and clear

There’s not a whole lot that can kill your resume faster than a lengthy resume objective. It should be brief, lest the hiring manager skip over the entire resume. A few sentences should be more than enough to communicate your objective clearly and efficiently. Cut any fluff or unnecessary words and descriptors. Get to the point! Short and sweet is definitely the best way to go here.

Ensure relevance to the target position

Make sure you can link your resume’s objective directly to the position at hand. Your objective should be a good fit for the needs of the employer. You might even want to check out the job description and pull out words directly from there. And since a good resume objective is relevant to the target position, you’ll need to customize your resume objective every time you apply to a new job. It might seem tedious, but it will ensure that you get the most out of the job-seeking process.

Be specific (but not too specific)

Though you want your resume to be specific and relevant to the target position, you don’t want to be too obvious about it. If the hiring manager catches on that your objective is too on the nose, your resume objective will come across as disingenuous. So be sincere while you write the objective, as doing so will help you avoid writing one that simply attempts to butter up the hiring manager.

Link your career goals to those of the organization

The point of the resume objective is to outline your career goals. You should do this as earnestly as possible without coming across as unprofessional. Nonetheless, be sure your genuine resume objective demonstrates that you share the same goals as the organization. This shouldn’t be too hard because that’s likely the reason you’re applying to this job in the first place! If your goals don’t meet those of the organization, you might want to consider applying for a different job.

Set yourself apart from the other candidates

Everyone applying for the position will be aiming to make sure the resume objective is relevant and specific. That means it’s possible to have a resume objective very similar to many other candidates’ objectives. You have to make yours stand out if you want to be set apart from other prospective employees. Do this by being sincere, as aforementioned, and not just trying to fit into a box. Be yourself. If your resume objective is genuine, it’s impossible for it to be identical to another candidate’s.

Be honest (but not too honest)

Part of being genuine is being honest. You have to be honest in your resume objective, not just for moral reasons but to stand out from the other candidates. That doesn’t mean your resume objective should say that you’re simply looking for a way to pay down debts (even though that may be true). While you should never lie in a resume, you don’t always have to say everything, either. Remain professional and positive.

Demonstrate your qualifications

When thinking about how to write a resume objective, you should first think of the target position. Include it in your resume objective with linking words to connect the position to your qualifications. For example, your resume objective might begin with the following: “Experienced customer service representative [the target position] seeking to use my [linking words] interpersonal skills [your qualifications].”

Explain how you can benefit the employer

It’s important that your resume objective doesn’t focus on what the employer can do for you. While the resume objective is self-serving (as it’s helping you seem like the perfect fit for the job), it also helps the employer by summarizing what skills and goals you can offer the organization. If you aren’t able to articulate some kind of connection between your goals and the company’s needs, your resume’s objective will only demonstrate to the employer that you are seeking self-advancement rather than a mutually beneficial partnership. You should focus on demonstrating how you can benefit the employer, not on how the employer can benefit you.

Conclusion

It’s easy to write a bad resume objective. It’s a part of the resume that many people struggle with because it’s easy to slip into vague and conventional statements (“team player and detail-oriented”) instead of making your resume’s objective clear and concrete. If you choose to include one, it’s important that you know how to write a resume objective. To write an objective that is objectively good, follow the advice above, and you’ll write an excellent resume that’s ready for the competitive job market.

How to Write a Cover Letter

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Tips for Managing Your Life as a Freelance Proofreader

Tips for Managing Your Life as a Freelance Proofreader

Think freelance proofreading is for you? Here’s what you need to know!

Tips for Managing Your Life as a Freelance ProofreaderYou have chosen a career as a freelance proofreader and have entered the realm of the self-employed. Congratulations! Being your own boss and working by yourself is exciting and liberating; there are no bosses and no office politics. However, the reality is that there is no boss, no one to hold you accountable, and no one to manage the particulars an employer typically handles. It’s all up to you.

Staying on task with your proofreading jobs when you’re self-employed can be challenging. As a freelance proofreader, you must develop good work habits and choose to work efficiently and effectively. You must work regular hours, meet all deadlines, stay up to date with your financials, and keep organized client files.

Let’s take a look at these, perhaps new, responsibilities and see how best to cope with them.

Managing your time

The challenge most freelance proofreaders often find the most daunting is time management, which needs to be taken seriously if you are to be successful and productive. You must manage yourself and your energy so you can accomplish your tasks and maintain a balance between your work and personal time.

Sometimes the hardest part about being self-employed is simply getting things done. Working as a freelance proofreader can be fun, profitable, and easy if you consider the following tips:

  • Get down to basics: follow a schedule; make a to-do list; set priorities; use a stop watch to allocate a certain amount of time per task; and use little pockets of time wisely.
  • Take care of one thing you dread each morning. Do it first and get it out of the way, otherwise it will distract you for the rest of the day.
  • Whether you are a night-owl or an early-bird freelance proofreader, take advantage of your own peak hours, however non-traditional they may be, to complete your tasks.
  • Take a break for five minutes (or 24 hours) to avoid burnout and bad habits. Do something to alter your business routine: go shopping, have lunch with a friend, take a drive to the lake, or go for a run. Incorporating a little R & R into your schedule rescues you from the monotony of your work and boosts your creativity. You will return to your work refreshed and full of new ideas.
  • Mistakes will happen. Don’t obsess over them. Apologize to your client, take responsibility for what happened, and then rectify the problem. The sooner you fix it, the sooner you can move on.
  • Brush up on your skills so that you are working as efficiently as possible. There are online forums to talk to other freelance proofreaders, or you can enroll in an online proofreading course to be sure your skills are up to snuff. Learning a few tricks and making sure  you are proofreading to the best of your abilities will save you time and hassle in the long run.
  • Eliminate the distractions of e-mail and social media for a few hours each day. Your productivity will increase, and you will work efficiently through your to-do list.
  • Keep an accurate account of the actual time you spend working on each project using a stopwatch and a spreadsheet. Include a short summary of the work accomplished. This will help you estimate the time you might need for similar freelance proofreading work in the future, and it is useful when determining your rates.
  • Several online tools, such as Google Calendar and myMemorizer, can help freelance proofreaders avoid distractions, and others, such as Manic Time, can help you get a basic handle on time management.

As a freelance proofreader, staying focused requires mindfulness, which is essential to your success. The best parts of self-employment are also the things that can lead to stress and failure. Be aware of what you are doing each day, be honest about what you can do better, and forgive yourself when you make mistakes or aren’t as productive as you hoped.

Financial concerns

As a freelance proofreader, you must take care of your own benefits, such as health care, handle estate and retirement planning, and pay any applicable taxes. Self-employed individuals often deal with financial issues that are more complex than those of salaried employees. Legal and accounting considerations are also important, and it is imperative that you keep accurate and detailed financial records of your business. If these responsibilities prove to be overwhelming, it might be wise to enlist the advice and support of professionals.

Taxes

One of the nicer aspects of regular full-time employment is that your employer is required to withhold money from your paycheck and send it to the government to cover your taxes. As a freelance proofreader, however, that responsibility will fall on you. There’s no doubt that paying taxes can be daunting for the self-employed. You might need to consult an accountant or tax advisor if you have special concerns.

As a freelance proofreader, you should set aside a portion of your revenue from which to pay your taxes. The amount will depend on the amount of money you bring in, plus the deductions and tax credits you’re allowed to claim to offset your tax bill. This varies widely from case to case; there’s no standard guideline that fits the entire spectrum of home-based businesses.

If you’re self-employed, it’s a good idea to establish a bank account from which you pay taxes on all your income. That way, when taxes are due, you are prepared to pay them. A good way to handle your taxes is to pay them quarterly. This might seem cumbersome, but it is actually a safer practice than trying to pay just once a year because it forces you to keep money in reserve and be accountable at regular intervals.

Some final thoughts

There is a definite allure to being a freelance proofreader. After all, who wouldn’t want to be their own boss, work when they want to from almost anywhere, and have complete control over their income potential? However, remember that when you are self-employed, everything is your responsibility. Armed with knowledge and foresight, we are sure you will successfully navigate the jungle of red tape and enjoy your career as a freelance proofreader!

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The Ultimate Cover Letter Checklist: What to Include in a Cover Letter

The Ultimate Cover Letter Checklist

The Ultimate Cover Letter ChecklistPeanut butter and jelly. Milk and cookies. Resumes and cover letters. Some things are just better together.

Now, it may not be delicious or sweet—or even very good to eat—but a cover letter is still one very important half of a perfect pair—at least when it comes to applying for jobs. A cover letter is a short, one-page letter that you send along with your resume when applying for a job. It allows you to showcase your skills, interest, and intent, and it is used to expand upon the information in your resume, particularly as it relates to your work experience. Crafting the perfect cover letter is extremely important because it gives you the opportunity to explain, in detail, how and why you are the perfect fit for a particular position. It also gives you a chance to show your personality and demonstrate to the employer why the company would benefit from hiring you.

The Cover Letter Checklist: What to Include

The same full contact information as your resume. Include your name, mailing address, phone number, and email address and a link to your LinkedIn profile or, if you have one, your personal website.

A consistent look. Make sure that your resume and cover letter match in style and presentation.

Paragraph sections. Include a salutation, opening (one paragraph), main body (one to two paragraphs), and closing (one paragraph).

  • Salutation: This is your greeting (such as Dear Ms. Meya Fransson). Try to get an exact name instead of using To Whom It May Concern.
  • Opening: Briefly introduce yourself. State the position you are applying for and why you are a great fit. Demonstrate to the reader your strengths in a few powerful lines.
  • Main body: Get to the nitty-gritty about how and why you are best for the job. Look at the qualifications, experience, and skills outlined in the job description and show the reader how you match these. Explain some of your greatest past accomplishments. Focus on the company’s requirements and what it needs; try to do so without the use of “I” statements. When writing this section, always keep the following question in the back of your mind: Why should we hire you?
  • Closing: This should be a quick summary of what you talked about in the body to reiterate what you bring to the table. Thank the employer and suggest a meeting. Sign off in a polite and professional manner.

The right amount of white space—not too much or too little.

A length of about half a page (one full page including your contact information and that of the recipient).

No spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors.

Personalization. The letter must include a salutation and be addressed to the right person.

Your key skills as they relate to the position being applied to, written in the same way that they are written in the job posting to increase your chances of making it through the applicant tracking system (ATS).

The reasons why you would be best for the position. Include knowledge, skills, and experience as they relate to the job posting.

  • NOTE: Each and every cover letter you write must be tailored to a specific job and employer. You cannot reuse a cover letter or work from a template, simply changing words here and there. The more customized your letter is, the greater your chances will be of making it through the system, getting your letter read by the hiring manager, and getting an interview.

What to Omit and Avoid

Avoid clichés, such as the following:

  • “To Whom It May Concern”
  • “My name is . . .”
  • “I am writing to express my interest in . . .”
  • “I’m probably not the best candidate, but . . .””I am applying for the role of [title] at [Company] . . .”

Never reuse a cover letter. Start fresh each and every time. It’s okay to use a guideline, but never use the same cover letter twice.

Don’t be vague. Be specific, especially in outlining your skills as they relate to the position.

Don’t repeat your resume. Instead, discuss your work history and emphasize any major accomplishments that relate to the position you’re applying for. Expand on certain aspects in detail to tell a story about your accomplishments, but don’t tell the reader what he or she already knows.

Design Elements

Be consistent. Make sure that your resume and cover letter match in style and presentation.

Keep it short. One page, at most (about 250–350 words). The hiring manager will admire your ability to be concise.

Keep it succinct. Try to use short sentences instead of long ones, and try to keep each paragraph to five lines or fewer.

Use numbers and metrics. These really make your accomplishments stand out and help draw the reader’s eye.

Use boldface if you want to emphasize something, instead of underlining or italics.

Avoid graphics, pictures, images, tables, etc.

Use a common document type. Unless the employer asks for a specific format, prepare your cover letter as a Word document (.doc or .docx). Word documents, as opposed to PDFs or other file types, are the most common and are therefore the easiest to be emailed/attached, opened, and read.

Format appropriately. Use a standard business letter format, listing your name and address, the date, and the recipient’s name and address first, followed by the salutation and substance of the letter. The main body of your letter will vary from industry to industry, but a rough outline looks like this:

  • Opening
    • State the position you are applying for, including any job posting numbers.
    • This is where you hook the reader in.
  • Main body
    • This should be one or two paragraphs in length.
    • How do you fit in? What do you bring to the table? How do your skills match those required for the position?
  • Closing
    • Thank the reader.
    • Show enthusiasm for the position.
    • Restate the best way(s) to contact you (phone, email).
    • Ask for an interview.

Include white space (or negative space). This refers to margins (the areas between the main content and the edges of the page), gutters (the vertical space between columns), and the spaces between lines of type and graphics or figures. Having a balance between white space and content will keep your cover letter from looking cluttered.

Use an appropriate font style, size, and color. Use a font that is easy to read and that doesn’t distract from your message. Fonts such as Arial, Calibri, Verdana, Times New Roman, Georgia, Lucida, Tahoma, or Trebuchet were designed for the web and are commonly accepted. The font size should be between 10 and 12 point, and the color should be consistent throughout (black).

Use one-inch margins all the way around your cover letter. This will ensure that no information gets cut off if a paper copy is printed.

Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation

Attention to detail. Spelling and grammar are important indicators of a candidate’s attention to detail; they highlight defects instead of spotlighting qualities. It is nearly impossible to recover from spelling errors in your cover letter.

Action words. Use words that convey action, such as advised, examined, oversaw, prepared, resolved, and compiled.

Consistency. Be consistent with your punctuation throughout. This includes using only single or double quotation marks, using the serial comma consistently, and using only straight or curly quotes.

Acronyms. Always make sure to spell out any acronyms in full upon their first use, followed by the acronym in parentheses.

Editing. Make sure to take the time to thoroughly edit and proofread your cover letter. Even the smallest spelling mistake can have a disastrous effect, so pay extra attention when reading through this document. You may even want to use a professional editing service such as Scribendi.com to have an extra set of professional, discerning eyes catch any errors you may have missed. A hiring manager who sees mistakes in your cover letter won’t take you seriously and will think you are lazy, which also makes it more likely your application will be rejected.

Punctuation. Make sure to use punctuation marks properly. Know the difference between a hyphen (-), an en dash (–), and an em (—) dash; when and how to use a semicolon (;); how to use a comma properly (,); and that a period (.) goes at the end of each complete sentence.

Capitalization. Capitalize words correctly. Do capitalize names; proper nouns; names of cities, states/provinces, and countries; languages; company names; brand names; and months. Do not capitalize job titles (unless they come before a name); college/university majors; important-sounding career words that aren’t proper nouns; seasons; or directions.

Style. Be formal in your letter, but don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Be true to yourself in your language and tone.

Bonus Tips for an Awesome Cover Letter

Get to know the company’s culture (read its website; look at its LinkedIn page) so you can write like one of the team members and show that you’d be a perfect fit.

Regardless of whether you’re fresh out of university or 10 years into the workforce, try to focus on your work experience, not your education.

Be a storyteller. If possible, tell a story. Explain how you came to learn about this company; what brought you here? Try to connect in a way that makes you stand out from the rest.

Show your future employer that: a) you’re going to excel in the position; b) you’re friendly and likable, and you get along well with others; and c) you’re going to be a great fit.

Write like a real person—don’t be robotic and overly formal, but also don’t be super excited and so over the top that you seem disingenuous.

Read over the company’s website and try to write in its “voice.”

Show interest and enthusiasm about what you have to offer and what the company can offer you.

Stay positive and focus on your strengths; don’t apologize for not having the right experience or exact educational background.

Use an active voice instead of a passive voice.

Be yourself, not fake or too formal. You want to appear sincere, approachable, and real, so make this come through in your writing.

Infographic

If you’re looking for a quick reference to use when writing your cover letter, the following infographic provides a point-form version of this article. Go over this checklist before sending a cover letter out to a potential employer.

Ultimate Cover Letter Checklist Infographic

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Conclusion

So there you have it: the ultimate cover letter checklist. Remember, the cover letter is like peanut butter to jelly or cookies to milk—you can’t just submit one without the other when applying for a job. And, as you can see, the cover letter is a necessary (even mandatory) part of the job application process. Your resume isn’t enough, and most employers require that you submit a cover letter along with your resume to expand on your skills and to show how you’d be a perfect fit for the position. Taking into consideration things to include, things to avoid or omit, design elements, and spelling, grammar, and punctuation, you should be well on your way to crafting your best cover letter yet. But before you hit “Send,” make sure the cover letter is clean and error-free by having it edited by the professionals at Scribendi.com. You’re just a click away from landing that dream job!

How to Write a Cover Letter

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6 Myths about Being an Editor

6 Myths about Being an Editor

6 Myths about Being an EditorAre you considering a glamorous career in editing? If you are thinking about becoming an editor, you’ve probably come across some pretty crazy misconceptions about what exactly editors do and what we’re like. You may have heard that editors are detailed-obsessed individuals who take great pleasure in knowing more than others do about grammar and punctuation. Well, that’s entirely true. It’s a well-known fact that one cannot be an editor without an inner drive that forces him or her to strive for an unattainable level of perfection. If you spent a good part of your childhood trying to convince your parents that any low marks you achieved in school were, in fact, the end of the world, you’ve probably always been destined to become an editor.

If you’re going to be an editor, you should probably also be aware of the popular myths that surround this magical and mysterious career. Many people believe things about editors that simply aren’t true, and there’s nothing we dislike more than incorrect information being passed off as fact. (Except, maybe, comma splices. We just can’t handle that crap.)

Myth #1: All Editors Do the Same Thing

One common misconception about editors is that we all perform the same job duties. In reality, there are several different kinds of editors, and they all do different things. Two of the most different types of editors are developmental editors and copy editors. Developmental editors help structure the entire project, while copy editors focus more on technical things, like the use of punctuation and adherence to grammar principles. Another type of editor is an acquisitions editor, sometimes known as a commissioning editor. This person is responsible for choosing which manuscripts a publishing house should publish. Depending on the project, all three of these very different types of editors may be involved at some point.

So, depending on your interests and skills, you may be better suited for one type of editing than another. But don’t worry—although we do different jobs, we’re all equally awesome.

Myth #2: Editors Are Evil Destroyers of Dreams

It’s not uncommon for writers to fear editors. Many writers think that editors are out to tear their work to shreds or to change it until it is unrecognizable, but the truth is only bad editors do that. Good editors value good work, and if we feel that something could use improvement, we provide constructive feedback and solid examples of how that improvement could be made. That being said, if something is grammatically incorrect, we will change it—after all, that’s what we’re being paid to do! Sensitive authors and people whose grasp of grammar isn’t nearly as good as they think it is give editors a bad name, but you know what Taylor Swift always says—those haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Shake it off. Just shake it off.

Myth #3: Editors Never Make Mistakes

Even the best professionals make mistakes. Just look at Ben Affleck. He broke into the film industry with Good Will Hunting, a brilliant film jam-packed with stellar performances. He went on to make some other good movies, and then there was . . . Gigli. This film has a 2.3/10 rating on imbd.com and a measly 6% on rottentomatoes.com. It’s widely considered to be one of the worst movies ever made. After the abomination that was Gigli, Affleck managed to establish himself as a serious director and a decent actor. So you see, everyone makes mistakes!

Now, I will admit that most editors don’t make mistakes of Gigli proportions. We’re more likely to miss the occasional misused comma or incorrect word choice than to make epic mistakes of the feature film variety. Still, the lesson here remains the same: editors are people, and people make mistakes.

Myth #4: Editors Are Proofreaders

Editing and proofreading, while similar in nature, are not actually the same thing. Yes, both editing and proofreading involve removing errors from a document. However, editors tend to focus more on the big picture, while proofreaders are responsible for making a document error-free. This doesn’t mean that one is more important than the other; instead, it means that one should come before the other.

A document should first be edited, then proofread. These are two different services, and they should be provided by two different people. There’s a reason why editors aren’t called Editoofreaders and proofreaders aren’t called Proofeditors. They aren’t the same thing.

Myth #5: All Editors Are Geeks or Nerds

Okay, so I can see where people might get this one from. Yes, editors are smart and good with language. Yes, we typically do enjoy reading. Yes, we know lots of things that other people don’t know about grammar. But that doesn’t make us all geeks. If anything, we’re definitely geek-chic. Who cares, anyway? Everyone knows that brainy is the new sexy. (All right, fine. Maybe this one isn’t a myth after all. But don’t you act like you didn’t thoroughly enjoy that Sherlock reference.)

Myth #6: Editors Are Becoming Obsolete

Some people think they don’t need editors anymore. Why pay for an editor when word processors like Microsoft Word have built-in spelling and grammar checkers? Here’s why:

“I went too go to the storage.”

According to Microsoft Word, which I’m currently using to write this blog post, that is a perfectly acceptable sentence. Despite the fact that it makes no sense and has three incorrect word choices, it’s A-Okay in Word’s book. People will always need real editors because I didn’t “went too go to the storage”; I wanted to go to the store.

Now that you know a little bit more about what an editor isn’t, wouldn’t you like to know a bit more about what being an editor is all about? Check out some of Inklyo’s resources to see if you have what it takes to become a professional word warrior.

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Editing Jobs From Home: How to Score a Gig You Love

Editing Jobs From Home: How to Score a Gig You Love

Working away from an office can be ideal for some editors

Editing Jobs From Home: How to Score a Gig You LoveCan you be a good editor and work from home?

Of course you can!

Working on editing jobs from home can give you the freedom to advance in your career without the pressure of a traditional office environment.

To land the perfect position, all you’ll need to do is follow a few simple steps. Ready to get started? Here’s what you need to do.

1) Know what you’re looking for

So you’ve decided to do editing jobs from home. Before you start applying, ask yourself what type of position you’re really looking for. Are you comfortable doing freelance editing, or are you looking for a permanent, full-time gig?

If it’s the latter, start by logging in to a job bank and searching for open positions with a telecommuting option. For freelance positions, the best places to start are sites like FlexJobs or Elance. The work on these sites is often piecemeal, but it can help you build a strong portfolio for more consistent work.

2) Do your research

You wouldn’t rent an apartment without researching it first.

To land editing jobs from home, you’ll have to exercise the same amount of caution. Job boards for stay-at-home positions are notoriously deceptive, but with a little preparation, you can make them work for you.

Once you find a job posting you like, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can I contact the company easily?
  • Do I know anyone else who has worked for this company?
  • Is the job posting clear and easy to understand?
  • Does the job look too good to be true?

What if a company asks for your credit card number? Our advice: stay away!

When you do editing jobs from home, your boss should be paying you, not the other way around. If it doesn’t work that way, it’s likely the job is a scam and you shouldn’t waste any more time pursuing it.

3) Have a résumé and online clips ready

Do you have a portfolio with up-to-date clips?

If the answer is no, then it’s a good idea to start working on one right away.

Most companies will ask to see samples of your work before they hire you. This is standard throughout the industry, whether you do editing jobs from home or are employed by a major publishing house.

Since the average job posting is often available for just a matter of days, you’ll be much more likely to score a position if your résumé and clips are already prepared.

Once you’ve decided on editing as a career, you should create a professional website to showcase your work. Many writers have scored editing jobs from home by posting their latest clips, even if they’re just beginners.

4) Network on social media

What’s the secret to finding great editing jobs from home?

The answer might surprise you. These days, more and more writers are turning to sites like Facebook and Twitter to advertise their skills.

And it’s no surprise why. Recruiters often use these sites to find candidates for open positions.

Even if you’re planning on doing editing jobs from home, social media can help you form connections with hiring managers. By staying active on LinkedIn, you’ll be the first to know about new job postings, and you’ll be ready to apply at a moment’s notice.

Flexible, accessible, dynamic—editing jobs from home have it all

If you have a computer and great initiative, doing editing jobs from home may be for you.

Of course, the other thing you’ll need is an expert understanding of the English language. Inklyo’s online training course, EditingCamp, can help you hone your editing skills and stand out from the crowd. Don’t hesitate to sign up today.

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Careers in Proofreading

Careers in Proofreading

Consider the many different careers in proofreading

Careers in Proofreading Proofreading requires specific skills. If you have decided you have the right temperament for checking other people’s writing, you should think about the different jobs available in proofreading so you can tailor your career path. Although proofreading requires the same skills no matter what job you take up, careers in proofreading can diverge depending on the individual’s professional goals.

Lifestyle choices

The biggest influences on which career path you take are your lifestyle goals. Do you want to travel? Are you prepared to move to find the right job? Do you prioritize staying with your friends and family in your hometown? Ambitious people who prioritize their work above their personal life will likely look for different careers in proofreading than will those who are just looking for a steady income. Opportunities in proofreading exist all over the world, but they are not evenly spread out. Take stock of your priorities before you decide which of the many careers in proofreading you want to pursue.

In-house vs. freelance careers

The biggest difference in proofreading jobs lies in whether you want full-time employment or prefer to be flexible and work independently on short contracts. If you have relatives or children to take care of at home, you may prefer part-time or home-based work. These days, that does not necessarily mean you have to settle for freelance work. Some employers are happy to allow their employees to telecommute. Similarly, some freelance contracts require proofreaders to work in an office. Site-based and home-based jobs exist in both the in-house and freelance worlds. Careers in proofreading offer any combination of these possibilities.

Academic proofreading

If you went to college and earned a degree, you have the option of extending your studies by proofreading the work of academics. Careers in proofreading that focus on academic writing require adherence to a different set of style guidelines than those for general publications. This means that the academic world looks for proofreaders who have followed a specific career path and have résumés packed with academic proofreading experience. You don’t necessarily need to be freelance to follow this career path. If you live in a town that has a large university, there is likely an editorial services company nearby that can give you permanent work checking academic papers. Remember, though, that to build a career, rather than just getting a series of jobs, you need to be discerning about which jobs you apply for. Make sure they always fit into this category if you want to establish a career in academic proofreading.

Advertising

Advertising agencies offer a variety of opportunities for careers in proofreading. Sales materials include advertisement copy, TV ad scripts, sales brochures, flyers and leaflets, and brand promotion. Always remember that, to forge a career, you may need to specialize. The advertising industry offers different kinds of work for those pursuing careers in proofreading, such as checking the persuasive text of ads and proofreading factual documents, bids, and specifications for accuracy.

Publishing

When considering careers in proofreading, most people probably think of the publishing industry as a source of work. Publishing is still one of the main sources of work for proofreaders and is very diverse in the kinds of formats you can work in. Books, magazines, and newspapers all need to be checked for spelling and grammar. However, many proofreaders manage to do jobs without ever working on printed material. Material published online also needs to be proofread, which has opened up even more career opportunities. Remember, however, that it pays to specialize. Choose a career path, and stick to it.

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5 Reasons Businesses Invest in Writing Services

Professional Writing Services

Professional Writing ServicesWhen they begin to develop content for their websites and marketing materials, businesses often have unrealistic expectations about the time and skill the process requires. They think, “It can’t be that hard to create some content, right? Just put together a few paragraphs, and voilà!”

Not quite.

As a writer, you know about the hours it takes to produce quality content. You know the difficulty of gearing an article toward a certain audience or composing a phrase that will resonate with all readers.

Part of being a freelance writer or professional writing service is demonstrating to potential clients how your skills—the skills you have spent years cultivating—will help them consistently produce content at a level of quality that they could not have reached without you.

As in any business, part of appealing to potential clients is understanding their pain points, or the problems they face on a daily basis that cause them frustration. Sometimes, potential clients are not even aware of their pain points until you show them a solution that will increase their efficiency and, ultimately, their bottom line.

The following list will help you understand some of the pain points experienced by businesses in the area of content production. Use this list as you build your brand as a freelancer and continue to develop—and market—your skills.

1. Businesses really don’t have the time to write.

It might not always look like it, but you know that writing right is hard work. It involves researching, organizing, composing, editing, and proofreading.

Many small businesses can’t afford to hire a full-time writer to produce content for their blog or website, so they must rely on other support staff to accomplish this goal. For an inexperienced writer, a single article can easily take five hours to write properly, while an epic post of up to 2,000 words could take as long as 10 hours or more to research, write, and edit. Add to this the need to fulfill all their other duties as well, and the business’s goal of producing new site content weekly—or even monthly—becomes either a major source of stress or an unattainable wish.

Professional writing services and freelance writers can address this pain point by working on a per-project or per-hour basis, allowing support staff to focus on their real priorities.

2. Writing is not a business owner’s highest and best use.

Most entrepreneurs didn’t get into business to become a writer or an accountant or a salesperson. They got into business because they had a great idea and found a way to monetize it.

Anything that takes them away from their main tasks of organizing, long-term planning, and networking can actually harm their business. If small business owners choose to focus on something they could easily outsource (i.e., content writing), they are using up time during which they could be advancing their business in the long term and are creating bottlenecks for projects that need their review or approval. Outsourcing the task of content creation to freelance writers or professional writing services enables business owners to focus on doing what they need and want to be doing—running and growing their business.

3. Writing is not employees’ highest and best use, either.

There are a number of content marketing blogs that suggest that businesses should involve the whole company in producing material for their blog or for social media. The idea isn’t completely without merit, as it is a great way to share a business’s knowledge, allow customers to see the names and faces of employees, and pump out content at a high rate. But it comes with an astonishing number of hidden costs.

First, as previously mentioned, support staff are not usually professional writers, so the company can end up investing a lot of time (and therefore money) in redrafting, editing, and proofreading the material. Second, businesses are effectively paying hourly rates for content that they could likely get for less by using a professional writing service. This is especially true if they are getting managers or IT staff to write for them, as these positions typically command higher rates of pay. Third, and most importantly, there are the opportunity costs. Time spent on producing content is time not spent doing what the employees were hired to do in the first place.

4. Creating content in-house complicates scheduling.

The Internet runs on an up-to-the-minute basis, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Business websites have to keep up. To ensure that prospects and customers return to a business’s site, new content must be posted regularly so that visitors do not lose interest (and so that Google continues to reward the site with a good page rank).

If companies attempt to do this themselves, they must commit a chunk of time every week. If a business relies on staff to contribute, they will require a rota to make sure everyone contributes equally and consistently. They will also have to schedule around vacation time, sick leave, conferences, and the big projects, which inevitably start sucking up whole weeks as deadlines approach.

Freelancers and professional writing services specialize in producing content according to strict deadlines, and reliable services guarantee that the content is completed and ready to publish by the deadline. By outsourcing these tasks, business owners and employees can ensure that their site always features fresh, high-quality content.

5. Do they even SEO?

Writing for the web is significantly different from writing for print. Search engines rank websites based on their content and relevance, and this has a major impact on how much traffic the writing attracts. If the proper keywords and phrases are present, the article can get into the top rankings. However, if this is not the case, the writing can be lost forever in a sea of web content. On the flip side, writing strictly for search engines can lead to keyword stuffing; this results in awkward, hard-for-humans-to-read prose that will earn a penalty from Google.

So, in addition to teaching writing, editing, and proofreading skills to staff, businesses that produce their content in-house will also need to teach staff about search engine optimization.

Freelance writers and professional writing services specializing in creating web content can use search engine best practices to make content more accessible to customers. In addition, creating up-to-date content on a regular basis will ensure that the articles remain relevant to the search engines, which in turn will bring businesses more traffic.

Harder than it looks

Content marketing is well worth the effort, time, and investment. However, doing it properly can put a huge strain on a business’s in-house resources. Understanding the main challenges faced by businesses in terms of content creation will help you as a freelancer or professional writer to appeal to a business’s desires and satisfy their needs.

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Can I Get Proofreading Employment in My Town?

ProofreadingCamp.com explains how local proofreading employment can offer a stability that freelance positions can't provide.

Proofreading employment offers a stability that freelance positions can’t provide

ProofreadingCamp.com explains how local proofreading employment can offer a stability that freelance positions can't provide.Freelance opportunities in proofreading are a great way to get extra part-time work that you can do from home. However, the freelance lifestyle is not for everyone. If you only want to work as a full- or part-time employee but don’t want to have to move across the country to chase jobs, a number of options are still available by which you can gain proofreading employment.

Mobility

You will greatly improve your chances of getting proofreading employment without moving if you have your own transportation. Big cities have extensive public transport networks, but getting from one end of the city to the other may involve several bus and rail changes, with long waits for the next leg. Having your own vehicle extends your search field for proofreading employment to cross-city opportunities. Also, residents of small towns can consider neighboring towns within driving distance if they own a vehicle. The wider your search area is, the more likely you are to find multiple opportunities, and this will greatly enhance your chances of finding proofreading employment.

Publishers

The organizations most likely to offer proofreading employment are publishers. You may think that all publishers are in cities like New York or London, but you would be wrong. Many publishers are based in small towns to reduce costs. Take a look through your Yellow Pages, or do a quick search online to find publishers that might offer you proofreading employment.

Types of publishing

When people think of “publishing,” they probably think of book publishing houses. However, don’t overlook your local newspaper. Track down printing companies in your local area, and ask them if they will let you contact the companies that bring them printing work. Anyone who gets anything printed will need a proofreader. Take your résumé when you go to meet the manager of the printing company. Maybe the printer will consider hiring you so it can offer a proofreading service along with its printing services. Many printers offer typesetting, layout, and graphics services to their customers, so this may be an avenue to explore for proofreading employment.

Advertising agencies

Advertising agencies produce a lot of written work and need proofreaders. Look in your local paper for ads from advertising agencies, and send them a copy of your résumé. Proofreading employment could even help you get started in an advertising career.

Big companies

Chances are, your town has one big employer, and you probably already know people who work there. Big companies produce in-house magazines, sales brochures, user guides, and operational manuals, as well as a whole range of other printed literature. It’s possible that the company outsources much of its sales brochure work to an advertising agency, but that will not be the case with its internal communications. Network among your friends and neighbors to find a contact within a company if you think it could offer you proofreading employment. Ask around to find the right person to send your résumé to.

Cooperatives

If you don’t want to be a freelancer, you probably don’t want the loneliness and stress of starting your own business. Instead, consider going into partnership with other proofreaders you might know. If you gather together the copywriters and editors in your contacts book, you might be able to form a company. In this scenario, you would get all the benefits of proofreading employment, such as professional insurance, health coverage, and a pension. A cooperative is a useful midpoint between self-employment and corporate work.

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