How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Sometimes to better your finances you need to bring in more income. And to bring in more income you may need to look for a higher paying job or take on a second job. With a competitive job market and employers looking for very specific skills and experiences it can be hard to stand out and not have your resume be rejected or file away.

When I was job searching a few years ago through trial and error I uncovered a few ways to make my resume look profession and have it stand out so I could get the coveted phone interview.

How to make your resume stand out | arelaxedgal.com

Tailor your resume

When job searching it can be tempting to create one resume that lists all your skills and qualifications and only use that one resume. Don’t give in to temptation. Even if you’re looking at the same type of job at multiple companies, each job description is different and tailored to what the hiring manager needs. So if you’re resume is generic and not tailored to the job description, you make it easier for hiring managers to dismiss your resume.

It took me a while, but I soon realized that I couldn’t send out a generic resume to every job description. I needed to tweak my resume to highlight the skills and experience I had that matched the qualifications in each job description.

To do this I
  • Created a base resume that noted all my qualifications for the type of job I was looking for
  • Read each job description carefully so I knew what they were looking for
  • Tweaked my base resume to highlight my skills and experience that matched the qualifications
  • Included keywords or phrases from the job description in my resume

Pay attention to formatting

In today’s world most people scan documents first to determine whether they want to spend time reading them. Recruiters and hiring managers tend to do this in an effort to quickly weed out unqualified resumes from the hundreds they may receive. So the way you format your resume can determine how easy it is to scan.

After spending the time to tailor your resume, you want to make sure it’s read. Some tips from recruiters to make your resume scannable include
  • Using headers
  • Bold text
  • Use bullets
  • Keep fonts and spacing consistent
  • Don’t use crazy unreadable fonts
  • Keep the number of colors to a minimum

Edit, edit, edit

Please, please edit your resume. Many recruiters and hiring managers will toss out a resume if there are spelling errors. Especially obvious ones. I’ve seen resumes where the applicant spelled their own name wrong. Having spelling errors gives the impression that you don’t pay attention to details which on the job could cost a company thousands of dollars. If you’re not good at editing, ask a friend or relative to edit your resume for you.

Include social handles

Potential employers will probably check you out on social media, particularly LinkedIn to get an idea of your personality and more in depth information about your experience. Having this information included on your resume so it’s easy for them to find can help earn you bonus points.

Create an online portfolio

If you’re looking for a job in a creative field such as design, digital development, or writing, create an online portfolio showcasing work you’ve done in the past. This can be work done on previous jobs, on the side or just for the fun. Just make sure it’s relevant to the type of position you’re applying for and you have permission to share it.

If you’re not looking for job in a creative field, you can still create an online resume. It will allow you to share more about your background and skills and could help you standout from the pack.

What have you done to make your resume stand out?


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3 Ways I’m Updating my Beauty Routine for Spring

When the days start getting warmer and longer I know it’s time to start rotating to my spring and summer wardrobe. And just like clothing there are some beauty products that work better for me in the winter than they do in the warmer months and need to be retired when winter ends. So when the seasons change I switch up my beauty routine so it’s more appropriate for spring and summer. Here are the ways I’m updating my beauty products for spring.

Beauty routine updates for spring | arelaxedgal.com

(This post includes affiliate links. Read my disclosure here.)

Use a lighter moisturizer

In the wintertime my facial skin tends to feel dry. Sometimes so dry that it looks ashy and peels and I wear heavier moisturizers. When the weather warms up I’m more likely to sweat and I’ve found that heavier moisturizers feel more uncomfortable on my face. They also have a tendency to break me out. The lighter moisturizer I’ve started using is Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue Daily Lotion.

This daily lotion from Garnier is really light. Much lighter than the face lotion I had been using during the wintertime. It has a fresh scent and includes 15 SPF sunscreen which is great when I spend a lot of time outside.


Here are three ways you can update your beauty routine for spring. | arelaxedgal.com 

Regularly exfoliate

I exfoliate my facial skin everyday no matter the season, but that doesn’t apply to the rest of my skin. At the end of winter I find that the skin on my heels, knees and elbows tend to get rough and really dry. The best way for me to bring them back to life and ready for to be exposed by my spring and summer wardrobe is to exfoliate them.

To exfoliate those areas I prefer to use homemade sugar scrubs. I’ll mix a little bit of white sugar and brown sugar with a few drops of an essential oil and other natural oils.


Here are three ways you can update your beauty routine for spring. | arelaxedgal.com 

Add brighter makeup colors

While I like a natural makeup look and gravitate towards neutral colors like browns and pinks I do like to mix it up a bit and add some pops of color. But in the fall and winter I somehow revert to wearing darker shades of colors - plumbs, dark browns and blacks. But when the days get longer and the weather is warmer I like to wear more lighter and brighter shades of makeup like the Maybelline 24K Nudes Eye Shadow Palette.

Do you change up your beauty routine when springtime arrives?

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Where to Find Beautiful Blog Templates

(This post includes affiliate links. Please read more about my use of affiliate links here.)

One of the things I struggle with when it comes to my site is how it looks. Just like any other blogger I want my site to look professional, clean, polished and overall inviting. I also want a site that doesn’t take forever to load and is easy to navigate. All of these things encourage site visitors to hang around and come back.

With this in mind I decided it was time for A Relaxed Gal to have a facelift. I felt my current site design as a little clunky, not very feminine and overall a little dated. So I took to the internet to find a pre-made design that worked on the Blogger platform and would fit my budget.

Where to find beautiful blog templates | @arelaxedgal 

Probably six months later, yes six months! I did many Google searches for places with Blogger platform templates, look at where other bloggers got their site designs. I also searched Etsy many times. During these six months I found several designs that I liked, but there was always one or two things about them I didn’t like that was a deal breaker. They either cost too much, had to many embellishes, I didn’t like the homepage layout or they had an image slider (which I personally can’t stand).

I finally settled on a free pre-made template from New Blogger Themes that I customized using my brand colors and typography. I have to admit I’m not head over heals in love with it, but I do like it a lot more than the previous template I was using for A Relaxed Gal. What I like most about my new template is it
  • The layout is no longer chopped up, but instead has a seamless consistent look
  • It’s not as in your face with the yellow color
  • It looks better on mobile devices
  • The search bar is more visible
  • The menu is cleaner easier to navigate
If site design is something you also struggle with or you just want a new look for your blog I suggest you check out these four sites where you can get beautiful pre-made templates.

Beautiful Dawn Designs

Tiffany Griffin is the creator of the Wordpress blog templates you’ll find on beautifuldawndesigns.com. These pre-made templates are designed with females in mind and can be customized with the fonts and colors you select.

The pre-made templates are all responsive and range from $45 to $55 dollars. And if you don’t want to mess with html you can get help installing the template for an additional $35.

My favorite template is the Serenity Template. I like the clean design, soft color palette and that there are five layout options including this grid layout.

Serenity Template from Beautiful Dawn Designs - arelaxedgal.com


Pretty Darn Cute Designs

This resource for WordPress themes created by Lindsey Riel offers several pretty, feminine templates. I love that each one is unique, customizable and responsive. The pre-made themes range from $45-75.

One thing to note is all the templates from Pretty Darn Cute Designs are built for the Genesis Framework. So if you don’t have Genesis, these templates won’t work for you.

StudioPress

If you're looking for a pre-made theme option that is built for the Genesis Framework this is a great option. StudioPress offers a variety of flexible theme options each with several features like the Brunch Pro theme.


New Blogger Themes

If you’re using the Blogger platform, this site is for you. It houses hundreds of free pre-made templates sourced from various developers that can only be used on the Blogger platform. This is where I got my new template.

Because these are free templates you do have to be prepared that some of the coding may be wonky, you may have to mess with your CSS and HTML to customize the template and you probably won’t get any assistance from the template maker.



Where do you go for pretty blog templates?

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When it's Time to Clean Out Your Makeup Bag

Did you know your makeup has an expiration date? I didn’t realize that for many years. I would have a tube of mascara or lipstick and hold on to it for months. Even when I hadn’t used them in months. My mindset was that I was being frugal by not throwing them away so I could use them sometime in the future.

As with many things, food, hair products, once your makeup is opened and exposed to the air the expiration clock starts ticking. When kept in a place like the bathroom where humidity is common creates a breeding ground for bacteria. You also contaminate your makeup whenever it comes into contact with your skin.

Makeup doesn't last forever and old makeup can be harmful to you. Here are expiration guidelines for makeup. | arelaxedgal.com 

The lifetime for makeup products ranges from three months to two years depending on the product. When a makeup product starts to go bad there can be pretty obvious signs.
  • Nail polish starts separating and looking gloopy
  • Lipstick will start to smell
  • Foundations don’t feel right on your skin

Related post: What's in My Makeup Bag
Here’s some guidelines for how long you should keep and use your opened makeup products

Liquid foundation: One year

One year is about how long a liquid foundation lasts. When it starts to go bad you’ll see separating with oil rising to the top. And when applied the foundation could be gloopy, streaky and go on unevenly.

Powder foundation: Two years

Two years is about the max length of time you want to use a powder foundation. When time is running out on powder foundations it starts to harden and doesn’t blend as well. And if it’s a compact powder you may see it start to crumble and break apart.

Blush: 12-18 months

After about a year the blush needs to go. Like with foundation you’ll see powders and creams harden so they are hard to apply.

Eye shadow: Two years

Two years is a long time, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your eye shadow. If you see it change color or it smells bad it’s time to trash it.

Makeup doesn't last forever and old makeup can be harmful to you. Here are expiration guidelines for makeup. | arelaxedgal.com

Eyeliner: Three - six months

While gel and liquid liners only last about three to six months a pencil liner can last longer if it’s sharpened with each use.

Mascara: Two - three months

Out of all the makeup products mascara is the one that shortest life of two to three months. From my research this seems to be due to the tube being a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria that is let in each time you remove the wand. An expired tube of mascara is either dry or very watery. It may even separate and doesn’t go on smoothly.

Nail polish: Two years

I have to admit I’ve held on to nail polishes longer than two years so I’ve seen them go bad. When that happens the color will change, it separates and doesn’t apply evenly.

The worse part about expired makeup is it can irritate your skin and possibly cause serious infections. Long story short, expired makeup is dangerous to use so toss it.

 

Lipstick: One year

When going bad, lipstick and even lip gloss, will start drying out, smell and even change color.


When was the last time you tossed out old makeup?


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Strategies I’m Using to Grow My Social Media Channels

Have you ever had a situation where you’re multi-tasking multiple projects and as a result none of those projects had good results? That's where I found myself with my social media channels this past February. Since starting them my social channels have seen slow follower growth and engagement. Despite trying several different strategies and tactics the growth and engagement hasn’t grown too much.

Strategies I'm using to grow my social media channels. | arelaxedgal.com

This past February I finally got fed up and decided to take a step back and reevaluate my social media channels and the strategies I was using to see which ones were working for me and what I should and could be doing differently to really increase my followers and engagement. What I soon realized is it wasn’t so much the strategies I was using it was that I was doing too much.

For my blog A Relaxed Gal I have Twitter, a Facebook Page, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube. Whew! As of the end of February the combination of all these social channels was 3,045 followers. Not a whole lot, but it makes sense when I view it through the lens of not being able to properly focus on anything.

You may be able to guess where this is going. The change I’ve decided to make about my social channels is I’m going to “turn off” a couple of my social channels for a few months. The channels I’m turning off are YouTube and Instagram. I selected these two channels as the ones I turn off because they drive the least amount of traffic for me. Also I struggle most with creating content for these channels. In February I had a 260 net month-over-month increase in followers which was driven by Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.


Knowing that Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter tend to see growth every month I believe focusing on them will allow me to work on social strategies and optimizations without feeling the pressure that creating content for Instagram and YouTube cause me.

Since “turning off” Instagram and YouTube I’ve been able to spend more time working on growing my remaining social channels. Here are some of things I’ve been doing

Pinterest

    • Use more keywords: I’ve started the process of updating my use of keywords in my board descriptions
    • Branding: For new and old posts I’m creating that fit with my branding
    • Manual pinning: To supplement my pre-scheduled pins I’m manually pinning when I have a few minutes free during the day
    • Leverage popular search topics: I did this by revising some boards names to make them more descriptive. I also added a few new boards that tend to be popular search topics by still fit with my content focus
    • Create multiple graphics: I created new graphics/pins for some of my more popular posts

      I started making these changes around mid-February. Since then I’ve been seeing more net followers each day.


      I also saw some bumps in my repins which you can see starting mid month which is when I started making these changes to my Pinterest profile.


      Twitter

      • Test and learn: I tested some new hashtags in my posts
      • Vary my content: I made sure to tweet more content from other bloggers and sites
      • Follow more people: I started following more active tweeters who have a similar content focus

        Unfortunately I haven’t seen much of an impact from these changes. My average retweets, clicks and likes didn’t increase month-over-month.

        Facebook

        • Test and learn: Ran tests to see the impact of using no hashtags in posts
        • Vary my content: I started posting more content from other bloggers
        • Focus my content: Heavied up on the hair and beauty posts which resonate more with my followers

        The result has been increased reached for my posts as well as increased post engagement from likes and comments.


        How I’m Doing with My 2017 Goals

        1. Fully optimize arelaxedgal.com site for SEO by the end of Q1

        This is done! One whole month early. I really got into a groove for a couple of weeks in February and was able to knock it all out.

        My month-over-month organic traffic decreased slightly and my social traffic overall increased. This is mostly due to putting more effort into Pinterest this month, bringing StumbleUpon back into the picture and it can be a while before SEO takes effect.

        My top four traffic drivers stayed the same as as they have the last few months
        1. Pinterest
        2. Google
        3. Direct
        4. Facebook

        I was hoping to start seeing a lift in my traffic from Google. Instead it decreased slightly as did my organic traffic overall. On the other hand my traffic from Pinterest slightly increased which could be a result of the additional emphasis I put on it during the second half of the month.

        2. Retain readers on my site

        Out of all my site stats this week, my retention rates are what excited me the most. Month-over-month saw a lot of improvement. My bounce rate decreased getting me closer to my goal of being between 75-75% for the year My pageviews and pages viewed per session also increased.
        • Pageviews: 10,234 (+21.82%)
        • Unique Users: 5,072 (+10.77%)
        • Pages/Sessions: 1.64 (+20.59%)
        • Bounce Rate: 71.49% (-7.31%)

        Digging even further my popular articles this month also showed that readers are spending more time on the site. Looking at the top five popular articles in February, the bounce rate for all them decreased by at least 5%. This shows that readers find these articles to be content that is relevant to them. The top five popular articles were
        1. My Relaxed Hair Regimen
        2. 5 Ways to Avoid Relaxed Hair Breakage
        3. Pre-pooing Before Cleansing Chemically-treated Hair
        4. How to Keep Relaxed Hair Moisturized in the Winter
        5. How to Properly Deep Condition Your Hair

        Based on these stat improvements it seems that my site is more user friendly (probably doesn’t hurt that I changed the site design. More about that in a later post), my SEO optimization attempts are starting to take effect and my content is resonating with the readers I’m attracting. Hopefully I will see this trend continue.

        3. Grow my social followers and increase engagement

        As I noted above I’ve started really focusing on growing my social following by turning off two of my social channels. I’m hoping this new focus will result in greater increases than I saw in February
        • Pinterest: 2021 (+228)
        • Twitter: 413 (+12)
        • Facebook: 98 (+11)

        4. Grow my email subscriber list to at least 1,000 by 12/31

        I really haven’t been paying any attention my email list lately, sorry guys. Looking at my monthly stats in MailerLite I gained 22 new subscribers last month so my overall subscriber numbers didn’t change. I’ve started forming some ideas on what I can do to grow and be consistent with my email list, but am holding off on that until I’ve gotten my social channels performing at the level I’d like to.

        5. Do a least one paid post a quarter

        Nothing to report here. I applied for a few opportunities, but wasn’t selected for any of them.

        6. Create an image library of at least 24 images by year end

        I was able to add two additional images to my library. It’s exciting to see it grow and to have image options available if I don’t have time to shoot pictures specifically for each post.

        What strategies are you using to grow your social channels?

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