Feb 22nd 2019

How to Write a Cover Letter?

Getting the job of your dreams requires that you have the right education, the right experience and the right recommendations. All of this critical information needs to be neatly presented in your CV so that recruiters can quickly understand that you are potentially their dream candidate and call you in for an interview. However, there are many candidates with education, experience and CVs that are similar to yours, so you have to stand out! Your best chance to show off your advantages over the competition is your cover letter.

What is a Cover Letter?

Cover letters are freehand text documents that are sent to potential employers along with a job seeker’s resume. Cover letters for resumes are in essence, essays about yourself and your career.  Good cover letters sample the candidate’s specific skills and experience as they relate to a desired position. In fact, serious job seekers rewrite their cover letter to suit each particular job they are applying for. One good practice is to create a cover letter template which can be tweaked to suit different jobs.

Cover Letter Rules to Remember

  1. Always make sure your cover letter addresses the requirements detailed in the job posting.
  2. Always remember to thank your readers for their time and to provide your email address and phone number. 
  3. Never send out your cover letter without first checking it for spelling and grammar errors with Ginger’s Grammar Checker. You can also use the Sentence Rephraser to find more professional, sophisticated ways to write your text.
 Sample Cover Letter

A good cover letter starts by greeting the hiring manager.

The next step is writing the body of the cover letter. In the body you should try to immediately associate yourself with the desired position by stating who you are, what you do an what job you’re applying for. The rest of the cover letter body should tailor your qualifications and experience to the requirements listed in the job posting. A short message about why you are personally drawn to the company or company industry would also be appropriate here.

In the last paragraph of the cover letter you should discuss the next steps.

Cover Letter Examples

Cover letter examples can be found all over the internet. One good source is About.com.

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Feb 22nd 2019

Guidelines to Freelance Writing

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Guest post written by Ivan Hamlin on August 22, 2017

To embark on a journey where you can go full time with your freelance writing is no easy task. The road will be riddled with obstacles of all sorts. You will have to face financial limitations as opposed when you were employed full time in a company and had a constant income stream with occasional bonuses and raises as a result of yearly evaluations.

Secondly, when you will pitch this idea to your friends and family, they will laugh and it will make you look an idiot in front of them. They will call you stupid for even thinking like that. You will ask yourself, “how will I pay my bills?” etc. The struggle will be real. But there is nothing impossible once you set your eyes on it and if your mission is clear.

These guidelines can help you successfully transition from being a full-time office employee to a full-time freelance writer:

Research should be thorough

Now that you have decided that you want to make a career out of freelancing, your research should be no short of thorough. You cannot jump off a cliff without knowing where you will land. If there are rocks down below you will probably not jump (unless of course if you want to kill yourself intentionally) but if there is some safety net below or an arrangement to break your fall midway which will minimize the damage, you might want to take that plunge.

Similarly, with freelancing your research ought to be top notch. If it is academic writing, dig as much information about the field of writing as you can. If you already have been doing freelancing on the sides, it will be perhaps easier for you to make the switch as you can always ask your clients to provide you with referrals.

If you are a beginner, you may want to learn and ask people around you who have successfully made the switch to full time writing as a freelancer. Learn from them and read about the common mistakes freelancers make during this time, on their way to going full time. Practice the writing process from its pitch to publication.

Start Small

It is not necessary just because you have gone against the norms or tide that you start heavy. The ideal way to go about this as it will take time, start small. But even before that, you must ask the following questions:

Have I got enough that will get me by for few months financially? You should at least have six months of saving so that if the things were to go awry, you have a cushion to fall back on.

Do I have what it takes to account for my taxes, insurance and other fringe benefits that my employer used to take care of? It will be now your responsibility and in addition, utility costs usually increase in working from home.

All in all, do I have the budget to survive? Even after this, you feel nervous and worried, it is perhaps wise to squeeze freelance in alongside your job routine. But remember fear will always hold you back. Thus, when you start, start small so as to minimize the damages (if it comes to that). There are people who start earning almost immediately, but such examples are few and far.

Starting small time means that you get to be your first client. Is your blog outstanding? Are your copywriting skills top notch? If the answer is yes, look for work among your self-employed friends and family. Figure out if they are in assistance of your skills. For beginners, it is a great way to hone their skills and build a portfolio.

Create a website

While you are making this transition, develop a website of your own or ask a professional to do it for you and showcase your portfolio on the site. By means of personal branding like this, you can attract a lot of returning and potential clients.

Set targets and start pitching

Write down your target on how much wish to earn on a monthly basis or on a fortnightly basis, for that matter. Writing goals, as well as ideas down, have a higher percentage of being realized. When you have written down your targets, start by writing the names of your potential clients that you may be interested in working with.

It is not necessary that these names are big ones nor is it essential to only seek clients with high payouts. Draw another column, but this time write down the names of the big publications such as the NY Times or Vox. These names are who you will be interested in writing for one day. This exercise can prove to be really helpful in pitching.

When you have prepared the list, now start developing pitches to prospective clients that you think are likely to hire you. But you cannot simply make the same pitch everywhere or on each site. You have to read the policy of that website before approaching them with a pitch. Different sites have different criteria.

Moreover, pitching to the client, adhere to the guidelines strictly. If the editor of the site wants you to provide him with your resume or an overview of yourself as in why should you be hired in two paragraphs, make sure you abide by these rules when making the pitch.

Don’t lose heart if you are rejected. Rejection can feel overwhelming, especially when you don’t have a paying job. You will notice by setting targets and approaching the client in true letter and spirit, for every five pitches you send one will get accepted (in the beginning).

Find a mentor

Having a seasoned freelancer by your side will get you through this transition of going full time relatively comfortably than when you are sailing alone. It is because his words will be there to calm you and his insights will uplift your mood.

Therefore, learn to network, join freelance forums or groups and participate. It is possible, you may find an expert early on or later down the road, but nothing beats the advice and support from a mentor especially when you are treading in new waters.

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Feb 22nd 2019

How to Make a Resume with Correct Grammar?

Grammar is a key element in how you present yourself. It is essential if you want anyone to take what you are saying seriously.

When it comes to job hunting, correct grammar, punctuation and capitalization are even more important. Although your education and professional experience might give a pretty good picture of the employee you may be, how you communicate says more about you than what is on the resume.

That’s why a resume and cover letter with proper grammar and no spelling errors is integral. If your resume or cover letter are full of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or incorrectly used words, the recruiter might get the wrong impression. He/she might think that you are uneducated, lazy or in a hurry and didn’t give the proper attention to your resume. Chances are that another candidate will be chosen.

As Kyle Wiens mentions in his article: “…grammar is relevant for all companies. Yes, language is constantly changing, but that doesn’t make grammar unimportant. Good grammar is credibility, especially on the internet. In blog posts, on Facebook statuses, in e-mails, and on company websites, your words are all you have. They are a projection of you in your physical absence. And, for better or worse, people judge you if you can’t tell the difference between their, there, and they’re”.

Remember, the way you present yourself in your job application is the first impression a company has of you. If you present yourself poorly on paper, the company might not take the time to know you at all, no matter what your credentials are.

Take advantage of the many resources, both online and off, that can help you put together a polished, grammatically correct resume and cover letter. You can always use Ginger on your computer and avoid these mistakes you might regret later.

Good luck on your job hunt!

The Ginger Team

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Feb 18th 2019

American English VS. British English

When performing an online grammar check, it is important to note if the language you are using is American or British English. Believe it or not, there is a subtle but significant difference between them.

According to Wikipedia, “Received Pronunciation (RP), also called the Queen’s (or King’s) English, Oxford English, or BBC English, is the accent of Standard English in England, with a relationship to regional accents similar to the relationship in other European languages between their standard varieties and their regional forms.”
Wikipedia defines American English as “a set of dialects of the English language used mostly in the United States,” and notes that around two-thirds of the people in the world that speak English as native language live in the United States – making the American dialect the more common of the two.

As a former British colony, the United States inherited English in the same way that Latin America inherited Spanish and Portuguese. However, over the years, American and British English have diverged in accent, spelling and vocabulary. A student of one will likely understand the other without too much additional effort, but should be aware of the differences that exist in literature, slang, pronunciation, letter writing and so on.

In the United States, students are generally taught American English, with little or no reference to the English spoken in the United Kingdom. Students of English as a Second Language (ESL), as well as native-speaking high school students in English class, may have only minimal knowledge of the differences between the two dialects.
English students in the US are taught the language using a variety of tools, including listening exercises, speaking and interviewing techniques and English games. One such game is called a “spelling bee.” Also used to teach grade school children how to spell, spelling bees are contests in which participants compete over who can spell the greatest number of words correctly. As the English language is full of exceptions, and spelling is often not done phonetically, learning how to spell correctly is a key part of growing comfortable with the language for non-native speakers.

Even for native speakers, the differences between American and British English can be a source of amusement. Anyone who has ever witnessed a social encounter between Americans and Brits has probably seen first hand how humorous it can be for them to compare words, especially slang words, and phrases across the cultural divide. However, English students can take comfort in the fact that the differences between the two are not really that great.

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Feb 17th 2019

Empathy vs Sympathy

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Few pairs of English words get confused as often as sympathy and empathy. In speech and writing, the words get muddled up, despite having different meanings. The confusion probably comes as empathy and sympathy have similar definitions, sound similar when spoken, and they are used structurally and stylistically in the same manner. However, they have different meanings and it’s important to understand the difference between empathy and sympathy.

Definition of Sympathy and Empathy

  • Empathy is a noun, meaning the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
  • Sympathy is a noun, meaning the feelings of pity or sorrow for someone’s situation. 

What is Sympathy?

Sympathy is tied up with the idea of sorrow and pity. If you have sympathy for someone, you feel sorry for them. Sympathy even suggests that you may be suffering distress yourself as a result of your feelings of pity for another’s misfortune. Often, we use the preposition for after sympathy.

Examples:

  • I feel sympathy for the poor people of the world.
  • We have no sympathy for you – it’s your own fault.

What is Empathy?

In essence, having empathy means you understand somebody’s situation, usually a problem that they have. Normally, empathy suggests that you understand someone’s issue because you have also had some experience with a similar circumstance, i.e. empathy means you fully understand it. Often, we use the preposition with after empathy.

Examples:

  • John had some empathy with Mike’s situation; he too had gone bankrupt in the past.
  • Lance finds it difficult to have empathy with poor people, as he has always been rich.

Remember: Empathy does not always need to have a negative connotation.

  • You’re getting married? I have some empathy with that, as I tied the knot just last week!

Empathize vs Sympathize

Empathy and sympathy can both be used as verbs, with the differences being the same as those in the noun form of the words.

  • Empathize is a verb, meaning to understand someone’s situation.
  • Sympathize is a verb, meaning to feel sorry for someone.

However, with both words we would normally use the preposition with.

Examples:

  • We empathized with the Smiths’ predicament, as we knew how tricky filling out insurance claims could be.
  • Those who sympathize with criminals should be ashamed of themselves.
  • Can I empathize with the substitute teacher? Sure, because I know how hard it is to work with kids that age.
  • Cancer is a terrible disease. We should sympathize with anyone who suffers from it.

Sympathetic vs Empathetic

Sympathy and empathy can also be used as adjectives, with the differences being the same as those in the noun and verb forms.

  • Empathetic is an adjective, meaning showing an ability to understand another’s situation.
  • Sympathetic is an adjective, meaning showing feelings of pity or sorrow for someone’s situation.

Examples:

  • Jane, who has been deaf since birth, is empathetic toward anyone who had hearing problems.
  • Professor Neal will be sympathetic with anyone who comes to him with a difficult personal problem.

Sympathetic: Other Meanings

Sympathetic has some other meanings, which are sometimes used in art, literature and formal contexts. It is a little bit confusing, because the meaning is much closer to that of empathy and understanding. Don’t worry too much, as this way of using sympathetic is not very common and highly specific.

  • A sympathetic character in a book or movie is one that is liked because their actions are understandable.
    • Othello is a sympathetic character, because we can understand his actions were driven by jealousy and Iago’s manipulation.
  • Sympathetic can mean showing support and agreement.
    • We are sympathetic to the Prime Minister’s position and we will fully support the vote.

Sympathetically vs Empathetically

Sympathy and empathy can also appear in adverb form, with the difference in meanings again being the same as those in the noun forms.

  • Sympathetically is an adverb, meaning in a way that shows sorrow or pity for someone’s misfortunes.
  • Empathetically is an adverb, meaning in a way that shows understanding of someone’s predicaments.

Examples:

  • The doctor listened sympathetically as the patient described her painful symptoms.
  • Nurses are able to work empathetically with patients while remaining professional and efficient.

Other Words Confused with Empathy and Sympathy

Empathy, sympathy and their variants are words with roots in Ancient Greek. As a consequence, other words can sound very similar yet have completely different meanings. Be careful of these words with similar spellings:

  • Emphasis (noun), Emphatic (adjective), Emphasize (verb), Emphatically (adverb). These are related to putting stress or special importance on something.
  • Symphony (noun). A musical band or composition.
  • Apathy (noun) Apathetic (adjective). Lack of concern or interest.

Examples of Sympathy and Empathy

Here are some more examples of sympathy, empathy and other variants of the words in sentences:

  • To truly have empathy with a man, you must walk a mile in his shoes.
  • The sympathy I feel for sick people increases every day.
  • Can we have empathy with animals? No. We don’t think in the same way.
  • Jean felt a deep sympathy towards the gorillas. Their habitat was being destroyed.
  • We can empathize with your problem, Nick. However, we feel no sympathy for you.
  • I sympathize with your situation at work, but I just can’t help you.
  • Bob and Jan were sympathetic towards the plight of the homeless, so they donated their pay checks to the local shelter.
  • Teachers should always be empathetic towards other teachers.
  • Nathan listened on sympathetically, the descriptions of suffering bringing tears to his eyes.
  • Renee spoke empathetically, letting her audience know she had first-hand experience of the issue.

 

 

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