Best Word Forward

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Four basic steps to creating a career plan
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Many of us make New Year’s resolutions every January, but few of us stick with them beyond a few weeks. I have one suggestion for a resolution you should stick with this year that will reap benefits far beyond January. And the best news is that you don’t have to do it for more than a week or so!
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The First 6 Seconds

Dec 22, 2015
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​What’s the first thing you look at when you pick up a new book? The cover, right? Despite the old adage, we usually DO judge books first by their covers.
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As the weather turns colder and the holiday season approaches, you may think that it’s time to hunker down and play things safe until the new year. If you currently have a job but are looking to move up, you may be planning to refresh your resume after the New Year. If you are currently unemployed and looking for a job, you may be giving up hope as the holidays approach and you will run into friends and family who will inevitably ask how your job search is going.
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​This is the second in my series of Employer Questions that are asked when looking at your résumé. Make sure you check out the first post which answers the question “Who are you?”
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Not Quite There Yet

Mar 13, 2015
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Last week I wrote about my Master Résumé and how well that worked for me the last time I had to apply for a job. Today I’m going to take a look at a few more things that are working well in my own personal résumé and also get to some potential improvements.
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I am starting a series of short blog posts that will run weekly over the next two or three months with some questions that employers ask when reviewing resumes. Today is the first in the series.
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​Regular readers of the blog here will note that I am performing a review and update of my own personal résumé here on the blog this year. I want to start first with looking at some things that I think are working well and why they are contributing to the effectiveness of my résumé.
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​Late last year I had the privilege to interview one of my past clients regarding her experience with Best Word Forward and get some of her feedback on résumés and the interview process.
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New Year, New Resume!

Jan 02, 2015
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​Last week I wrote about a few things that worked well on the blog last year. There was a new look and feel to the site and I highlighted the content that got the most notice. This week I want to look ahead into 2015.
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​It’s the end of the year and as we close the2014 Year books on 2014, I wanted to look back on the year and see what worked well.
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Several years ago I came across an article online describing some things that interviewers could use to test job candidates for things that couldn’t be measured simply by asking questions. One of the suggestions was a toppled glass of water to test the candidate’s willingness to help out in an unpredictable situation.
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​I have written, posted and re-posted a few articles recently about preparing for your interview. In those I have talked about the importance of practicing the act of interviewing so that you will be better prepared when you walk into the room. Today I want to touch on another piece of preparation…what you should wear.
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​If you’ve ever typed up a résumé, chances are you’ve run into trouble with aligning text along the side of the page. In the western world, we read from the left to the right, so all of our programs and websites default to lining the text up on the left side in a nice neat line. But what if you need to set up a document (like a résumé) to have things line up on the right as well?
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​I recently had a friend ask me to conduct a mock interview with them prior to a real live interview. It was not the first time I’ve done this but it was the first time in a while. I haven’t been in a position to be interviewing people in almost two years, but conducting this interview for my friend reminded me what a fun yet unpredictable experience it can be.
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I Need Your Stories!

Sep 19, 2014
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​After several month’s absence, I am back to the blog! I hate to come back and immediately put out an ask, but it will help in the long run.
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​Yesterday we celebrated American independence. 238 years ago a bunch of men gathered together and put together a document that would forever change the path of the people living on this continent. But it didn’t end there.
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​This past weekend marked the release of what could be the biggest blockbuster movie of the summer, Transformers: Age of Extinction. Now, you may not be Michael Bay (if you are Michael Bay, call me, I have an idea for another amazing movie franchise) and you may not make millions of dollars, but there are two things that you can do to transform your writing this week.
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​We all know that it is important to put together a solid résumé in order to get a great job, but what exactly should you include on your résumé to get you noticed?
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​Last week I wrote about the importance of reading as it related to becoming a better writer. Today I wanted to bring you some thoughts on reading as part of career growth. A few things to consider...
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As a writer, one of the essential pieces of your job is to read. By continuously reading and taking in new information, you can use what you read to improve your writing style. When you see something that you like in someone else’s writing, you can borrow that and implement it in your own.
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​It’s time for another reader response.Ramit writes - “I have been associated with a single organization without the need to switch jobs [after college]; but I fear someday when I will feel stagnated here, I may be pretty ill equipped in the job market on the resume front.”
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​Any frequent visitors to the blog may have noticed an added section in the column to the right. If not, please look there now.
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Call For Questions

May 16, 2014
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It’s that time again, a simple call for questions. This time I’m looking for anything you want to know about editing, grammar, punctuation, proofreading, etc. Please submit your question in the comments below, send me an email or leave a post on Facebook or Twitter.
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Time For A New Look

May 13, 2014
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​I have a short update today regarding the look of the blog and website. I am in the process of finalizing a new logo for Best Word Forward. I will soon be featured prominently on the webpage here, along with the Facebook page header and Twitter page header.
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​A few weeks ago I asked you to send me some of the things that you find hard about writing your résumé. I will be tackling some of those in the coming weeks as blog topics.
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Homonym Help Line

May 02, 2014
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​One of the hardest parts about the English language is the prominence of words that sound the same, or very similar, yet mean different things. My recent favorite is “there,” “their” and “they’re.” If you read these to someone and they can’t see them printed on the page, they will have no idea which meaning is intended without some additional context.
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​There is no one part about writing a résumé that is THE hardest part. Many people have trouble talking about themselves and especially lauding their accomplishments. They think that they are bragging and will be seen as pompous, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
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​This is my last post for a few weeks. I know I had pledged to post on this blog every Friday moving forward, but I have a planned vacation coming up and have decided to take a break from posting on the blog as well.
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​Perhaps it’s the English nerd in me, but this is one of my biggest pet peeves in terms of misuse of the English language. So many people speak the phrase “I could care less” in the wrong context, assuming it is correct because that is how they have heard it used in the past. But let’s take a closer look at this statement.
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​Have you ever started a new job and after a month or two realized that your new co-workers are all backstabbers, or that the entire leadership structure is so corrupt that it makes the politicians look like angels? Many people have been in this situation and felt that they were duped when they first interviewed for the job, but there are things you can do to find out about the culture of a company before you start on your first day.
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​Writing is hard. Anyone who has ever sat down at a computer (or typewriter or blank sheet of paper) knows that it can be a daunting task to set your ideas down in writing. Because of the difficulty of the task, many people often fall back on comfortable words and phrases to help them get by.
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​Great news! Best Word Forward now has a home on Twitter. Follow Best Word Forward (@bestword4ward) by clicking the link to the left. You’ll be glad you did.
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​Would you leave home on a road trip without any idea where you’re going? Of course not. How about flying a plane without a flight plan? Never. Whenever you travel, even if it’s just a short trip to the store, you probably have an objective.
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​Regardless of what you’re writing, always pay attention to your tone. Your graduate school thesis is a much different piece of writing than the short story you wrote in third grade about the bunny that lost his way and the tone of each piece of writing should reflect the audience for which it is intended. Finding that voice can sometimes be difficult but when you do, your writing will become much more effective and engaging to your readers.
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​I have mentioned in at least one previous post that the days of cookie cutter résumés are gone. With most big companies doing their initial hiring online, computers are doing much of the initial grunt work sorting through résumés submitted online, the use of keywords is becoming increasingly important. But what about when your résumé gets in front of a human?
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What Not To Do...

Feb 14, 2014
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​I have been working for the last few weeks trying to get the word out about Best Word Forward and I came across something that astounded me. I found a website called ProfileTree which allows people or business to post their services. I quickly took advantage of this opportunity to get some more exposure for Best Word Forward.
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​It is that time again. The Winter Olympics have arrived. By the time you read this, there will have already been one full day of competition in Sochi and the Opening Ceremonies will be in full swing.
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​So you’re writing a short story. You moving right along and suddenly realize that your story is over thirty pages long. It’s starting to move from being a short story into being a short novella.
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​Chances are you have filled out a job application at least one in your life. You probably filled in a section on that application asking you to list professional references. You sat and thought for a minute before writing down the name of a friend that you worked with at your last job that would give you a glowing recommendation if and when the HR manager called them.
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​I was playing around in MS Word the other day and noticed an option to include readability statistics when doing a spelling and grammar check. I decided to mark the box and see what happened.
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New Year, New Plan

Jan 14, 2014
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​I posted a note about this on the Best Word Forward Facebook page yesterday but wanted to make an official post about it on the blog. I originally wanted to make posts here at least three times a week, but that proved to be far too much to handle. For the time being, I will be making weekly posts every Friday, alternating between an editing topic and a résumé topic each week. Hopefully this will keep the blog moving forward and will help you the reader know when to expect new content each week.
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​Almost ten years ago, I encountered a situation where I had two companies offer me jobs at the same time. I was in a situation in my life where I was able to actually start working both jobs before making a decision which one I should keep. I know I made the correct decision all that time ago.
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Free Writing Review

Nov 06, 2013
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​Do you have a story that you’re writing or a big paper due at school? Always feel like you can’t just get your point across the way you want to? I have an opportunity for you.
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​Sometimes, one of the best ways to learn how to do something well is to practice it over and over again. Other times, the best way is to read about how others have done it successfully and try to emulate that.
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Rules of The Interview

Oct 21, 2013
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​There are plenty of things that can be considered dumb, especially when interviewing for a job. Normally I would try to work on my own list, but I found this recently on LinkedIn and decided to just pass the word along.
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Free Resume Review

Oct 11, 2013
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​Yes, that’s right. You read that correctly. From now to the end of the month (that’s October for those keeping score at home) I am offering a free review of your résumé. Simply fill out the form below and submit it and I will get in contact with you within 24 hours. Don’t wait, act now!
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$20 Words

Oct 10, 2013
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​In the words of the great Jedi Master Yoda, “make one smart, using big words does not.” OK, maybe he never actually said that, but if he had been a high school English teacher, I like to think he might have.
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Editing Poetry

Oct 08, 2013
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​As a writer, I compose short stories as well as poetry. One question that has come up in conversations about writing poetry is how it should be edited.
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Say Thank You

Aug 20, 2013
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​One of the most overlooked things in the world is saying “Thank you.” It seems so simple, yet people don’t do it often enough.
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More Interview Prep

Aug 13, 2013
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​I posted a few weeks back about preparing for an interview and wanted to offer a bit more insight here on that topic. My main point here is to make sure that you are prepared to answer any question that the interviewers will throw at you. Of course we can’t predict every question, but I’ve listed some samples of popular questions below along with explanations of what interviewers are often looking for when they ask them.
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Carbon Copy Resumes

Aug 06, 2013
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​I mentioned in the Job Hunt Series last week that it is important to have a master résumé that has your entire work experience on it. The question I have received is “should I keep my entire work experience on me résumé when I submit it for a job?”
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It's Hard

Jul 31, 2013
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​One of the most common grammatical mistakes I see people make it misusing “its,” “it’s,” and “its’.” I can understand the confusion and honestly it is sometimes hard to determine which one is correct so I hope this brief overview can help clear up the confusion.
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Sound Smart, Be Simple

Jul 29, 2013
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​Everyone wants to sound smart. Being smart can help you get ahead in the world but being smart and using big words do not necessarily go together.
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​Congratulations! You’ve finally landed yourself a new job! My last piece of advice is to keep updating your Master Résumé on a regular basis. Set a reminder for the first of every month or every six months and when the reminder comes up, pull out your master file and make sure everything is still accurate. Don’t stop preparing for interviews either.
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​We’ve all heard the saying “practice makes perfect” but when was the last time you practiced a job interview? If you’re like most people, it was probably DURING your last job interview and you were sweating the entire time because you felt you were out of practice.
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​10-15 years ago, when the economy was booming and companies were hiring at a rapid pace, job hunters would often receive calls for interviews within days or even hours of an application being submitted. Not so anymore. Because there are often dozens if not hundreds of candidates applying for jobs both in person and online, only people who are being selected for interviews are contacted. This often leaves everyone else wondering what their status is.
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​One of the most common mistakes regarding résumés is to assume that one size fits all. In the competitive job market that exists today, updating your résumé and applying for jobs can be a full time job in itself.
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Resume 911

Jul 21, 2013
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​Are you on the hunt for a new job? Did your employer just post a promotional opportunity that is the role you’ve been waiting two years for? Did you pull out your old résumé and realize that it hasn’t been updated since you took your current job?
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Let Me Edit For You

Jul 18, 2013
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​Everyone has a story to tell. I’m sure something has happened in your life in the past year that you could write a story about. It doesn’t have to be as long and involved as Tolstoy, elegant as Shakespeare or even as funny as Vonnegut (yes, I know some people don’t “get” Vonnegut’s humor). But there is a story in there that needs to be told.
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​Small disclosure, it was recently my son’s birthday and he received a gift of a remote control car that is supposed to be able to drive on walls. I have yet to make it do this, but I’m hoping batteries might be the culprit.
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​At the risk of angering John McWhorter I’m going to proclaim that the sky is indeed falling. The proper use of punctuation is a dying art. More generally, it sometimes seems like ANY use of punctuation is a dying art.
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Why So Tense?

Jul 09, 2013
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​Are you two tense? Rather, do you use two tenses in your writing? This can be a cardinal sin in writing and something that makes an idea very hard to follow. When you’re writing something that “is” happening, make sure that it continues to happen “now” and doesn’t suddenly become a past or future event. What exactly do I mean by this?
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Brand New Day

Jul 08, 2013
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​I have decided to move my Best Word Forward page to Weebly for two reasons. Firstly, I like the design interface better than at Wix and I am able to get started on a new blog to help drive traffic to the site. Secondly, I felt like the site needed a reset and the best way to go about that was to move it completely.
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Testimonials

Kathy
After being asked to review some co-workers résumés, it became apparent to me that my own was written in a very outdated style. I found it very difficult to update my own in a modern fashion and decided to have it professionally reviewed. I chose Best Word Forward at the recommendation of several people. Jonathan Ytreberg provided clear and concise critique and recommendations. He pointed out several issues that would never have occurred to me. He did so by using an easy to follow format, which included specific points tied in to my current résumé, and a corresponding letter with detailed explanations for each point. He has provided me with the tools to keep my résumé updated and tailor it to specific opportunities.
Joe
Jonathan’s résumé services put me back on the map. His vast knowledge of résumé writing and his clear, precise tips produce real results. Jonathan will make you a superstar.
Cory
Recently I was forced to update my resume, and did the best I could as I’d not even thought of this thing in over a decade. In search of an outside opinion, I turned to Jonathan’s service, Best Word Forward, thinking I’d either receive feedback that it was just fine the way it was, or a complete tear-down/rebuild into something I wouldn’t be comfortable with. Boy, was I wrong! What I got instead were succinct, easy to implement suggestions which left my resume feeling like my own, with a great format and to-the-point content that I’m confident will deliver. The letter accompaniment helped explain the suggestions that Jonathan gave in a convenient Word document format; reading it felt like he was right there explaining everything to me! I thank you, Jonathan, as I approach the job market with renewed confidence. I look forward to reporting back my positive results!



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