Guest Post: 4 Things to Consider When Designing Your Characters by Marielle Ann Suy

by Marielle Ann Suy

One of the most common challenges fiction authors face is creating “believable” characters. Take note, I said believable. Designing a character is different from designing a realistic character.

You may already be aware that your character needs life. You might have been searching the internet or reading books endlessly on how to make your characters feel alive. But it’s not enough.

Thankfully, I’m here to share with you the same technique I use to create realistic characters.

Artist drawing pencil portrait close-up

 

  • The Personality

Every human has a personality.

I usually start with knowing their “type.” Are they strong and tough? Are they shy and timid? Are they preppy and fashionable?

The key question here is what are they like?

If you, by some miracle, get the chance to meet this character, what would they tell you? How will they act? Are they initiating active conversations? Do they gossip? Do they talk endlessly? Do they annoy you?

By meeting them, you learn more about them. Not just how they look, but how they act. The more you know them, the better you can craft them.

Here’s an example:

Coal Lockwood is a character from Disappeared (Quesnium). He is a medieval farmer who lives with his childhood friend, Christina Evangeline. Since he’s a farmer, he’s got ragged clothes and a pale skin from all that sunlight. He’s also quite muscular (farming requires a lot of effort) for his age.

Since he was exposed to the hard life of farmers, he’s very down-to-earth. Well, down-to-quesnium, in this case. He knows how to prioritize their needs. Say, there’s no more food in the kitchen and thankfully, he was provided with bread. What he’ll do first is break it into portions. He’ll give one, maybe two, to Christina, eat half of one portion and then store the rest. Afterwards, he’ll find ways to get more food for them.

  • The Goal

Creating your character’s goal is actually easier than you think. The goal is what your character wants.

It could be as simple as being accepted by their parents to as grand as saving the world before bedtime.

The point is that your character must want something. Otherwise, there’s no story.

Here’s an example about Coal:

Coal is a simple man. With his social status, his only goal was to survive the day and the next and the next. He’s devoted to farming. During harvest season, he stores some for himself and Christina, the others for sale. He uses the coins for various needs, like seeds for the farm, food for the livestock, and for future repairs.

The better you can visualize their goal, the better they will move towards that direction.

  • The Motivation

Motivation, in its simplest of terminology, is what inspires your character to reach their goal.

Every human has a motivation, whether or not they realize it. Say, your character wants to graduate. Their motivation is their family. Perhaps, they want to give their family a better life – a better future. That’s why they want to graduate. They want to work soon to be able to support their family.

  • The Humanity

Flaws don’t make us weak, only human.

Everyone has flaws. There’s no such thing as a perfect human (unless he’s a cyborg). Making a human with superhuman strengths and no weaknesses is close to impossible. Even Superman has a weakness.

Whether it’s an object, a hidden trauma, or a person, each character must have a weakness. At the same time, they must also have strengths. Try to balance these when assigning traits to your character.

For example, if your setting is a palace in the sky, your character may be afraid of heights, but they may also have keen senses. In a thriller, action, or adventure story, keen senses are necessary.

And there they are. Those are the 4 things you should consider when designing your characters. Happy writing!

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suyA lover of fairytales and the mystical, Marielle Ann Suy is a storyteller and author. She has published two short stories. Both stories are about the sun’s disappearance, hence entitled “Disappeared.” “Disappeared (Earth)” is about a solar eclipse and how it affects the world. “Disappeared (Quesnium)” is about the sun’s disappearance and how it affects lowly farmers. A novel based on the same characters and the same premise is on its way. Stay tuned in via social media or by subscribing to her newsletter.

Social Media Links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MariellesQuesnium/

Twitter – @suy_marielle

Blog – https://quesnium.wixsite.com/talesofworlds

 

Disappeared (Earth) Book Links:

Apple Books – http://bit.ly/DiniBooks

Barnes and Noble – http://bit.ly/DinNook

Kobo – http://bit.ly/2DinKobo

Scribd – http://bit.ly/DinScribd

Smashwords – http://bit.ly/2DinSmashwords

 

Get Your Free Copy of Disappeared (Quesnium): http://bit.ly/QuesniumFREE  

 

 

Interested in having your work featured here?  Contact me.

 

 

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Pen Review: Retro 51 Slim Tornado Ballpoint Pen

I don’t often feel compelled to do a review on a ballpoint pen, but I was beyond excited when I received this in the June 2018 iPenBox.  I’ve been eyeballing the Retro 51 pens for quite some time, but I’d never actually broken down and gotten one.

Retro 51 Tornado

Let’s talk about aesthetics, first.  I was thrilled to see that I ended up with the lavender version, since purple is my favorite color.  The finish is a beautiful satin that looks and feels great.  It also comes in an adorable box that I just can’t seem to throw away.  And since it doubles as a pen stand, I don’t have to!

This pen instantly went into my desk rotation, meaning it’s in the special cup of pens that I use on a regular basis.  It had a nice, heavy weight to it and writes so smoothly I almost feel like I can’t keep up!  The Slim Tornado is an absolute joy to use, and it’s definitely one that I’ll be buying refills for.

This pen retails for $23.97 on iPenStore.com.

Retro 51 with box

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to find me on Facebook and Amazon.  My monthly newsletter will give you all the latest info on giveaways and ARCs.

Want your work featured here?  Contact me.

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Giveaway Alert!

I’ve recently done an interview with Susie Murphy about her new book, A Class Apart, and she’s giving away a free ebook copy!  Be sure to enter by visiting the pinned post on my Facebook page or commenting on the interview on my blog.  A random winner will be drawn on Saturday!

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Author Interview (and Giveaway!): Susie Murphy

Susie Murphy’s new book, A Class Apart, is a brand-new release on Amazon.  Read to the end for your chance to win a copy!

Is there anything that has driven you to write historical fiction instead of something set in modern times?

I have always viewed books as a means of escaping from reality, so in general I’m not as interested in reading or writing about the times we live in. I want to be swept away to another world or another era and get caught up in the lives of people and places that are different from what’s outside my front door. That’s probably why I enjoy fantasy a lot, but I adore historical fiction most of all: the fashion, the big houses, how the people travelled, how they communicated. Even though it’s our own world, it’s poles apart from how we live our lives now. And I just love the idea of attending a ball in a flowing gown and being courted by a charming gentleman! That is, of course, an idealised view of the way things were; I can’t turn a blind eye to the social injustices and poor health conditions of the times, and I do highlight the contrast between the upper classes and lower classes in my book. But it’s all so fascinating – I can’t get enough of it.

Susie Murphy

How much research do you have to do in order to make these books happen?

Tons of research needs to go into writing historical fiction. You’d think I’d have realised this early on in the process but, no, I’d been writing my series for years before that obvious penny dropped. In the summer of 2016, it occurred to me that I should really double check some of the details in my book…and there followed twelve gruelling months of revisions. I had the noble titles totally wrong, my scullery maids were doing the wrong duties, the term grandfather clock didn’t even exist (not until 1876) – I could go on and on. And what I read up on inheritance law almost scuppered the premise of the whole series! I learned my lesson the hard way, and now I don’t include anything in my manuscripts that hasn’t been thoroughly fact-checked.

But there needs to be a balance as well – I don’t put every detail I’ve researched into my books. I read as extensively as I can on a subject to give myself a full understanding of it, and then only include what’s relevant to the story itself. The research provides the framework, but the story still needs to be the focus.

I see you don’t like tea or coffee (gasp!), so what do you like to drink?

I do get very scandalised reactions about this and have even been offered boiling water as an alternative. But I just don’t like hot drinks! I have discovered in the past year that I can be persuaded to have a hot chocolate – but it needs to have marshmallows, and I’ll want a glass of water to go with it. What do I actually like though? Give me two big glasses of milk with dinner and I’m happy. J

Where and when do you do your best writing?

We have a large armchair in the sitting room that has become my nest over the years. More often than not, it is scattered with notebooks, my laptop and a cosy blanket. (However, I have recently had to relinquish it to my husband for the World Cup, as it has the best view for the TV.)

When I’m on a roll, I can write at any time of the day. I like to accomplish something early before breakfast and can happily work on into the wee hours too. The mid-afternoon slump is usually my least productive time.

a class apart

What book are you reading right now?

I’m actually reading a contemporary book at the moment (the irony!). It’s After You by Jojo Moyes, and it was a gift for my birthday. I’m also listening to the third volume of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series on audiobook in the car. While I do read loads of historical fiction (my last book was The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor), I find it’s nice to mix things up now and then.

What’s life like when you aren’t writing?

I’ve been a piano teacher for the past nine years. This generally includes many conversations that go along the lines of, ‘Yes, I know you recognise that as a hashtag, but in music we call it a sharp.’ One of the funniest things about being a teacher is when you bump into a student outside of school and they look at you like you’re an alien – and that’s when you realise that up to that point they believed you existed only in your classroom. There are plenty of challenges in teaching but in the end it’s worth it when you see a student progress and, more importantly, when they see it too.

When can we expect the next installment in the series?

I do have a completed manuscript for the second book in the series, A Class Entwined, but it will need another draft based on the final edits in A Class Apart. After that, I’ll schedule it in with both my editor and cover designer. All things going according to plan, I hope to publish it in early 2019!

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Want to win an ebook copy of A Class Apart?  Leave a comment below, or visit Ashley O’Melia’s Facebook page and find the pinned post.  A random winner will be drawn on July 14th!

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Susie Murphy is an Irish historical fiction author.

In her working life, she has been a library cataloguer, a shop assistant, a market research interviewer, an office manager and a piano teacher, but all she has ever wanted is to add ‘author’ to that list.

She doesn’t drink tea or coffee (but swears she really is Irish).

She has lived for a substantial time in six different counties – she now resides in Kildare but she’s from Tipperary.

She can recite all the colours of Joseph’s amazing technicolour dreamcoat at top speed in one breath.

When she was young, Susie and her mammy won a sandcastle competition on a summer holiday in England – there were some pretty spectacular sand sculptures on display but the judges gave them the prize because they were the only ones who built an actual castle. Susie’s advice since then: always stick to the brief, people.

She wrote her first ‘novel’ when she was eleven. Entitled The Rabbits’ Journey, it was eleven pages long and an unashamed plagiarism of Watership Down.

You can find Susie on Facebook and Twitter.

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4 Self-Publishing Essentials That No Author Can Publish Without

by Rosie Wylor-Owen

Self-publishing gives authors exciting degrees of freedom over their work. We can choose how long our books can be, what to put on the covers and *squeal* how much to charge for them. When we’re bound to publishing contracts, these important elements are left in the hands of editors and graphic designers who haven’t nurtured your manuscript the way you have. Despite this, in the hands of a publisher, all the costs of producing our book babies are covered. Self-publishing freedom is not without its expense.

Indie authors aren’t known for their riches, so sometimes we might feel tempted to cut corners. While we can take steps to be frugal, there are some things we just can’t sacrifice for the sake of cost. Before you self-publish your book, take a look at the self-publishing essentials you can’t publish without:

Editing

As indie authors, we tend to have a great network of author friends who are ready to beta-read our manuscripts for some cold, hard feedback. Ouch, right? While this is hugely helpful in creating a polished manuscript, beta-readers just can’t replace real editing by a seasoned professional. Without proper editing, you could quite easily publish an error-riddled book to your adoring fans.

No matter how many times you pore over your manuscript, something – nay, a lot of things – are going to slip under your radar. Editors may cost a pretty penny but the polished manuscript you receive from them is priceless. Even if you have to save a dollar at a time, hire the darn editor.

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A Professional Book Cover

First impressions matter more than we like to think they do, and that could not be truer than of books. The front covers of our novels are the first things our readers see and are the first excuse to say “no” to our books. You might be quite artistic, but the chances of creating a fantastic book cover without some real graphic design experience are slimmer than an intern’s paycheque.

Your book title plastered across a free stock photo in sans-serif isn’t going to wow readers who have probably seen one hundred better covers that day already. Investing in a good book cover is arguably even smarter than hiring an editor, because the cover is what gets your readers to the first page. Forget about Canva and Pixabay, and start researching some good graphic designers. Your manuscript deserves the best.

Reading

This question has bounced around Facebook writing groups since time immemorial. Does a writer have to read to be a good writer? The answer is yes. Is it possible for a musician to compose good music without listening to any first? Only if they have superpowers.

Some writers insist that their writing is often complimented and they never read. Here’s the thing: a good writer isn’t just someone who can write at an acceptable level and gets themselves a few hearty congratulations from Aunt Beatrice and Uncle Tom. A good writer is a writer who is constantly improving, and there’s no better way to do that than to read regularly and write regularly. The best dishes come from the chefs who do their homework.

Networking

This writing deal really does test us, sometimes. Writing is, by and large, an introvert’s profession. We like holing up in our studies and creating in peace and quiet; no people, and lots of coffee. Bliss. So networking isn’t at the top of our to-do lists, but if we want to get our books under the noses of our ideal readers, we need a helping hand (or several).

The good news is, since the marvelous invention of social media, we don’t have to meet anyone face to face. Don’t tell me that’s not ideal.

Authors need each other to help host their book launches, to share their giveaways and to recommend their books. Without a solid backing, indie authors struggle much more to get their work noticed. Go and say “hi” in a few writing groups, and write a thank-you e-mail to your favourite indie author. You might just find friendships worth keeping.

Whether you enjoy socialising or not, we need allies on our journey; a journey we can all make together.

Whether we like it or not there are some things that we can’t do without. Books, friends, and the dastardly red pen, among other things. If you want your writing career to be a successful one, try out these ideas and see if you can take the next step towards that bestseller list.

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Rosie Wylor-Owen was born in Worcester, England at the height of baggy jeans and boy-band popularity. Her work has been featured in the literary magazines The Fiction Pool, Anti-Heroin Chic and Ariel Chart, and the Manawaker Studios Podcast. Her short story “Arm-in-Army with Alchemy” was accepted for publication by Otter Libris for inclusion in the anthology “Magical Crime Scene Investigation.” In February 2018 she won third place in the Fiction Writer’s Global flash fiction contest for her story “In Exchange for Your Sins.”

http://www.rosiewylor-owen.com

http://www.welcometothesecretlibrary.com (blog)

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/rosiewylorowenauthor/
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rosiewylorowenbooksquad/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/rosiewylorowen/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bates_rosie

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rouli91/

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Guest Post: How to Write an Effective Resume, by Chloe Sunstone

How to Write an Effective Resume

Let’s face it; Resumes are a necessary evil in the job search process.  Yet, there’s no way a piece of paper can truly reflect who you are OR the value of your skills.  Nonethless, it is generally required in the process. 

So if you are going to write a great resume, DO IT RIGHT. To do it correctly, you need to understand the true purpose of a resume which is (drum roll please) To Get an Interview! I repeat the goal of a resume is to get an interview.

As an HR professional, I’ve had countless friends, family and strangers ask for advice on their resume.  Below is a complete overview of the key tips on how to write a resume.  I have organized these tips by questions that I’m commonly asked relating to resume writing.

1) How long should my resume be?

Let’s get started. Keep in mind your primary goal — USE YOUR RESUME TO GET AN INTERVIEW! Think of your resume as an ADVERTISEMENT.

To do so, your resume should be two pages or less (NO Exceptions). Write a one page resume when you have LESS THAN TEN years of work experience.

For my readers who have more experience, I understand it can be a challenge to summarize twenty or thirty years of work experience into two pages.  Remember the average recruiter/ HR professional spends ten to fifteen seconds reviewing your resume before deciding on the next step – Interview or Reject.  Less is more.

In order to keep your resume at two pages or less, focus on your work experiences that are most applicable to your dream job.  In addition, do not list the same job responsibilities over and over.  For each job, focus on the most relevant job responsibilities.   Below are two excerpts from the professional experience section of a resume that demonstrate this concept better.   Both are from a resume for a management role.

  • Example 1 (Let’s call the imaginary candidate John Smith) repeats the same responsibilities over and over.
  • Example 2 (Let’s call the imaginary candidate Jane Doe) shows growth in experience by stressing different items under each job.  Jane Doe’s resume shows a variety of experiences thereby reflecting a more desirable background.

Professional Experience
Example 1:  John Smith

XYZ Company (Most Recent Employer)

  • Managed a team of ten finance professionals
  • Performed performance reviews, coached employees and provided managerial support
  • Recruited and hired team members
  • Coached, instructed and led major team projects on financial systems

ABC Company (Prior Employer)

  • Managed a team of eight finance professionals
  • Performed performance reviews, coached employees and provided managerial support
  • Recruited and hired team members
  • Managed major team projects

Professional Experience
Example 2:  Jane Doe

XYZ Company (Most Recent Employer)

  • In addition to leading a team of ten finance professionals, managed large team projects
  • Managed a company wide project to revamp the financial reporting system.  Partnered with an external systems vendor to design, develop and implement the new system
  • Saved the company $5 million due to the system implementation

ABC Company (Prior Employer)

  • Managed a team of eight finance professionals
  • Performed performance reviews, coached employees and provided managerial support
  • Recruited and hired team members
  • Managed major team projects

Do you see the difference?  Jane’s background reflects additional skills such as costs savings, vendor management, systems implementation etc…

Additionally, here are some more tips on how to write a great resume:

  • For experienced job seekers, do not list all of your experience.  Go back ten to fifteen years MAXIMUM and move forward from there.   Again, ensure your resume is no more than two pages in length.
  • For entry-level job seekers, focus on the experiences MOST relevant to the job. Keep your resume to one page.
    • TIP: To all college students; do EVERYTHING that you can to get an internship in your field of interest.  This experience is of immense value in your job search.
  • For those looking to make a career change, break the experience section of your resume into two parts:
    • Relevant Experience (for the experience most relevant to your desired job)
    • Additional Work Experience (outlining other work experiences)

Now, for those of you who work as Freelancers or Consultants…you may be thinking — “How do I keep my resume to a maximum of two pages? I’ve worked for so many different places.” Keep reading! The answer is below.

2) What type of resume format should I use?

There are 2 commonly accepted formats for resume writing.  Each is briefly described below with recommendations on the ideal situation for using each of these formats.

  • Chronological: A chronological resume lists your work experience in chronological order most recent role first by employer.  This is the most commonly recognized and accepted format by employers.  Although the most recommended format, it is BEST when an individual has a solid work history.  If you have changed jobs frequently or are attempting to make a major career change, I would not recommend this format.  It will unnecessarily draw attention to your job changes.
    • Click here for a Chronological Resume Example. Again, this is the most commonly used format.  A good chronological resume will demonstrate a variety of experiences within your field and relating to your dream job.
  • Functional: A functional resume lists your work experience without reference to specific employers but listing it by experiences or functions performed within the job.  These resumes are best used when an individual has a poor work history (i.e. changes jobs frequently).  Since the actual jobs are listed last on the resume, you are able to draw the reader in based on your functional work experience and hope that they do not focus on your frequent job changes.
    • Click here for a Functional Resume Example.  The bold items in the example (such as Project Management and Business Analysis) are the functions.  Generally a good functional resume will have four to ten different functional areas listed (depending on your level of experience).  The best functional resumes use the key words in the job description as the functions.

Please note: the two resumes examples are provided solely to demonstrate format.  They are “fake” resumes for an IT Manager role.  Remember, although the chronological resume is the most widely accepted by employers, format is a personal choice based on your situation.  Please pick the resume format that you think will work best for you. 

  • NOTE: The functional format is the BEST format for Freelancers, Consultants, Independent Project Managers etc...

Businesswoman Holding Contract Paper

3) Can you give me some writing tips for a resume?

In the case of any document, certain writing “rules” apply.  Universally, resumes should be written using the following rules:

  • The writing style should be consistent.  In other words, if you bold the name of one employer, you should bold the names of ALL of your employers.
  • NEVER use words like I, my or we.
  • Choose a readable font style (i.e. Arial, Times New Roman etc) and ensure that your font size is READABLE.  Please do not use a font any smaller than 11 point.
  • Use Action Verbs – In order to get your resume recognized, you need to grab the reader’s attention ASAP.  Action verbs allow you to do so. Using action verbs also allows you to be more concise.  Avoid using passive words such as “Responsible for”.  Instead explain your achievement/ outcome and how you did it OR the benefit of the action.  Please compare the 2 examples below.   Assess for yourself – Which has more attention grabbing language?
    • Action verb example: Reduced technical training costs by $3.5MM (a 64% decrease) through strong negotiation techniques.
    • Passive words example: Responsible for the technical training function of a software organization.  Responsibilities included working with vendors and negotiating new training rates.
  • Be concise as you describe your experiences. As mentioned earlier, an employer will only look at your resume for ten to fifteen seconds, so don’t over-complicate things.  You need to catch their attention FAST.
  • Use Spell Check and ask someone to proofread your resume.  There must be no spelling or grammar errors.
  • Avoid acronyms, abbreviations and overly technical jargon UNLESS widely accepted.  It is unlikely that your reader (usually an HR person) will know the meaning.
  • Ensure white space.  If your resume is too “over-crowded”, it will be hard to read.  If difficult to read, the quick ten to fifteen second scan will miss the key items that you want noticed by your reader.  As a result, keep some white space.  
    • The 2 easiest ways to ensure white space are:
      • Use bullets in your resume
      • Keep your sentences short and concise.  The longer the sentence, the less white space.

4) How do I get my resume recognized?  What makes my experience sound better than others?

The best advice is NO gimmicks when writing your resume.  There was a time where people used colored paper, included their photos on their resume to be pulled out of the pile.  Today, there is no pile. Most resumes are submitted through an on-line tracking system.  Most of these on-line systems automatically “pre-screen” your resumes for certain key words relating to the job posting of interest.   This automated screening process provides the resume reviewer with a ranking for each candidate.  The tips below are ways to be ranked high.  Your audience will review the highest ranked candidates first.  As a result, the best way to get your resume recognized/ ranked highly is to do the following:

  • Use Key Words — As mentioned above, most of the on-line resume submittal systems do automatic searching for key words and will “rank” the resume for the recruiter/ HR professional doing the initial review.  As a result, review job descriptions of your desired job.  Be certain to include key words (of importance) from those descriptions in your resume.  The use of these key words will rank you at the top — above the competition.
  • Include Accomplishments (results of your actions): Generally accomplishments are measurable, therefore use numbers (or percentages) to demonstrate and/or quantify the impact (or benefit) of your actions.
  • Target the job:  Be sure to think about the job and customize your resume to the position by highlighting relevant experiences.

5) If I really want a job, is it OK to exaggerate on my resume?

ALWAYS be honest about your experience:  You want your resume to sound good but not “too good to be true”. (When too good, Employers become suspicious). I’m not saying you can’t slightly exaggerate or be clever in the descriptions of your experience but don’t LIE.  Background checks are becoming increasingly sophisticated so you could easily get caught which could be immediate grounds for termination. True story below!

With over twenty years of HR experience, I’ve fired people for this exact thing.  One case was particularly sad.  An individual didn’t have a college degree but had seven years of financial analysis experience.  He had a decent paying job with a competitor. Then his wife was diagnosed with cancer spurring him into a job search to increase his salary.  He applied to a job posting for a Sr. Financial Analyst at my company.  The job posting said Bachelor degree required.
Now we can debate all day whether it should or should not be required but it was for this job.
He didn’t have a Bachelor degree so he lied on his resume and application. Additionally, he verbally stated he had a degree during his interview.  He was an impressive candidate and was offered the job contingent on his background check.
He gave notice at his current employer who walked him out because he was going to work for a competitor.  He started with us the next Monday.  He worked for a week when his bacground check uncovered he hadn’t completed his degree.  We had a firm policy about terminating for misrepresentation or lying on an application, no exceptions.  As a result, the company had no choice but to terminate his employment.
When confronted, the gentleman emotionally divulged the truth and shared the details of his wife’s cancer. We empathized. Outside of policy, we called his former employer to see if he could return to work there.  Unfortunately, they wouldn’t rehire anyone who had left to go to work for a competitor (even if only for a week).
This tragic situation demonstrates the importance of being honest on your resume and application.

6) What are the best parts/sections to include in my resume?

Each resume can be unique but most resumes contain the following sections:

  • Contact Information: Includes your name and pertinent contact information.  If possible, be sure to provide an email address, a link to your professional networking profiles (such as Linked In) and most importantly two numbers where you can be easily reached by phone.
  • Objective: If you do not have a cover letter, I would definitely recommend an objective.  This is statement of intent (i.e. what type of role, company etc.) that you are seeking.    Customizing this for each job to which you apply will generally yield better results.
  • Career Profile/ Summary: The summary includes briefly highlighting your skills and relevant qualifications to the target job to encourage continued review of your background.
  • Education: This is an overview of educational history including information such as school name, date of graduation, GPA, major field of study etc…
  • Qualifications/ Computer Skills: Includes qualifications relevant to your field as well as computer skills used frequently throughout your work experience.
  • Professional/ Work Experience: Your employment history such as employer name, dates of employment, job titles and specific work experiences belong in this section.  Remember, this area is where to use your action verbs and key words to describe your professional experiences.
  • Professional Organizations/ Associations: If you are a member of an organization and/or have held an office in a professional organization, this information should be provided under this heading especially if the organization is related to the target job or industry.
  • Awards/ Honors: If you have been honored in your professional or academic career and have been formally recognized in some manner, this is the perfect place to include that information on your resume.

Additional sections that are less commonly used include:

  • Military Experience: Highlights experience in the military. Many companies are targeting individuals with this experience so it can be particularly helpful in attracting an employer seeking these skills.
  • Publications: Although uncommon, if you’re fortunate enough to have any professional works published, this is the opportunity to put a spotlight on the relevant accomplishments.
  • Volunteer Experience: Highlighting volunteer and community activities can be impressive to employers dependent on the role and culture of the company.
  • Hobbies: Although not commonly provided, on occasion, individuals will provide a list of hobbies that they think may be relevant to give a sense of them as a full person OR to add additional length to your resume in order to complete a full page. (i.e. you have ¾ of a page of a resume and need to fill in the remainder of the page)
  • References: Rarely included on the resume any longer. Usually added to the job application instead.

BEST PRACTICE ALERT:

  1. Update your resume even when you’re not looking for a job.  Things can change at work (i.e. layoffs, new boss etc…) impacting the overall dynamics and turning your dream job into a nightmare.  As a result, update your resume at least once a year to highlight your most relevant experiences.
  2. Clean up your Social Media presence.
    • Ensure your LinkedIn profile is updated (Employers do double check)
    • Clean up your other accounts (i.e. Facebook, Twitter etc). Many people believe these are personal accounts but employers will check your profile. Be sure to remove blatant inappropriate post including profanity, nudity etc…
      • True Story: I worked for a company with a strict ‘NO SMOKING’ policy. A Recruiter checked a potential candidate’s Facebook profile and saw multiple photos of the candidate smoking cigarettes. The candidate was not contacted for an interview.  I know it may not seem fair but everything is open to judgement, Be Smart!
  3. Apply to jobs that match your background. For example: If you have ten years of customer service experience, don’t apply to a job for an Information Technology Director because you’ve used a computer. Be realistic in the jobs you select.

If you follow the tips above and you meet the qualifications for the job, the employer should notice your resume.  Once noticed, ideally you’ll be contacted for an interview.  It is a numbers game (i.e. you will need to submit lots of resumes- follow the old adage, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket). 

Think positive!!! With a great resume and you’re on your way to your dream job!!!

* * *

chloe sunstone

After over twenty years in HR, Chloe sprinted back to her first love, writing. Combining her love of the written word with a unique take on her HR background, she peeked behind the corporate veil to write compelling mysteries with a twist.

Chloe lives in the greater Cleveland area with her husband, Mike. 

Contact the Author:

Email: chloe@chloesunstone.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ chloesunstone

Website: chloesunstone.com

Publisher:

Silver Summit Software, LLC

5900 Som Center Road, Suite 12-161

Willoughby, Ohio 44094

chloe book

“The Mentor”

Chloe Sunstone released her first novel, “The Mentor” today. Chloe takes the reader on a fun and provocative ride of corporate intrigue.

As evidenced by the “Me Too” movement, corporations today are met with countless challenges when powerful people abuse others. Power can breed corruption. This book puts an intriguing spin on unchecked corruption and unspeakable revenge.

About the Book

When nerdy Arthur gets the chance to mentor the beautiful Sage, he’s instantly smitten. But things change when she becomes a target for a deranged killer.

As other young women are murdered, Arthur’s fight to protect Sage–and his own dark secrets–leads him down a path where he comes
face-to-face with an elusive assassin. 

Will Arthur emerge a hero or become the next victim?

If you love gripping thrillers, grab Chloe Sunstone’s, “The Mentor”. 

Readers can enjoy this thrill ride at The Mentor by Chloe Sunstone

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Filed under freelancing, On Writing

Guest Book Review: The Fire King by Amber Jaeger

by Whitney Morgan

This five-star read was on FIRE!

For almost an entire year this book popped up on my recommended page on Amazon, and when I finally downloaded it, I couldn’t put it down.

I really enjoyed The Cold King and I always get nervous when reading other books by authors who have written one of my favorites. This was definitely worth it! This re-telling of Snow White was epic. It will be very hard to beat, in my opinion.

 fire king

The Fire King was a perfect combination of witty, smart and heart wrenching. I loved all of the characters but the relationship between King Lian and Princess Katiyana was absolutely priceless.

“Well, I can see that where ever you have been hiding, dressing and acting like a lady have not been the highest priority.”

 keeping

Katiyana was a perfect heroine. While there were times she was immature and complained about little things, she was fierce and she didn’t need a man to save her or set her free.

“I am not some simpering consort that is going to hang off your arm.”

She didn’t care to challenge the king or his highest-ranking officer.

“You are a grown man, not a child. Stop acting like one. If there is a problem, just find a way to fix it and move on. Your temper tantrums are exhausting and unnecessary.”

When she saw something wrong, she acted on it.

“What was that, coward?” Katiyana taunted. “I could not hear you from all the way over there. It sounded as though you were upset someone raised their voice and hand to your king, but surely that cannot be it if you are willing to allow him to do the same to a defenseless girl.” 

I will admit that it took her a while to realize it rested on her shoulders alone to save her people. When she stepped into her role and accepted her duty she became stronger and better. She became a queen that was going to protect and serve her people.

snow white

I loved that the “apple” scene was different and the same at the same time. Instead of going with the traditional “girl bites apple without knowing, girl goes into sleeping curse, girl is saved by man,” it was actually really awesome. And there were two different scenes, so it was cool.

Not only did Katiyana challenge Lian, Lian also challenged her.

“You act like a country bumpkin, not a princess.”

“And you act like an angry bear, not a king!”

There were times the hostility between them grew and they resorted to hurting each other.

“Your lack of manners and ability to hold your tongue is appalling, as is your refusal to act and dress like a lady. When you are not aggravating me, you are up in the roof of all places, daydreaming. I cannot imagine a man wanting to tie himself to a woman like that.”

The fact that the king had to tell her to bathe was absolutely hilarious. (I’m telling you, I could not get enough of their banter and relationship. It was hysterical.)

A simple bath had her out of sorts.

“I am never going to be able to do this,” Katiyana whispered to herself as she dejectedly walked towards the bathing room. 

She refused to call Lian her king but before she knew it, he had gained her trust and respect, much to her shock she started seeing him in a new light.

“How is our king spoken about?”

 If you like re-tellings, fairy tales, Snow White, men that act like bears, strong heroines, women that do not need a man’s help or all of the above… Read this. It was beautiful, funny and amazing!

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, you can find it here.

* * *

Image uploaded from iOS-2

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to write. It’s been a part of who I am since I was a child scribbling away in my notebooks about characters and love and poetry and songs and ideas. I bleed stories and lyrics rather than blood. 

Well, I grew up and went through a bunch of life. I became a wife at eighteen-years-old and a mom three years later. I’ve gone through difficult losses and amazing blessings, but one thing remained the same over the years; I wanted to write. So, eventually, I did! 

If I’m not reading, then I’m writing and if I’m not writing, well, you guessed it, I’m probably reading. 

I daydream all the time. If I look like I’m staring off into space, it’s because I’m seeing a world that isn’t really there. I’m letting characters tell me about themselves.  Humor, passion, and romance is the braid that is my story-telling. I   cannot have one without the other two.  I may be approaching twenty-seven, but I’m beyond obsessed with the YA genre. Romance, Fantasy, and anything in between! 

If you aren’t a fan of fairytale retellings, but love romance and mystery, you can check out my novel ‘Finding Home in Redemption’ on Amazon! I have the first three, unedited, chapters on my personal blog, as well as a sneak preview of the prologue and first chapter of the book I have coming out this July! While they are part of the same series, you do not have to read book one to understand book two. (Although there are secrets that are revealed about book one, it’s not critical to read them in order.)

Are you interested in reading and reviewing an ebook for free? I’m looking for ARC readers who would like to receive an ebook copy of ‘Redeeming the Darkness’ in exchange for an honest review. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, feel free to contact me by email at: whitneymmorganbooks@gmail.com

Chapter one of Finding Home in Redemption:

https://www.whitneymorganbooks.com/single-post/2017/07/06/Want-to-read-chapter-one-of-Finding-Home-in-Redemption

Prologue and chapter one of Redeeming the Darkness:

https://www.whitneymorganbooks.com/single-post/2018/05/31/Redeeming-the-Darkness-Prologue-Chapter-One

For information about Redeeming the Darkness, Look here:

https://www.whitneymorganbooks.com/redeeming-the-darkness

For information about Finding Home in Redemption, Look here:

https://www.whitneymorganbooks.com/coming-soon

For all kinds of other information about books I have coming out in the future, check out my website at, www.whitneymorganbooks.com

You can also follow me on Facebook or Instagram @whitmorganbooks

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Filed under Book Reviews, Guest Posts