(Inland Empire)– Child safety seats can be the difference between safety and catastrophe, all depending on if the car seat is installed and working properly. The Victorville California Highway Patrol (CHP) office is doing their part to educate the community on all they need to insure their loved ones are safe in the family vehicle.
On Friday, the CHP office held appointments for free safety seat checks for all interested. Officer Melanie Weaver explained the importance of the checks, as well as provided some information many might not know of.
“We make sure that the car seats installed correctly and insure that the child is in the car seat that is appropriate for their age, height and weight,” said Officer Weaver on the importance of the car seat checks. When a parent comes in, preferably with their child, a whole checklist is reviewed in order to make sure the seat is working properly, installed correctly, is appropriate for the child using the seat, is not a car seat that has been recalled, as well as to insure that the seat has not expired. Yes, you heard me right, car seats, like milk, have an expiration date.
Officer Weaver explained the expiration date to High Desert Daily, as it is not something that is commonly known. The plastic that car seats are made out of do lose their quality after time, usually expiring at the five-year mark. Weaver stressed the importance of checking the expiration date, which are usually labeled or imprinted directly on the seat, as well as warning to not use a car seat that you do not know the history of.
Weaver recommended The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website for parents looking for statistics and information on car seats. The site provides a current recall list, an inspection station locator, and much more useful facts and tips.
“NHTSA estimates that 80% of all car seats are installed incorrectly, and a correctly installed car seat can increase the survival ability of a child in a major collision by over 70%,” a staggering statistic Officer Weaver spoke of that proves the importance of these safety seat checks.
The Victorville CHP office is the local High Desert Inspection Center, and is only a phone call away from inspecting your car seat. Those interested in making an appointment can call the CHP office directly at 760-241-1186 during normal business hours. For more information from NHTSA, you can visit their website at http://www.nhtsa.gov/.
By Alyssa Penman
SocalPositve Business Reporter
(Southern California)–Positive Ideas for High Desert Business. There is plenty of gloomy updates from traditional media on the state of our economy, but we, as a community, can choose to look for the great things we CAN do, right now, to improve our economic outlook. In a new weekly column, the High Desert Daily is bringing positive news and ideas that may be useful for your High Desert business. We welcome your comments, ideas and questions in the comments and for future columns.
Your Facebook page is an important asset to your company’s brand. Even the smallest businesses are finding it a valuable tool for marketing, customer service, eve
n recruiting. Manage the overwhelming nature of social media by choosing one or two small ideas and build from there. Here are three suggestions to get you going.
1. Use your customized URL everywhere
When you achieve 25 fans or likes on your Facebook page, you can claim your customized URL. For example, my business has claimed www.facebook.com/RelyLocalVictorville. This makes it easier to direct people to my page. Plaster that thing everywhere! Business cards, brochures, on your website, in your advertising, in your email signature, on signage in your business or anywhere else you can imagine.
Encourage your staff to point it out to people as well. It lets customers, vendors, and colleagues know that you are at least operating at the basic level expected of businesses today.
2. Respond to posts
If you went to a social event and no one spoke except the speaker, it wouldn’t feel very social, would it? The key is interaction. If you are blessed to have people actually responding to your posts or posting questions and comments of their own, make sure to respond! Some of the biggest companies strive for a 1 to 2 hour response time, which is fine for a business with a dedicated marketing department or social media manager.
For an owner who is running the business, mopping the floors and managing the Facebook page, simply responding several times a week is a good place to start. When people have complaints, handle it in an adult manner. No business is perfect, but if you can demonstrate that you take the complaint seriously and will work to satisfy the customer, your credibility goes through the roof.
If people are just stopping by to say “We love your work!” then at least respond with a “Thank you!” It’s just good manners.
3. Increase fan engagement with a charity giveaway
Ok, this is a very specific tip, but I really like it. Even though I’m sure you are creating stellar content and your fans are compelled to read every word you write, sometimes you need a little incentive to get them to share your page with their friends. A charity giveaway is a welcome alternative to the ubiquitous “We will give away X when we reach Z fans!” One medical practice donated a dollar for every Facebook check-in in their office.
American Express donated money on behalf of their Small Business Saturday page to drive ‘likes’. Pick a charity that is aligned with your industry or located in your region, set a donation limit and start spreading the word. Make sure to inform the charity so they can help you promote it.
How have you used Facebook to further your business goals? What ideas do you have that you would like to try?
For further reading:
5 Ways To Beef Up Customer Service On Facebook
Creative Marketing Ideas with Facebook Pages
5 Fun Ways to Market Your Business on Facebook
(Southern California) –Need a job? For many, the answer is a resounding “yes”! Job searching can be a pain for most, and when you don’t hear back from an employer, it can weigh on your self-esteem. Never fear, you are not alone. As a former career developer for a local school, I know how tough it can be and the challenges faced in today’s job market, especially in the High Desert. So get ready, because I’m going to give you some tips that can improve your chances in getting that phone call you have been waiting for. In this final entry in the “Need a Job?” series, we cover the all-important interview.
The job interview; one of the scariest moments for job seekers of all ages. Interviews can come in a variety of forms: from one on one interviews, to group interviews, and even panel interviews. The trick is to be prepared for any type of interview, as well as to focus on the common made mistakes that can cost you the chance to move forward in the hiring process. We will cover some mannerisms to watch, body language to use, as well as the types of interviews to expect, and how to react to them.
Know the types. The most common of interviews is the one on one interview. It would be you, a manager, and a slew of questions. A key to a one on one interview, as well as any of the interview types, is to remain calm, be polite, and be yourself. The next type, which is commonly found during a time of mass hires, is the group interview. A group interview has a group of candidates, like you, in an interview with usually multiple interviewers. One interviewer usually records the scores to the questions asked, while another formally conducts the interviews. In a group interview, usually the same question is asked to each person in the group, which can work in your favor if you are near the end of the line to be asked. Take the time you have to develop a solid, well thought out answer, as well as to see what answers other candidates are using that are not impressing the interviewers. The most intimidating of interviews come in the form of a panel interview: in where it is you in a room with around 4-5 interviewers, all asking you questions, watching your body language, and scoring your answers. In a panel interview, you want to make sure to direct your attention to not only the one asking you the question, but to also scan the panel, giving your attention to all.
Respect the keeper. When you come in for an interview, there is always someone that you make initial contact with first; say hello to the gatekeeper. The gatekeeper can be a receptionist, secretary, or any other title of an employee. Their role is to not only let your interviewer know you are there, but to also alert them to your actions. Are you courteous when you walk in? Are you on your phone the whole time while you wait? From the moment you walk in the door for an interview, the test begins. Make sure to be pleasant to all you come in contact with, and utilize your skill set of respect for others while you wait for your turn in the interviewee chair.
Actions speak. Actions can speak louder than words, and that has never been truer than in an interview. From the handshake, which needs to be firm whether it’s shaking the hand of a man or woman, to the eye contact, your body is speaking volumes for you. When you are sitting down to be interviewed, be mindful of the actions your body makes, even when you’re not thinking of them. Actions like toe tapping, fidgeting with your hands and fingers, nervous twitches and the ultimate action you need to watch for: the constant checking of your cell phone. Leave the phone in the car, or turn it off, not on silent. Trust me, if your phone is on silent, someone WILL call you during the interview, and the interviewer WILL hear the sound of a vibrating phone.
Be thankful. Making it to the interview stage is a feat all its own, so make sure to thank your interviewer for their time and for the opportunity. If you would like, you can even follow up with a written thank you letter in a few days, once again thanking the interviewer, but at the same time reminding them of your skills and attributes. A good impression is the best thing you can leave with an interviewer, so adding to that impression with a thank you note could definitely work in your favor. One thing you don’t want to do is pester an employer with phone calls of desperation: stick to a written letter a few days after and hope for the best.
Well, I hope this series of articles have been somewhat helpful to you. Gaining employment is becoming increasingly harder, but the key to it all is to never give up. I have received more rejection letters and emails than I care to count, but I have never let it make me think that I should throw in the towel. Take every rejection letter as one more reason to look harder, to sharpen your skills, and be ready for the next job opportunity.
(Inland Empire)–San Bernardino County Children and Family Services (CFS) offered foster and kin-gap youth who actively participate in the Independent Living Program (ILP) with a free Technology Boot Camp training and incentive to earn a free lap top computer and printer upon completion of the two-day workshop held March 31-April 1, 2012, at the San Bernardino Hilton Garden Inn.
ILP provides youth ages 16-18 years, in foster care or emancipated, with resources and incentives to attend college, vocational training, assist with transportation, housing, and other needs. Social workers nominated youth for the Technology Boot Camp who met the criteria of being a junior or senior in high school with a 2.0 GPA or better, an active participant in ILP events, and college-bound. CFS Director DeAnna Avey-Motikeit says, “It is rewarding to have a program that allows our youth to earn the opportunity to attend classes and receive the tools to help them complete school assignments and support them in their next big steps in life.”
Eighteen at-risk youth were afforded the opportunity to attend the first of three Technology Boot Camp trainings through Telios Training Solutions who covered the following topics: Introduction to Windows 7, Microsoft 2010 and web-based applications and tools; integrating life skills and developing transferable job skills. One student says “I benefitted from this class tremendously because I not only learned the basics, but I also learned valuable ways that my computer can help me.”
These workshops teach at-risk youth the computer skills that they may not otherwise be able to obtain, but are necessary to succeed in both an educational and work environment. “It is exciting to see the increase in the number of youth committed to graduating high school and continuing onto higher education, said DeAnna Avey-Motikeit, Director of CFS.
Upon completion of the two-day training, the youth earned a free Dell lap top computer and HP printer to help them continue their education. “By receiving this lap top computer I can now further my education in ways I would not otherwise be able to,” noted a youth. The next two trainings will be held within a couple of months.
(Southern California)– The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) is apprising business owners that they may be eligible for thousands of dollars in state and federal tax benefits and other incentives for hiring qualified veterans.
California is currently home to 1.9 million veterans. Another 30,000 men and women separate from military service and return to the state every year. With the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, an additional 6,000–10,000 veterans are expected to return to California by the end of 2012.
Tax Benefits and Other Incentives Available
The federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit, for example, is based on a percentage, ranging from 25% to 40%, of qualified first-year wages. Maximum eligible credits may be as high as $2,400 for hiring a qualified veteran and up to $9,600 for hiring a veteran with service-connected disabilities.
Other state and federal benefits for hiring veterans may include:
- State-level hiring credits: $37,000 (over five years) California Enterprise Zone tax credit for employers hiring certain economically challenged employees, including veterans;
- Training funds, tuition reductions, and military pay exemptions;
- Federal Mentor-Protégé Program: Allows certain government contractor reimbursements for training/incidental costs associated with training physically challenged veterans.
According to the Corporate Taxation Insider, which offers more detailed information about the tax benefits of hiring veterans, the process for documenting these state and federal tax benefits is fairly straightforward for the certified public accountant or taxpayer. In addition, systems can be set up to allow the employer to pre-screen the employees before they are hired in order to streamline the documentation process and maximize the hiring credit.
CalVet also notes that depending on the nature of their service, veterans who separated from military service after 9/11 may be entitled to five years of free health care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Veteran Employment: National Priority
Last year, President Barack Obama signed into law the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which provides much-needed practical support to veterans transitioning from combat to careers. The President has publicly challenged the private sector to hire 100,000 veterans or spouses by the end of 2013.
A soon-to-be-announced White House plan aims at placing thousands of post-9/11 veterans in first responder positions and positions working to restore and protect national parks. The First Lady and the Vice President’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, are promoting the 100,000 Jobs Mission and the Military Spouse Employment Partnership.
(Southern California) –Need a job? For many, the answer is a resounding “yes”! Job searching can be a pain for most, and when you don’t hear back from an employer, it can weigh on your self-esteem. Never fear, you are not alone. As a former career developer for a local school, I know how tough it can be and the challenges faced in today’s job market, especially in the High Desert. So get ready, because I’m going to give you some tips that can improve your chances in getting that phone call you have been waiting for. In the last entry in the “Need a Job?” series, we covered the resume, now we move on to searching for a job.
Easier said than done, right? Jobs are few and far between these days, but there are positions available: you just need to know where to look. Whether you are looking for your first job, a step up the employment ladder, or looking to get back into the workforce after a hiatus, there are resources out there that can assist you. Listed below are some tips on where to look for work and where to go to get assistance in the community.
Of good will. In case you didn’t know, Goodwill is more than just a thrift store. Goodwill Industries (http://www.goodwill.org/goodwill-for-you/jobs-and-careers/) offers assistance to quite a few specific groups that are seeking work. If you’re a youth, senior, veteran or military family, immigrant, a person with disabilities or with a criminal background, Goodwill has services that can help you gain employment. From creating resumes, searching job postings, practice interviews and more, Goodwill should be a stop on your road to landing a job if you fall in to one of the categories above. The nearest Goodwill Job Service Center is located at 14580 7th Street in Victorville, and they have workers ready to lend a hand.
Use the force. The San Bernardino County Department of Workforce Development (http://www.csb-win.org/) has tools and services to help you find work. But that isn’t all; they help in exploring careers, matching careers via assessments, Labor Market statistics to see what careers are on the rise, as well as community services that may be available for you. Not to mention that they have a job search function that brings up a wide array of jobs in various sectors. You may even qualify for training, visit the local Workforce Development Center at 15555 Main St # G4 in Hesperia to find out what services you can benefit from.
Writings on the wall. The most common places to find job openings are at online job boards and classified ads. In looking for work online, Indeed will be your best friend. In case you haven’t used it yet, Indeed.com is the search engine for job postings. The site, at no charge, searches all the job postings for you, bringing you back listings from many different websites. It is the number 1 job site website in the world for a reason, and it will make searching for a job so much easier. Of course, search Highdesertjobs.com, Carerbuilder.com, and other job boards because you never know when you might overlook the job for you. If you are looking for jobs in education, then you need to visit Ed Join (www.edjoin.org). This is the website California schools post openings on, and is your best bet when it comes to finding an opening in the education system. Now, if you’re looking for some professional work and networking, then try out Linked In (www.linkedin.com), the social networking site for professionals that also has a job search function, as well as a way to get recommendations, recommend colleagues and much more.
Last time, I mentioned that the next part would be the interview, but I did not want to forget the all-important searching of the job. Next will be about the interview: I’ll have some interviewing techniques, as well as mannerisms you might not even know you are doing which could count against you.
(Southern California)–Did you ever think that there could actually be some benefits of economic recession? Everyone has been impacted in some way from the global recession.
Whether you have lost your house, job, or have changed your spending habits – the recession has been severe and is expected to get worse. Let’s face it – recessions are not fun for anyone and can be very difficult times to get through. But there is another side to a recession – as there is with anything in life. Regardless of ones opinion about a topic, there is always another side to the story. I believe that there are some good things that can come from a recession. Positive things that can help us grow as humans in this world.
I started thinking about how a recession can be good for our community . As a result, I came up with several thoughts and ideas of how we as people can benefit from this recession as well as the companies we work for and even our planet.
Strong Survive – One of the most important aspects of a recession is that it filters out the weaker, less productive companies. The stronger run companies survive, while the weaker companies go away – leaving room for newer
and more efficient companies to come into the marketplace. Sometimes you need to break things down in life to make them stronger. Call it the natural order of the economy – it is something that is necessary in life. I like to use the analogy of weightlifting to stress this point. When you start weightlifting, you are breaking your muscles down so that they can get stronger. There is no difference with companies and corporations. Break them down, let the weak disappear, and the strong will survive.
Innovation and Creativity -Another important benefit of a recession is that it forces companies and people to become more innovative and creative. Organizations are forced to
eliminate the waste in their processes to become more efficient. The same can be said for people who will cut back on non-essential costs and eliminate
waste. As a result of cutting out the fat in spending for both companies and people – their budgets will become more lean and healthier.
The use of technology also comes into play – allowing companies to work more efficiently. Companies will be forced to do more with less, thus relying heavily on technology. Both companies and people will be forced to think outside of the box and focus in on creativity. I actually really enjoy being creative with our family budget – finding ways to cut costs and become more efficient.
The term going green has become popular recently for many companies. This is a result of consumers demanding greener products that help the environment instead of hurting it. We have already seen a big push and demand for
companies and products to become more environmentally friendly. I believe the recession will help to accelerate and promote this way of life. People want products that can last longer and that are friendlier to the environment.
The recession will also force us to purchase less products – buying only items that we need. We have been wasteful consumers for many years now – those days are gone (for now). Instead, we will think twice about making a purchase on an item that we don’t really need. All of this has a direct and
positive impact on our planet. The demand for natural resources goes down and are landfills don’t fill up as fast.
The drop in global demand for oil has pushed gas prices down from previous all-time highs which helps everyone’s bottom line. You are spending less on gas for your car, the food that you eat, and the products that you buy. The temporary drop in the price of oil as a result of the economic slowdown
has given us a nice window of opportunity. This window should allow us more time to focus on alternative energies and bring them into the marketplace.
Frugal Living – The recession is forcing people to start living within their means. Gone are the days of free money and interest only mortgages. The shift will be one towards a more frugal lifestyle where people will actually start to only spend the money that they have instead of using fake money
from credit. People spending more money than what they actually make is a big reason why we are in the mess that we are in!
Appreciation – I think people will appreciate things more in life. Anyone I have ever known or spoken with who lived through the great depression has put more value on things in life. They appreciate hard work, the value of a dollar, and people in general. They know what it is like to not have everything they want and at times not even have food to eat. While I don’t
believe we will get to that extreme – I think the recession will change how people appreciate the simple things they have. If you flip on the television today, you can already see how companies are marketing the recession. They
are focusing on family and spending time with others – showing appreciation for the little things in life. I see no reason why people won’t start having this attitude.
(Southern California)-Google+ burst onto the internet scene in early July with the next must-have set of tools from Google. Though the initial release is targeted at individuals, businesses can already make good use of these tools to enhance customer support and communicate more effectively, both internally and with the world at large.
Though dubbed as another social network by many pundits, Google+ is not simply a replacement for Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Google+ is an overarching brand name covering a broad range of changes by Google. By using Google+, you will find it as easy to share something on the internet as it is to share your business card with a prospective customer at lunch.
Google+ gives you “circles” which you can use for organizing your customers, prospects, employees, etc. When you want to post something, be it some words or a picture or a link to a web page, you choose exactly with whom you will share it. If you “send” a message to your employees then your customers will never even know that the message exists. It you tell your current customers about a special sale, the general public will not receive the “special notice.” Of course, you can also post something for the public to read. There is no need to narrowly target your messages unless you want to do so.
Free video chat, for up to ten people at a time, is a wonderful new feature of Google+. Just click the green “Start a hangout” button, invite a few select people (or open up the hangout to the public), and your video conference will be open for business. Your customers can call you on the telephone now. Imagine how much more personal the conversation could be if you were also hanging out on Google+, waiting for an incoming video call.
Google+ is completely free, as are many of Google’s other tools.
- 1. More Work, Less Energy For many people, a computer is the central tool at work. Optimizing the energy settings for computers and other devices can be more than a modest energy saver. Set computers to energy-saving settings and make sure to shut them down when you leave for the day (“standby” settings will continue to draw power even when not in use). By plugging hardware into a power strip with an on/off switch (or a smart power strip), the whole desktop setup can be turned off at once (make sure to power down inkjet printers before killing the power–they need to seal their cartridges). Printers, scanners, and other peripherals that are only used occasionally can be unplugged until they’re needed. And of course, turn off lights in spaces that are unoccupied.
- 2. Digitize It does seem a bit strange that in the “digital age” we still consume enormous amounts of mashed up, bleached tree pulp, most of which gets used once or twice and then tossed or recycled (“downcycled,” as McDonough and Braungart would call it). The greenest paper is no paper at all, so keep things digital and dematerialized whenever possible. The more you do online, the less you need paper. Keep files on computers instead of in file cabinets (this also makes it easier to make offsite backup copies or take them with you when you move to a new office). Review documents onscreen rather than printing them out. Send emails instead of paper letters. New software like Greenprint helps eliminate blank pages from documents before printing and can also convert to PDF for paperless document sharing.
- 3. Don’t Be a Paper Pusher When buying printer paper, look for recycled paper with a high percentage of post-consumer content and the minimum of chlorine bleaching. Even recycled paper gobbles up a great deal of energy, water, and chemical resources in its processing (toxic pulp slurry is the paper recycling industry’s dirty secret). When using the real stuff, print on both sides of the page when appropriate and use misprints as notepaper. Try to choose printers and photocopiers that do double-sided printing. If your office ships packages, reuse boxes and use shredded waste paper as packing material.
- 4. Greening the Commute American workers spend an average of 47 hours per yearcommuting through rush hour traffic. This adds up to 3.7 billion hours and 23 billion gallons of gas wasted in traffic each year. We can ease some of this strain by carpooling, taking public transit, biking, walking, or a creative combination thereof. If there’s no good way to phase out your car, consider getting a hybrid, electric vehicle, motorcycle, scooter, or using a car sharing service like Flexcar or Zipcar. See How to Green Your Car for more depth on the subject. Some employers are even giving a bonus to bike and carpool commuters and special perks to hybrid drivers. For those who think bike riding is for kids and tattooed couriers, consider a high-tech folding bike or an electrically assisted one (see below for more).
- 5. Green Sleeves Avoid clothes that need to be dry cleaned, and if they so demand it, seek out your local “green” dry cleaner. See How to Go Green: Wardrobe for more tactics on greening those work duds.
- 6. Work From Home Instant messaging, video conferencing, and other innovative workflow tools make effective telecommuting a reality. If you can telecommute, hold phone conferences, take online classes, or otherwise work from home, give it a try. It’ll save you the time you would have spent on the trip as well as sparing the air. As a bonus, you get to work in your pajamas. Telecommuting works for 44 million Americans (not to mention the TreeHugger staff). Also, consider the possibility of working four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days (a consolidated workweek), cutting the energy and time spent on commuting by 20% and giving you some lovely three-day weekends.
- 7. Use Green Materials Some paper use can’t be avoided, so use recycled paper and envelopes that have been processed and colored using eco-friendly methods. Pens and pencils can also be made of recycled materials, and refillable pens and markers are preferable to disposable ones. Use biodegradable soaps and recycled paper or cloth towels in the bathroom and kitchen, and provide biodegradable cleaners for the custodial staff. Buy in bulk so that shipping and packaging waste are reduced, and reuse the shipping boxes. Recycling printer cartridges is often free, and recycled replacements are cheaper than new ones.
- 8. Redesign the Workspace Greening the space in which you work has almost limitless possibilities. Start with good furniture, good lighting, and good air. Furniture can be manufactured from recycled materials as well as recyclable. Herman-Miller and Steelcase are two groundbreaking companies that have adopted the Cradle-to-Cradle protocol for many of their office chairs. Incandescent bulbs can be replaced with compact fluorescents and there is an ever-growing selection of high-end LED desk lamps that use miniscule amounts of energy (see How to Green Your Lighting). Not only is natural daylight a free source of lighting for the office, it has been proven to improve worker productivity and satisfaction (as well as boost sales in retail settings). Workspace air quality is also crucial. Good ventilation and low-VOC paints and materials (such as furniture and carpet) will keep employees healthy (look for How to Green Your Furniture coming soon).
- 9. Lunch Time Bringing lunch to work in reusable containers is likely the greenest (and healthiest) way to eat at work. Getting delivery and takeout almost inevitably ends with a miniature mountain of packaging waste. But if you do order delivery, join coworkers in placing a large order (more efficient than many separate ones). Also, bring in a reusable plate, utensils, and napkins. If you do go out for lunch, try biking or walking instead of driving.
- Get Others in on the Act Share these tips with your colleagues. Ask your boss to purchase carbon offsets for corporate travel by car and plane. Arrange an office carpool or group bike commute. Trade shifts and job duties so that you can work four long days instead of five short ones. Ask the office manager to get fair trade coffee for the break room and make sure everyone has a small recycling bin so that recycling is just as easy as throwing paper away. Ask everyone to bring in a mug or glass from home and keep some handy for visitors so that you reduce or eliminate use of paper cups.
Green Work: By the Numbers
- Once: the number of times that most of the more than 25 billion cartons manufactured in the U.S. are used.
- 55 percent: the amount of water saved by producing recycled paper as compared to virgin paper. Recycled paper also takes 60-70 percent less energy to produce than paper from virgin pulp.
- 120: the number of tons of steel saved if every UK office worker used one less staple a day.
- 8 billion: the number of gallons of gas saved if every commuter car in the U.S. carried just one more person
(Southern California)– Need a job? For many, the answer is a resounding “yes”! Job searching can be a pain for most, and when you don’t hear back from an employer, it can weigh on your self-esteem. Never fear, you are not alone. As a former career developer for a local school, I know how tough it can be and the challenges faced in today’s job market, especially in the High Desert. So get ready, because I’m going to give you some tips that can improve your chances in getting that phone call you have been waiting for. In the first entry in the “Need a Job?” series, we covered the application, now we move on to the resume.
A resume presents you to potential employers: your work history, your skill set, and your ability to communicate who you are and what you bring in a professional manner. The resume is a paradox of sorts; you don’t want to devote countless hours of your time worrying about and creating your resume, but at the same time it is something you don’t want to rush through. Just like the application, the resume represents who you are, and will ultimately decide if you move on in the screening process, one that leads you down the road to employment. Here are some tips to remember when crafting your own, individual resume.
Be unique. Just like with the application, your resume needs to stand out. But standing out can also occur in a negative light, so be cautious. The look of your resume should be unique, but not over bearing. Some changes in alignment of your text, maybe a slightly different font, but make sure it is a font that is still legible. My resume has a modern feel to it, with an easy to read rounded font, and different shades of grey to break up the page; it has got me past the screening process more times than I can remember, from retail positions to education. Many resume templates suggest that you put a picture of yourself in the resume; I highly disagree with this tactic. Unless you are going for a modeling position, then keep your picture out of the employment process.
Use the key. Keywords that is. Remember, you are one of hundreds, sometimes thousands, all going for the same position you want. Personnel departments will not read each resume one by one; there just isn’t enough time in the day or the available manpower to do so. So instead, they scan resumes for keywords: degrees and certificates you have, titles you have held, words that are used in a professional setting. For instance, if I wanted to put that I “made a program to have high school students go to college after graduating” I would word it “implemented a program that transitions high school students into higher education.” Also, naming computer programs you are skilled in equals more keywords: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Dreamweaver are all examples.
Be professional. Now, of course your words and statements need to be professional, but professionalism extends past the resume. When an employer screens your application and resume, checks your references, they sometimes also look you up on social media websites to see how you really are. Is it wrong that employers do this? Not at all, as these sites are accessible to the general public. So, you have two options: you can clean up your Facebook wall, your MySpace, or any other social media site to ensure you have nothing illegal, vulgar, and overall in bad taste, or you can make your profile private to anyone not a friend. The choice is yours, just don’t be the one that thinks, “Oh, they won’t check my Facebook” and leaves up pictures and text that cost you a job opportunity.
Next time, it is time to prepare for the interview. I’ll have some interviewing techniques, as well as mannerisms you might not even know you are doing which could count against you.
(Southern California) – Are you the type of person that cringes when you hear the word “budget”? Do you usually think it just takes too much time and effort to put a budget together? With the availability of online tools, tracking software, and even easy access to information, now is a great time to do just that – plan a budget and live by it.
The following tips from Investopedia.com offer simple solutions for budgeters:
Take Advantage of Technology-Based Budget Planners
Online, there is a whole world of budget planning software just waiting for you to log in and get started. There are websites devoted to helping you manage your finances with just a few keystrokes of data entry and programs that you can buy, install and run within 10 short minutes. Many of these programs work by simply connecting with your online bank records. After linking up to your bank and gathering your historical spending patterns, they allow you to tweak your monetary allocations in order to meet the financial goals you have established. Another major benefit of many of these programs is that they create graphs that give you a visual of how your money is being spent, which can make it easy for you to recognize problems and change your spending habits.
Before entering your personal information or bank log-in data into a website or software program, do some research to ensure that the site or program is safe and secured.
Use Simple Budgeting Techniques
In the days before the Internet and personal computers, people used simpler methods to create budgets. You may be happy to hear that these simple methods are still completely workable and very valid ways of managing your money. These methods include:
Using paper and pen to create a basic budget. Often the hardest part about keeping track of your finances is getting started. Software programs are not for everyone, but if you use paper and pen you need to be diligent, and organized. It is easy to get started, but calculating and adjusting is where you will lose time. You need to file properly and trust your manual writing and calculating skills.
Utilize jars, envelopes or separate savings accounts to allocate money for your various budget categories. For this, you simply need five to eight clear jars with labels. Place the amount of money in each jar based on how much you want to spend in each category. When you are out of money in the “Restaurant” category then you can’t spend any more in this area.
The key is to find the method that is most effective for you that you will have no trouble sticking with because a budget that works is the goal.
Automate Your Budget’s Execution
A budget is nothing if its financial guidelines are not followed. Luckily, you can automate many of your payments so that the budget is honored and upheld by an invisible hand whose control you need only establish once.
You can set up automatic bill pay either through your bank’s website or the individual websites of your creditors and service providers. You can also set up automatic transfers into savings and retirement accounts. The one thing you will need to oversee is your bank balance. Making sure that you have enough money in your account to meet your preset payment obligations is the one responsibility that you can’t automate … unless your bank allows you to create an email alert when your balance falls below a certain point.
It is quite easy to set up your budget and make it work. Once this step is completed it because something that takes little effort to keep running smoothly. Investopedia has a free Budgeting Basics course that has many helpful tips and tricks that help you spend less than you’re bringing in and planning for both the short- and long-term, or BUDGET.
(Southern California) – If there is one thing that seems to be on everyone’s mind lately it is the seemingly meteoric rise in gas prices over the last week or so. The average price of gas in San Bernardino County, according to gasbuddy.com is $4.26 per gallon, up from $4.01 a week ago, and $3.68 a month ago.
Jeffrey Spring, spokesman for the Automobile Club of Southern California, explained some of reasons behind the rise in prices, “A little over a week ago a large refinery up in Washington state caught fire. That means the refinery will be shut down for a number of weeks until they repair the damage. And it does provide a lot of the gasoline to this market. That’s what really has been pushing up our gasoline up this week.”
“Other refineries here in California have been reducing their production capacity because of maintenance, which they usually do during January and February because demand usually is lowest.”
Also events going on internationally, especially with of all the saber rattling going on in the Middle East, Smith says, tends to cause a lot of uncertainty in the market.
So, what can we do to save money on gas? Here are a few tips from the Automobile Club:
- Shop around for gas online and plan your gas purchases accordingly. AAA’s online Triptikor Gasbuddy.com, GasPriceWatch.com, Gas Prices from Mapquest, FuelEconomy.gov and many other web sites offer users the option to search for local gas stations with different prices by zip code. The web sites are an easy way to find the closest and cheapest gas stations online.
- Plan your trips. Make sure you’re using the shortest route and if possible, find a single shopping center where you can accomplish several errands at once. Call ahead or inquire online if you are looking for a particular item instead of driving from location to location.
- Get the junk out of the trunk. Sports equipment, work files and other heavy items in your trunk aren’t always necessary to carry around and will reduce your fuel economy by about 2 percent per extra 100 pounds.
- Check your tires every other fill-up. Under-inflated tires will reduce your fuel economy by 2 percent per pound of pressure below the recommended level, and will also shorten the life of the tire.
- Avoid speeding. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that drivers who travel more than 60 miles per hour are reducing their fuel economy anywhere from seven to 23 percent.
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