Archive | April, 2009

“Seek Week” on LinkedIn

23 Apr

If you aren’t a subscriber to the LinkedIn Blog, you will be after you check out their excellent series “Seek Week.” This two week series (as of this past Monday) focuses on helping Recent Graduates in today’s Economy, with advice from students and professionals. They discuss a variety of topics from using LinkedIN to find Internships,  adding more “oomph” to your job search,  paying back your college loans and Do’s and Don’ts for 09 Grads.

LinkedIn is an incredible networking tool, that if used correctly, can connect you with the right people. My good friend got a notification the other day that he had a message on LinkedIn, and was joking about how it was probably just spam and he never really used it. That was until he found out the message was from someone that graduated from his University and Fraternity and owned a successful company in the Bay Area in the field he specialized (and was job searching in!) A similar story is told on this series by a recent college grad, who landed an incredible position at Microsoft through LinkedIn.

Go to LinkedIn’s blog, to check out this excellent series. This is a great resource, not just for recent grads, but for everyone interested in expanding their Network.

Small Steps to a Greener Living Space

22 Apr

treees2

“In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” — Baba Dioum

We are in total control of the energy we consume in the different places we reside.  There are so many small things we can do that will not only save us money on our electricity bill but if everyone makes these small changes it will create a huge positive impact on the earth. I know installing solar panels on your house doesn’t come cheap but there are many other simple ways to conserve energy.

1. Closing doors and blinds : Yes seems like a simple concept but shutting a door or pulling the blinds down when you are leaving the room will keep it cool thus having to use the air conditioner less.

2. Turn off the lights!: I cannot tell you how many times my mom used to say to me, “We don’t own the electricity company ya know!” guess it worked because I am constantly going room to room and shutting off the lights when we aren’t using them.

3. Unplug everything: This might sound extreme but getting a power strip makes things a lot easier. Chargers, for example are always sucking up energy, even when they are not connected to any devices so be sure to always unplug them when they are not in use.

4. Laundry: Try to do your laundry when peak hours are over, not only is this good for the environment but it will show on your monthly bill.

5. Dishwasher etiquette: ONLY run the dishwasher when it is filled to the brim, most cycles last an hour and use an average of 15 gallons of water per load!

6. Energy- efficient bulbs: Most people have already jumped on this bandwagon long ago, CFL’s (compact florescent lights)  can last up to 10x longer than regular bulbs, are less expensive and reduce air and water pollution.

7. Recycle and compost: Almost anywhere you live you can request a recycling and compost bin from the city, with the power of these two bins you will find yourself hardly throwing anything in the trash thus resulting in less land fill in our earth.

8. Water, water, water: The average person uses 40 gallons of water a day! So between your teeth brushing, dish washing and showering think about the different droughts going on around the globe and how much every drop really counts.

Fore more tips check out this interactive Carbon Life Diagram from National Geographic and for a good laugh take a look at The Onion’s Tips for a Greener Home

Have any more important tips for conserving energy in your home? Please share them with us!

An Earth Day Unlike Any Other

21 Apr

green-jobs-signWith unemployment at an all-time high, it’s difficult for Americans to concentrate on anything besides paying bills, keeping our jobs and feeding our families. That’s why this Earth Day is a chance to reflect on something else that desperately needs our attention: our dependence on foreign oil, emissions of greenhouse gasses and creation of chemicals and products that harm our environment. However with the passage of the recent Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we can focus on both- our concerns for the Economy and the Planet. If the funds from this Act are spent appropriately, we will have an opportunity to address both of these fundamental problems in our society, by creating green jobs that improve our environment and the people in it.

I sighed relief along with millions of other Americans, when I heard that we would see fast results with most of the spending from the Recovery Act occurring over the next two years. At the rate the Economy and Environment is declining, it is hard to imagine what would happen to the morale and reputation of our country if this continues. However, as we’ve seen in the past, with swift change comes careless mistakes which could mean spending being concentrated on the wrong programs, and jobs not being created for those who need them most. Such mistakes could reverse the huge step in the positive direction that the Administration has taken, and cause further pain to low income populations most hurt from this Economic Crisis.

In the recent election, we saw the benefits of becoming politically active and campaigning in every possible way to ensure the best leaders were put into office. The danger now, lies in thinking that our work has been done and that policies and programs will take effect without us fighting for them to do so. The Recovery Act offers a never before seen chance to address two of our biggest problems. By campaigning at every level of government, we can ensure that our money is well spent on the appropriate training and policies that will employ millions of Americans, and help our planet.

This Earth Day could not come at a more perfect time. With our planet and economy in peril, and the passage of this Act, we need to take swift action. The following are some of the many actions you can take this Earth Day to make sure that the recovery dollars are spent in the best way possible and to create unprecedented change for our Environment and economy:

Sign the “I’m Ready” Petition for the Green Energy Corps: By retrofitting more than 15 million buildings, this proposal will create over 600,000 jobs and 4 million service opportunities, reduce global warming and dependence on foreign gas and oil, and lower energy bills for families.

Ask your Local Official to sign the Local Government Green Jobs Pledge: This pledge encourages local governments to commit to building a green community by creating programs and initiatives that encourage new green job opportunities to help the environment.

Request a meeting or write to your local officials: Write or request a meeting to your local mayor, school leader, or city counsel representative. Let them know your eagerness to support training programs and organizations that address the needs of our economy and environment.

Organize an “I’m Ready” Rally: Get members of your community together to show local officials your desire to spend the green recovery funds to better your community and planet. Set a date and time, reach out to news and media to notify them, and create the necessary materials and speech for the event.

Host a House Party or Meetup: If you are planning a dinner or housewarming party, have guests make a donation to a local organization in lieu of a housewarming gift. You can also get your neighbors and friends together for a meetup, where you discuss the Green Recovery, and plan next steps together.

Despite what we’ve heard otherwise, there is hope for our Economy. We can lift millions of people out of poverty by creating quality green jobs that will better our Planet. On April 22, 2009 make your voice heard, and take action to continue our steps in the right direction to a better climate.

For more information check out Greenforall, The Apollo Alliance and 1Sky

Earth Week 2009

21 Apr

2741003681_d1f073799a_m1

As many of you know April is Earth Month where companies and people around the world make an extra effort to create awareness about the current situation our planet is in, and rally efforts from all angles to lessen our negative impact on the earth. This week is Earth week and I feel very lucky to live in a city like San Francisco which was voted one of the Top Ten Greenest Cities where it seems like most people in San Francisco at least recycle on a daily basis and most are even taking it to the next level with composting these days and not to mention because our city is so small it is quite easy to live without a car thus lessening the total carbon footprint of the city.

I try to live a green lifestyle, if you have read my other post on recycling but I know there is still so much more I could be doing and I am only one person. From my experience when I have spoken to my friends and colleagues suggesting different simple things they could do to be more conscious of energy and the environment it always seems like the biggest issue is that it causes more work. Well I am hoping this week I can not only write different green inspirational posts each day, but also give some great examples of simple ways to go green that end up not only benefiting mother earth but your wallet as well.

For more information on Earth Day itself and what you can do April 22nd to participate check out the Earth Day Network.

What We’re Mad About this Week

17 Apr

backlight Backlight is less of a website and more of a   community of people who come together to share all their creative works of art whether it be a poem, drawing or even just a word. Backlight gives its users a voice and allows them to share the stories of inspiration behind all of their work. Definitely worth checking out!

hobaHands On Bay Area is a great site if you are a resident of the Bay Area and have a full schedule with a full time time job but still want to do some volunteer work. All you have to do is register, check out the calendar and sign up right online. The projects vary from passing out food at shelters to cleaning up local beaches. One organization I have been working with that encourages mentally challenged kids to play sports is called KEEN.

plastic-bag-recycling With April being Earth Month and next Wednesday being Earth Day with a million and one green  sites out there this is one of my favorites, Treehugger. They are dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream and have information on all things green!

4-17-2009-4-55-53-pm1 Outside Lands! is a huge musical festival that takes place in Golden Gate Park in SF, if you don’t live here buy your plane ticket now because I guarantee it will be worth it. Some of the headliners this year include; Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Jason Mraz and MIA.

If you ever have something that you are mad about and want us to share with our users feel free to write in and we can feature it! Have a great weekend!

Great Music Sites for Discovering New Artists

16 Apr

music-notes-thumb11878879160111-pola

“Without Music, life would be an error”- Nietzsche

I can’t imagine my life without music- it  makes us laugh, cry, think, question, work harder, get through good times and bad times, fall in love, dance.  I’ve always loved discovering new bands, because nothing drives me crazier than songs overplayed on the radio. I’ve labeled myself with having “MADDS” (Music ADD). Lucky for me, my best friends share in this diagnosis, and we are always exchanging new bands of all genres that bring something more than repetitive lyrics and studio altered vocals. Here’s some great sites and blogs that makes the quest for great new music a little easier:

They Hype Machine: They search hundreds of mp3 music blogs, and present the best to you, allowing you to play the song directly from the front page. You can choose between the latest most popular songs in the blogosphere, spy on what others are listening to, customize your favorite artists and blogs, and stream directly from their radio. There’s a link next to the preview to buy the song from itunes or Amazon.

blip.fm: Warning this site is addicting. Once you signup and create your DJ name, you have access to thousands of streaming songs and can create your own music station. You basically search for a song (and they have pretty much every song you can imagine), write a little blurb about it, and then share it with everyone. Think Twitter meets music. You can give people props, play others songs directly from the homepage and buy the songs easily.

Grooveshark: This site is pretty much genious and no description could give it the props it deserves. Their tagline describes it best, how you can “Listen to any song in the world for free.” You can discover new songs, make playlists, and subscribe to others playlists. It’s also great for putting embedding songs on your blogs or myspace.

Lala: I discovered this site yesterday and absolutely love it. It’s a hub for discovering new artists and purchasing. You can listen to music as you search for new songs, and even sync your own library to your account.

MusicFile is one of the greatest music blogs I’ve come across- you can discover new bands, find overlooked artists and songs, search for the best small venues, get the song of the day, and read interviews from some of the best songwriters.

NotestoNote: If I ever need a great new song or artist there’s one person I go to: my best friend Lindsay. After much begging, we finally convinced her to share her musical finds with the world and start a blog. Check out her blog for some great songs, artists and videos!

Resume Tips from Career and Resume Expert, Cliff Flamer

9 Apr

resumewritingtips-pola

Imagine standing in line with over 500 other people, trying to get noticed. How would you stand out? I know a crazy costume or megaphone comes to mind, but what if you were all wearing black and white? As crazy as this seems, it’s what’s happening everyday when we apply for jobs. With the unemployment rate at an all-time high, more and more people are competing for the few positions out there. But before you can even get into have an interview, you have to pass the resume test, so how do you make yours stand out from the rest of the stack?

After asking around in person, Facebook, and Twitter, I found that most of us have the same major questions when it comes to Resumes.  Lucky for us, Cliff Flamer, resume writer, job search coach, and Executive Director of BrightSide Resumes agreed to answer these questions. With a masters degree in Career and College Counseling, and a previous recruiter in the Silicon Valley, he has indisputable knowledge to share:

Let’s start with the most common Resume question: Should the resume fit on 1 page or go to 2?

[Cliff Flamer] Ah yes…the eternal question. For recent grads to mid-level professionals I suggest 1 page. Also, career changers often benefit from a 1-pager; it helps them to avoid seeming overqualified with all the wrong qualifications. If you must go for 2 pages (and some recent grads certainly have the experience to warrant this), make sure page 1 is enough to sell you in itself. (Check out his post on this topic here)

What is your biggest resume pet-peeve?

[Cliff Flamer] Flowery language that doesn’t say anything. Here’s an example: Multifaceted business professional well-versed in developing influential relationships with key decision-makers integral to the inner workings of the prosperity of multi-million dollar organizations that…Blah blah blah. Even professional résumé writers turn out this kind of rigamarole. It may be impressive to English majors but not to hiring managers. (I’m an English major by the way.)

What is the biggest mistake you see on resumes?

[Cliff Flamer] Including generic job descriptions instead of quantified accomplishment statements. If you’ve read even one book on résumé writing, you’ve heard this before but it’s still where most people err. You’re unique, so too should be your résumé. The easiest way to accomplish this is to show the impact of what you do. In other words, what do you see happening as a result of your efforts. For example, anyone can Market products but how successful are YOU at doing this and what approach do YOU take?

With the millions of people applying for the few jobs that are out there, how can you make your resume stand out from the rest?

[Cliff Flamer] You’re going to hate the answer to this but…it depends. There is no silver bullet with résumés but following the above advice about accomplishment statements is a good beginning. That and a clean, sharp format. Never, never underestimate an easy-to-read format. White space is your friend.

A question that has come up a lot is, whether or not you should put your objective on your resume, and change for each position you apply to. Do you think you should?

[Cliff Flamer] I’ve definitely heard this one before. Personally, I think Objective Statements are outdated, just like serif fonts and aol accounts. That said, you absolutely must make 2 things crystal clear within the first 5-10 lines of the résumé:

-What job/industry/functional area of company are you shooting for; and
-Why are you qualified to do it

This can be handled in tons of ways, depending on what experience you have. For recent grads, you can start with your Education. For people currently doing the work they want to do in their next position, you can get right into experience, especially if the job titles match. For someone with a lot of experience or irrelevant recent experience, consider building an introductory section that highlights you relevant skills outside the context of the job you used them in. In Résumé Speak, this is called using a combination format; it’s by the far the most popular format of all professional résumé writers. The word “combination” refers to combining a lengthy skills summary with a subsequent (detailed) chronological work history.

With, a few years of actual experience out of college, how many jobs should you put on your resume (ie. highschool/college part time jobs)? How far back would you recommend going?

[Cliff Flamer] I just worked with a client today who has her Spelling Bee Championship from Middle School on her résumé. And you know what? It’s a darn good idea. As long as it’s not the centerpiece of her résumé (or education section), this award could serve as a hook in that your interviewers might want to “use it” to break the ice or start a “get to know you question.” The other benefit is by saying she was in the spelling bee, you can infer that she had a pretty good work ethic way way back. I mean, how many spelling bee renegades do you know?

The point of my story is go back as far as you need to to dig up relevant or interesting work experience. And don’t be shy about coming out and saying you did something in high school or during the summer before Freshman year of college. Give the accomplishment context so it’s clear you’re not trying to over inflate. Also, it’s always impressive to mention that you worked your way through college or held a part-time retail gig while in school.

In terms of the number of jobs you should put, I’d only limit the amount if you have tons of short-lived positions in your work history. Pick out the jobs you liked or that are most relevant to your new target job, being careful about leaving gaps of more than 6 months between positions.

What about job gaps? Would you recommend taking something small, in the meantime and if so should you include this on your resume?

[Cliff Flamer] The criteria for a job gap is changing. I think it’s okay to have “job gaps” of 3-6 months on your résumé. Honestly, that’s how long a job search can take! But once you’re out of school and out in the workforce, anything over 6 months and especially over a year needs to be addressed.

Again, take the direct route. I worked on a résumé a few days ago for an Operations Manager who took off about a year and a half handling family crises. During this time, she picked up a very simple office manager job (just a few hours here and there). Our solution to this “gap” was to be open and honest about why she took the cut in responsibility. Here is the exact quote from her résumé:

“Accepted temporary office position to keep skills polished while handling a string of family emergencies, offering ongoing support and counsel to each of the partners at this niche-market real estate firm.”

We went easy on the bullet points and just moved on to the next job. That way, we filled the gap and she still comes out smelling like roses. Seriously, who’s going to fault someone for continuing to work while taking care of their family?

What advice would you give to recent grads as they start their job search?
[Cliff Flamer] Create your own luck. Acknowledge the fact that even the best planned job search is no match for happenstance. I got a job at a community college career center from going to an Oakland As game. Make opportunities like this happen to you by getting out there in anyway you can: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook will hook you up online but also consider volunteering, attending a conference, emailing a book author, going to church, interviewing a friend of a friend….Build a space where opportunity can flourish.

We appreciate Cliff taking the time to answer these questions for us! Be sure to check out his company, BrightSide Resumes, and award-winning blog for more expert advice.