Your first resume – dos and don’ts



Christine Pacheco, director of career services at The Art Institute of Colorado, and Kristin Frank, director of career services at The Art Institute of Phoenix, share the top dos you should include to get noticed and get your foot in the door – and the don’ts that could get your resume tossed in the trash.

First, the dos:

* Do look at the job description and then tailor your resume to the specific needs of the job, advises Frank. Your skills need to match what the employer is looking for. Pacheco stresses the importance of key words that should be included in your resume. “Your resume could be scanned electronically and if key industry words and words from the job description are not in it, it will get tossed before it ever gets to a human being,” she says. That means you should be tweaking your resume for each job.

* Do ensure you’ve completed at least one internship to include on your resume, even if your program of study did not require it. Explain how you contributed to the organization and how you made yourself stand out. Make sure to stress the professional skills you honed during that time. If you’ve done freelance and contract work in your field, create a ‘freelance/contract work” section and list all your clients.

* Do list your membership and participation in professional organizations, and if you haven’t joined a professional organization for your field, do so immediately. “It’s important to show a genuine interest in your industry,” explains Frank. Make sure to also list any professional certifications you’ve earned while still in school.-

* Do utilize your college’s career services department. Advisors can assist you in formatting and tailoring your resume and may be able to provide you with job leads. They can also help you prepare for the actual interview.

* Do list your work-related and non-work-related accomplishments. Make sure the non-work accomplishments still showcase your benefit to a potential employer. For instance, if you planned your sorority or fraternity annual philanthropy, focus on the leadership skills you utilized and the organization the event benefitted. If you’ve completed a marathon, list that as well. It showcases your ability to stick with a project and follow through. It could also wind up being a pretty interesting topic of conversation during the interview. Just be prepared to discuss your skills and accomplishments, when asked.

Which brings us to the don’ts:

* Don’t embellish. Because you will be asked about your marathon or how you increased your company’s ROI during your three-month internship, make sure everything you put on paper is true. If not, it could come back to bite you.

* Don’t send before you proofread. “We still see typos and missing names, email addresses or phone numbers,” says Pacheco. Few things annoy hiring managers more than that kind of easily avoided carelessness. It tells an employer that you do not have attention to detail and that you complete sloppy work. In an era with spell-check, most of this can be easily avoided.

* Don’t use that “cute” email address you created in college. A hiring manager will be hard-pressed to take “partygirl@email.com” or “lovetheladies@email.com” seriously, warns Frank.

* Don’t include irrelevant info on your resume. A philanthropic event you organized for your fraternity is a plus, the spring break trip you spearheaded may not impress, nor will your award for most parties attended in a semester. Make sure the information you include showcases your responsible side. Your future employer does not want to imagine you calling in sick because you stayed out too late the night before.

* Don’t go on and on. “I’ve seen executive-level resumes that stuck to a page or two,” says Pacheco. Make sure your resume is clear and to the point.

Includes editor’s note.

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Kitchen remodeling: How to go from a far-off dream to ‘DIY’


Year after year, no matter the state of the housing market, kitchen remodeling remains a good idea. The project perennially tops lists of value-for-your-money home improvements and almost every buyer will be attracted to a kitchen that’s updated and move-in ready. Even if you’re planning on staying in your home for a while, few things can reinvigorate your home like a brand new kitchen.

Kitchens are the hardest-working rooms in most homes, and the wear and tear that comes with years of use can leave them looking drab. A remodeling project that makes over your kitchen from floor to ceiling can do more than just improve the aesthetics – it can also be a great way to adapt the room for better functionality.

If you’ve put off dreams of a new kitchen because you think it’s unaffordable, you might want to reconsider the changes you can make with your own two hands (and maybe those of some family and friends). When you have the right tools on hand, do-it-yourself kitchen remodeling projects are more accessible than you might think. By visiting a nearby rental store to pick up the necessary tools, you can see twice the savings – in addition to the DIY cost savings, you’ll avoid the expenses associated with buying the tools outright. By going to RentalHQ.com, you can find local stores that have all the tools you need to remodel and revive your kitchen.

Here are some essential parts of the project and the tools you’ll need to get going:

* Floors: There are lots of stylish and functional options for flooring, but the type of saw you’ll need for cutting things down to size will depend on what material you choose. For tile, you’ll need a wet saw, but a cut-off saw for wood and laminate. A table saw can also be helpful for wood flooring.


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* Trim: Putting the finishing touches on is important, both for looks and for long-term stability. For molding and other trim, a pneumatic nailer will save you an enormous amount of time, energy and frustration.

* Cabinets: Now more than ever before, homeowners have great options for easy-to-install cabinetry that don’t require a team of professionals. Make sure that you’ve got the right drill, drill bits, nails, screws, anchors, levels and supports on hand before you get started – that way you’ll be able to work without interruption.

* Countertops: Again, the tools you need will vary, depending on what material you’re using. If you need to cut a material like laminate to size, a jigsaw will be a convenient tool. Sanders and drills are two more items you’ll want to have nearby.

* Walls: Whether you’re hanging drywall or simply painting, a ladder will be an essential tool. If your kitchen has particularly high ceilings or hard-to-reach spots, renting a ladder to fit the task is a good idea.

A beautiful kitchen will quickly become a focal point in your home, both for your family and for potential buyers. By taking the project into your own hands, you can save a significant amount of money, giving you even better return on your investment. For more ideas and information, visit www.RentalHQ.com.

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A small investment returns a safer and healthier home



Almost every home in the U.S. has a smoke alarm, but most do not have enough. Fire experts recommend installing alarms on every floor and inside and outside of every sleeping area. A recent survey by Kelton Research found less than a quarter of homeowners have applied this rule. A fire can double in size every 30 seconds. The sooner you hear a smoke alarm, the more time you have to escape.

Also, 75 percent of homes have a potential source of carbon monoxide (CO), but only half of the homes have a working CO alarm, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Produced by fossil fuel-burning appliances and engines, CO can cause injury or death if it builds up in your home. A working CO alarm is the only safe way to detect this odorless and invisible gas.

Consider these questions from the experts at Kidde to determine if your home is safe from fire and CO dangers:

1. One in four older homes needs to update fire safety equipment. How old are your smoke and CO alarms? Replace your smoke alarms every 10 years and your CO alarms every seven to 10 years, based on the model you purchased. Consider purchasing an alarm with a sealed lithium battery, such as the Worry-Free smoke and CO alarms, which provide hassle-free protection for 10 years. No need to change a battery and no low battery chirps.

2. Seventy-five percent of homeowners don’t know where to install smoke alarms. Do you have enough? Place smoke alarms on every floor and inside/outside of all bedrooms. Place a CO alarm near sleeping areas and on each floor.

3. Do your alarms incorporate the newest features?

Sealed-in lithium battery – continuously powers alarm for 10 years and eliminates low battery chirps.

Digital display – shows the level of CO and updates the reading every 15 seconds.

Intelligent multi-sensor – responds faster to real fires & CO plus reduces nuisance alarms commonly caused by cooking.

4. Do you need other safety products? Do you have a fire extinguisher within reach in rooms where fires often begin: the kitchen, garage, bedroom and living areas. Place an escape ladder in second and third-floor rooms as an alternative escape route. And consider conducting a mold and radon test using a kit. A quick test shows levels of these environmental hazards that may be lurking in your home.

5. Have you developed a family escape plan? Be sure to make a plan for every room in the house and practice it regularly. Be familiar with two ways out of every room and who will assist children and those with mobility/health issues.

6. Do your children know their address and how to dial 911? Post your home address and emergency phone numbers on the refrigerator.

For a downloadable home safety checklist and other information, visit www.WorryFreeAlarm.com.

Emergency Preparedness

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Accessorizing secrets for a beautiful home and a beautiful you



Fortunately, the fundamentals of good accessorizing are the same, regardless of whether you’re dressing up your house or spicing up your own look. Whether you have a knack for pulling together an outfit as easily as a room, or can’t quite seem to get it together, a few simple tips can help you enhance your style.

Pop that color – Neutrals make an awesome backdrop for pops of color. Whether it’s a neutral shade on the walls of your living room, or a classically cut skirt in a subtle hue, set off your neutral backdrop with brightly colored accessories. Pillows, plates, photo frames, candles and other colorful accessories create interest and depth in a room’s design. All kinds of small and decorative items can be colorful and inexpensive. You can find fashionable and fun items in shops that specialize in the unusual, such as Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (R). Explore the offbeat. For example, beautiful glass jars filled with pickles and canned veggies are not only a culinary treat, they can add zest to a room’s decor when used as a colorful display.

For you, adding a bold necklace, chunky bracelet, bright belt or scarf can layer your look with personality. As a bonus, if you find a look that fits your personal style, consider incorporating it into your home decor with accessories. For example, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store offers trendy coastal-themed jewelry – several pieces are less than $10 – and home decor items that echo the easy, relaxed style and sea-side colors of the shore.

Simple styling – One of the most challenging aspects of accessorizing can be settling on a style. The good news is, when you find one that works for you, you can apply it to both your personal style and your home decor. Does classic sophistication work for you? Subtle colors that convey classic styling in your wardrobe can make great hues for walls, carpeting and upholstered furnishings. Is quirky and unconventional -more your style? That tropical print you love on your bedroom drapes can add humor and excitement to your wardrobe when it shows up in an airy cotton scarf. That same color and pattern combination can make a statement when you use it as a runner on your dining room table.

Brimmed hats, earrings, bracelets, totes and flowing wraps all speak of summer vacation and fun – and the essence of easy style that works well in your home and in your closet.

You need to love your atmosphere – Whatever the purpose of a room or an outfit, you need to love the atmosphere it creates. Whether you’re designing a space for family fun or pulling together a knockout look for that special night out on the town, the colors and styles you choose will create a specific ambiance. It should be one that speaks to you and your personality.

For example, are summer gatherings with friends one of your favorites things to do? Salute the best of summer with colors that evoke summer holidays, such as a fun red picnic cup lighted garland (available at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store) and matching red picnic cup stemware. Keep the effect going by adding that shiny red hue to your wardrobe accessories with a belt or necklace. Have an affinity for the horsey set? “Stable” décor featuring riding-inspired accessories such as candleholders and canisters with whip stitched accents is popular and a horseshoe doubling as a tea light holder evokes the look beautifully.

Just keep a few secrets that apply to both home decor and wardrobe building in mind, then let your adventure begin.

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Get biking to help stop diabetes



These qualities have made bicycling the second most popular outdoor activity in America, according to the 2011 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report for the Outdoor Industry Association. In 2010, Americans went on 2.44 billion bicycling outings.

As the weather warms, make certain your biking equipment is ready for the season. Check brakes, grease the chain, and make certain helmets still fit properly on your children’s heads. Take a short ride around the neighborhood to ensure everything works and that the tires are sufficiently filled with air. If it’s been a couple of years since the bikes were purchased or cleaned, it might also be a good idea to take them into a pro shop to have all the gears and brakes inspected.

One fun way to get out with your family, friends or co-workers on your bicycles this summer is through the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure, which has routes designed for all riders – from five-mile family rides to 100-mile century rides. It is a ride, not a race, so participants are encouraged to go at their own pace. Tours will take place in 44 states across the country to benefit the American Diabetes Association and its efforts to stop diabetes.

“Diabetes touches so many people’s lives. Exercise and nutrition are important components in managing diabetes,” says Chris Carmichael, national spokesperson for the Tour de Cure and founder and CEO of Carmichael Training Systems Inc. He was named the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Coach of the Year in 1999. “The American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure is a great combination of fun exercise and raising funds and awareness about diabetes and its impact on families.”

More than 60,000 cyclists are expected to participate in the Tour de Cure events this year. If you have diabetes, join the Red Riders. This special program recognizes riders who have diabetes the day of the ride with a red jersey. During the Tour, participants call out “Go Red Rider” to encourage and celebrate the Red Riders who are fighting to manage their diabetes and live a healthier life.

Take advantage of the biking opportunity the Tour de Cure provides, and get your family out for a 10 mile or even longer bike tour. For more information or to register for a local tour, visit www.diabetes.org/tour or call 888-DIABETES.

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How you compete with a Hedge Fund


First: Appreciate their strengths but don’t fear them.

Hedge funds have a lot of capital and if they can show a model that produces a decent return of ONLY 7-9% they will get more capital to continue their acquisition spree.  In addition, hedge funds can leverage technology to the hilt, so they will have more applications and databases than you can shake a stick at, but remember bad data fast is still bad data.

Another reality of their size is their need to buy lots of property quickly.  When they move in for the kill they will buy large pools of properties in short periods.  However, as a small investor, I can focus on a single purchase to add to my portfolio instead of having to find 10, 20 or 50 properties to buy. I have no idea how these buyers can stay up to date with 50 escrows, repairs, and rentals, at one time.  In the end – appreciate their need and ability for frequent acquisition.

Second: Understand their purpose and goals. 

Hedge funds are great at taking advantage of market dislocations.  They use their tremendous capital base to buy distressed assets (of any kind) and then wait for markets to repair themselves and return to long run averages.  This means that most hedge fund buyers will have a clock on their capital and they will become sellers at some point.  The best part is that most hedge funds will likely become sellers, at the same time producing nice buying opportunities in the future – likely 5-10 years from now –  at much higher prices.

Finally: Understand where they are weak.

Most hedge fund buyers don’t live in the markets where they invest.  They may send out a team or two from New York or Boston to live in Atlanta, Southern California or Phoenix for a couple of years but these assignments are rarely given to locals. 

Why would they trust a local with their billions of dollars?

The first thing to do as a small investor is remember to build quality relationships as frequently as you can.  All real estate is local and most of it is sold by local resources, so if you can become the trusted buyer of many different agents and other investors, you will have the inside track to deals that a hedge fund never sees.  Most of my deals come from relationships that hedge funds would pay dearly to have.

Also never (and I mean NEVER) go straight at a bully [hedge fund].  Understand what their strength is and do something different.  In the early example I will admit the football player never saw me coming because he pushed me and just kept walking, as he never thought to make sure I wouldn’t respond.  I dropped everything, jumped on him, and got him on the ground where my speed was a huge advantage and his superior strength and reach was negated.  In short – I won and he lost because I did the unexpected!

When it comes to competing with a hedge fund that has access to millions or billions of dollars, don’t fight for the properties they want, it’s losing proposition.  Instead –  buy around them and let their efforts increase the value of your purchases.  If hedge funds want properties newer than 5 years, then buy the 10, 20 or 50 year old homes at which they refuse to look. If hedge funds want certain zip codes, buy the zip codes adjacent to their neighborhoods.  If hedge funds want single family –  buy multi family.  If Hedge Funds want to buy at the court house steps or want to buy foreclosures on the MLS, then buy short sales or probate deals.

I love to see hedge funds over pay in my market, as they are adding to my net worth by increasing market values across the portfolio. Regardless of their buying – my 10+ years of relationships allow me to find tremendous deals regularly.

In the end – don’t fear the bully; just out smart and out work them. They are 100% beatable.

Author: Michael Zuber

Michael’s Website: http://www.wealthbuildingpro.com

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