While preparing to leave my office management job, I handled the hiring process for replacing me. We received about 30 resumes. A good portion of them made me want to cry. People didn’t follow the specific directions I had written in the email, such as not sending a cover letter as requested. On the resumes, layouts were misaligned and inconsistent. I saw more spelling errors and typos than I make in a year. A few people didn’t even introduce themselves in the initial email, merely attaching their resume instead.

During college, I spent a good deal of time working with our campus career center to prepare resumes and cover letters, attending job fairs, and learning about various career paths I may or may not want to take. I know what a resume should look like, and I’ve spent a solid chunk of my time revising mine throughout the years. Sending a resume where you clearly spent less than five minutes throwing random job history onto a page? Not going to get you a job. Here are some tips for submitting an application to a job:

1. Follow all instructions listed on the job posting – All. All of them. Every last one. If they want you to dance in a circle before sending in your application, do it. Here’s why – those instructions are often geared to see if you read thoroughly and can follow directions. When you don’t send me a cover letter after I ask you to, I assume that you either a) cannot read, or b) did not read my entire posting and therefore are not that interested in the job.

2. Have an introduction in your email – Your email application is likely the first introduction these people have to you. Do you really think a preset signature is going to make you stand out of a group of dozens, possibly hundreds of other resumes? Good luck with that.

3. Have a professional voicemail message and email address – This one is pretty obvious. If your email address is buttcrack@aol.com, you’re telling me that you’re too immature for my company. Along the same lines, if your voicemail doesn’t introduce yourself or politely ask me to leave a message, that’s not a good sign.

4. OH MY GOD, PROOFREAD – Seriously. Why is it so difficult to spend a minute rereading your resume and cover letter to make sure that you don’t have any typos or misalignment? This is a reflection of you! When you send me a resume filled with typos, you’re telling me that you’re careless.

5. Tailor your response to the job posting – This one is really important and will make you stand out from your competition who ignores this crucial step of the application process. Many times, your skills will not perfectly align with the job posting, but you can point out the areas where you do fit the job requirements. Talk how you are a great fit for this position based on your skill set and experience.

6. Fix your damn layout – Maybe I’m being harsh here, but there is no reason that you can’t have an aligned, clean resume. No, really. None. If your resume is misaligned, I’m not going to look on it very positively, period, because it shows that you didn’t take the small amount of time necessary to adjust it. And unless you have publications to list, keep it to a page. I’ve played with margins, font size, and white space, but my resume has always been one page.

7. Send documents in a common format with a standard font type – I had one candidate try to send me her information via WordPerfect files. Few computers can open WordPerfect documents and I don’t have the time to download adapters to figure out how to open them. I suggest using Microsoft Word document files (not 2007 document files) or PDF files. You may also be tempted to make your resume stand out by using a funky font style – don’t. Many companies use software with only basic fonts, so they won’t be able to read your resume. Use a standard serif font like Arial, Times New Roman, or Verdana and make your qualifications stand out on their own.

Or you could just write this.

By the way, we did hire somebody – she had a lovely resume, a strong introduction/cover letter, and a very pleasant demeanor. I think she’ll be a great addition to the company.

Do you have any application submission tips?


You might be aware that today is my last day in my current role. I’ve been here for 1 1/2 years of bittersweet work, but I am incredibly excited to be joining the team at my new place of employment where I’ll be a Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator. It will definitely be a challenging role, especially since I feel a bit rusty, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do together to build awareness for the organization. Anyway, since it’s my last day here, I wanted to spend today’s Truth Thursday contemplating some lessons I’ve learned about work and life.

1. Never sacrifice your own well-being for a job for any reason – Being one who’s never had a lot of money, I’ve been well-accustomed to working multiple jobs to make ends meet. In school, for instance, I once worked three jobs while going to school full time. After school, I also had periods where I worked multiple jobs, and more recently, had days where I went straight from one job to another. Working like this can earn you more money, but I found it significantly diminished my happiness. Nothing, not even money, is a worthwhile enough reason to work yourself to death.

2. Maintain a strong work-life balance – You will hear me proclaim this a lot. I am a huge proponent of work-life balance. While I enjoy working and would work even if I didn’t need to, work-life balance is incredibly important to me as well. I find that it’s a refreshing way to enjoy more of life and still stay connected to my work, which helps me enjoy both aspects of life more thoroughly. And while I want to enjoy my career and the work that I do, it’s unrealistic to expect that my career will give me absolute happiness. Only having a life outside of work can balance out the two sufficiently.

3. Never stop trying to find a career you enjoy – Will I ever find a career that I love? Maybe, maybe not. But I do think it’s realistic to expect that I can find a career I enjoy – even if that means that I try out a few career paths before I settle into one. I haven’t become a veterinarian, an actor, a pastor, an event planner, or a PR gal, but I have taken pieces of each of those roles that I enjoy and try to incorporate those aspects into my work. It is never worthwhile to be stuck in a job that you hate or that makes you feel bad about yourself. It is worth dedicating time and effort into finding a fulfilling job you enjoy.

4. Seize smart opportunities whenever they come your way – Obviously I’m not telling you to make bad decisions, but don’t pass up exciting opportunities just because they seem a little risky. I purposely do not have a solid plan for the next five years because I don’t want to feel stuck on my own set path. I would much rather be open to anything that comes my way, and then I can decide from there if it’s a worthwhile opportunity at that time.

5. Keep your work comrades close – We spend 1/3 of our working years with our coworkers, but many of us know almost nothing about them. Studies have shown that people who have good relationships with their coworkers enjoy work more and work in a more positive environment. I myself have garnered some great relationships thanks to my work at various companies, and many times, these coworkers helped me survive. Try to build close connections with worthwhile comrades and then keep them around if you do leave the company. You won’t be sorry.

What have you learned in regards to work and life?

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a product review of Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. As promised, here is another review of one of my favorite products.

Again, as a disclaimer, no companies have asked me to review their products.

Victoria’s Secret has been around for years. The name is known in virtually every household as the dirty little secret lingerie and bra shop. They also, however, have a fabulous makeup line. Although I only use a couple of their makeup products, such as VS lip gloss in Tempt (shade no longer offered but similar to Intimate) and VS eyeshadow in Procrastination (shade no longer offered but similar to Luxe), I am a hardcore fan of their VS Makeup High-definition Mascara.

PS - VS actually stands for their Very Sexy brand, not Victoria's Secret.

Of all of my makeup products, my VS mascara is the one product that I will not go without. I love drawing attention to my eyes since I feel that they’re a strong feature of mine, and this mascara does that perfectly without looking tacky. Since my lashes can be fine and lighter in color, adding a black mascara really makes my eyes pop. It’s also the only mascara that I’ve found that looks dramatic without being too much – and believe me, since mascara is my number one makeup product, I’ve tried a few. On the other hand, most mascaras on the cheaper end often are much too light for my taste and end up getting severely clumpy within a couple of months. Even high-end mascara, such as Stila, just don’t stand up to VS mascara for me.

Okay, so she's wearing false eye lashes - but still, the stuff works.

Onto the negatives. Many mascara aficianados such as myself know that mascara typically only lasts about three months before it gets too clumpy to work properly. Yes, really. Don’t tell me that you can make your mascara last a year – you get massive clumps in your eyelashes and you know it. Mascara was designed to be as finicky as a colicky infant. Sadly, VS mascara is no different – in three months or so, I get clumps that will not go away and it has to be replaced. It does, however, make me feel slightly better about the recently reduced amount of mascara I get in a tube – to be fair, I wouldn’t have really used up the larger tube anyway. Additionally, VS currently only offers their VS Makeup mascaras in Blackest Black. That isn’t a big deal for me because I only wear black mascara, but that perhaps wouldn’t work so well for someone needing mascara with a brown tint. They do have varying mascara colors in their Beauty Rush line, usually found near the registers.

Also, I should note that VS did recently expand their VS Makeup mascara line to include other types of mascara, including Triple Drama, Extra-Lengthening, and Voluptuous in both regular and waterproof. You could certainly try those out as well, but my recommendation stays for the High-definition Mascara, hands down.

Are you a diehard fan for any particular mascara? Have you had any negative experiences with mascara?

No TV Tuesday post today – sorry lovelies! It’s a crazy hectic day of training my replacement, dental appointments, secret shops, and library pick-ups. Or just singular on all of those things. But I won’t leave you with nothing.

As I was talking to the lovely Kate today, we got around to the topic of evolving food preferences:

Katelyn:  My tastes have evolved. I like things I used to hate.
Me: Same here. Except mayonnaise. My fierce hatred of mayonnaise has only grown stronger. It was like cat pissed off fierce before. It’s like raptor fierce now.
Katelyn: That is amazing.

I really hate mayonnaise.

Boyfriend was aiming to get a job, but just found out that they’re no longer hiring, so he’s back to square one. I was discussing options with the amazing Kates and she had some helpful advice:

Me: I’m not sure what he’s going to do for work now. He doesn’t love dealing with people.

Kate: He should become an obituary writer. He wont have to deal with people (well he will, but they are dead). And he can write!

Hate people? It’s okay, they’re dead!

Maybe that shouldn’t be his tagline.

Boyfriend and I will be out biking around when suddenly I’ll slam on my brakes and shout, “DUCKIES!!!” Boyfriend just sighs and stops because he’s used to this. Or I’ll be driving along and see baby duckies in a nearby pond and shout, “DUCKIES!!! Hello duckies!!!!” Point of the story? I like ducks. I shout when I see baby duckies. So in a fit of adorable ducky fever, I found some duckling photos. DUCKIES!!!

Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...

You can do it!

Ducky love.

It's hard work being this cute.

Duckies in their home environment.

And onto adorable images of duckies and friends.

Duckies! Kitty!

This is SO sweet! A dog is raising a family of duckies!

Long weekend! Thank you, Memorial Day. Err…and the soldiers. You know, the reason we have Memorial Day. Thank you, soldiers!

Activities I’m doing:

  • Watching movies and TV – I’ve fully embraced this as my relaxation hobby, and now that fellow-movie-aficionado boyfriend has moved home, we’ve been watching movies and shows pretty frequently. It’s been quite enjoyable – not to mention, I’m finally starting to get through some of the shows on my must-watch list.
  • Biking – Now that my bike, Shelby, is home and I have a biking partner, we can finally get out. We haven’t done much yet, but hopefully we’ll start picking it up soon. We did bike eight miles (round trip) down to a park a couple of weeks ago. It was great, but there should be a law that parks have to be built on hills so that when you leave, you’re going downhill all the way.

This is me. Only with less hills and more panting.

  • Going to the gym – Along with biking, boyfriend and I have been going to the gym more frequently. I used to have a decent gym routine set up, but it completely fell apart once I got crazy busy over the winter and I haven’t been able to get back into it yet. Now that boyfriend is coming with, I have incentive to get my butt over there and lift some weights.
  • Decluttering – We’re preparing to host a garage sale at my house, and since boyfriend and I are preparing to move in together soon, we’re looking at our stuff and seeing what we can get rid of. It’s a bit of a process to dig through all of our stuff, but we should get through it over the weekend.

What I’m watching:

  • Arrested Development – Boyfriend and I saw Bridesmaids last weekend (which was decent and worth a theater viewing), where we saw previews for two upcoming movies starring Jason Bateman. That led us to a brief discussion about Jason Bateman’s humorous qualities, which led us to decide that we should watch AD next since I’ve never seen it and boyfriend liked it. Long story short, we’re about to start streaming AD on Netflix.
  • Criminal Minds – Yep. I’m still watching it. Last available season, though.
  • Tron: Legacy – I was kind of curious about this movie when it came out, and boyfriend wanted to see it, so he got Tron in last week so that I could see it. We got Tron: Legacy  in on Wednesday.

Onto this one.

  • Leverage – Turns out season 3 is on Netflix, so I can finally finish watching the later episodes that I missed (and thus, start watching season 4).

What I’m reading:

  • Influence: How women’s soaring economic power will transform our world for the better – This is an interesting topic to me, especially with the ever-prevalent wage gap between genders. Dychtwald talks a bit about how women have been able to prosper in developing countries with just a little sustenance, but she also talks about how women in first-world countries have learned to become highly successful from little as well. I haven’t been able to get into it yet because I suck at reading nonfiction, but it’s the one I’ve started.

On page 4.

  • Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere – This is the one book from the library that I may not get around to before they’re due, but it’s probably the one I should get around to. It’s written by bloggers, which is fantastic, and discusses dieting, body image, and acceptance. Definitely apropos for me.
  • New Day Revolution – I actually wanted to read another book of this author’s, but this was the one my library had on hand. It looks like a fairly interesting book – it discusses how to make small changes in your daily routine that make a big difference. I’m looking forward to seeing if it’s any good.
  • The Succulent Book of Succulence – I’m pseudo reading this. To be fair, I’ve been pseudo reading this book for years. It’s not that it’s a bad book, I just always find myself doing something else. Like most nonfiction, I’m having difficulty staying caught up in the book. Hopefully I’ll pick it up again soon.

Things I’m looking forward to:

  • My new job! – I cannot express how excited I am about my upcoming new job! I really admire this organization and their mission. I’m a little nervous about my role as Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator because it’ll be quite a bit challenging, but I’m very excited to see what I can do. I need to be challenged. It’s how I thrive.
  • Garage sale – As I mentioned above, my house is participating in our city’s community-wide garage sale next weekend. We had to drop $20 to participate, but considering that a regular garage sale ad in the local paper is $45 and we get TONS of traffic, it’s definitely worth it. We just have to work our booties off to get it prepared.
  • Getting my new computer – I’ve been hoping to get a new laptop for a while – I’ve had mine for a few years, so it’s got a slow processor and the fan was dying. We’ve solved the fan issue, but it was time, so I finally dropped $700 on a new computer. It’s a Lenovo IdeaPad Y560 and it sounds fabulous. That’s definitely the most money that I’ve spent on any purchase lately, but I think it’ll be worth it.

Hello, new lovely!

  • Shopping with my friend – One of my dear friends is moving to Washington, D.C. in the next few months for a job, so I’m trying to steal as much time with her as I can. She hasn’t been fully introduced to the Mall of America (she’s a native Texan), so we’re going to browse around there and nom on Noodles and Co.’s Wisconsin Mac ‘n Cheese. Yum.

What are your current happenings?

Today’s FBFF is all about hair care! Since getting my hair cut, I’ve unfortunately had to spend a slight bit of more time and effort with it. It’s worth the effort, definitely, but I can’t just brush it and go anymore. Probably a good thing.

1. How often do you get your hair cut? Not very often, actually. It’s not that I don’t enjoy getting my hair cut – on the contrary, I love the feeling of a new haircut. It’s just that a haircut is pretty expensive for me and I have to budget carefully in order to make sure that I can afford it. Now that I have a new job – especially since it’s one that basically requires me to be the face of the company – I’ll likely go in more often to get it cut or trimmed up.

2. Do you go to the same stylist each time, try someone new, go to the cheap hair cutting chains or live it up in a salon? I always, always, always go to my stylist. You know how people say that it’s near impossible to find the right stylist? I found mine back in college thanks to my wonderful college roommate. Even though we have different types of hair, my stylist somehow always understands my hair and knows what will flatter me most. Occasionally she does a little hand-holding as well, like with my last trip there to chop off my hair.

RE-SULT!

3. Do you color your hair? How often? What’s your natural color?  I definitely color my hair. Unless I’m adding highlights, I dye it myself – something my stylist taught me, actually. My natural color is a dull light brownish color, so I like to liven it up with reds and browns, although I’ve done black (big mistake) and many blonde highlights (good if I use warm blondes) as well. My favorite and standby color is half copper red, half medium brown – it brings out a beautiful chestnut color on me. Speaking of, I should probably get on that.

4. The one thing you always do to keep your hair looking great is: I try not to damage it too much. While I do color it every few months, I always use a super deep conditioner afterwards to help it repair. I also use very little styling product in my hair, and when I do use product, I try to use decent products such as Sebastian. I use brand name shampoo and conditioner that treats my hair well. Unfortunately, I now have to blow-dry my hair every day after the shower, but I don’t dry it completely. Overall, though, I think my trick is that I understand what type of hair I have (fine, but twice as much as most people) and treat it accordingly.

5. What hair trend do you love and wish you could rock? I absolutely adore wavy curls. Think Kristin Wiig’s hair in Bridesmaids - perfect. I love, love, love the way my hair looks with curls, but it takes a sizable chunk of time to style and my hair is so stick-straight that the curls don’t hold well. Occasionally, I’ll take the plunge, but usually I won’t bother unless it’s for a special occasion. I haven’t tried curling my hair since I chopped it. Must do that.

Took an hour, lasted three.

Check out the other FBFF bloggers’ responses here!


Health for the Whole Self discusses fat discrimination and how to combat negative comments: Things Fat People Are Told

Kate from Divergent Musings has a fantastic post on body image issues and a follow-up post on saying “screw you” to labels: Thoughtful Thursday: On Body Image Issues and Thoughtful Thursday: Numbers & Labels

Arash Mazinani speaks about his beef in an absolutely true post about body shapes: My Beef with Body Shapes

Zen Habits discusses how to deal with negative people – do you agree?: 7 Simple Tips to Deal With Negative People

Rosie Molinary talks about ways to develop and convey confidence (a HUGE component in attractiveness): Steps to Confidence

Annie on Strong, Healthy, Fit tells readers to declare themselves perfect already: I Am Bikini Ready

Stylish Thought discusses savage bloggers – are you one?: Are you a Savage Blogger?

Beautifully Invisible (hilariously) shared how Jack Sparrow taught her fashion lessons: 5 Things Jack Sparrow Taught Me About Fashion and Makeup

Sally McGraw guest posted on The Frisky about improving body image by dressing for her figure: Dressing Vs. Dieting

Em of Oh, the Places You’ll Go had a great post on trying new things on those days you feel ugly (and looks adorable to boot): Contextualizing Ugly Days

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, talks about 6 happiness “boosters” and their not-so-greatness: Why These 6 Happiness “Boosters” Might Actually Make You Feel Worse

This week’s Truth Thursday is on things that make me happy – a bit simple, yes, but absolutely essential. Whenever I’m down, these things have the power to bring me back up.

1. Otters – I had a rough weekend last weekend for no extreme reason. When boyfriend noticed me getting sad, he entered “otters” or “curious otters” into the Google Images and pulled up a picture. Immediately, I lit up. He also posted a picture of a mama otter on my FB wall this week, and last week, he randomly changed my desktop picture to an otter. Boyfriend knows me well. Anyway, the point of all this otter picture rhetoric is that I FREAKING LOVE OTTERS. Although if you didn’t already know that, you probably haven’t been reading my blog.

I should not have looked up otters at work. Cannot...contain...squees...

2. Berries – I love most fruit, but I especially love berries. Strawberries and raspberries are some of my very favorite foods. I have been known to purchase 2 lbs. of strawberries and go through them in less than 48 hours. I would say the same about raspberries except that they’re so expensive that I’ve never tried. I also love a lot of food with strawberries and raspberries, like pancakes with strawberries on top. Yum. Okay, I’ve made myself hungry. Moving on.

Oh. My. God. What are you and why are you not here in front of me?

3. Farmers markets – I knew about farmers markets way back when. I didn’t really go that often, but they seemed pretty cool. When I moved out to California, however, I truly discovered the joy of farmers markets. California has these markets everywhere year round and the locals present the most amazing food. You have to pick and choose what you get – some are overpriced or picked over – but you can almost always walk away with some great, tasty finds. I cannot wait until my city’s farmer’s market opens up next week! Damn Minnesota and its winter ruining my farmers markets.


4. Thunderstorms – I love thunderstorms. I like rain in general, and I sure love sunshine, but nothing beats a good thunderstorm. There’s just nothing like waking up to the sound of rain. I usually open my window or my patio door when it’s raining at night just so I can hear it. Any water sound is calming to me, but particularly rain does the trick. I do NOT like tornadoes, however – they scare the hell out of me. Sending good thoughts to the people in north Minneapolis, Missouri, and Kansas right now.


5. Finishing a good book – Reading a good book is great, absolutely. But finishing a good book? Only that can give you the mixed feelings of satisfaction, sadness, loss, joy, fulfillment, and confusion about the mixed feelings in general. After I finished reading “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” for instance, I cried for at least 15 minutes and could not shake my mood for the rest of the day. Something in that book resonated with me, and that’s pretty powerful.


What simple things make you happy?

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