Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Ask Yourself, "What Am I Thankful For?"; 6 Secrets To Writing A Great Cover Letter

Ask Yourself, "What Am I Thankful For?" 
Real Estate Broker/Owner with American Lighthouse Estates, Inc.

The Holiday Season; the time to celebrate and rejoice... but let's not forget that some are experiencing tough times.
What about those facing financial hardships, foreclosure, not being able to pay rent or eviction. We've all heard about the teen who has been kicked out of their home with nowhere to go.  Just imagine not having a home during the Holidays. Think about the family, barely scraping by, living check to check, praying for a miracle so they can have a nice dinner or buy their kids presents this Holiday Season.
Let's not forget the spouse, the family member or friend who is taking care of a sick, loved one, unable to care for themselves.  Think about the person who has a terminal illness and just wishing to be normal again and able to be mobile, to eat and taste food....just one more taste…or worse, mourning over the loss of a loved one, especially to a terminal illness, an accident, or an act of violence.
My point is, while some live selfishly complaining about everything (like the ones who complain about the barista screwed up their venti, caramel macchiato with soy, triple pump, 200 degree order.)  Really, is it that serious?  Have less attitude and more gratitude!!
Stop and realize that so many people have it worse and don't take anything or anyone for granted.  
See the positive in all aspects of your life, regardless of what challenges you are faced with in life. Be grateful; for being able to breath, move, see, smell, touch and taste.

Be grateful for the little things in life; the smiles, the hugs, the sun, moon and stars.  Be thankful for all things big and small.
 When you feel like everything is going wrong, take a deep breath and exhale.  
Ask Yourself, What am I Thankful For?
Write a list of what you are thankful for & read it every day.

I AM Thankful for (fill in the blank):


6 Secrets To Writing A Great Cover Letter

At best, a cover letter can help a job-seeker stand out from the pack. At worst, it can make a promising candidate seem like an uncreative cut-and-paster. Sadly, the vast majority of cover letters read essentially the same: Retreads of resumes that ramble on while repeating the obvious. Would you read one of these to the end if it were put in front of you? Probably not, and nor would most hiring managers.
Of course, the Internet is full of tips and tutorials on writing a cover letter, but few of them give much useful information other than the obvious ("Use good grammar!"). So I got to thinking about what cover letter tips and techniques have served me over the years. I came up with these six golden rules for writing a cover letter somebody will actually want to read.

1) Don't repeat your resume
A lot of people write cover letters as if they were paragraph-form resumes. Fact is, your letter will be stapled (or attached to the same email) as your actual resume, so you can assume that they'll at least glance at it (and probably with a keener eye than your cover letter). Instead, use your cover letter to show personality, curiosity, and an interest in the field you are applying to work in. My favorite pro tip: Google around for the history of your field or company, and sprinkle some cool historical facts into your cover letter (or even use one as a lead). If I was applying for a job in tech, I might talk about how thrilling it was to see Moore's law transform technology before my eyes, and how thrilled I am to be a part of this transformation. If I were applying for a job in fashion, I might talk about how much fashion has changed since the 80's (a lot!). Everything has a hidden history. Use it to show expertise and interest.

2) Keep it short
Less. Is. More. Three paragraphs, tops. Half a page, tops. Skip lengthy exposition and jump right into something juicy.

3) Address Nobody
Sometimes, you don't know exactly who you should be addressing your letter to. Nix the generic and bland "Dear Hiring Manager" or "To Whom It May Concern". If you absolutely don't know who you should be addressing, then don't address anybody. Instead, just jump right into the body of the letter.

4) Send it as a PDF
Not every office computer can read .docx or .pages files, but virtually everybody can open a PDF file without any conversion. File conversions are bad for two huge reasons. First, they are just as likely to not bother and move onto the next applicant. And, second, conversions can introduce formatting errors. Both are bad. (Note: This story originally suggested .doc files. Definitely better than .docx, but, as the comments pointed out, PDF is surely better. It can't be easily tampered with, and you have more control over how it appears on somebody's screen.)

5) Never ever, ever use the following phrase
"My name is ___, and I am applying for the position as ____".They already know this, and you'll sound inexperienced.

6) Close strong
Finish off by quickly (and I mean quickly) explaining how your experience or worldview will help you at the job. That's key. That's the closer. And it can be done in one to two seconds. If it goes any longer, you're just rambling.

How To Get Yourself Into The Christmas Spirit / Why Holiday Traditions Might Be More Important Than You Think

Wiki: How Webpage

When you grow older, family pressures, work commitments, loneliness, or other things can make you to lose the wondrous spirit of Christmas. When money is tight and time is too, you can end up feeling disappointed, sad or just dreading Christmas altogether. Everyone deserves the opportunity to feel special at Christmas. Restoring your Christmas spirit is worth your focus and you'll feel better for it after.

Creating Christmas Spirit in the Home

  1.) Play Christmas music in the background while you prepare for Christmas. Great songs such as "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby, "O Holy Night" by Josh Groban and "Believe" by Josh Groban are great examples, and they will help you lift your spirit.

  2.) Make a batch of Christmas cookies. Make sugar cookies, and decorate with frosting, sprinkles, etc. They'll smell wonderful while baking and are sure to help out the Christmas fun.
·         Have the kids decorate their own cookies for something to do.
·         If you can't make cookies, but want your house to smell nice, you can get some scented candles or some christmas-y scented room spray. It makes your house smell like the holiday season, but without the mess!

  3.) Hang up Christmas ornaments. When you focus on the ornaments, and just on getting it done, it's not fun. But when you have fun, dance with the Christmas music, put a garland up, put little trinkets of Santa Claus, angels and whatnot. You will see, you will have fun.
·         Have other family members help with the tree.

  4.) Put up your tree early. It doesn't matter if you put it up after you read this article, or in a few days, just get it up early. That way, you can decorate the tree and have fun with it, expressing your creativity and feeling like you are really into the spirit.

  5.) Learn a Christmas song, one that you've never heard before, or one that is your favorite. Print it off the internet and sing the verses quietly to yourself at work, or at the store. Create your own Christmas song if you like.

Feeling the Christmas Spirit in Company

  1.) Get out of the house. Go to stores like Macy's and Target and shop in the Christmas aisles. Have fun picking out what stuff you could possibly need. When you see other spirit around you, you're more likely to have that special feeling once again.

  2.) Spend time with family and friends. This probably is the most important way to feeling happy. Make some cookies, and invite a few friends over, and watch a Christmas movie such as "White Christmas".
·         See if you can find a party to go to this year instead of organizing it all yourself. It makes for a nice change.

  3.) Give a gift, it doesn't matter to who. But take time with the gift, wrap it, and make your own card, add a special poem or heartfelt Christmas greeting.

Caring for Yourself

  1.) Realize that some of your lack of feeling the Christmas spirit may be related to feeling overwhelmed and stressed by the seasonal festivities and preparations.Take time out. Go and do things for yourself now and then, to relieve the pressure of always preparing and being around frantic activity. You can't please all of the people all of the time, so don't even try; by taking breaks, you will feel refreshed and able to cope with difficult people all the more constructively. 
  2.) Have reasonable expectations of the Christmas season. If you expect too much, you may feel disappointed. Instead, expect things to be low key and easy and you'll feel a lot calmer and happier about the season, being able to enjoy the experience more.
·         Realize that the commercialized version of Christmas is the marketer's dreams, not yours. Don't try to live up to that version and don't fall for thinking you need to buy happiness at Christmas time. Enjoyment does not mean expense.

  3.) Be jolly. Laugh more, see the funny side of things, even more so when things don't go to plan. Be genuine in your mirth; forcing jolly feelings will feel artificial. That might just mean watching something that makes you laugh for real or taking time out to watch a frolicking puppy or your children at play.


Why Holiday Traditions Might Be More Important Than You Think

Michele L. Brennan, Psy.D.
Most families have holiday traditions, regardless of what holiday you are celebrating. Even when we grow up and form our own families, we naturally merge our new traditions with some of the old. It seems that traditions, new or old have a strong place in our hearts. Holiday traditions become an essential aspect of how we celebrate, and there is a reason why we keep them as a part of our lives for so long. Simply put we hold onto holiday traditions because they add meaning to our celebrations, and help bond us to those we love.

Last weekend I was watching Christmas Vacation (one of my guilty pleasures before and during the holiday season) and I started thinking about why this movie was so funny. A seemingly normal family has all the warm and fuzzy holiday traditions and dreams of the perfect family Christmas. Of course, until everything goes wrong. The traditional events end in disaster, the tree catches fire, the turkey is dry (which is an understatement), the uninvited dog wrecks the house chasing the squirrel that got in the house, and the crazy cousin kidnaps the stingy boss. After all this, the family still finds meaning and joy in the season. The tradition that survives is that they always spend the holidays with family, and this bonds them despite all the chaos.
Although holiday traditions are usually the first thing people think of when you mention traditions, they are not the only ones families have. Whether it’s stringing popcorn for the Christmas tree, watching the Thanksgiving Day parade while the turkey cooks, building sand castles every summer or regularly having family movie night they are a family ritual that brings children and parents closer. These moments create positive memories for children and provide positive events for everyone to anticipate! Children crave the comfort and security that comes with traditions and predictability. This takes away the anxiety of the unknown and unpredictable. Traditions are a wonderful way to anchor family members to each other, providing a sense of unity and belonging.
I am a huge fan of traditions year-round but especially around the holidays. My family frequently has movie night, where we rent a movie, make fresh popcorn, and snuggle up on the couches to watch something awesome. It’s really become more about the quality time we spend together, the sarcastic commentary from dad that makes everyone laugh and the imaginative questions from my daughter that inspire a sense of youth. Thanksgiving traditions always involve the first indulgence of eggnog that will continue through to New Years, and we always make green bean casserole.  During Christmas, I have carried on a favorite tradition with my own family where we decorate the tree and add empty miniature drawstring sacks. On Christmas eve Santa fills them with candy so that on Christmas there are sweets to snack on throughout the day. My daughter gets so excited about the sacks of chocolate, that now at the age of 13 she asks if she can help fill them the night before because she wants to be part of the entire process.
Not every family is lucky enough to have traditions, but that’s ok. That just gives you the freedom to start creating your own! With the holidays coming, it is the perfect excuse to start trying new things! It can really be anything you think is fun. Perhaps it could be playing TBS’s 24 hours of the Christmas Story in the background while the family spends time together, cooks dinner, and plays with their new toys. Reading the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve is popular, or perhaps reading A Christmas Carol throughout the season.
Once you get started making traditions during the holidays your can start branching out to make new traditions throughout the year. Start a pizza night, a movie night, or even board game night. Make birthdays a special time for the celebrant to pick the cake and their favorite dinner. If these things aren’t what you had in mind, traditions can be the annual family vacation where you spend time together every year. Growing up we looked forward to the annual Winter Weekend where the entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins and spouses) would spend a long weekend in December enjoying the holiday season in a huge rented cabin. We would take turns cooking meals, and spend our free time playing in the snow.
If there is a simple take away message here, it’s that traditions nurture our spirit and are an important part of family bonding. They can be anything fun you and your family already enjoy doing, or you can have fun starting your own. Don’t get caught up in instituting the perfect family tradition, it’s not about being perfect it’s about the experience you share with your family.

Dressing for an Interview; What & What NOT to Wear

We've noticed several times since say June of this year, the lack of concern for attire worn to an interview. Everything from shorts/flip flops to long blouses/tights with 4" boots. Not to mention several face piercings! Come on are interviewing for Professional positions, wear Professional attire.

Below we have posted ideas and suggestions that may assist in making those decisions. It will make a difference when you interview.

Good Luck with your job search!

Dressing for Interviews
By Michegan State University

Before you say a single word to the interviewer, you have already made an impression based on how you’re dressed. The guidelines given here are commonly accepted as appropriate for interviewing. Every company has a different dress code; how you dress at the job may have very little to do with how you dress for an interview.


·         Dress in a manner that is professionally appropriate to the position for which you are applying. In almost all cases, this means wearing a suit. It is rarely appropriate to “dress down” for an interview, regardless of company dress code policy. When in doubt, go conservative.
·         You should wear a suit to interviews. “Suit” means the works: a matching jacket and pants, dress shirt, tie, coordinating socks and dress shoes. A dark-colored suit with light colored shirt is your best option.
·         Your suit should be comfortable and fit you well so that you look and act your best. There is a difference between not yet feeling at ease in a suit and trying to fit into the same suit you wore to your sister’s wedding when you were 15. (In the latter case, it’s time to invest in a new suit!)
·         Avoid loud colors and flashy ties.
·         Clothing should be neat, clean, and pressed. If you don’t have an iron, either buy one or be prepared to visit the dry-cleaner’s often. Shower or bathe the morning of the interview. Wear deodorant. Don’t wear cologne or aftershave. You don’t want to smell overpowering or worse, cause an allergic reaction.
·         Make sure you have fresh breath. Brush your teeth before you leave for the interview, and don’t eat before the interview. Don’t smoke right before an interview.
·         Your hair should be neat, clean, and conservative.

While it may be appropriate to dress more casually for a second interview, you must still dress professionally. It’s much better to be too dressed up than too casual. A good rule of thumb is to dress like your boss. Shoes should be well-polished and in good condition, not scuffed or run-down at the heels. They should also match your belt. This may sound like a lot of rules, but these are the generally acceptable guidelines you should follow when deciding what to wear to an interview. Dressing professionally shows respect for yourself, the interviewer, and the company. You may not have to dress like this every day, but you are more likely to be taken seriously when you present yourself in a professional manner and take the time to attend to details.

·         Generally, you should wear a suit with a skirt or pants.  When in doubt, be more conservative.
·         Your suit should be comfortable and fit you well; if your waistband is cutting you in half or your jacket is too tight, you won’t look or act your best. Some stores offer free alterations when you purchase a suit, or you may want to find a tailor to adjust a suit you already own.
·         Interview suits should be simple and dark in color. Anything tight, bright, short, or sheer should absolutely be avoided. (Interviewers have been known to complain about the length of interviewees’ skirts; if you have any doubts, it’s probably too short.) Knee-length skirts are suggested. Very long skirts, while modest, are also considered too trendy for an interview.
·         Wear a conservative blouse with your suit. Do not wear bright colors, animal prints, or anything lacy, sheer, or low-cut.
·         Make-up and nail polish should be understated and flattering; shades that are neutral to your skin tone are generally advisable. Avoid bright or unusual colors or very long nails.
·         Keep your jewelry and hair accessories to a minimum, and stick to those that are not flashy, distracting, or shiny. One ring per hand is best.
·         Shoes should be conservative and fairly low-heeled. They should be in reasonably good condition, not scuffed or run-down at the heels. Don’t wear shoes with an open toe or back; any shoes you would wear on a date or to a club are probably inappropriate. A basic pump is flattering, versatile, and will stay in style forever (once you own pumps, you can spend the rest of your money on fun shoes). The salesperson in the shoe store can steer you in the right direction.
·         Your hose should be neutral (matched to your skin tone). Make sure the heels are not dyed black from your shoes and that there are no snags or runs. Only use the nail polish trick in an emergency; you may want to carry an extra pair of hose with you instead.
·         Dress in a manner that is professionally appropriate to the position for which you are applying. In almost all cases, this means wearing a suit. It is rarely appropriate to “dress down” for an interview, regardless of company dress code policy. When in doubt, go conservative (is this starting to sound familiar?).
·         Your clothing should always be neat, clean, and pressed. If you don’t have an iron, either buy one or be prepared to visit the dry-cleaner’s often.
·         Shower or bathe the morning of the interview. Wear deodorant. Don’t wear perfume: you don’t want to smell overpowering or worse, cause an allergic reaction.
·         Make sure you have fresh breath. Brush your teeth before you leave for the interview, and don’t eat or smoke before the interview.
·         Your hair should be neat, clean, and conservatively styled. Banana clips, brightly-colored scrunchies or elastics, and cheerleader-type ponytails look out of place with a suit. You may want to wear your hair in an updo, pull it back into a low ponytail, or wear a barrette (this suggestion does not include the tiny little barrettes that only hold the front of your bangs back). The idea is to look polished and professional, not to advertise what a creative genius your hairdresser is.

10 dressing faux pas to avoid when interview time comes around:
By: Carole Martin, Monster Contributing Writer

·         1.) Wild Nail Polish: This tip is for women or men. Extremely long or uncut nails are a       real turnoff, too. Your nails should be groomed and neat.
·         2.) Jangley Jewelry: Don't wear more than two rings per hand or one earring per ear. And no face jewelry or ankle bracelets allowed.
·         3.) Open-Toed or Backless Shoes: And mules are a definite no-no. Out-of-date shoes should be thrown out or kept for other occasions.
·         4.) Bare Legs: Wear stockings, even in humid summer weather. Stockings can be in neutral colors or a fashion color to match your shoes.
·         5.) Out-of-Date Suits: These have lapels that are too wide (three inches or more) or too narrow (one inch or less). A good tailor can alter lapels. The style for men's jackets is full-body and looser rather than fitted or tight. 
      6.) Short Skirts: Hemlines should not be more than three inches above the knee. Don't wear capri pants or leggings to the interview.
·         7.) Leather Jackets for Men or Women: Even leather blazers are not good for interviewing purposes. They look like outerwear.
·         8.) Turtlenecks for Men: A tie is preferable, at least in the first go-round. At the very least, wear a collared shirt.
·         9.) Printed or Trendy Handbags: Purses should be conservative and inconspicuous.
·         10.) Leggings: Leggings are great for a night out or for a shopping day with the girls, but it is highly inappropriate for a job interview. It puts off the wrong message and looks very lazy, un-organized and sloppy.

Conservative colors in various shades of blue and gray are best. Wearing black to the interview could be viewed as too serious. If you do wear black, make sure another color is near your face to soften the look. Brown is still considered questionable as a business color and probably should be avoided. Change your outfit's look for a second interview by wearing a different color blouse, shirt, scarf or tie.
An interview is not the place to make a fashion statement, though those in the creative/design field and the very famous can be more adventurous. Everyone else should opt for a conservative look. "More and more companies are returning to traditional professional dress," Wildermuth says.
Whatever you wear should accent the fact that you're a professional who's ready to get to work at a new job. Let common sense guide you, and it should be easy to avoid fashion blunders that could damage your chances of getting to the next step in the process. In this market, it is essential that you look good and your appearance is right for the job.