Windows in My life

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I feel like a cat up a tree

I feel like this cat to the left. Not knowing if I let go some one would be there to catch me. Just looking to the heavens and saying a bunch of prayers for a rescuer to come with a ladder and grab me before I fall off and land not so gracefully on my butt in front of people.

I am learning that I can rescue myself.

I feel that I need balance in my life with out a safety net of another person. I do need a hug now and then. Every one needs one from another person. I have two little girls to do that. However, I am not leaning on them as adults. I am taking that unconditional love for them that I have and cherishing every moment I have with them.

My life isn't over by along shot however for two months I have been sulking in the shadows hoping for that Hail Mary pass from someone besides myself. Someone to take charge and to take the troublesome load off my shoulders. I was looking for someone to take control of my life as I felt it was spinning out of control. And it was for a while. I feel that I am moving past the out of control Amanda and into the Amanda 2.0 that every one can see forming before them. I just hope for the sake of the kids I can continue to show them that you can fall from a great height, get slightly injured and dust yourself off to start anew. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Feeling like I can't talk, but I want to

In this world of Social Media and all the data in the world, some times I feel that I have to censor myself to the world so that it would not reflect poorly on me and my family.

However I have been thinking.

I need to speak on my blog about the things that I have been going through because I think its best that my world becomes open and shed some light on my feelings and how it is impacting me.

The feelings of isolation is a big factor in my decision. I feel that once I open this blog to the world of my mind then I can feel more free about who I am becoming. I know this blog is low on the list of readership and I am not feeding my own social media boost. I am only trying to make my blog truly about me and my children and not something that I am going to look back and be ashamed of.

I will talk about my crafts, Etsy, and other things that come to my mind, however I am not going to try and censor what I feel on this blog. Even when it may hurt my chances of keeping my kids (my biggest fear), I will not talk about people negatively no matter how I feel about these people in my life. When I do talk it will be in my voice. When I talk it will be in the present and not in the past. Though I may need to give some background information however its not going to be too detailed.

I am going forward and so should this blog.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Crafting

Here are a few crafts that I have completed in the last few weeks. Hopefully I can get them on Etsy soon.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Resume Help: Part 5, I am learning to say Thank You!

I really want to thank all of the readers that have made it a point to read this whole series. As I am trying to gain a job, so it is important that we all share information to help one another and hopefully all gain some type of employment!

The thank you is a genuine one and from my heart.

10. Say "Please, Excuse me and Thank You". Even the coldest HR person or Recruiter will remember you if you are polite and genuine. That goes for every correspondence, phone call, in-person interview and after the interview.

I used to think that I didn't need to send a thank you note (email or letter) after every interview, however I am learning that manners go a long way when trying to get a job, especially in today's market where for every 1 job advertisement 1,000 people apply and if you do get that interview from the gorgeous resume that  at least I am helping to make, the impression that you give, before, during and after an interview will help them remember you.

No, I am not saying sending every HR person or Recruiter a fruit basket the next day, I am saying a day after send them a quick email (because of course you asked them for a business card), thanking them for spending the time with you, for the feedback they may have given you and let them know that their time was not wasted.

Example:

Dear (insert Mr/Ms Last Name),

Thank you for the (phone or in person) interview on (day of the week or date). I know your time is very valuable and meeting me for the (Job title) at (insert company name), really meant a lot to me.

I would like to thank you as well for the in depth detail you gave about your companies time requirements for the position. I am grateful to you for answering the questions I had about the day to day duties that the job entailed in more depth.

Please feel free to call me if you have any questions that you may not have had during the interview.

Thank you again,
(Your Name)
(phone number)

As this is just a template you can add or subtract anything you want or need to say. You can make it as formal or informal as you would like it to be.

If you do get interviewed by multiple people try to send it to the department heads and HR as you don't want to make your sincerer thank you look like a form letter to the whole company.

Try to send the thank you email to them as soon as possible so you can stay fresh in their minds. Don't wait two weeks and then send it to them.  Example : Interview on Monday, send the thank you on Wednesday or Thursday. If the interview is on Friday, send the thank you on Monday or Tuesday (if it is a holiday weekend so there will not be an Out of Office reply).

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed the series of posts. As I learn more about resume writing and the do's and don't of trying to get a job, I'll post more on the blog!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Resume Writing. Part 4: Covering a Coverletter

What does this cover letter conversation have to do with Resume help? Most companies are at an old school impasse with this thought. One hand it shows a person did the research to want to work at the company. The other hand some companies only suggest placing a cover letter with your resume because its been so ingrained in our thoughts that we need one, they just place it on the website due to the contact us would have so many contacts with where to place it on the submission site.

My experience with cover letters have been very very minimal. I guess this is where personal preference comes into play. I have written a few cover letters however its hard to put an exact number I have actually submitted. I have tried to make a generic cover letter that I can post to any job however it is good to make sure that you edit it and look it over before you post it to a different job. I have at least 4 versions of my cover letter so I can make sure I have one for each industry that I am applying too. 

9. My recommendation: Don't spend too much time on the cover letter. Make one generic letter that can be edited with details of the job you apply to. Most companies look at them however with the hundreds out there most don't require it for the job position when you apply on line. If you do submit one PLEASE make sure you don't submit one that is for a customer service rep when you are applying for a manager level post unless it is for a manager of a customer service store.

10. As with a resume, spelling, grammar and punctuation all count. If you are unsure about what to say, call a friend and use them as a sounding board or email the cover letter to them and ask them if they were to write this what would they change or add to the letter.

Tomorrow I may have the guest writer, however it does not look hopeful. If so, then I will write about Thank  You letters/emails after an interview or just a meeting with a prospective employer and even a recruiter!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Résumé Writing, what I am learning. Part three-fiths

This installment is all about fonts, and what size fonts to use on your resume. As I said before I am from the school where standard is key... Well what ever the blank template of the Resume template in Microsoft Word that I was using at the time.

7. Be constant with fonts for everything on your resume. Do not (as I thought once) use 3-5 different fonts for the different sections you have. It will only confuse the person reading it and if the HR person or recruiter doesn't have that particular Comic Cat font, their computer will substitute it for something else and then your time was all for not. My advice stick with New Times Roman (Font) as everyone has that on their computers.

Example (New Times Roman in MS Word):
Amanda Peterson
140 Anywhere Ave
San Francisco CA 94555
Cell: (415) 555-5555 
Email: avp003@gmail.com 

8. Font size is another area you want to be consistent with. I was always cutting and pasting from different places on the different resumes I had and it made my resume look like something out of a bad novel. I would suggest for your Header 12-14 font size and as above bold and italicize your name that way it can stick out a little more. For the rest of your resume size 10 would do for everything including titles like Summary, Experience and Skills. For the titles make sure you BOLD them to set them apart from the rest of the text.

Example:

EXPERIENCE:
Any Company
, San Francisco, CA                                                                                                                                         11/11-12/12
Counselor of Industry

Any Company, San Francisco, CA                                                                                                                                         10/10-10/11
Jack of all trades


I can hear you pondering, "What about my eye sight? Wouldn't it be better in size 12 so recruiters and HR Persons could read it?"

I would say yes if that is what you want to do, however since now most resume's are uploaded and read by computer programs that place everything in size 12 font for them, its not a big necessity unless when at an interview they suggest it once they see it in person.

Tomorrow Cover letter or No Cover letter? My biggest question of them all. Also feel free to suggest a topic for me to ponder as well!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Résumé Writing, what I am learning. Part Duex

Part two of this series focuses on the questions that I had/have about what to put on the Résumé especially when you are trying to add or subtract something that you may or may not feel that is important to a HR Representative.

5. Putting my skills on a resume are a tricky thing for me. What I think might be something understood or not important could be key in landing the dream job I wanted, and I thought since I have Certificates of Advance Social Media on my resume, it was understood. I was wrong! I told a recruiter that I have lived in the Social Media world for more than 5 years, she wanted an updated resume as soon as I got home from the interview, so she could market me to a couple of clients that were waiting in the wings and I could be employed faster.

If you are into Social Media, examples Pinterest, Twitter, Blogging, Linked-In, Facebook, and any other's that are in the news and you are on the radar for put it on your resume! You do not have to put your user names on it, however the length of time for each is a bonus.

My Example:
I have been Blogging for 5 years (both personal and professional) and have run successful giveaways with Product Relations groups; Facebook, Linked-In, Pintrest and Twitter for 3 years.

Some websites on the World Wide Web can tell you exactly how long you were on the Social Media map. So Google it!

6. Another tricky part about Resume writing is the length of one. I am from the old school thought of one page is best and staples and other attachment devices are a big NO NO! Well again that is an old school thought in the new age of working multiple pages is acceptable. I was told in one interview that 10 years worth of job information or at least 4-5 jobs in your resent past is a good way of showing what your qualifications and diversity of what you are willing to do in the future.

With me I thought I could drop off what I did in my retail position at the PlayStation Store San Francisco in 2002 because I had a very long and current job from 2008-2012. However that retail position could show a potential employer that I have retail experience and can stay at a job long term by that job I stayed at for four years. So, best to put at least 10 years of your work past or show that you went to finish a degree in the time spent out side the work force.

Next post is all about fonts and how mat fonts your Resume should be. Also if you have a question about any resume questions please post them in the comment section and I will try to answer them.

On Friday I have a Guest Poster about job hunting so stay tuned!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Résumé Writing, what I am learning. Part One

It's not news that I am looking for a job. However I am learning a lot on the spot of the do's and don't of résumé writing.

So, here is the start of my list:

1. Do not place "References Upon Request" on the résumé. A recruiter told me it was not required since they always ask for them and it takes up valuable space on the resume.

2. Make sure EVERYTHING lines up correctly. The eye goes to the offset and it does look bad if you are trying to line up that dream job and the HR person sees that extra space or zig zag and they pass on you. If it has to be then make sure it is as minimal as possible.

Example:

Wrong:
San Francisco Sate  BS in Social Media Marketing May 2008
University of San Francisco Masters in Social Media Marketing May 2010

Right
San Francisco State               BS in Social Media Marketing                       May 2008
University of San Francisco    Masters in Social Media Marketing               May 2010

This also applies to job details as well. If you are unsure if everything lines up take a straight edge (ruler, book or another piece of paper) and draw straight lines so that you have physical proof that things are lined up correctly.

3. Be consistent! I put "attention to detail" on my list of qualifications, yet I had the wrong tenths, periods in one job description and none in the others. What I learned is that in the job descriptions NO PERIODS are the correct way.

4. Pretend to be your own wing person and sell yourself on paper! Cover your name and ask if in a social environment how would you sell the person to a potential date (job) and put ideas on paper and even ask your friends how they would market you to a potential person of interest. Then write the highlights on your résumé.

Next post I will talk about what skills you should put on and also how many pages do you need for your new résumé.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 11 of January

Wow steady blog posting now for almost a week is a record of mine. I hope that it becomes more and more of a habit due to my new awesome glasses. I have hopes that it will help because now I can look at the screen more with less tired eyes and no feeling in my head that it will explode after 20 minutes of looking at "normal" fonts on the internet.

I don't know what this year will give me however I hope to post more on a regular basis now that I have more sight and things to actually craft and show the world. I am thinking of things yet I don't want to bore you reading the same old same old. I may follow a more bohemian approach to blogging than the more formulaic and popular blogs out there, however I am going to try to make this blog an interesting one. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I can see!

I got new glasses yesterday. They are tagged with the Chanel brand so I feel I treated myself. They have the CC's on the side and look dashing on me. They are also bi-focal. The second I put them on I could see with out my head exploding.

I don't know when I am going to get my next pair so I need to treat them with the utmost care. Next year I may get sunglasses if there isn't a reason why I should get a new pair or even if I get new insurance.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Looking for a job is...

Harder than finding a liberal in Texas.

I have been looking for a few months and it feels like years. I have hit up every employment agency in the area, dropped my resume off at every place that I could think of and more. I have also tried to go into business myself with little success. Hence the Etsy shop and I am gearing up to do the Makers Fair and a few local farmers markets this year. Hopefully to pay for some of the debt I am in.

However craft fairs and farmers markets are not a steady source of income, so I am still looking for a more stable job. I know its going to take time however I thought it would be instantaneous because of my credentials. Though I think half the nation right now is saying the same thing.

Any more leads that I haven't thought of?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Ouch! My first pin cushion and tutorial

There are many times when I need a helping hand for straight pins and having two little active girls at my feet I can't have a standard pin cushion because small hands get into so many things.



Two nights ago I took a scrap that I had made a month ago and added some elastic took me less than 10 minutes. It is a little loose because I didn't measure the elastic correctly and the first one always comes out wonky.

What you will need for this project:
1. Two pieces of  scrap material 8 inches long by 4 inches wide
2. One piece of scrap interfacing or batting (thickness is up to you) with the same measurement as above
3. One piece of elastic (I have the 1 and 1/4 inch pictured above) this measurement isn't precise due to it needing to fit your wrist. Just make sure to make the elastic is not cutting off your blood supply when you put it on!
4. Thread, Sewing Machine and pins

Start by making a sandwich of the cut scraps and interfacing making sure that the two scrap patterns are facing each other and the interfacing is on top of one of the pieces of material.

Pin it in place and then sew with a 1/4 inch seam around the piece leaving a 2 inch gap on one side of the long side denoting by two pins where to start and finish. Back stitch a bit to lock the stitches in and clip the corners and turn out and iron down the sandwich for the nice edge and seam for the top stitch.

Next top stitch the sandwich closed.

Wait wait I hear you are saying "what about the elastic?" I am getting to that point so hold on.

With the sandwich closed fold it half the long way and add the elastic and pin it to the sandwich ends and sew the elastic to the ends and back stitch (the first end will be easier than the second end).

If you want you could close the open side, however I left mine open so I could have some where to stash a safety pin or two.

All done.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Starting to get crafty

Getting everything I need for the Spring deadline of the farmer's market is exhausting. I need to buckle down and start to get serious on what I need to make. I need to have a stitch and B$;(@ party to help. The items below are some of the things I would like to sell. Any more suggestions would be helpful!

Friday, January 4, 2013

I am making appliques! *update*

Not bad for my first appliqué and without stabilizer #nexttim... on Twitpic
My first applique (rookie still)
I have been wanting to make cute clothes for my daughters and other items to sell for my ETSY shop Made by @AVPH Recently, I bought a pattern for a shirt bib for my baby girl Grace and it had some great designs for appliques and I have a lot of material that can be used for them so I am trying my hand at it. Pictures coming soon of the appliques and the finished products.