What am I talking about – a vacation?
You are on sabbatical Harold, everyday is a vacation.
Err – actually no.
Over the course of this sabbatical I have been busy doing something almost every day. To either learn a new skill, attempt to network – either online or in the real-world and do the initial phase of my job search. Just like in a regular job, if you don’t take a break for a while, you are not nearly as creative or effective.
It has been too long since I took some down-time and the week after Memorial Day seemed like a great week to take off.
That is what I have been doing so far this week and why there have been no new posts this week, except for this one and why I haven’t be participating in Twitter Chats or other online communities.
I will be back renewed and ready to go for it again next week .
This is the second in my series on computer tools that I am using to help me in my job search. The first post in this series was:
Productivity Suites are probably the tool that almost all of us use almost daily – if we work in an office environment. So what is a productivity suite: the different Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Slideshow combination programs and possibly a note taking application. This post is just going to look at the word processor.
Some that I have used are:
- Microsoft Office – Word (2003, 2007 or 2010) – the standard against which others are measured. Sorry Open Source, Cloud converts and Apple fans, from what I have read, seen and experienced – Word is still the most common word processor used in business, education or government agencies. Ever since it won the Word Processor battle with WordStar back in the 80′s, it has been the dominant one for many years and has not been surpassed yet.
- iWork ’09 Pages – Apple’s alternative which is more of a desktop publisher than a word processor, but is used for both.
- One of the Open Office cadre – free and open source, which will do most everything you want from a word processor.
- Google Documents (now part of Google Drive) – We used extensively in my classrooms over the past two years, its simplicity (quick learning curve) and ability to share with others really set it apart for students and beginning users. It will do 80-85% of what you need to do with a word processor and is improving all the time.
- Zoho Writer – Probably my all time favorite online word processor and if it wasn’t for Google Connect’s capabilities to Word, I would be using it more for my personal use.
- Adobe Buzzword – One of my favorites with a unique tool bar setup, it just never gained a it following.
We all have our favorites, what are yours?
This is not a “How to use Word or Office” post, there are too many sites and videos on YouTube that already do that.
Dirty Little Secret
There is one thing that is a dirty little secrets of word processors (I have used more than couple of the past 30 years), if you have learned one, your skills readily transfer to others.
Most of the terminology is the same and while the icons, labels, where things are located or bells and whistles being used might be slightly different. The majority of word processors are not really all that different from one another, when it comes down to the basics of creating, editing and filing a document.
What I am using now
While my Dell came with Microsoft Office Starter, I found it very limited for my uses and stopped using it. I loaded a copy of Office 2007 that I had laying around the house and began to re-familiarize myself with where everything is.
After 2 years on the Mac (using iWork ’09 and Office for Mac), it took a couple days to remember where things are (especially the more advanced features), but I am back to being comfortable using it again.
Right now I can’t afford to get a copy Office 2010, but from what I can see it is a step up from 2007 and can’t wait to use it. However, I don’t really want to download the 2010 trial version, get used to it and then have to revert back to 2007 after the 60 days are up, so I will just keep looking for a great deal on 2010.
That is the same thing that is keeping me from trying Office 365, I would have to revert back, so they are no go for right now.
Who knows maybe Microsoft will come out with a deal for “unemployed veterans” as a good-will offering, so that we will be more likely to upgrade with it comes to the next version of office.
I am doing a couple of things differently.
First is that I am using Google Cloud Connect for Word. Here is a link to the Google’s site to describe what it does, but in a nutshell, it creates a copy in Google Docs (now Google Drive) that automatically and updates when you save or sync your document.
Word with Google Cloud Connect
Cloud Connect seems to do a pretty good job of keeping your document’s format correct, but you have to send your document into Google Documents for editing, if you are not on your computer and that is where you will run into formatting issues, if you use certain functions.
Google Drive Example of Google Documents
The other thing that I have done is that I save all my documents into my Microsoft Skydrive folder, that way they are backed up in a second place, in case something happens to my hard drive. Plus I can edit them in Microsoft’s Word Web App version of Office in Skydrive. Again be advised that not all of the formatting will remain the same, but it is pretty close.
Both Google Documents and Microsoft Word Web App are getting a lot closer on their ability to reproduce consistent formatting, but neither one is an exact duplicate of the document that I can create with the advanced functions in Word 2007.
Backup is Necessary
However, I am less concerned about the formatting than I am having the document saved to the cloud in 2 very separate areas as backups, in case something happens to my hard drive. Both Microsoft and Google’s backup systems are a lot better than my manual backup routines. Fortunately, this strategy also works for Excel and Powerpoint files.
I don’t know about you, but that is the one thing that I really worry about is loosing all of my hard work if something happens to my computer. These two steps are my effort to alleviate those potential issues before they become a problem.
If you are planning to copy and paste your resume from a desktop word process, it works better as a text file, but I have found it is easier and better to use the copy and paste from an online word processor – it keeps more of the formatting and you don’t have to edit the document nearly as much.
A word processor is an indispensable part of many of our job searches and if you don’t have one and need to create a good resume, cover letter or other documents that relate to your job search, it puts you at a disadvantage to other candidates you are competing with.
The post title says it all – WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES!
Yes I used all caps on purpose, because the past year has been one of change in my life and getting my life back.
Now what do I mean by that statement?
One year ago today I had exploratory arthroscopic surgery on my right knee. I had injured it in February 2010 and the initial diagnosis was Osteochondritis Dissecans, which meant that they thought I was going to be a great candidate for knee replacement and the exploratory part was to go in and see how bad it actually was. I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t scared when I went in the hospital that day - I was.
I will be writing a series on the tools that I am using to help me in my job search efforts (not just social media). For the most part these are software or web applications that I either had lying around the house or are available at no cost or with a trial period. Free is good, especially when money is tight, like it is when you are searching for a job.
No I don’t claim to be an expert, but I have used these tools for a while and have a pretty good idea of what they can do to help during a job search.
The first tool in this series is Evernote – also known as my “other” brain. The one that doesn’t forget.
I have used Evernote since April 2008 and found it to be a rare combination of something that is very easy to use and works the way that my mind does or at least I think it does . (more…)
My new profile picture
This was one of those weeks where you learn so much and you seem to do even more!
Blog Posts Written
- Dramatic Changes to the Blog
- Ageism and How I am Fighting Back
- Have You Looked In the Mirror Lately?
- Have You Done Your Work History Yet?
- VA for Vets Career Center Website
- Blogging During My Job Search
- A Lot of Job Search Work To Be Done
- Veterans’ Networking Session 4-23-12
This is my first weekly recap, so I have included all the non-daily update posts (which I will not be doing any more).
Early in the week, I met with the facilitator of a training I had attended the week before, to help him update his blog. This was fun for me, working on improving a blog’s appearance is something I enjoy doing and have done a lot over the past few years (right Richard – a friend of mine who gives me grief about my changing themes so much). Those skills are now something that I can use to help others. (more…)
As you have noticed, I have made some very dramatic changes to my blog this afternoon!!!!
I was not feeling comfortable with the image I was projecting with the name “Old Guy Job Search” – not the name itself, because it describes exactly who I am and what I am doing. However, the title just seemed too limiting and as I thought more about it, does it convey the image that I want to portray to readers and potential employers?
With the name “Old Guy Job Search“, I also knew that I would have had to change my title after I find employment, otherwise it would become dated and no longer fit the what I would be doing. (more…)
I am pretty focused on my job search preparation right now, but one thing that I have thought about a lot, is how health and appearance can impact landing that job, that I really want.
Something that most job seekers don’t want to admit to thinking very much about is how their physical condition and appearance plays into the job search and interview process. If they do, they tend to either gloss it over (I’m big boned) or they have so many other things they are worrying about – bills, mortgage, car payment etc. that they think there is no time to worry about being healthy.
IT IS A FACTOR
Sorry, if this is your attitude – YOU . ARE . WRONG . at least in my opinion. I have sat on both sides of the job interview table and it does make a difference and is a factor in the hiring process.
stress head (Photo credit: ian boyd)
I submitted the application late this afternoon and hopefully it is great enough to get me into the interview process. After I submitted it, I went for a 5K run to relax a little. After running I did feel a lot better. That is why running is an important part of my coping strategy to manage work related stress. While this was not a very stressful situation, it was more time-consuming than anything, it was great practice for a project with a short deadline, with a high quality end product requirement. Having positive coping strategies in place for those high stress days, that do happen in the workplace is an important skill and one that should be thought about and practiced before they are needed. (more…)
Today was a very busy day!!!!
This morning, I had an appointment at the Augusta Career Center to help someone “Tweak” their blog. We worked on it for an hour and I believe that they are a lot happier with it than what they had when we started. This is one of the things that I really enjoy doing and while I am not much at coding, I can set up a blog on WordPress.com or Blogger very well and add some customizations that look pretty good. This was great practice for me and made me feel pretty good about being to help someone else out.
Before the appointment I was able to get a couple of resumes and my work history printed out, which was a big deal and put into my travelling portfolio. I especially wanted to get the work history printed out, which I worked on for several hours yesterday. (more…)
Getting all of your ducks in a row and preparing your job search is not really all that easy and will take more time than you think it will. You will go down a lot of rabbit holes and get distracted by this great website, blog or article and maybe even the ballgame scores. However, to get what you need done, you have to focus on what is important and what needs to be done.
There is a lot of background work that you need to do, to make sure that you are capturing all of your experience, not just the stuff you remember off the top of your head. So I spent a this morning and most of the afternoon putting together my work history – yes all 31 pages of my professional life (civilian and military) since 1975.
Yes having your work history is that important to have done in my opinion that I did it before really getting started on my resumes. (more…)
Have you done your Work History yet?
If not why not?
Unfortunately or fortunately, however you look at it, Federal, State and many other job applications need a lot of detail about you, when you are applying for a job. I know that Maine‘s are almost onerous and the Federal Government application is not easy to do quickly, so sooner or later you have to put together your work history.
If you have the work history completed, you are not under as much pressure if you suddenly need to complete an application quickly (like yesterday, but no later than today) and then end up not presenting yourself in the best possible light that is the typical result, when you do something too quickly.
This happened to me when I submitted my Federal Resume for a Veteran’s Service Representative position that opened with a three-day window at the end of March. I learned about the announcement on day two. Which coincidentally, was the first day that I started talking to with the professionals at the Augusta Career Center. My application that I submitted definitely was not the quality that it would be today.
To be brutally honest I was not ready for that application and when I look at it now, it needed a lot more work to be a one that would get me to the next step. (more…)
Today was another busy day. I did a little networking (oh how I hate that word), but I know it is necessary and there isn’t really any other way to describe what you are doing that sounds any better .
Then I worked on updating my General Administrator resume and got it pretty close to where I want it to be, it still needs some minor tweaking and a good double-check for grammar/spelling errors. If you would like to take a look here is the link to take a peek. If you have any comments or constructive criticisms – yes they are welcome.
Tomorrow, I want to work on my Professional Trainer resume, which interests me a lot more than general administration. I loved being in the classroom teaching and doing the challenging work of creating interesting lessons or presentation that the learners find useful. Being a trainer is something that I believe I would be great at and have a lot of experience in the classroom and providing training to adults. This will be a good direction to do a lot more research into.
Next week I have to go through and create two Federal Resumes (still deciding whether to just use USAJOBS or the new VA for Vets Career Center – I have one just about done in USAJOBS that I can copy or maybe I will go ahead and just put everything into the VA site? Still deciding on that one. (more…)
This site is probably old news for many out there, but I just found it today. I was doing research on the web this morning and started looking around the Veteran’s Administration Web pages and came across a link to the VA for Vets Career Center and went and looked around.
Being a former teacher, I enjoy taking little online courses, that can help me learn more about a site or how to do something.
So I completed the Introduction to the VA for Vets Career Center Presentation/Course. Which had a lot of great information and practical tips on how to use the site correctly and then worked on VA for Vets Profile and signed up for the site. https://vaforvets.va.gov
Today was a good day and I got a lot done.
Made a network connection and will meet with the person next Monday, replied to a former colleague to setup a lunch and worked a lot on this blog to get the sidebar setup and my wife took a pretty good picture of me that I am using as my professional picture.
I also ran 3.1 miles and worked on getting wood cut and split for next winter. It is better to be prepared than wait until the last minute. So I will be in very good shape for the job search.
TODO’s FROM THE WORKSHOP
Apply for Digital Resource Card from Maine State Library – done next time in Augusta go to Maine State Library to pick-up -
Update LinkedIn profile - Started the update process, I can see as I do more research that the profile will change a lot over the next few weeks.
Rquest more recommendations on LinkedIn - Received 2 more recommendations
Add commendations to LinkedIn – Done
Create new blog for job search – done
Update Facebook profile and privacy settings – done
- Update Resume from standardized to more me – Need to do more research before I go to change it very much
- Create portfolio notebook – in progress
- Scan Commendations, other information into PDF format.
- Order business cards (more…)