How to Write a Successful Resume

By Lexi Reeve

Whether you’re fresh out of college or you’ve been working for years and are just trying to make a career change, we all know how difficult the job search can be. And by far, one of the most grueling tasks you must complete during the process is resume writing. Yet everyone has to do it at some point; the trouble is knowing how to market yourself to prospective employers. Well, take a seat and start writing because you’re about to learn how to write a successful resume that will land you a job interview.

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So what is a resume, exactly?

The common misconception about resumes is that you have to list everything about yourself on a single piece of paper. In reality, your resume is just a chance for you to get the employer interested. Only list the most critical need-to-know items, like the job experience you have that’s relevant to the position you’re applying for. Once you land the interview, you can elaborate on everything else that makes you qualified for the job.

Employers don’t want to know nor do they have the time to learn about every job you’ve ever held and every volunteer event you’ve ever been to. One of the most important things you can do to your resume is to target it around the position you’re applying for. For example, if you are applying for an advertising job, only list the education, work, and volunteer experience you’ve held related to advertising. This employer may not be interested in other job positions you’ve held (say for example, in the food industry) if those jobs don’t relate to the company or the position applied for.

Another way to specialize your resume is to do some research. Once you find a position you want to apply for, and once you’ve targeted your resume by the experience related to that particular position, visit the business’s website. If the website repeats specific words (perhaps in its “mission” or “about us” section) you know those descriptive words are important to the business and its goals. Place those “power” words into your resume so you can stand out to your employer as a candidate that strives for the same objectives that the company does. You will already be a top contender and this will (hopefully) land you an interview.

Finally, another way to make your resume stand out is to add a picture of yourself. This is often debated but it depends entirely on the position you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a position that requires a lot of creativity, then don’t hesitate to include a picture of yourself. Not only will you stand out, but employers will know that you think outside of the box. However, if the position you’re applying for or the firm itself has a somewhat “strict” reputation, such as an attorney’s office, adding a picture is not advised because it could potentially be viewed as unprofessional.

Well, there you have it. You now know how to target your resume and market yourself to employers! Of course the other resume basics apply, like keeping it to one page, listing your contact information, and providing references, but now you have a much higher chance of being hired. Not all resumes are created equal, so make sure you’re doing all you can to make yours stand out.

Good luck on the job search!

How to Make Game Day Snack Food

Well, it’s official. School is back in session, fall has begun, and football season has started! For many of us, it’s a season created to demonstrate our strong amount of school spirit. We cheer on our players, we wear our team colors, and we come together to watch the game. And while it’s always enjoyable to actually attend a game and sit in the stadium, it’s not always fun on the wallet.

Luckily, you don’t need to be in the stadium to enjoy football. You can have a good time at home, too, because who doesn’t love spending their weekends with friends, watching their team play on television, and of course, eating delicious snack food from the comfort of their home? I’m here to help you enjoy the game without the need for a ticket in your hand. So sit back, relax, invite some friends over, and prepare some of the snack options below for a killer football viewing party.

Guacamole

Option 1: Good old fashioned guacamole and chips

-If you’re like me and don’t want to spend much time cooking, this is a great option; it’s fast and easy to make. For a group of four or five people, begin by buying four avocados, then peel and mash them together. Choose which ingredients you want to add (I always add a half chopped onion, a half chopped tomato, and one tablespoon of lime juice) then mix them together and serve with chips. No one can resist guacamole.

Option 2: Stuffed potato skins

-This recipe requires a little more effort. Depending on how many guests you have, buy the appropriate number of potatoes and cook (five minutes in the microwave and about an hour in the oven) until tender.  Scoop out the inside of the potato until just the skin remains. To make the stuffing, simply add the ingredients you want to use (traditionally it’s made with cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and chives). Broil for two minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream and enjoy.

Option 3: Pigs in a blanket

-This recipe is a crowd pleaser and it’s super simple. All you have to buy is one Pillsbury crescent dinner roll, a package of hot dogs, and slices of American cheese. First, wrap the slice of cheese around the hot dog, then wrap the dough triangle around the hot dog and place onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about twelve minutes and you have a delicious game day snack food.

Try making it a potluck so you won’t have to bake everything yourself; that way you can relax and enjoy the game with friends. You don’t need to be in the stadium to have a good time, just enjoy yourself and have a good game day.

How to… Make Someone Else’s Holiday Better

By Lexi Reeve

Lucy

A lot of people this holiday season are having a hard time. Whether they’re suffering from unemployment, lower wages or shorter hours due to the lingering effects of the recession, there is less disposable income they have to spend on gifts for their families. So, if you want to give back this holiday, whether you have some extra money or some extra time, here is a list of ideas you can pick from to help your local community!

1. Buy a present for a child in need

There are a lot of places (usually your local mall) that will have a “giving tree” where a child in need lists off presents they’d enjoy getting for the holiday. That list is made into an ornament and hung on a tree, where you can pick one of the ornaments, buy the gift listed, and bring it back (unwrapped) to the volunteers who will make sure that the child gets the gift on Christmas! It ensures that kids in your community whose parents can’t afford to buy them gifts will have a happy holiday and wake up to something under the tree!

2. Volunteer in the community

If you don’t have any extra money to spend, try donating some of your time by volunteering at local organizations in your community! Whether that’s unpacking or delivering food at the food bank, singing Christmas carols at a retirement home, or serving food at a soup kitchen (such as the Portland Rescue Mission), it will be sure to bring a little happiness to someone and make their holiday a little brighter!

3. Donate old clothes to Goodwill

Most people who don’t have a lot of disposable income won’t want to buy themselves warm clothes this winter. During a time when the temperatures drop significantly, you can do your part by going through your closet, finding clothes you don’t wear anymore, and donating them to your local Goodwill.

4. Donate old blankets to a local animal shelter

If you get some new blankets this holiday, donate your old ones to an animal shelter! Not many people know this, but the most used item animal shelters go through are blankets, and oftentimes they can’t afford to buy new ones. If you’re a pet person, round up some old sheets or blankets you have lying around the house and help out animals in need! And hey, while you’re at it, why not consider adopting?

5. Volunteer for the Fireman’s Toy Drive

Many fire stations host an annual toy drive each winter where they collect toys to donate to sick children in local hospitals. For a children unable to spend Christmas at home with their family, these toys brighten up their holiday. Figure out whether your local fire station hosts one of these toy drives, then go ahead and buy a board game or a stuffed animal for a child in need!

The holidays are all about giving, but that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to giving only to family and friends. If you can find some extra time or money, charity will go a long way this winter to families less fortunate. Make someone else’s Christmas better by doing what you can to give back in your community.

How to… Stay Motivated for Finals

By Lexi Reeve

Campus here at the University of Oregon has a gloomy feel about it lately, and that means that dead week has hit and finals are soon to follow. It’s easy to tell from the zombie-like appearance of fellow students that classes are winding down, stress is increasing, and studying has hit an all time high for the term. Not to mention that Oregon decided to throw in some frosty, cold weather into the mix to challenge us not to get out of bed in the morning! Well, when you feel like your brain just can’t take in any more information and you want to give up on studying, just read the tips below to gain some much needed motivation before finals!

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1. Set Goals

Write out a list of what you need to get done over the weekend. Then write out how long you think it will take you to do each task, and assign a time  (such as Saturday, 10-11:30 am) for you to finish the task. If you plan out when you will do each assignment or read each chapter, it won’t seem so overwhelming.

2. Plan Your Time Wisely

I know that I’ve been guilty of this in the past, but I try to get everything done at once without thinking about the degree of importance each task requires. So if you have a final Monday and one on Wednesday, for example, don’t study for both of them over the weekend. The first final is the most important one for you to focus on at the moment, so study for that first, and once you’re completely finished, move on to the next task. If you plan your time wisely, you’ll get the biggest reward for as little effort as possible.

3. Eliminate Distractions

If you have a difficult time studying at home (due to distractions from roommates, social media sites, or the television) go somewhere to study like the library or the EMU student union. If you have a hard time focusing while surrounded by other people, who are most likely in study groups talking to one another, try to study at home but remove the potential distractions so that you can focus. Tools like LeechBlock exist so you can temporarily lock yourself out of sites like Facebook and Twitter, which may be causing you to waste time. Just specify the sites you want to block and the time you want them to be disabled.

4. Study with Friends

If you have class with friends, studying in a group will usually help you to learn more than working on your own. We all have different learning styles, so while you may be a visual learner, your friend might be an auditory learner. You each may have picked up on different aspects of the lectures and/or readings. So studying together will help you learn more than simply working on your own. The difficult part will be trying not to get sidetracked while studying with friends!

5. Take Breaks

It’s important for you to be able to breathe and take some time for yourself, too! Don’t let studying consume you for the next two weeks. You need time to relax and let the studying sink in instead of overwhelming yourself with information (and remembering only a portion of it). Have some fun with your friends before you leave for winter break. If you have something to look forward to, you’ll be more motivated to study and be efficient while doing it.

Good luck on finals everyone, and have a great winter break!

How to Make Your Own Thanksgiving Decorations

By Lexi Reeve

We’re in the midst of the holiday season, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Most likely, you will be celebrating the day with family and friends, and that means that your out of town relatives could potentially be making an appearance. Besides the food, one of the first things people notice is the holiday decor on the dinner table. So, decorate to impress by making your own arrangement with homemade decor!

Here is a list of beautiful decorations that are inexpensive and easy to make!

Spray painted silver and gold pine cones
Silver and gold pine cones, photo copyright Beta J

  • Spray painted gold or silver pine cones
  • Bowls filled with candy corn with a candle centerpiece
  • Pressed leaves sealed and ironed (quickly) in wax paper
  • Vase filled with hay and corn
  • Mini pumpkins painted (puff paint or glitter) to spell out “thanks”
  • Jars of corn kernels, candy corn, acorns, or berries
  • Feathers attached to the end of pine cones to look like turkeys (add a face)
  • Pressed leaf with the name of your guest painted on and set on their plate
  • Spray painted gold or silver feathers

Of course you can always be more traditional by placing small pumpkins around the table or simple candles, but why not have fun with it? You could even entertain visiting kids the day of by having a craft table near by so that they can make the decorations themselves (except the ones involving the iron)! They would love it and it would give you a chance to cook, entertain, or catch up with long distance relatives. Just remember to enjoy the holiday and give thanks to friends and family.

Candy Corn can be a fun and festive Thanksgiving decoration
Candy corn is fun for Thanksgiving decorations, photo copyright Muffet

How To Create Crayon Art

By Lexi Reeve

I’ve seen a lot of pictures recently of this type of crayon art on Pinterest and felt inspired to try it! Thankfully it’s not that difficult to implement and the results are beautiful. There are many variations of crayon art currently circulating around the Internet, but the one I’m going to tell you how to do is simply melted crayons on canvas.

Step 1: Find a canvas at a local art supply store. I went to Aaron Brothers to find my canvas. They have a lot of sales and two for one deals so it’s always a safe bet. I chose a canvas that was wider rather than longer because I like the effect of the melted crayons covering the entire art piece.

Step 2: Buy a box of crayons. I wanted a variety of different colors so I went to Michaels and got their box of 24 crayons. I then placed my crayons on the top edge of the canvas and moved them around until I had them in the order I wanted. I wanted the pink to be in the middle (it’s my favorite color) so I started there and continued to the ends with each color matching on either side. However, a lot of people chose to ascend the colors in the style of a rainbow, so that’s always an option.

Step 3: Find a glue gun. Once you have selected the pattern of your crayons, start gluing them onto the canvas using a hot glue gun. It’s the only way that they’ll stay on once you start blow drying them. Once they’re on the canvas, let them cool for a while so that the glue can dry.

Step 4: Start blow-drying! But first, remember to set down newspaper under your canvas so that you don’t get crayon wax everywhere! Once that’s done, find an old hair dryer to melt the crayons. It will take a while for the hair dryer to heat up enough to start melting the wax, so be patient! To create the effect you want, you can either aim your hair dryer to the side of the crayons to create a splatter effect, or straight on if you want the crayons to melt downward. Have fun with it! Once you’ve melted the crayons, let the canvas cool so that you don’t accidentally drip wax everywhere.

Step 5: Select a place to hang your art!

This project is so much fun to do, it’s inexpensive to make, and it looks great! It is a perfect project to do with children because it doesn’t require a lot of time. Whatever you do, just have fun with it and be creative!