Oh My – Traveling the Yellow Brick Road to Employment

This week I posted a researcher / admin job on Craigslist. Within 90 minutes I had 75 resumes. Here are 14 things that came to mind when reviewing responses to my listing:

  1. Put your employment objectives at the top of your resume but make them about serving your employer not about YOU. Employment is not about you, it's about an agreement to deliver services for $$.
  2. It's not a good idea to have typos in a resume. I rejected those immediately.
  3. Write in complete sentences and check your grammar and punctuation.
  4. Put a greeting with some info into the email. With 75 resumes there was no way in heck I was going to read a resume without an introduction.
  5. Remember to attach the resume.
  6. At least try to match your qualifications with the job description. Please.
  7. Do not write about your interest in learning to do the job. I need an assistant not an intern.
  8. Do not suggest you would love to work in my organization and know all about it because, you do not: It's Craig's List, I'm under cover!
  9. Include references.
  10. If you have a new job every three months, explain yourself.
  11. Respond early. I opened the emails in chronological order and some early responders where eminently qualified.
  12. Do not send a sexy seductive picture (yep, someone did that).
  13. Do not make me guess your abilities. There's too much competition. You have to make me want to hire you based on your qualifications.

It's tough to make the transition from one field of work to another (eg, retail to administration). Think about how your old / current job keep you the right skills for you new job and explain it in a cover letter. Be creative yet honest.

Antique Furniture: The Timeless Classic

When you do a search online for Antique Furniture, one of the first listings that pop up is a Wikipedia article stating just the general basics of how antique furniture is valued. These criteria include how the monetary value of a piece of antique furniture correlates to its age, rarity, and condition.

What exactly does this mean for a consumer looking to add antique decor to a house? The factors vary. While they are highly collectible, acquiring Antique Furniture began as a means to express one's status, and to this day is still an effective means to do so. Antique Furniture captures the essence of the height of style and luxury from the era the furniture originates. Purchasing a table from Leighton Hall for example, captures the grandeur of the old English estate, and can create a similar feeling of ageless rustic royalty in the room. Alternately, a purchase of antique EJ Victor furniture may create the appearance eighth century high class with its hand made craftsmanship.

These days, most furniture stores will offer to sell antiques right along their brand new factory-direct couches, tables, chairs and cabinets. In these situations, caveat emptor is the rule. Without you already happen to be a connoisseur of all things antique, or can bring one with you, it is recommended that you keep your eye open for a couple of things. If you want a real antique, see if you can find some sort of maker's mark. Once locating this, take note of a manufacture date. Take this information to a knowledgeable source to see if they have any more information for you concerning the piece of furniture you have your eye on. Something you can do on your own is to look for imperfections in the restoration of the article you are thinking about purchasing. Uneven finishes, mottle veneer, and other indicators that it was a rushed job are all signs that you should either move on, or expect to spend some extra money fixing it up.

Those looking specifically for Antique Furniture will have much better luck going to an actual antiques furniture store. Many of them have a passion for the business, and these individuals are knowledgeable about their work. Instead of going off site for information about an item of furniture you have in mind, sales staff often times have great insight into the items they sell. You also will be hard pressed to find a better selection of antique furniture than at a store that actually specializes in what you're looking for. At a good antique store you'll be able to find a wide assortment of price, style, and rarity while being met with excellent condition across the board.

4 Motorcycle Accessories to Add Your BMW GS Motorbike

The BMW GS series of motorbikes is seen as one of the most popular range of motorbikes in its class – the dual sport / adventure bikes. They are even extremely popular outside of their class, possibly losing out only to Japanese racing bikes and Harleys. If you own a BMW GS bike and have not yet taken it on overnight (or longer) trips, it's high time you do so because this is what they were built for. This article suggests five common accessories you can add to your bike, which you'll certainly appreciate regardless of whether or not you are already a seasoned adventure motorcyclist.

Motorbike Luggage carriers / panniers

Motorcycle luggage carriers are probably the first type of BMW GS accessories you should be looking at. Not much point in taking overnight trips if you can not carry any substantial amount of luggage with you, right? There are several options available:

Tankbags are placed just in front of you, between your seat and the handlebars. These are usually quite small bags, very convenient for storing items you need to get to quickly like your wallet or camera. Topcases are another option which are mounted on the back of the bike. You may or may not need to install a rack or adapter plate to hold the case, especially if you're installing a non BMW topcase.

BMW GS panniers or "side bags" as they are commonly called hang off the sides of the bike, at the back. Soft panners offer less protection to its contents, hold smaller volumes but are less bulky. Hard panniers are manufactured from metal (usually aluminum) can be costly and are definitely heavier and bulkier but usually offer excellent protection from crashes, water and dirt. They can sometimes hold up to 40L each, which ads the same capacity as a very large backpack right on the rear of your bike – get 'em if you can afford' em. If you can not fit all your stuff in a pair of these panners, a rollbag and tank bag then you seriously need to reconsider the amount of stuff you are taking.

Motorcycle Lights

Motorcycle lights are a useful addition which adds an element of safety to your riding experience. You can see better, and you're also seen better. Xenon headlights are available and these make your bike stand out more when you appear in other driver's mirrors – the extra visibility could save your life one day. Several companies manufacture additional light sets that are mounted on the front of bike, to be used in foggy or other low visibility conditions. These are ultra bright lights which allow you to see the road in front of you and any possible obstacles better.

Perhaps they should not be used only in low-vis conditions: I've heard car driver sympathetic to us motorcyclists say that (while being as attentive as they can) "I just do not notice bikes on the road. notice ONE light at all ". Anyone who drives a car through cities should be able to confirm this – a single light just does not stand out. A set of extra lights on the side of your bike results in a "triangle" of lights shining out of your bike: one main light with two extra lights below and to the side of it. If you've ever seen a big GS bike kitted out with this kind of setup you'll know what I mean. Although a little extravagant, these extra lights DO make you more visible in the rear view mirrors of car drivers. Hopefully they will realize a motorbike is approaching before the swerve out of their lane and nail you.

Finally, aftermarket brake lights are available that shine brighter and can be configured to blink or flash quickly when you brake. I'm not sure if they are legal, and they may be annoying to car drivers but they allow motorists driving behind you to notice you quick – very useful in case traffic slows down abruptly and you're worried about getting rear ended by inattentive drivers .

Aftermarket exhausts

Motorcycle exhausts are toys for the boys. They rarely offer practical improvements, other than a great rumbling sound for that extra satisfaction when you're revving the engine at a red light. It has to be said that aftermarket exhausts are usually also lighter than the OE ones and may save a couple of pounds in weight – who does not want a lighter bike? These exhausts usually also give you a little bump in horsepower – not as much as with aftermarket car exhausts, but maybe noticeable nonetheless. One thing to look out for is that exhaust does not get in the way of any panniers or pannier racks you have hanging off the side of the bike. Exhausts are not cheap but will only widen your grin and give your bike more of an individual character.

Fairing & windscreens

Motorcycle fairing is the "shell" that's placed over the frame at the front of the bike and is designed to reduce air drag. It improves the aerodynamics of the bike and protects you from wind blast and debris flying your way. Assuming you have not mounted a fridge sized box on the back of your BMW GS, its aerodynamics are probably good enough for overnight trips. However, the protection from wind and debris offers a substantial improvement. Modifying the fairing on BMW GS bikes is usually done by the real pros and in rally conditions, but casual travelers can seriously benefit from an extended windscreen which can save strain on your body and neck when driving at moderate to high speeds during highway cruising.

For the real fanatics, Touratech is able to convert your GS motorbike in to a fully fledged Paris – Dakar clone. Their "desertio" range of bikes renders the original GS bikes almost unrecognizable. Conversions like this come at a price, but if the environment is appropriate you'll appreciate these full on make-overs.

It's clear that adding BMW GS accessories to your bike are a great way to make your bike safer, unique, better looking and more travel-worthy.

Happy trials and ride safe!

Increase Your Conversion Rates With Product Photography

High-quality product photography is an essential tool for driving sales to your eCommerce store. It compensates for customers’ inability to touch and feel the items that you’re selling.

In bricks-and-mortar shops, people would usually try the products on display racks before deciding whether or not to buy them.

When it comes to online shopping, they weigh the pros and cons of purchasing a product based on what they see, not feel.

Unfortunately, sometimes the actual look of a product is different from its picture on a website. When a customer experiences this, they end up disappointed and returning the item.

To avoid returns and increase your conversion rate, create visually-appealing product images that are almost tangible.

5 ways to create quality product photos

Proper lighting can be the big difference between a spectacular product image and one that is, well, second-rate.

Anyone can take pictures using a mobile phone or an instant camera, unmindful of the unsightly elements like shadows, but product photography should always produce shadowless photos.

Ample lighting captures not only the shape of an object but also its actual colour and texture.

Now, remember we mentioned the “touch-and-feel” aspect of shopping and how it matters to a shopper? Taking close-ups breaks the invisible barrier between your product and customers. A close-up allows them to scrutinise your product down to its tiniest detail.

Still on the subject of touching and feeling a product, shoot from as many angles as you can to give customers a three-dimensional view of what you’re selling. That way, they can experience the item as if they’ve walked into your shop and touched it.

Also, you’ll want to add a responsive video, which shows how the product works, alongside your multi-angled photos. Not only will it give your customers a clearer picture of your product, but it will also boost traffic on your website. Besides, who doesn’t love videos?

Most important of all, you have to keep it real because a potential customer will want to see how your product can be used day-to-day. Instead of over-editing a picture in Photoshop until it looks extremely fake, apply it to a real-life situation.

If you’re selling a ball gown, for example, how would you present photos of it to a woman with a nine-to-five job? She’s unlikely to buy it if she only sees a tight shot of the dress, but if you show her when and where to wear it, then you have her attention.

More than increasing traffic on your eCommerce website, these tried-and-tested photography techniques will surely lead to a higher conversion rate.

How do you come up with beautiful product images for your site?