Thursday, 30 January 2003

Newsletter Issue 56, January 2003


Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 56, January 2003
Hi guys,
So, do you feel like a change after the holiday break? Then perhaps you need to check out The Successful CV Preparation below.
Have you done a defrag lately? Then maybe it's time. Check out Defrag in Safe Mode
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Successful CV Preparation

There's one problem with following standard CV formats: you run the risk of looking like you're following standard formats! Sounding trite and same-old, same-old is not going to catch you that elusive interview.
Good placement companies can see through a formulaic CV in less time than it takes clients to find a bug in the latest release of Microsoft software. So if you want some tips on what to say and why, read on;
  1. Have a local mailing address and phone number. If you haven't moved to the city yet where you are seeking work, get a cell phone number and get yourself a Post Office box with forwarding service to your current address. Then you will get more responses - and therefore have a higher interview hit rate
  2. Building strengths like sound legal arguments. What you have done, why you have done it, and what that means for a prospective employer. Putting adjectives like trustworthy, hardworking and reliable with examples in your function statements like “Trusted with security access, safe codes and employee password management, ensuring company assets are protected". This then leads to step 3...
  3. Analyse your functional skill clusters. Decide what main areas of skills you have;  eg Marketing, Administration, Software Engineering, Interpersonal etc. Be balanced though and don't focus too much on technical things. Remember to demonstrate "soft" skills like teamwork and customer service to help you with step 4...
  4. Write a master CV based on your functional skill clusters. Develop a master CV document with all of your individual strengths grouped under each transferable skill cluster heading. Some skills will belong under two or more headings. Double them up. You will prune this document for each job you apply for
  5. Let your character come through in your writing. Use your language in a letter and CV so that what the interviewee selector reads in your documentation is what they will expect to meet in the flesh.
  6. Work through the Job Description. Get the job description for each job you apply for and go through it line by line. Ensure that a strength is present for each one. Make sure that your main transferable skill sections match the main ones asked for in the Job Desc 
  7. Researching the Company. Use your favourite web crawler to look for company information and articles. If you can’t find anything, check the local paper or call company reception and ask for a Press pack. Try to get some information on the industry, who the major players are and what it takes to be successful . Then you will be able to complete item 7...
  8. Show your passion for the company. Demonstrating in your cover letter that you have a great reason for wanting to work for, and what you can do for, the company. “As the fastest growing electrical company in NZ, my expertise in Asian markets can assist the company into new market and therefore growth opportunities.” 
  9. Don't mention your benefits. Don't talk about the rewards, benefits or salary in your letter or CV. That comes at the first - or sometimes second - interview. Wait until they have decided that they can't do without you; then you are in the strongest bargaining position.
To trap the job of your dreams, you have to ensure that you set yourself up to win, not to fail. While there is no magic formula that will guarantee you an interview, avoiding some of these errors will certainly mean that you have a better chance than many. Good luck! 

Defrag in Safe Mode

Defrag - or disc defragmenter - is used to speed up your hard disc. Basically it reorganises the files on your hard drive, enabling faster access of commonly-used files.
Those of you who do computer maintenance will be aware of the problems that you can have when running the Windows defragmentation programme in "Normal" mode. Defrag starts and restarts and really has to grunt away for hours before it completes. Sometimes it gets started and stopped so many times it refuses to complete.
This is because there are other programmes running in the background, halting the reorganisation process. And programmes causing the stoppages aren't just open Office programmes (although that too will cause problems). They include screen savers, anti-virus software, internet connections and messaging programmes.
So in order to run Defrag effectively on Windows 98, the easiest thing to do it to run it in safe mode, which is a diagnostic form of Windows loaded with minimal drivers. "But how?" I am sure that I can hear some of you say. Like this;
  1. Right click on the desktop, select Properties and go to the " Screen Saver" tab. Select "None" in the Screen Saver box. Click Apply, then OK. 
  2. Shut down & restart your PC
  3. As it boots up again, keep hitting "F8" on the keyboard
  4. You will get a message on the screen "Microsoft Windows 98 Startup Menu". Select 3 (Safe Mode)
  5. On startup a message box will appear tell you that you in safe mode. Click OK 
  6. The PC will run VERY slowly. Be patient. Your desktop screen will be much larger, and if you have dragged your icons to special locations, they will now all show as left aligned in columns (and, unfortunately, will be like this when you restart in Normal mode, so you will have to reposition them)
  7. Go to the Start menu. Select Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Disc Defragmenter
  8. A message box will appear asking which drive you wish to defragment. Select your PC hard drive from the drop down list
  9. Click the "Settings" button and ensure "rearrange program files so that my programs run faster" and "check the drive for errors" are ticked
  10. Click OK and defrag will run. Go away and have a coffee. Come back and check in an hour in case there is a message stating "This process has stopped and restarted 10 times. Do you want to continue to receive these messages". Click "No" if you get one of these and then leave the PC for a couple of hours to run
  11. Shut down and restart. If - in the unlikely event that the PC boots up into Safe Mode again, simply shut down and restart again, F8-ing until you get the "Microsoft Windows 98 Startup Menu". Select 1 (Normal) 
I had an interesting problem with a client the other day. Their mouse was disabled in Safe Mode. So for them to run Defrag, they needed to use the following keyboard commands;
  • Ctrl & Esc to bring up the Start Menu
  • Arrow keys to navigate to Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Disc Defragmenter
  • Tab to go to the drop down list. F4 to drop the list down. Enter to select the drive.
  • Tab to get to the "Settings" button. Enter to select. Tab the "+" to tick the "rearrange program files so that my programs run faster" and "check the drive for errors" 
  • Tab & enter to click OK and defrag will run
  • Once run, Ctrl & Esc to bring up the Start Menu
  • Arrow keys to navigate to "Shut down and restart"
Good luck with it all!

Paragraphs & Headings in Word

Fast Paragraph Move
There is a very fast way of moving paragraphs in Word, and all you have to do is;
  • Click once anywhere inside a paragraph
  • Hold down Alt+Shift and press the up or down arrow
  • The entire paragraph moves up or down
If you select more than one paragraph, Alt+Shift+ up or down arrow will move all of the selected paragraphs up or down, adjusting numbering (for numbered paragraphs or styles) as you go. 
Creating Headings
If you hold down Alt+Shift and push the right arrow key, Word turns the paragraph to Heading 2 style. Push the right arrow again, and the paragraph becomes Heading 3, then Heading 4, and on to Heading 2
Push Alt+Shift and the left arrow key and the paragraph turns into Heading 9, then Heading 8, and so on, down to Heading 1. 
NB: beware - no pushing of the left or right keys will return the paragraph to its original style.
TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • FPU, Floating Point Unit. A microprocessor or special circuitry in a more general microprocessor that manipulates numbers more quickly than basic PC microprocessors (aka numeric co-processor). Has a special set of instructions focusing entirely on large mathematical operations.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
All the Function keys for you again, but this time we are shifting as well - all you can do with Alt, Shift, Ctrl & F7;
  • PowerPoint, Word "Next misspelling" ALT & F7 
  • Excel "Carry out the Move command (workbook icon menu, menu bar), or use the arrow keys to move the window" CTRL & F7 
  • PowerPoint "Carry out Move command (presentation Control menu)" CTRL & F7 
  • Word "Doc Move" CTRL & F7 
  • Word "Update Source" CTRL & SHIFT & F7
  • Word "Dictionary" ALT & SHIFT & F7
  • FrontPage, Word "Open Thesaurus " SHIFT & F7 
Hot Linx
Having trouble with spam? Not using Outlook to organise your email? Then perhaps Mailwasher is just the freeware to help you get rid of those unwanted emails. Download it from http://www.mailwasher.net/download.php
If you are using Outlook 2000, then your holiday list has ended. You can get a new list, covering holidays in years 2003 to 2007, at http://office.microsoft.com/downloads/2000/OutlHol.aspx 
Those of you who are in the process of changing jobs could try checking out work online in New Zealand through http://www.monster.co.nz/ for placements, and Dick Bolles website (author of "What Colour is My Parachute") at http://www.jobhuntersbible.com/ 

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here