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These 8 Common Resume Mistakes Will Land Your Resume in the Shredder

Looking for a job is tough, but it becomes exponentially harder if your resume is not up to snuff. Your resume is, in many cases, the first impression that you are giving to a company. The hiring manager or recruiter doesn’t know any of your great qualities, and they never will if your resume doesn’t get their attention. Even a small mistake on a resume can send the message that you don’t pay attention to detail. What are the major offenses that will get your resume thrown into the paper shredder or recycling bin?

1. The resume is too long. If above the recommended length, you are demanding too much time and attention from the recruiter before proving yourself. Keep their interest, and keep it short! Every 10 years deserve 1 page – don’t surpass this limit, no matter how tempting it might be. If there is something you feel you must share, put it in a separate cover letter.

2. Tiny font. A page for 10 years is not a lot, but just because you want to fit things in, don’t make the font small. Being legible to your eyes is not enough; people have different levels of comfort with small text, and if they need a magnifying glass or to dig out their glasses, or generally strains their eyes, they will likely move onto a more pleasurable read. Don’t assume they will go over it in detail. Make it easy on the reader to maximize your chances of success.

3. Too much creativity disrupting the accepted template. Recruiters and hiring managers are conditioned to look at resumes in a certain way. You can switch things up, but don’t turn convention on its head. You will irritate them by making them take too much time to find the key information points.

4. Regurgitating job descriptions. Don’t copy and paste every job description you’ve had on your resume. If you have a common job title, a reader in your industry will understand your responsibilities without an explanation. Instead, use this space to discuss your accomplishments and the value you brought to your prior employers. How much did you sell? What records or goals did you shatter? Tell the story of your results and success rather than listing duties.

5. Not adding sufficient contact information. Different companies like to communicate differently – accommodate this reality by being easily accessible in many ways. Phone number and email are essential, and as many companies will be checking on your social media, include the links to your profiles to make their job easy.

6. Spelling mistakes. Errors in spelling is a surefire way to show that you are not someone who pays attention to detail. In some fields, a spelling mistake on a resume might kill your chances completely.

7. Making company errors on cover letters. While customization is a great idea, be very careful that you are sending the right company names and not mixing up your cover letters. Sending a cover letter with the wrong company name on it is worse than forgoing the cover letter.

8. Keyword spamming your resume. Don’t put white text on your documents to make it past automated filters in hidden corners. If you can’t include a keyword legitimately in your text some way, leave them out. Put it in your future interest section if you absolutely must have a certain keyword, but don’t try to get past filters with spam. Recruiters will catch on, and they won’t be impressed.

Categories:Kijiji Jobs

Buying Green: The Ecological Impact of Buying a Used Car vs. a New Car

In a continuing effort to take better care of our planet, many people are considering the ecological impact of the items they purchase. Trees take in carbon dioxide (CO2) and expel oxygen (O2), which is useful to pretty much every living species on the planet, even those living in the water. Cars do the exact opposite – consuming O2 and expelling CO2 (among other toxins) – and it takes approximately 110 trees to counteract the carbon dioxide emitted by just one vehicle over its lifetime. To put that into perspective, there are 7.4 million vehicles registered in Ontario alone, so it would require 814 million trees to offset the 28 billion kilos of CO2 that those vehicles will produce over their 12-year (average) lifespan.

Buying Green: New Vs Used

Earth has a finite amount of resources, and it’s up to us to ensure that the planet will be able to sustain life for future generations. To that end, each of us can make more environmentally conscious decisions. One of them would be changing the type of vehicle that we choose to drive. But which would have a lower “carbon footprint”, a new car or a used car?

● Burning 1 litre of gasoline produces 2.3 kg of CO2
● A vehicle with an average fuel economy of 9.4L/100km produces 2,163 kg of CO2 every 10,000 km

The Ecological Impact of Buying New Cars

“Nothing ages your car as much as the sight of your neighbor’s new one.”
– Evan Esar

Burning fossil fuel releases energy used to propel a vehicle down the road, but it’s also used to manufacture the auto in the first place. Creating this energy releases carbon dioxide and other toxins into the atmosphere. These environmental affects create a vehicle’s “carbon footprint”, which is a measure of its impact on the planet. According to a study conducted in 2004 by Toyota, 28% of the carbon dioxide emissions emitted over a vehicle’s lifetime are produced when it’s manufactured. A separate MIT study found that producing the raw materials needed to make an average-sized car (steel, rubber, plastic, etc.) releases 1,580 kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Another 810 kg of CO2 are released when processing recycled materials. That doesn’t even take into account the amount of additional greenhouse gases produced by the car company’s assembly plants, or the freighter ships and 18-wheel car transporters needed to deliver a new car to the dealership. So Toyota’s numbers seem to be spot-on.

Automotive Recycling

In the early 2000’s, over 14 million vehicles a year were being recycled in the U.S. & Canada. At the time, 75% of a vehicle’s weight was being repurposed as raw material to be used in other products. But instead of just melting everything down, automotive recyclers (aka salvage yards) remove reusable components (alternators, seats, airbags, etc.) from a junk vehicle, then they rebuild the part before re-entering it back into the supply chain. This auto part reuse keeps approximately 99.7 million kilos of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, because a brand new version of that part doesn‘t have to be made. The recyclability of new cars is expected to exceed 85% by 2015.

The other 15-25% of a junk vehicle’s weight is sent to landfills, resulting in nearly 5 million tonnes of unprocessable materials (foam, certain plastics, electronic components) being buried in the earth in North America. Given the skyrocketing popularity of features like big touchscreens and hybrid batteries, an increasing percentage of that waste increasingly includes heavy metals and toxic chemicals needed to manufacture such features. In the time since those figures were tabulated, automakers have begun to take steps to reduce the amount of toxins used to make a car. Hybrid battery recycling programs are also being “fast tracked”.

The Ecological Impact of Buying Used Cars

So before a new car even hits the road, its very existence has released thousands of kilos of CO2 into the atmosphere. Then after chugging through countless barrels of fuel throughout its life, that new car then turns into a junk car and pollutes the earth one last time in the landfill. But another option is the ultimate recycling program that rose to popularity long before ‘buying green’ was even fashionable – buying a used car.

In contrast to new cars, used cars have already expelled the largest part of their carbon footprint. In a sense, keeping a used car from entering the junk car phase prolongs its final landfill impact. Naturally, a used vehicle’s carbon footprint does depend on the emissions from its engine and its overall condition. But other than that, the additional carbon footprint of a used car is essentially limited to the emissions created by the vehicles driven to and from the place where the used car is purchased.

The Future

In an effort to reduce the car’s environmental impact, automakers are starting to use more recycled and biodegradable materials. They’re also spending fortunes on component recycling technology that will significantly reduce the amount of hazardous and non-biodegradable materials polluting landfills. In the meantime, you can make a difference by driving responsibly (i.e., conserving fuel), and picking the most efficient vehicle based on your intended use, and considering if a used car will fit your wants and needs just as well as a new one.


5 Tips for the First Time Home Buyer

With mortgage rates possibly headed even lower and property values skyrocketing in some parts of the country, many are considering if now the time to take the plunge into home ownership is now.

1st Time Home Buyers

Think with your head, not your heart. Buying a home is emotional, we get it – but, ideally, you should treat it like you would any other investment to get the most out of the transaction. It is easy to get wrapped up in the excitement and be so afraid of losing out that you are willing to overlook certain things, or skip certain steps such as the home inspection (don’t let anyone pressure you into buying without a home inspection clause, and don’t use the inspector recommended by the selling agent).

Crunch the numbers (independently). So you are pre-approved for a mortgage? Great – that is a good way to show sellers you are serious, and to get an idea of what the bank will give you. Don’t make the mistake of trusting what the bank says you can afford. Remember, selling mortgages is big business for them, and they are trying to sell you on using their products. They will likely pre-approve you for an amount higher than what you can actually afford, as they don’t take into account your daycare costs, the price of your daily commute, what it will cost to make home repairs, and all those other day to day living expenses. Make sure the amount of mortgage you are signing on for is something you can realistically carry, and do some additional calculations for in case interest rates go up. You don’t want to be forced to sell if interest rates rise. Don’t forget to consider different payment schedules and amortization periods. A shorter amortization period or accelerated biweekly payments rather than monthly could save you thousands of dollars in the long run. See how much you could save by using the federal government’s home buyers plan (up to $25000 for an individual, or $50000 for a couple can be borrowed from RRSPs). Does it make sense to use for you?

Remember the invisible costs. Closing costs, land transfer taxes, moving, home repair and renovation costs, and real estate lawyer fees all need to be factored in to the total cost of owning a home. Make sure you have plenty of room in your budget.

Buy at the right time for you and your family, not for interest rates. It is tempting to rush to take advantage of a great rate, but if you end up buying before you can afford it, you might not be as happy in your house as you are imagining yourself to be. Being house poor is no fun, so make sure you have a good down payment and you are comfortable taking on the extra commute, payments, or responsibility of making all the fixes yourself at this point in your life. Do you know your credit score? If it is low, you would save money by improving your credit worthiness before buying a home, and rushing might not make sense.

Don’t furnish your home on credit. Once you move into a big house, after spending all your extra cash on closing fees and moving, it can be tempting to furnish your house with a “buy now, pay later” arrangement. Don’t do it – wait until you have the money for the furniture you want, and save money by buying used furniture on your local Kijiji.

Selling Your Home By Owner: Is it a Smart Choice?

Thinking about selling your house? Looking at the commissions that real estate agents charge on every sale makes selling your home by owner look like a great option, but is it right for you? A lot of what traditional real estate agents do is invisible. Selling your home by owner might be a great way to save yourself major cash – or it might be a gigantic headache and far more trouble than the savings on commission is worth. Whether or not it is a good idea depends on whether you are equipped to do the work. Not everyone is, and some give up midway through the process and hire a real estate agent anyway. For those who are able to pull off the process well, it is a great way to save some of the huge costs associated with moving. How do you know if selling your home yourself is a good idea for you?

house for sale by owner

You are comfortable negotiating. Buying or selling a house is the biggest transaction of a lifetime for most people, and the negotiations can drag on and get pretty complex. Buyers might have all sorts of strange demands, and if you go into the transaction alone, you will need to be educated on what demands are standard, and what are unreasonable. They will also be looking to save money on the list price, so if you are selling your home by owner, make sure you are comfortable haggling and don’t take low offers personally. If you are not comfortable negotiating prices, it will be worth it to pay a professional to do so on your behalf. If you don’t negotiate often, but want to sell your home by owner anyway, practise often with smaller items before listing your home. Learn how to negotiate without causing offense.

You are comfortable touring strangers through your house. Not everyone is, and that is ok. Buyers might criticize your décor choices, talk about things they would change, walls they would knock down, and do things like test your taps, inspect your back basement, or flush your toilets. You’ll have to act professional and like none of those things get under your skin so as not to scare off the buyers or sour the transaction before it starts.

You have the time and a flexible schedule. Prospective buyers are going to want to tour the home before making any offers, and their schedule might be wildly different from yours. You can reduce the time commitment if you are able to schedule house tours in groups of prospective buyers, but you will have to be prepared to let a significant number of people into your home, which could end up being weeks or months of moving around your schedule to accommodate them.

You can think about your home’s value objectively. It can be difficult to determine the worth of your own possessions. People tend to value their own things higher than they might value the same thing if it did not belong to them. If you are someone who tends to price items you have owned for the same price as you paid for them or more, you might want to think about enlisting professional help to assess the value of your home. If you prefer to set the price on your own, check out what comparable properties have sold for in your neighbourhood or town to get an indication of a good starting point.

You can say no to people. If you handle the sale yourself, you will have to turn down low ball offers, and likely also ward off agents trying to get your business. If you have a hard time saying no firmly and politely, selling your home yourself might balloon into a giant headache for you.

Selling your home by owner has the potential to be a great way to save money, or a total waste of your time and resources. Being honest with yourself about what you are willing to put into the process, and your chances of success will be much higher.

How to Negotiate Pay in an Interview

There are two important, and equally difficult aspects to negotiating pay in an interview: how to broach the subject, and how to actually negotiate.

When to ask about pay
Though it can be tempting to ask about pay in your first interview, waiting until you are speaking directly with human resources is a good move, as they are a more or less neutral third party, and if you are having subsequent interviews with HR, that it likely an appropriate time to bring it up if it hasn’t been discussed yet. If HR will not be involved in your recruitment, bring up payment after your first interview. If on the second interview no one has brought up the matter, say something along the lines of “we haven’t had a chance to talk about compensation – who should I discuss this with?”.

Know your worth
Many will turn the question around on you, by asking your salary expectations. Don’t come right back with a specific number. If this conversation is happening early in the interview process, say you will need more details on the scope of the role. Figure out if this is a lateral move, or if you are moving up in the world by taking this position. If you are making a lateral move, in general, don’t ask for more than 10K more than your prior role. Lateral moves can get increases ranging from 5-7K.

Always have your expectations presented in a range format, and keep the conversation going. If you are asking for a large increase in pay, let them know by saying something such as “I know this is high, but I feel I have the experience to justify it.” Reassuring the other party that you know it is likely higher than they were thinking for the role and explaining why you deserve it is more likely to go over well than quoting a high number and waiting for them to counter.

If you do not know your worth, if you position a low ask as high, you could be revealing yourself to be more junior than they had anticipated, which will hurt your salary negotiations. However, if they already perceive you as somewhat junior and your salary expectations are sky high, you will likely price yourself out of the opportunity all together.

How do I know what is reasonable to ask for?
The key to asking for the right range is doing your research and coming in prepared for the interview. Check local Kijiji job ads to see if comparable positions have posted a salary range, and check some salary research sites to see general ranges for your job description in a variety of locations. Based on your seniority and past pay, figure out where someone like you should fall on the salary range that you determine is appropriate for the job based on past experience, then figure out what is reasonable to shoot for, taking specifics of the company and any special skills into account.

Consider the company
If your past positions have been at a bank, or a highly successful big company, and you are looking to “get out of the rat race”, follow your passion in a non-profit, or are interviewing at a new company, it is possible that you could be looking at a pay cut. If you are used to making a lot of money and are looking at less lucrative positions, be prepared for the possibility that the offer may be lower than your market value where you are used to working. If the offer is low, have some potential perks ready that would save you money or enhance the quality of your life. Maybe the money you save on a dog walker by bringing your dog into work with you, having a day a week where you can work from home, or reimbursed parking or travel expenses might make a big difference to you. Display your interest in the role, but make sure that the salary offered can support the lifestyle you are used to.

Categories:Kijiji Jobs