Thursday, August 26, 2010

3 Resume Publishing Tools to Pump Up Your Job Market Value

We avoid printing paper resumes. It's not only about saving trees. An online resume or portfolio is so much more engaging and revealing. It's searchable, it doesn't pile up on your desk and it's easy to share. Plus, a well-designed online CV or portfolio gives us a window into your work ethic, professionalism and abilities. It's like staging a house before you put it on the market. If it's done well it increases your market value and creates demand for your work. The potential employer will be excited to meet you.

You can make your professional profile sing - literally. Show off your technical skills and work experience with photos, video and slide shows. Showcase projects you've been involved with. Best of all, you can share your resume/portfolio through email, job boards and social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Here are three tools that might help you land that next job or contract:

My Resume by Elegant Themes

Nick Roach's designs are polished and elegant. He offers a cost-effective shortcut to a professionally designed personal website or online portfolio. Set up can be time consuming but it's worth it because you get access to the endless possibilities of the Wordpress platform with Nick Roach's beautiful designs. I'm amazed a the value you get for a yearly fee of $39 - a catalog of premium designs including several portfolio designs plus an online business card template. Potential employers will be impressed. http://www.elegantthemes.com/gallery/myresume/

Cons: Set up may be time consuming depending on your level of technical skills.

Difficulty
: ElegantThemes works on top of Wordpress - a free, open source publishing platform available at Wordpress.org. You need to register a domain name, sign up with a web host and install Wordpress to take advantage of the ElegantThemes designs. Basic web development skills (HTML, CSS, FTP, image editing) make set up easier. FAQs and an active members forum are available if you need help.

JobSpice Resume Builder

Easy to use, cost-effective and fast to set up. Over 30 professionally-designed styles are available to format your resume. Recommended by PCWorld, Fast Company and Mashable. Basic access is free. For $20/year you can export your resume to PDF, publish it at your own personal URL and add privacy controls. http://www.jobspice.com/

Cons
: You can't include images, slide shows, video or hyperlinks so the end result looks like a nicely formatted traditional paper resume.

Difficulty: Easy - if you can use a word processing program you'll be fine.

VisualCV Online Multimedia Resume

Enables you to set up an Internet-based multimedia resume including work samples, charts, video and images. Your VisualCV will have a unique website address. It's free to set up a basic VisualCV. For $59.95 you can customize the URL and create multiple CVs plus some other features. http://www.visualcv.com/

Cons: The formatting is a bit cookie-cutter but it's customizable and the final result is impressive.

Difficulty: To quote VisualCV: "Rest assured that you don't have to be a Web guru to create and share your own VisualCV. In fact, the VisualCV editor makes it a snap to tweak text, add multimedia elements, and rearrange pieces of your VisualCV. And sharing your VisualCV is as easy as clicking a link and telling us who you want to share with."

Bottom Line

I'm a Wordpress fanatic so ElegantThemes.com is my favourite option. But ElegantThemes involves a steep learning curve unless you have web development experience. VisualCV is a great option if you want to rock your resume with multimedia elements but you're not ready to set up a Wordpress site. JobSpice is good choice if you want to get your resume up in a hurry and you don't need all the multimedia bell and whistles. A JobSpice Resume might be a good interim solution while you set up a fancier site.

Please let me know if you have another online resume publishing solution to recommend, or if you have experience with any of the options I mentioned.

Stayed tuned...a tutorial to help you get started with the ElegantThemes "My Resume" option is in the works!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Got Any Old Computers Lying Around?

We recently discovered eight old PCs lying around collecting dust in our server room. We couldn't throw them to the curb. What to do? As usual our neighbour Richard from eSubnet knew the answer. He takes his old computers and printers to reBoot Canada for recycling.

reBOOT Canada is a national charity which accepts donations of computer equipment. After refurbishing the equipment as much as possible, reBoot distributes it to non-profit organizations and individuals with limited access to technology. reBoot also provides training and technical services to their clients.

When I called reBoot to find out if they would accept our old computers I was surprised (shocked actually) to learn that they a charge a handling fee to take back the equipment. Wasn't I doing them a HUGE favour just by driving across the city and delivering our precious old computers in support of their lucrative recycling business? Actually, no. The patient woman who took my call helped me to see the error in my reasoning. The truth is that reBoot is doing me a HUGE favour by keeping those poison monitors out of landfill where they leach toxic materials into the soil and groundwater. Also, reBoot is providing access to jobs, technology and training for people who need it but can't afford it. My shock suddenly transformed into gratitude.

How much does it cost to drop off your equipment at reBoot? (reBoot has a pick up program too.)
  • $5 - computers, printers, scanners, fax machines & all-in-ones
  • $10 - servers / $15 - cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitors
  • $30 - TVs, large printers & copiers
I paid reBoot $160 to recycle our old PCs. But that's a bargain considering everything reBoot is giving back to me and my community. And reBoot will send you a tax receipt for your donation. That's more than a fair exchange IMHO.

Before you donate those relics it's a good idea to erase your data from your equipment. Just deleting the data is not enough. Make sure to erase your hard drive so your info is really deleted. You can find a free program to do that at http://www.heidi.ie/.

For more information:
reBoot Canada: http://www.rebootcanada.ca/
How to Dispose of your old PC

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Who do you love? Blackberry Torch or iPhone

The Blackberry with it's fast and easy push email stole my heart about 10 years ago. I've been faithful ever since. But I have to admit that the iPhone with its good looks and two hundred thousand apps has caught my eye. Is the Blackberry Torch sexy enough enough to keep me from straying?

I recently watched April Dunford debating the merits of the Blackberry vs. the iPhone on CBC's the National. The Blackberry is technologically far superior to the iPhone according to Dunford but (and this is a big "but" :) it lacks the "cool" factor. The Blackberry's key advantages according Dunford are:
  • Qwerty key board makes email easy - she types 30-40 emails on a 35 minute subway ride
  • Real time communications with great instant messaging (BBM)
  • Durability - her Blackberry has survived many tumbles
Dunford adds that the vast majority of the applications on the iPhone are a bit silly. She has all the business applications she needs on the Blackberry. I agree with all of these points and would like to add that my Blackberry never drops calls.

No doubt you can do way more cool things on the iPhone if you're into music apps. The iPhone has a higher resolution screen (but not as a high as the resolution on the Motorola Android Milestone phone my wife sports), a more user-friendly operating system (although the Torch will change that), and a better camera (for now). Clearly it will impress your friends when you arrive at the party with an iPhone in hand (if your friends are designers and musicians ;). But for business communications I still think the Blackberry is untouchable.

The Torch's Blackberry 6 web browser with WebKit rendering finally makes browsing the web on a BlackBerry an enjoyable experience according to a Crackberry.com review. While the new browser is far superior to the version on previous Bla A faster processor is planned for future versions. So the Torch promises to provide the best of both worlds - a great business communication device combined with fast internet browsing.

Bottom Line: While the iPhone has revolutionized the way we use smart phones, the Torch is still the better choice for business communications. The Blackberry is more of a person to person device that excels in communications such as voice, email, text, BBM, Twitter, and IM. The Torch is pretty cool with it's awesome slide out keyboard, killer email, touchscreen, upgraded camera and the highly anticipated Blackberry 6 Operating System. But the iPhone sexier, offers slightly better internet browsing and a better camera.

It all comes down to your priorities. Do you want the coolest phone or the best phone for business communications? I agree with http://www.crackberry.com/, the Torch puts RIM back in the game for smart phones. I'm still a Blackberry lover but I've got my eye the iPhone and Motorola's Android phones are pretty awesome too.

What do you think? Should I stick with Blackberry or is it time to switch?

April Dunford debating the merits of the Blackberry vs. the iPhone:

video


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Canada's Summer Job Market is Sizzling

Posted By Tim Collins, President and Founder,
Stafflink Solutions Ltd

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It's Official - Stafflink Has a New Address

Today we take possession of our new space at 20 Bay Street. This is Sunday of the August long weekend so we won't actually start working there until Tuesday. But we've moved our stuff and turned in our keys so there's no turning back.

Naturally we'll miss some of our favourite things about the old office. We'll miss our next-door neighbour Richard from eSubnet who saved our butt when he patched us through to his Internet connection when Bell was down. We'll miss the fresh veggies from the St. Lawrence Market which used to be just across the street from us. But we outgrew our space at 120 Front. Its time to move forward for many little reasons and three big reasons: design, reception and location.

The Rostie Group, our new landlord, owns the 11th Floor of WaterPark Place where our new space is located. We'll have access to a beautiful shared reception area with a full-time receptionist to greet our guests. Anyone's who's interviewed with us at 120 Front knows that this is a big improvement. And imagine, a real human will answer our calls, at least during office hours. Wow!

The location is more convenient too. It's less than a 5 minute walk from Union Station. Plus we have a better view. Our new office overlooks the Air Canada Centre and you can see Lake Ontario from the reception area.

I appreciate the much needed break we're getting this August long weekend but still I can't wait to walk into our new office on Tuesday morning and say 'hi' to the receptionist. Who will be the first candidate to meet us for an interview in our new space? Maybe we'll share a glass of champagne with you (alcohol-free of course).

Tim Collins, President and Founder,
Stafflink Solutions Ltd