Chris Bigelow

Disparate thoughts and musings…

Archive for October, 2009

Have an Old Bike Cluttering Your Garage? Donate it here!

[This week I’m utilizing my blog for a public/community service announcement.]

betty-boop-bicycle-boop-postersDo you have an old bicycle (or two) cluttering up your garage? Looking for a good way to get rid of it (them) that doesn’t involve a landfill (you DO want to be green, don’t you)?

Each fall the Avon High School Tech Club (some of you may recall I blogged about the Tech Club before, regarding their wooden bridge competition entry) holds a bicycle drive for charity. This year it is on Saturday, 31 October (yep – Halloween), from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM at the Avon High School parking lot (only about 35 minutes south of Rochester and a lovely opportunity to enjoy the fall foliage).

parts-bicycleAdult-sized bikes, bike frames and parts are accepted in any condition. As a community service the Tech Club students rebuild/recondition the bikes to be fully functional. Bikes are then distributed through “Second Life Bikes” to Rochester area individuals with no other means of transportation.

If you have a bike to donate it may be dropped off at the Avon High School parking lot on Saturday afternoon. Tech Club members will be there to accept your donation and thank you. If you are unable to drop off your bike on Saturday, pick up arrangements can be made. Please contact the Tech Club adviser, Mr. Bob Castle, at 226-2455 x1604 or at bastle@avoncsd.org.

Thanks to Mr. Castle and the Tech Club members for supporting folks in need!

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3 Web Sites to Consult When Considering Relocation

moving-vanAccording to one blog, some 35 to 39 million (12%-14%) Americans move to new homes each year. Of those, about 4.7 million people move to different states each year. Relocating to a different state can be an intimidating proposition, for dozens of reasons. Today I’ll review some of the financial implications and some handy tools available on the internet to help you make an informed decision.

From a financial perspective, the two key things to think about are the differences in salary and cost of living between two areas. There are lots of salary data web sites that will provide data on what a particular job pays on average in a particular area. Note that there can be significant highs/lows either side of this average.

Avon-Whitsett ComparoOne great web site I have used to compare cost of living between two areas is Sperling’s BestPlaces. While providing a wealth of other information, this site let’s you compare the cost of living between where you live now and where you are considering moving to. Click on the “Cost of Living” tab and follow the prompts. This tool will tell you how much more (or less) expensive your destination city is, what the major driver is in the cost difference, and a table comparing a number of cost of living indexes between the two locations. Sperling’s also has data on schools, crime, and climate.

Another useful web site is City-Data. This site aggregates demographic, weather, census, and other data in one easy to use interface. Type in a potential relocation spot and you can find out just about anything about it. While City-Data does not have the direct cost of living comparison option that Sperling’s does, they have reams of data and a terrific, user supported forums section where you can ask questions or read previous questions/answers about a particular city or town. I’ve found the forums to be invaluable.

Browns Summit schoolsWhile salary and cost of living are key pieces of information to have when considering relocation, another critical factor for those with children is the quality of education available. If you need more education info than the two previously mentioned sites provide, I recommend that you check out Great Schools. One nice feature of this site is that it will compare the schools in your target city with others in surrounding cities to help you figure out which one(s) is (are) best.

Relocation might be stressful, but these tools will help you objectively evaluate your options and aid you in making the best choice for you and your family.

Radio Resume

I’ve never been big on self promotion.  Funny how things change when you’re in job search.  Not only have I learned to self promote now, but I’ve realized that I need to do so for the rest of my career (for some tips, read Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing It).

Clear Channel RochesterThis week I thought I’d talk about my experience being on the radio.  Seven of the local Clear Channel radio stations have been running a promotion during the last few months called “Radio Resume”.  This is a free public service they initiated to help unemployed folks advertise their availability.

I learned of this promotion a few weeks before it started and immediately applied.  On 22 July I received a call from the WHAM general manager saying I’d been chosen and on 23 July they called to record my Radio Resume.

What’s a Radio Resume?  It’s a 30 second spot (5 second intro & 25 second pitch).  About 3-4 sentences.  It closes with a request to see your resume on the station’s web site, where all of the Radio Resume participants’ resumes (past and present) are hosted.

Last I checked the promotion was still going on so, if you are unemployed and live in the Rochester area, I recommend you consider applying.  The application process is simple – just enter why you feel you should be chosen – in 300 characters or less.  For those of you on Twitter or LinkedIn, that’s just over two tweets or status updates.

If you are fortunate enough to be called, here are my recommendations:

  • Repeat your name twice
  • Give your title or function
  • Tell the employer what value you will bring to them (this is WHY they hire you, right?)
  • Refer them to your resume on the radio station’s web site (call to action)

Things not to say (either because no one cares or you’re just wasting precious seconds):

  • When you were laid off (or how long)
  • Personal financial details (like bankruptcy or foreclosure)
  • Marital status, number of children, etc.

Write out what you want to say, bold the words you want to emphasize, and add hyphens anywhere you want to pause.  Then practice, practice, practice.  Time yourself.  Whittle it down to a punchy delivery of the bare essentials.  This is radio – your message is only as good as the delivery.  Oh wait!  Isn’t that true of all of your self-marketing materials?

Is a Radio Resume worth the effort?  Absolutely!  Worst case, people in your network will hear it and you will be top of mind with minimal effort on your part.  If they hear of a position that fits you they will remember (and think of) you.  Best case, it can lead to an interview and, possibly, employment.  I know of two people, including myself, that received interviews as a direct result of someone hearing their Radio Resume.

So stop sitting around reading blogs and go apply for a Radio Resume.  And best of luck!

Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing It