Back to school!

Kindergarten teacher and children looking at bird's nest in librBack to school! We’re experiencing a cold snap this week, and my kids are complaining that it shouldn’t be this cold on the last week of summer! I agree, but I’m so excited that school is back! I’m a full-time working mom, but the stresses of summer are hard. My kids aren’t on schedules, there is always some party/event/BBQ, and trying to fit in a summer vacation. I’m tired just thinking about it! Especially in Wisconsin, where we don’t have the best weather in the winter so we try to soak it all up in the summer.

As we are getting back into routines, I’m working on setting up some ground rules so our school year isn’t as hectic this year as previous years. Summer has been a free for all at our house, so the adjustment might be rough, but my kids do much better on routines. Continue reading

Spring Break Staycation

A picnic and play in a local park can be part of your staycation

A picnic and play in a local park can be part of your staycation

Spring Fever! It seems everyone has it around here. Last week, people were the happiest I have seen in a while, and I’m certain the nicer weather had a lot to do with that. With school-age children, it seems that Spring Break is a hot topic of conversation, but an exotic vacation is not always possible for families. So, what can you do if you aren’t taking a Spring Break trip but still want to do something fun with the family? We’ve done staycations a couple times in the past. An overnight in a motel is like a vacation to my children, so that’s popular, but we are looking for new ideas. Here are a few that have been suggested:

  • Camping out! The weather isn’t quite there yet in Wisconsin, but getting out the sleeping bags and having flashlights in the family room is super fun. No electronics, so you get to spend some time together without movies, cell phones or video games.
  • Movie Marathon! We’ve picked a certain type of movie (robots, monsters, etc.), and made popcorn with sweet treats. Pajamas all day on the couch.
  • Scavenger Hunt! Who doesn’t love one? Take the time to create a really fun one that will take a while to get through. This will keep your family entertained for a couple hours if you do it right.
  • Spend the day like a tourist in your own town! There are so many places that get overlooked in our own communities because we are too busy living our lives to explore. I’ve never been to a local museum here! Do some things that people travel to your city to do and see.
  • Family Board Game Tournament! You will be surprised how much fun you can have playing board games. Mix it up so you have a variety. Prizes and snacks too!

What are your staycation ideas?

Tips for a Social Media User

Social%20Networks_smallerAs an HR professional, I attend different seminars and conferences to obtain credits for my HR certification. We had a SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) state conference last week, and I learned all kinds of new strategies involving recruitment, succession planning, employee engagement and change management. One topic was present in every session I was in: social media. How to recruit through social media, engage employees in social media, and how to maintain your company and personal brand through social media.

One session in particular was focused solely on social media, and how it affects the processes of hiring, discipline and discharge. Continue reading

My Favorite Things about Madison in the Summer

Cave of the Mounds National Landmark in Wisconsin

Cave of the Mounds National Landmark in Wisconsin

So, summer is here. Wisconsin in the summer (minus the mosquitos) is the best. So much to do! I find that if I don’t make a list of the places I want to go or the things I want to do, it all of a sudden it’s September and summer is gone. As someone that has lived in Madison for a majority of my life, these are the things that I love to do in the summer.

  1. Get to the Farmer’s Market! We have an unbelievable market here. Seriously. I lived in Colorado for a couple of years, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of people that would comment on our market when I told them where I was from.
  2. Boat on Lake Mendota. And get out the water skis. While you’re out there, ride on over to Nau-Ti-Gal or Mariners and have some dinner.
  3. Go to Summerfest. (It’s in Milwaukee, but worth the short drive.) Multiple times if you can. You definitely don’t have to go to the main stage for a concert; it’s just as fun to go in and listen to the side stages.
  4. Run or walk Crazy Legs. Either way, it’s a blast. I know – this is in the Spring, but whenever it’s here, I know summer is right around the corner! You can take the kids with strollers/wagons on the walk if you want, and it’s a fun way to get the family involved.
  5. Concerts on the Square. Picnic with some delicious food, wine and a little classical music? Yes, please.
  6. Cave of the Mounds. It’s pretty fun for kids and adults, and it’s nice and cool when it’s super hot out, and it’s 50 degrees in there.
  7. Go to the zoo! It’s free, and pretty cool.
  8. Sit out on the Memorial Union terrace. Relax and listen to music on the weekend. Or bring the family and get some Babcock ice cream and feed the ducks.
  9. Go out to the local weekend fairs and festivals. You can keep yourself busy every weekend.
  10. Brewer game!  (Again Milwaukee, but again worth the short drive.) Miller Park is fun as an adult, or you can bring the kiddos as well.

So, that’s my list. What’s your favorite thing to do in Madison in the summer? Or, if you are a former Madison resident, what is your favorite summer memory?

If you hail from parts distant, what is your favorite thing to do where you live? We are always looking for vacation and travel ideas.

Confessions of a Cookie Mom

I decided last year that I would be a troop leader for my daughter’s Girl Scout Daisy troop. I thought it would be a great way to spend some one-on-one time with her, while volunteering for a cause I believe in. It started off positive; I met with the other leader, we had all these great ideas for what we would do! This was going to be so fun! Well, time went on, and the meetings seemed longer and longer;  the craft ideas were getting much less creative, and by the end of the year the girls were playing tag for the last 15 minutes of the meetings because we had run out of things to do. I realized that I really am not the best “traditional” troop leader, but I still wanted to be involved in a leader capactiy. I know! I will be the cookie coordinator for the Girl Scout cookie season! I can use the skills I am much better at (organization, metrics), and not have to be creative or crafty. Perfect!

Maybe I could arrange them into a futon frame or bookshelf?

Maybe I could arrange them into a futon frame or bookshelf?

We are two weeks into cookie season, and I would like to give the job back. I am completely obsessed with cookies. I think about them almost all day; I dream about them at night. I am placing cookie orders, counting cookies, schlepping cookies, EATING cookies. Here is a picture of my family room. This is what it looks like all the time. I have a “cookie spreadsheet”. I have nightmares that it will get accidentally deleted somehow, and that would throw my life into a tailspin. Continue reading

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Resume Writing

interviewAs a recruiter, I look at resumes every single day. It’s part of my job. A good resume will get your information passed on to a hiring manager, and a bad one will end up in a rejection pile. A candidate could be a perfect fit for the job, but if the resume does not reflect HOW they are a perfect fit, they will not get moved forward in the interview process.

I write this blog with the caveat that I am not the end-all, be-all for resumes. You can do research and find many different ways to write a resume, advice on what to do, and examples galore. I am writing this with my preference in mind; I have been a recruiter for over a decade and have seen more resumes that you can imagine. I find that these basic do’s and don’ts apply to many different professions.

DO

  1. Change your resume based upon the position that you are applying for. If you have an objective, the objective should somehow tie into the position you are submitting your resume to. If your objective is very broad and can apply to many different areas, that should be fine. However, if your objective reads “To find employment as a Research and Development Scientist” and you are applying for a Production Scientist position, you should change it.
  2. List your work history in reverse chronological order. Your most current job should be at the top.
  3. If you are applying for a position where education is the most important thing to consider for the recruiter/hiring manager, then list it first. This will also apply to a recent graduate. For any other type of resume submission, put your education below your work experience.
  4. Be very specific in your accomplishments. This is your opportunity to brag about your work experience. If you were the #1 sales person in the country, list it on your resume.
  5. Be quantitative. Specifically list numbers in your descriptions. “Increased sales by 10%”, or “Managed a team of 5” sounds a lot better than “Increased sales substantially” or “Managed a team”.

DON’TS

  1. Don’t try to fit it into one page. This is an old guideline that is somehow still being used. If you can’t fit it into one page, don’t try. You want your resume to outline as much as possible about your work experience, so don’t try to limit to fit it all in.
  2. Don’t make it 10 pages either. Recruiters (and most hiring managers) will stop looking after about page 2. Keep it concise.
  3. Don’t write in paragraphs. Write concise statements (bullets are good) with duties and responsibilities at jobs.
  4. Don’t list all the things that you have done in your previous positions at the top of your resume, and then list your work history below it. Your duties and responsibilities should coincide with the places you have worked.
  5. Don’t forget to proofread!

Spring! Well, It’s Almost Here….

Spring Cleaning ProductsIt’s Spring! Well, if you’re here in the Midwest, you might think I have lost my mind with temps in the 30’s and low 40’s, but it will be here before we know it! I know that I have Spring on my mind, and with that, I need to clean my house. I don’t know about you, but this winter has been horrible on my family for sicknesses—we can’t seem to get rid of these germs. That’s enough! I’m cleaning the house from top to bottom!

I don’t know about you, but the task of getting it all done seems quite daunting. I live in a average sized home, so it’s not the size, but it still seems like I have a lot of ground to cover. Especially because I want it done in one day.

So, I wanted to share some tips that I have used in the past, and some that I have received from friends and relatives, particularly this year with the amount of illness we have had in our home lately. Continue reading

The Weight is Over

iStock_000012966998XSmallSo, it’s the New Year. With that always comes the resolutions of what to fix, change, better, or delete for myself and my family. For the past 10 years, weight loss is always the first. Always. As you can tell from 10 years of resolutions, it has not happened. Most of the end of December or the beginning of January was filled with me searching out the best diet, the best program, the best supplement, and what will work the fastest. And, most years, obviously, I fail.

However, in 2011, I started something new. Continue reading