Saturday, February 28, 2009

Eye Glasses

So my wife and I went to milk some of the vision insurance I had at my previous employeer. We went to Lenscrafts and got an eye exam, contacts, frames and lenses. We had pretty a fair discount schedule with our insurance and we paid... I'll just say too much... a week's salary.

This struck me as just wrong... and I happened to take a trip over to life hacker and saw an article about buying eye glasses online. What I've come to realize is that people in the 3rd world wear glasses. They've got to be paying somewhere between $10-$20 a pair.

Interesting things to note:
  • Lenscrafters, Pearl Vision, Sears and Target are all supplied by the same Italian eyeglasses manufacturer - Luxottica.
  • Some optomitrists can buy their 'designer' frames and lenses wholesale for $6-$10 and then sell them for up to 1,000% markup.
  • Lens coatings cost almost nothing to apply and charge clients up to $50 for the service.
Anyway, I think I'm going to do some shopping... Lens Crafters has a 30 day unconditional guarentee. We'll see what happens!

Term Life Insurance

So this week my wife and I bought some term life insurance policies. Since we're having our first child in a couple of months, having adequate life insurance is something that I felt was important.

I'd imagine that some people my age aren't really aware of what life insurance is, or why you might want some, so I'll take a few minutes to go over the process.

Basically, there are a couple of versions of life insurance. I bought a fixed rate, 30 year term life insurance. If I die for any reason, including cancer, plane crash, on the job accident, my wife will be given the amount of the policy. Typically, you want to buy between 8-10 times your annual, pretax income. You don't want to waste your money on things like annuities, whole life, or any other type. If you're 20 something, you want 30 year term life insurance so you'll have this fixed rate protection for the next 30 years.

You might think, "Well, I have life insurance through my employer." You very well might, and it's often completely inadequate. Both of my employers offered 1 1/2 times my income. Though this will certainly be enough to bury me and pay off some student debt, it's not enough to send a child to college, pay off a mortgage or any other sort of responsibilities.

For non-smoking, healthy men, you can get a $500,000 policy for roughly $25 a month. $750,000 for around $35. Likely less than you're spending for cable TV.

You want to buy life insurance while you're healthy. As you get older, you're more likely to have something affect your health. Even if you don't have children, a spouse or someone else who is dependent on your income, you want to get this now.

I went through and bought insurance for me and my wife. The process was pretty painless. They asked about 30 minutes of questions and a few days later a medical examiner took our blood pressure, a urine sample, height, weight and a blood sample in our home. It was pretty sweet, but admittedly a little weird too.

If you're 20-something, buy some today while you're healthy and can get excellent fixed rates. I know this sounds like a commercial, and I apologize in advance. It took me well over a year to make this a priority, and I'd hate to see a family go through some unnecessary trauma because they delayed in doing the right thing.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Resume Musings

I know more people who have lost their job in the past 4 months than those who lost jobs in the combined rest of my life. What is even more sad is that many of these people are highly talented individuals. As I wrote in a entry before, being prepared is key. I'd like to write a little bit on how to write a resume.

I'd bet most people haven't seen a resume besides their own. I don't think that mine is the greatest in the world, but the format worked to land me a couple of jobs.

Here's a brief copy of mine from a few months ago:


I'll try to highlight a couple of key things that I tried to do, and I recommend to others.

First and foremost, your resume needs to be clean, concise and tack-sharp focused to the needs of the position you are applying more. Every time you apply to a new position, you must refocus your resume for the position you are applying for. This was important when the economy was good, and is now critical when you're competing against more people who are equally or more qualified for the position you seek.

Keep it Simple
I kept it to one page. I'm a big proponent of this. However, it also tends to reflect my style of writing (most of the time): concise & bulleted. I also know that during interviews, the interviewer typically has the resume right in front of them. It's awkward for them to flip back and forth between multiple pages. In addition, I'm only 25. I don't have a ton of positions to ramble on about. This may force me at some point to go to 2 pages. A resume should never be more than 2 pages. Keep focused on the position and cut out what doesn't apply to the job you're doing. I have 4 summer internships in the industrial manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and machine building industries. Since they didn't apply to the job I was applying for, I didn't mention them. It's important to show you're responsible and can keep a job when you're landing your first job out college, so you can list that you served coffee at your uncle's barber shop during the summers. Once you're in the working world, those nonsense jobs need to be cut.

Fill the Whole Space
You'll probably notice the "Who is Matt Adams?" section. Honestly, I went out on a limb with that one. In college I had that space reserved for extra-curricular activities. I had to fill the space. I had a couple of executive recruiters say that they're usually not a fan of that use of space, but mine was an exception. Take that for what it's worth.

Sell Yourself
A resume is a marketing piece. Having it look polished and clean is key. It reflects directly on the impression of the brand - you!

Know What You Wrote
It's also important to have a talking point or two about every single item on your resume when you get an interview. You will be asked about it, and its even possible that you were asked to interview for a single word or phrase on your resume. On one version of my resume, I mentioned a skill I knew little about and was drilled heavily on the theory of the skill during an interview. It was awkard. Don't let that happen to you.

Have Others Help
It is important to read, reread and read again what you have in your resume before you send it off to a potential employer. Send it to friends, family and anyone that you can think of for feedback and editing. A well written resume shows your ability to communicate, pay attention to detail and understand your strengths. It's more than just a sheet of paper.

A Final, Serious Note:
We're heading towards 10% unemployment... spend a weekend soon to update your resume if you haven't updated it in the past 6 months. Email me with a copy of yours if you'd like feedback. I'd be happy to help.