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Best Career and Money Stories May 21-24, 2013

Spray-Paint Flea-Market Finds and Other Smart Tips of the Week!

  • Spray-paint flea-market finds: Along with finding helpful living essentials at your local flea market, you can also pick up really cheap home decorations. You might be surprised at how those $1 table vases and figurines can be transformed into seriously chic accent pieces. Here are a few tips for spray-painting your flea-market finds.
  • Use bullet points when negotiating over email: When you have multiple points to make in your email, it's best to divide them up with bullet points so they are more palatable to the eye and easier to get through.
  • Tweak your tone for every company: Don't send generic cover letters that can be used for any job application. You want to make sure that the tone of your letter fits the type of firm you're applying to. Is the company looking for someone with sass or someone more serious? Figure that out on your own, and tailor your letter to what suits the company.
  • Get rid of an old tenant's mail: First, communicate to the mail carrier that you're receiving a previous tenant's letters. You can do this by telling the carrier in person, leaving a note in the mailbox, or writing the word "moved" on the ex-tenant's mail.
  • Ask a question to avoid interrupting: Instead of busting someone's talking flow, wait until the end of a thought and share your view by phrasing it as a question. Yes, you're still cutting in, but asking a question creates an opportunity to offer new ideas and thoughts while sticking with the direction of the discussion.
  • Feed your plants stale bread: Dry stale bread in the oven and then grind in the blender, creating fine bread crumbs. Simply mix with your potting soil or rake into your garden. The crumbs will add nutrients and moisture to your happy plants. While you're at it, throw in some crushed egg shells for a nutrient-happy plant.
  • Slow down your speech: You may be interjecting the word "like" in your conversation as fillers because you need more time to process your thoughts before you speak. Start slowing down your speech, and take pauses when you need them. People often worry about pauses making the conversation uncomfortable, but it actually shows that you're thinking before you speak, which is always a positive trait.
  • Pick the right shoes for an interview: Make sure your pair is both weather-appropriate and easy to walk in, because the last thing you want to do is trip your way through the office. The night before your interview, wear the selected shoes with socks for a couple of hours to guarantee that they're broken in and comfortable.
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