Friday, July 30, 2010

Our Table: Chicken Kebabs and Spinach Salad

Please forgive my food photography skills; although they're lacking, I had to share my latest & greatest 15 minute, 5 ingredient dinner with you all. The latest installment from the Our Table Series: Chicken Kebabs with Farmer's Market Spinach salad.

I'm a minimalist in the kitchen most months of year, but the recent Mid-Atlantic heat wave has caused me to ban the use of the oven, simplify food prep and shop at our neighborhood Farmer's Market.

Full disclosure, this meal was largely brought to you by Trader Joe's and several farmers within a 100 mile radius of Alexandria, VA - I simply put it together.

I grilled Trader Joe's BBQ Chicken Kebabs ($7.99 for 6, already seasoned and skewered) that go from the freezer to your dinner plate in 15 minutes.

The salad is fresh spinach greens from Twinbrook Farms, strawberries from Westmoreland Beryr Farm and a few rounds of goat cheese from, of course, Trader Joe's. Simple, delicious and good for you. Why can't we cook like this all year?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Avoiding Job Scams

As Congress contemplates extending unemployment benefits and 1.4 million Americans enter their 99th week of job searching, I worry about hard-working job seekers becoming more desperate and falling victim to scam.

As a niche firm who specializes in roles with a positive work-life balance, I can see how some could conflate our motives to those who seek to scam. And although that couldn't be farther from the truth and the scams seem so obvious to many, desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures.

Considering a too-good-to be-true job? Here are some red flags:
When the WORK-FROM-HOME or "make $100/day the easy way" is the principal tag line, not the real work itself.

-A job that reads "Part-time customer service representative with telecommuting option for Mid-Atlantic manufacturer for $12/hour" is a very different story.

-If the "job" is advertised as a Google Ad, web banner ad or, as I saw recently, as SPAM on a friend's Facebook page. Legitimate jobs go through legitimate advertising channels and job search websites but more importantly, through your network. 99% of the time you won't be scammed by someone you know.

-If you can't get job details without supplying personal information or exchanging money. If someone contacts you about a fabulous job, you should be able to ask about the industry, the client (though that is sometimes legitimately held until later in the process), the day to day and overall job responsibilities. If any of that information is limited up front, be aware.

-It sounds trite, but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Hands down, the best way to get a job in any market but particularly in this market is to have a stellar resume and profile, network like crazy and follow up with polite tenacity, practice your interview skills with a friend and be open to new opportunities.