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How to Do Just about Everything: Just aboutby Courtney Rosen
From How To Do (Just About) Everything
20: Break the Procrastination Habit
There's an old joke that the members of Procrastinators Anonymous plan to meet...but keep putting it off.
1 Think about why you procrastinate: Are you afraid of failing at the task? Are you a perfectionist and only willing to begin working after every little element is in place? Are you easily distracted?
2 Break up a large, difficult project into several smaller pieces.
3 Set deadlines for completion. Try assigning yourself small-scale deadlines — for example, commit to reading a certain number of pages in the next hour.
4 Work in small blocks of time instead of in long stretches. Try studying in one- to two-hour spurts, allowing yourself a small break after each stint.
5 Start with the easiest aspect of a large, complex project. For example, if you're writing an academic paper and find that the introduction is turning out to be difficult to write, start with the paper's body instead.
6 Enlist others to help. Make a bet with your family, friends or co-workers that you will finish a particular project by a specified time, or find other ways to make yourself accountable.
7 Eliminate distractions or move to a place where you can concentrate. Turn off the television, the phone ringer, the radio and anything else that might keep you from your task.
Remember that progress, not perfection, is your goal.
21: Find Out Your IQ
Though IQ (intelligence quotient) has come under scrutiny as a measure of intelligence, finding out your IQ can help you join certain organizations and can open other doors for you.
1 Find an appropriate IQ test — there are a great many out there. On the Web, consider visiting www.iqtest.com to take an IQ test and to get general information about the process.
2 Take the test and score it.
3 Take several more tests and average the scores, dropping the lowest and highest. The result will give a good approximation of your IQ.
4 Understand the results. Generally, an IQ of 100 places you in the 50th percentile (exactly average); 110 puts you in the 75th percentile; 120 in the 93rd; and 130 in the 98th, which is high enough to join Mensa.
5 Remember that no single number can measure something as complex and nuanced as intelligence. Instead, IQ is intended to measure your chances of academic success in American schools.
Keep in mind that high-IQ societies such as Mensa usually accept the results of only certain IQ tests. Contact the individual society to find out its requirements (see "000 Join Mensa" for more information).
Don't take IQ too seriously. There are many important human abilities that IQ tests can't measure, such as musical or artistic talent, physical coordination, social ability, ambition and sense of humor.
22: Join Mensa
Mensa is an international organization of people in the top 2 percent of the intelligence range. Founded in England in 1946, it now has more than 100,000 members. Here's how to join.
1 Keep in mind that testing in the top 2 percent on an accepted IQ test or standardized test is the only membership criterion.
2 Visit the Mensa Web site (www.mensa.org) to get the information you'll need to complete the steps below. Alternatively, call (817) 607-0060 or (800) 66MENSA, or send a letter to American Mensa, 1229 Corporate Drive West, Arlington, TX 76006-6103.
3 Find out if Mensa will accept the results of an intelligence test you've already taken. Mensa also accepts scores from approximately 200 standardized tests (such as the SAT or GMAT).
4 Order official test results from the appropriate testing company and send them to Mensa.
5 Contact your nearest Mensa office to take the official Mensa test, if you haven't qualified through another test.
6 Be prepared to pay annual dues if you're admitted.
Visit Mensa's Web site (see step 2) to get more detailed information for your specific situation.
As a Mensa member, you'll be able to interact with other Mensa members at social events, through publications and during various activities.
23: Get a Job
Good timing plays a role in finding a job, but that's only part of the picture. Here's how to find the job you want.
1 Assess your skills, experience and goals, and select appropriate employment fields that interest you.
2 Spread the word. Tell everyone you know and meet that you are looking for a job — you will be surprised at the number of opportunities you'll discover this way.
3 Network, network, network. Attend professional-association meetings in your industry, distribute your business cards and/or résumé widely, and scour the associations' membership directories for contacts. Better yet, volunteer for something.
4 Get out and about. The most direct way to learn about job openings is from employers themselves. Target an area downtown, dress the part, and stop in at every appropriate business establishment, including employment agencies, to fill out an application.
5 Remember that many job openings are not listed in the newspaper help-wanted section. However, Internet job boards are often used by employers for their ease and immediacy.
6 Pick up the phone. Yes, it's scary, and yes, you'll hear "No" a lot, but you only need a handful of "Yeses" to land a job.
When you're interviewing, make it a dialogue. The employer needs information about you, and you need information about the job and the employer. Asking questions will make you appear knowledgeable and eager, as well as help to calm your nerves.
Drop in on your local chamber of commerce breakfast or after-dinner meeting. These are usually open to nonmembers for a small fee and offer the opportunity to make valuable contacts.
Don't make the mistake of turning down additional interviews once you've had a good one. Keep your job search in high gear right up to your first day on the new job.
27: Speed Up a Job Hunt
When you're looking for a job, it's all too easy to let yourself be lulled by the familiar rhythms of home or work life. Before you know it, another month has gone by and you're still out of work or unhappily employed. Here are some ways to jump-start your job search and get your career in gear.
Use the Net
Make Cold Calls
Brush Up Job-Seeking Skills
28: Write a Résumé When Changing Careers
Your résumé should change along with your career goals. Here are some ways to restructure and polish your résumé as you move toward a new profession or career.
1 Read up on the skills and requirements for the new career or job you are seeking. Look at job listings in the newspaper or online to get an idea of what skills you'll need to break in.
2 Make a list of the skills and requirements you discovered in step 1. Your new résumé will need to focus on them.
3 Compare the skills and requirements on that list with those listed on your current résumé, underlining the qualifications both have in common. These are the skills that will carry over to your new résumé.
4 Rewrite the résumé to highlight the skills that apply to your new career. Focus on your strengths, experience and education in these areas.
5 Change the focus of your résumé. If you are a >pharmacologist trying to break into pharmaceutical sales, for example, focus on your experience with different vendors and other tasks that relate to sales.
6 Think of any other experiences relevant to the skills on your list, including volunteer work, internships, hobbies and travel. Work all of these experiences into your résumé.
Consider volunteering, interning or taking a second job within your new area of interest to gain experience.
If you don't feel you can write an effective résumé, specialized services can do it for you. Look in the yellow pages or on the Internet under "Résumé" or "Résumé Service."
You shouldn't expect to break in at the top level of your new career unless you are highly experienced and can easily cross over. You may have to settle for a lower-paying job until you can build up your experience — and hence your résumé.
Write an Effective Cover Letter
A résumé is an essential tool for any job search, but it's not the only tool. Your cover letter is equally important.
1 Find a job posting, job tip or advertisement that interests you, and make sure you are truly qualified for the position. Busy employers sometimes receive hundreds of letters, so don't waste their time or yours.
2 Match the letterhead style and paper you will use for your cover letter to that of your résumé. This helps to establish a solid first impression.
3 Skip the salutation if you do not know the name of the person who will be reviewing your résumé. It's best to address the letter to a specific person; call the company and see if the receptionist can give you a name and title.
4 Grab the reader's attention right away — make him or her want to keep reading. You need to distinguish yourself early from the rest of the pack.
5 Mention in the first paragraph where you learned about the job opportunity and why you're interested.
6 Establish a professional image in the second and third paragraphs by highlighting your most significant accomplishments and qualifications. Be careful not to quote your résumé verbatim.
Before writing your cover letter, research the company to which you're applying. Then your letter can refer to specifics about the employer's business as reasons for your interest in working there.
Keep it short. Most cover letters stick to one page and use a standard business letter format.
Consider using bullet points in your middle paragraphs to further highlight accomplishments.
Don't get too personal or wordy. Save stories and relevant anecdotes for the interview.
Don't brag. Confidence is important, but don't overdo it.
49: Become a Model
If you like travel, hard work, long days and keeping in shape, modeling might be for you.
1 Consider your physical characteristics: If you're a woman, are you 5-foot-7 or taller? You should wear a size 4 to 6, and you should have a 32- to 35-inch bust, a 22- to 25-inch waist, and 33- to 36-inch hips.
2 Determine whether you have any distinctive features.
3 Work on having clear skin, healthy hair and straight teeth.
4 Consider your mental attitude: You should be ambitious, confident, organized, willing to travel or move to foreign cities, able to spend and invest wisely, and able to take rejection.
5 Visit local modeling agencies to find an agent who is willing to help you build a portfolio.
6 Go to castings and "go-sees" with your portfolio in hand to win potential clients and get modeling jobs.
7 Be prompt and professional. Exhibit the confidence that you will use to sell products.
Female catalog models don't always have to be 5-foot-7 or taller, but they do have to be thin. Runway models must be at least 5-foot-9 and carry themselves with style. Teen or junior models should be 5-foot-6 or taller and at least 12 years old.
Modeling is not always glamorous. Castings and go-sees, long trips on the road, rejection and stiff competition can be stressful. Speak with a reputable professional before deciding whether modeling is for you.
50: Become a Movie Director
There are many paths to a career in directing films.
1 Brainstorm to come up with any potential contacts in the film industry. Work as an apprentice under anyone currently directing student films, TV commercials, music videos or feature films.
2 Consider applying to film school to gain both knowledge and industry contacts. Some top film schools can be found at New York University, the University of Southern California, the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, California Institute of the Arts and the University of California at Los Angeles.
3 Apply for work on movie sets, in entry-level jobs such as production assistant or as anyone's assistant. If you work hard and make friends, you can move up the ladder.
4 Target jobs directing TV commercials or music videos, where many film directors get their start.
5 Develop a reel (a tape of the work you've directed).
6 Shoot films on your own; to start, they can be short (10 minutes long) and in black and white. If necessary, cast and write your films yourself to build your experience and résumé.
7 Send postcards and updates regularly to industry contacts you have made, including directors, producers and actors. Constant networking leads to opportunities.
Be creative and persistent, and understand that there isn't one right way to become a film director.
Read The Hollywood Reporter and Variety to find out about upcoming productions and possible job openings.
Network, network, network.
51: Become a Photographer
To be successful in this satisfying career, you need an artistic eye, technical skills, a knack for marketing yourself and a passion for your work.
1 Take pictures for your high school yearbook or student newspaper after you have taken a workshop in the basics. You will get an idea of how deep your passion is for the medium.
2 Decide which type of photography — such as news, advertising or fine-art photography — best suits your interests and talents.
3 Understand that a four-year college degree is increasingly necessary if you want to be a photojournalist or a photographic specialist in medicine or other sciences. The contacts you make and the experience you receive from required college internships will be invaluable.
4 Develop an outstanding portfolio. Include excellent photographs you have taken on your own — in particular, those focusing on a given theme.
5 Be willing to work as a photographer's assistant once you have some experience. You are not going to be competing with experienced photographers for a while.
6 Realize that more than 50 percent of photographers work on a freelance basis. Many magazines and organizations that use photographers do not keep them on staff.
7 Attend workshops and seminars to remain up-to-date on technical advances in photography.
Use the best camera equipment you can afford.
Take business and public relations classes if you eventually want to set up your own studio.
Ask a studio photographer for an internship if you are not enrolled in a college. But realize that if internships are available, photography students in college may be your competition.
Consider using stock photo agencies to sell your photos. They are listed in the annual Photographer's Market.
Be willing to travel at a moment's notice if you become a photojournalist; also be prepared for irregular hours.
52: Become an Interior Designer
Professionals in this field design and furnish the interiors of commercial, industrial and residential buildings. They must be up on federal, state and local codes and able to wear many hats.
1 Understand that as an interior designer you will need to know more than how to decorate a space. For example, you will need to fully understand flammability and toxicity standards, be able to easily read a blueprint and know how to communicate with engineers, architects and clients.
2 Obtain a bachelor's degree in interior design from a college whose design program has been accredited by the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER). Peruse FIDER's Web site (www.fider.org) for a list of approved programs.
3 Include computer-aided design (CAD) courses in your electives. As a designer you will be expected to know how to use a computer to create your space designs.
4 Apply for internships through your school. Your contacts might lead to a job in the future.
Subscribe to interior design and architecture magazines to learn about the latest trends.
Designers work irregular schedules, at the convenience of their clients.
91: Evaluate Free Internet Service Providers
Some new ISPs don't charge for an account. Before you sign up, make sure quality hasn't been sacrificed to cost.
1 Find out what features the ISP offers. At a bare minimum, these should include e-mail and access to the World Wide Web. Other good features include access to newsgroups, instant messaging, and chat. Odds are, a free ISP won't have Web hosting and other services, but check.
2 Ask the same questions that you would of other ISPs: What modem speeds does the ISP support? What operating systems? How many users per ISP modem? Is technical support available by phone?
3 Make sure the ISP is actually free. Read the fine print to see if there are any hidden charges that may show up later.
4 Determine how the company supports itself. Many free ISPs depend on advertising and end up bombarding their customers with commercial e-mail messages. If you think this may irritate you, seek out another ISP.
5 Look for reviews to get a feel for user satisfaction and service.
6 Carefully review the ISP's terms of service and other fine print, keeping an eye out for any deceptive wording or other traps.
There's nothing to lose if you sign up for a free ISP and end up not being satisfied — you haven't paid anything.
92: Choose a High-Speed Internet Access Method
High-speed Internet access is becoming more available. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a cable, DSL or satellite connection. Weigh the pros and cons carefully.
1 Find out what services are available in your area. For cable modems, call your local cable company. For a digital subscriber line (DSL), call your local telephone company, but other providers may also offer DSL packages. Contact your current ISP to see if it offers DSL, and also check the Web. Consider a satellite service if other high-speed services are unavailable in your area.
2 Compare prices and speeds for various services.
3 Compare all hardware and installation costs, if any, including satellite installation and setup.
4 After completing your basic research, decide whether the extra cost of increased speed is worth it. You may choose to wait until competition drives down prices.
5 Expect actual cable modem and DSL speeds to vary according to your location, neighborhood and usage at any given moment. Cable should be faster. Expect satellite to be slower than DSL or cable. Recognize that your connection may not ever achieve the maximum speed advertised by the provider.
6 Before choosing your current telephone or cable TV company as your Internet provider, consider your level of satisfaction with its service, especially its customer service.
7 Make sure your cable wiring can support two-way modem transmission before choosing cable. (Ask the cable company. Some cable modem services require a dial-up modem connection for Internet uploads.)
8 Find out how many other users will ultimately share your cable access before choosing cable.
9 Compare extras offered by high-speed ISPs, such as multiple accounts, domain aliasing and extra Web space, if you'll use them.
DSL service has two parts: the actual line, set up by the phone company, and an ISP to connect your DSL to the rest of the Internet. The phone company will offer ISP services in addition to the line, but you might wish to choose a different ISP (for better rates; different features, such as more Web space or more e-mail accounts; or for better technical support). ISPs that offer DSL services will typically interface with the phone company for you.
Telephone and cable companies often provide free or subsidized hardware and installation. A service-term contract is required with these deals.
If you live in the northern hemisphere, you must have unobstructed access to the south to use a satellite dish.
Regardless of whether you select your telephone company to be your ISP, you will be dependent on it for asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) service.
Satellite requires a phone line for uploads.
93: Choose a Good Computer Password
Whether it's for e-mail or for online banking, a good password should be easy to remember and difficult to figure out.
1 Use numbers as well as letters. If possible, use symbols such as $ and *.
2 Randomly capitalize letters if the password is case-sensitive.
3 Use as many characters as possible, with a minimum of six.
4 Choose a string of characters that can be typed quickly without looking at the keyboard.
5 Avoid using your username, personal name, the personal names of friends or family members, your birthday or other things that people may know about you.
6 Avoid using an actual word from any language. If someone is serious about cracking your password, he or she can run dictionaries from multiple languages against your account. Also avoid slang and technical jargon. The word "password" is an obvious no-no.
7 Find an easy way to remember your password. Avoid writing it down.
8 Change your password every three to six months, especially if your account gives you access to restricted information.
9 If you have different accounts, it's wise to use a different password for each one, as long as you can remember them.
Acronyms for a phrase work well because they're easy to remember. (For example, "EGBDF" for "Every good boy does fine," also the sequence of lines in the treble clef.)
For an even better password, add a number or symbol somewhere in the acronym. (For example, "MMNIS3" for "My mother's name is Susan," followed by the random number 3.)
101: Use the Internet to Locate People
Put the Internet to work to find your best friend from kindergarten, a long-lost relative or the roommate who skipped out without paying the phone bill.
1 The person you're looking for may have a personal home page. To find out, simply type the person's first and last names into a Web search engine such as Yahoo or Google and view the results.
2 If the person you're looking for is a college student, he or she may have an e-mail account through the school. Visit the school's Web site (usually in the form of www.schoolname.edu) and check the campus directory.
3 The person may have an e-mail account through his or her job. If you know where the person works, visit the company's Web site and use its directory. If the site has no directory, try sending an e-mail message to the person at email@example.com.
4 The person may use the same Internet service provider that you do. Try searching in your ISP's member directory.
5 If none of the above suggestions work, try an online directory Web site, such as WhoWhere or Yahoo PeopleSearch.
Search services often turn up old addresses, if they turn up anything at all.
Some online search services find e-mail addresses, some find phone numbers and postal addresses, and some find both.
102: Make Phone Calls over the Internet
Using the Internet as an alternative to traditional telephone calls can be less expensive, but slightly more complicated.
1 Make sure you can connect to the Internet at a minimum speed of 28.8Kbps. Higher connection speeds will allow clearer conversations.
2 Make sure your computer is equipped with a sound card of at least 16 bits. The sound card should also allow recording.
3 Purchase compatible speakers and a microphone if you don't already have these components.
4 Buy or download Internet telephony software and install it on your computer. The software you choose must be the same as or compatible with the software of the people you wish to call.
5 Make arrangements with the person you wish to call establishing that you will be online at a specific time.
6 Follow the instructions of your specific telephony software for making a call. This usually involves accessing a server and selecting a name from a list of users who are currently online.
In general, online telephone calls can only be made between two people who have computers, Internet access and compatible software, although some applications (such as Dialpad) allow you to call regular telephones.
For optimal clarity, use a full-duplex sound card.
Instant messaging software, such as ICQ or AOL Instant Messenger, will give you instant messages, but without the voice effects.
103: Create Your First Web Site
These guidelines are for simple entry-level Web programmers. Better options are available for more sophisticated users.
1 Choose an ISP or other Web-hosting service to host your site.
2 Investigate several hosting services, considering maximum space, accessibility, reputation and terms of service.
3 Select and download a Web-page editor. Several simple editors are available for free; Netscape Composer is one. These editors let you see what your site will look like as you build it, so you won't have to learn HTML or other programming languages. Newer word processors, spreadsheets and other applications can also generate HTML files.
4 Your Web-page editor will give you specific instructions about options such as naming your site, creating different sections, creating backgrounds, adding links and inserting images.
5 Create images for your site by drawing them with your computer's paint program or by using a scanner for photographs and other hard-copy images. Or take photographs with a digital camera.
6 If you find an image on another Web page that you'd like to use, send an e-mail to the page's owner or administrator and request permission to download and post it. Download an image from a Web site by right-clicking on it (or, on a Mac, click and hold down the mouse ) and select Save Picture.
Publishing Your Site
7 Your Web-host ISP may have its own system for uploading pages. Otherwise, obtain a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) program. Any will do.
8 Open your FTP program and log in to your host server by entering your login name and password.
9 Access the directory where your home page belongs. (Your Web ISP will give you this information.) The directory address is usually in the form of /pub/username, /pub/www/username, or /pub/username/www. Your FTP program and host server will have specific instructions on how to access your directory. 10 Upload each page and graphic of your site according to the specific instructions of the FTP program and your host server.
Many Web hosts let you use your own "domain name" (such as www.me.com) if you have one, or will assign you a name.
Some Web sites, such as Homestead (www.homestead.com), provide both hosting and site-building services.
Many graphics software programs come with clip art — simple images in various categories — that you can use on your site.
Clip-art CD-ROMs can be purchased from software retailers.
You may want to limit the size of the images you include; larger images can make your page take a long time to view.
Your FTP program may give you a choice between ASCII and binary mode when uploading. Use ASCII mode for uploading pages, because pages are text files. Use binary mode for image files.
The above steps are a general strategy for uploading your site. Your FTP program and Web-page ISP will have more specific instructions.
To use clip art or images from someone else's site, you need permission from the creator, unless the site or clip-art collection specifically states that the art can be reused.
112: Stop Unwanted E-mail
As anyone who's ever had an inbox cluttered with unwanted advertisements knows, spam, or unsolicited commercial e-mail, can be a big problem.
1 Contact your Internet service provider (ISP) and complain. ISPs don't like spam any more than you do; the mail clogs their servers. The ISP can filter out mail from a suspected spammer address.
2 Avoid displaying your e-mail address in Internet chat rooms and only give out your e-mail address on secure sites.
3 Avoid including your e-mail address when you post to newsgroups.
4 Send a complaint message to the postmaster at the spammer's ISP, if you can figure it out. Many spammers forge return addresses, but you can sometimes figure out the ISP from the full e-mail header.
5 Be careful when selecting a free ISP or e-mail account. Some of these services make their money by letting "sponsors" send e-mail to their subscribers.
6 If your e-mail provider doesn't have a built-in spam filter, search the Web for e-mail filters and other anti-spam software. Many of these programs are free and can be easily installed.
Don't reply to spam unless the message includes clear instructions for removing yourself from a mailing list. In most cases, responding only verifies that your e-mail address is active. Sometimes the spammer has forged a return address, so by responding you're actually bothering an innocent person.
113: Read a Newsgroup on the Internet
Internet newsgroups are a great way to share information online. Once you have a news reader set up on your computer, reading and posting to newsgroups is relatively simple.
1 Get your news server name from your ISP or network administrator.
2 Determine whether your current ISP software, e-mail program or Web browser includes a news-reading utility (many do). If not, download and install one.
3 Configure your news reader by inputting your news server address and any other information it requests (it might ask for an e-mail address and mail server as well).
4 Use your reader to call up a list of available newsgroups. This list will probably pop up during setup the first time you use your reader.
5 Look through the hierarchical list of newsgroups to find any that sound interesting. Let the prefixes of each group (such as "comp" for computer-related topics and "rec" for recreational topics) guide your search. The other words in the name range from general to more specific keywords.
6 Subscribe to whichever newsgroups you want to read or post to. (Note that some readers allow you to read newsgroup messages without your having to subscribe.)
7 Select the newsgroup you want to read.
8 Select a message by double-clicking on the subject. (Note that different readers may have different ways of reading messages.)
Your ISP or network may not subscribe to all the newsgroups you want. If possible, use a separate reader to maximize your access to the Internet. Newsgroups that begin with "alt" (denoting "alternative" topics) may be especially hard to find on ISPs.
If you come across a newsgroup message that appears to be gibberish, it may be a message encrypted into "Rot13." This is an encryption code that replaces each letter with the letter that is 13 spots ahead of it in the alphabet. This coding is used mainly to protect people from possibly offensive postings. You can decode these messages by hand, or see if your reader has a Rot13 decoding utility.
114: Use Online Forums
Forums, also called discussion boards, function in a similar way to newsgroups, except that they are available through ISPs and individual Web sites.
1 Explore the forums and special-interest groups on your Internet service provider (ISP) or online service.
2 Use a search engine and look for Web sites that focus on your interests. Many of these will have forums or chats.
3 Read the "posts" (messages) and follow the current "threads" (comments related to a single topic) for several days. See if the group has a FAQ (frequently asked questions) document and read it.
4 Write a post of your own. Be prepared for a mixed response.
5 Explain yourself if someone takes exception to your comments, but do not get into a heated argument via posts.
6 Determine whether your forum companions get together for chat sessions. Join in if they do.
7 Send e-mail to your new friends and develop new relationships.
Keep your initial posts short and noncontroversial.
Befriend a veteran or two and ask about the group's taboos.
Always represent yourself accurately; you may want to meet the forum regulars one day.
Generally, forums are open to all. That means you may run into angry, combative people who will "flame" you for posting ideas that run counter to their own. If you handle the attacks calmly without retaliating, others will respect you.
Copyright @copy; 2000 by Courney Rosen
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