Part Two: Get Hired At The Apple Retail Store: Questions Answered

St. Catherine Apple Store, Montreal Quebec Canada

St. Catherine Apple Store, Montreal Quebec Canada

To those of you who were promised another post ‘soon’, I apologize for the massive one year wait. For those of you who are reading this for the first time, I encourage you to read my original posting on ‘How To Get Hired At The Apple Retail Store‘.

I started this blog (without any real theme or direction other than to share my knowledge or opinions that I thought were useful to others), and the original post generates a lot of interest, so I wanted to follow up with another to answer a lot of the questions that were posed to me via e-mail or comments.

Keep in mind this will be extremely lengthy (and at points a little redundant); I want to answer as many questions as possible, and I hammer the important points home.

I want to make it clear that Apple retail is just glorified sales & support, nothing revolutionary going on, nothing spectacular that you’ll be contributing to apart from a sophisticated retail team. It’s a foot in the door if you ever want to work for corporate, or maybe move to California, but keep your expectations low, working for the Apple store isn’t glamorous, at all. Apple retail has been well trained and imposed upon by corporate that makes it one of the best retail experiences in the world, but in my opinion it’s the bare minimum that all retail operations should abide by. It is a lot of fun, and a really easy job for the pay, so if you get hired, have fun with it :) .

The first thing you need to do is just disconnect yourself from everything you know about Apple’s culture. Don’t put so much weight into it – you don’t need to be a good “Apple” candidate, you just need to be a good candidate. Don’t be a fanboy – be genuine.

Questions have been SLIGHTLY edited where necessary just to be more clear, most of them have been left as is – so if you see some awful english or stupid questions (I removed most of them), my apologies! In no particular order, here we go:

#1 “I’m applying for the Specialist position. I would like to ‘work my way up’ perhaps into management in time, maybe even corporate way down the road. Is Apple the type of corporate culture to develop from within and promote?”

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Setup Safari Tab Switching Shortcuts With Spark

I like minimizing the use of the mouse when I’m on the computer – I’m a heavy keyboard user – switching between tabs in my favourite internet browser is a very big part of that. I don’t like having to use the mouse to do that, but when I first switched to Safari from Firefox, I saw that the common ⌘ 1 or ⌘ 2 shortcuts were bound by default to opening the 1st and 2nd bookmarks bar bookmark, instead of my first and second open tabs.

The following, is a handy solution I’ve found (with the help of Roberto Carjaval) and the good people at http://www.shadowlab.org/ who’ve developed a piece of software called Spark (my own mirror here, version 3.09b). “Spark is a powerful, and easy Shortcuts manager. With Spark you can create Hot Keys to launch applications and documents, execute AppleScript, control iTunes, and more…”

As you can probably tell, I’ll only be showing you how to use Spark to bind ⌘ 1 to the first tab open in Safari, and ⌘ 2 to the 2nd, so on and so forth.

Note: This guide only works for people using Apple’s Mac OS X operating system, if you’re using Safari on Windows, you may have to keep looking for a solution.

Step One

Download Spark.dmg (mirror here), launch it, and then drag it to your applications folder. If you’re a rookie to
Mac OS X, then you should know that this is a pretty standard process. Image attached below.

Drag Spark From The Newly Downloaded *.dmg File To Your Applications Folder

Drag Spark From The Newly Downloaded *.dmg File To Your Applications Folder

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How To Get Hired At The Apple Retail Store

Update: There is a follow-up to this article, with comments and questions via e-mail answered! It may interest you to read it after you finish this piece.

It’s not secret that a popular company like Apple has hundreds of people applying daily for work. If you’re one of those people, and happen to have that extra drive to be one of the few selected to join the team, this guide will serve you greatly. I was hired in September of 2009 as a ‘Specialist’ (essentially a glorified salesman) in one of their retail stores, and want to share the experience that it was, to go from nothing to hired.

First thing you need to do is create an Apple ID. You can go to myinfo.apple.com to do so. Once you’ve entered all relevant information (the more complete your profile, the better) you can login and search the job listings that are currently posted. Login with your Apple ID to cooljobs.apple.com. From here, you’ll be able to search through corporate, as well as retail positions that have been put up. Since I haven’t gone through the corporate process, I won’t touch on that, and will just stick to retail.

Apple Retail

Apple Retail

Once you’ve clicked the “Search Retail Jobs”, you’ll get a return of a long list, with all the job titles prefixed by a country code; CAN for Canada, US for the United States, GER for Germany, etc. Choose each position you think you’d be suited for, one by one, and go through the process. You’ll choose a state/province where you’d like to apply, and either apply for current or future openings. Once this is all done, you’ll be formally submitted as a candidate, and if by some miracle you get chosen out of the bunch, good for you, you lucked out.

Once you’ve finished all the applications, I would encourage you to drop into the store, and meet some of the managers; it’s usually very occupied in the Apple Store, so it’s a good idea to go early in the morning (I would call 11am the deadline to go in). Let them know that you’ve applied formally online, and are very interested in a job with Apple. Tell them why you want to work for Apple, why you’d be good at the positions you’ve applied for, and why they might want you on the team. You want to make sure you’re being cordial at all times, and not coming off too strongly. Let them know that you’re aware that they’re hiring (if they are) and if they’re not, let them know that you’ll be checking back, and that you’re serious about applying. Ask if there’s anything you can do (every store is different, every manager is different) that will sweeten your chances at an interview.

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Setup Chinese Input on Mac OS X

One of the new refinements released with Snow Leopard, was Chinese character input. This does come standard with any install of Snow Leopard, but isn’t enabled – you need to take a couple further steps to have it functioning and ready.

First, you’ll need to make sure you have one of Apple’s laptops that is equipped with the glass trackpad (the one without any buttons), and running 10.6 or later.

Second, open your system preferences, and choose Language & Text option under ‘Personal’.

Under Language & Text, choose the ‘Input Sources’ tab, then on the list on the left hand side, scroll down and choose either Chinese – Simplified or Chinese – Traditional. You’ll notice that when you do this, the right hand side of the preferences window will show “Show/Hide Trackpad Handwriting Control + Shift + Space” no longer greyed out. This is the key combination you’ll use to toggle the handwriting input dialog.

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Change Default Font in Microsoft Office Word

I recently had a friend message me asking how to change the default font, and I had to explain it to her quickly. Wouldn’t it be nice if all I had to do was link her to a post on my website showing her detailed descriptions and images, which would in turn save me time, and make the process easier and clearer for her?

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Show Hidden & Search System Files Windows & Apple Mac OS X

Recently I was looking to delete some files off my Mac, that were albeit being difficult to find. It was a little challenging, so I thought I’d put together the solution for you all to take advantage of.

As usual, I’ll explain Apple’s Mac OS X platform first. The two functions (searching system files and showing hidden ones) are independent.

Terminal Application within the Utilities folder (Mac OS X)

Terminal Application within the Utilities folder (Mac OS X)

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Remove 'WD SmartWare' from your Western Digital Passport or MyBook

Western Digital Smartware Logo

This is the western digital smartware logo you may see on your computer when connecting your external drive.

If you’ve purchased a Western Digital Passport or MyBook drive in the past little while (I’ve recently bought 3), you’ve no doubt run into the Western Digital Smartware. This is a virtual drive that is setup with the hard-drive that mounts every time you plug it in. It would seem that at first it’s permanent, and the only way to get it to disappear is to install the software that comes with the drive. However, there is a fix that Western Digital provides on their website. Don’t ask me why a simple ‘delete’ function or ‘eject permanently’ isn’t more readily available.

You can view the instructions from Western Digital on this link, or on this page below! Note that these instructions may change in the future; If newer editions of the drive come out, then I’ll be making an update to the page. This should work for the next year at least:

Mac instructions will come first, and Windows users look further down the page.

IMPORTANT

The following precautions must be performed before installing the firmware update:

  • All AntiVirus software MUST be disabled.
  • All Anti-Spyware software MUST be disabled.
  • ANY and ALL programs that would require drive access during the update MUST be disabled.
  • Failure to perform these precautions may cause data corruption/loss and/or drive failure.

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Check Your AppleCare Status via serial number

AppleCare Protection Plan

AppleCare Protection Plan - Extended Coverage for your Apple Products

note: If you don’t want a funny story, then check your AppleCare Status: https://selfsolve.apple.com/GetWarranty.do. Otherwise, read on.

During my time at Apple, I would often run into customers who would come into the store with malfunctioning equipment (either because they’ve caused a problem, or hardware was defective). Ultimately, to get any sort of results, they would need an appointment at the Genius Bar. This would in turn have a Genius (aka technician) look at the product, make an assessment, and then present the solution. For someone who hasn’t voided their warranty with physical or water damage, it’s usually good news.

When someone would come in, I would ask what the problem was, to determine whether it was software or hardware related. Then, I would lookup their serial number on Apple’s website to see if the product was still covered under either limited warranty, or AppleCare. What’s funny here is, the fastest way I found to do so, was to google “check applecare serial number” to which I would always find a result to some random guy’s blog: www.macitguy.com. I’d be directly linked to Check your Applecare status by Serial Number, which would in turn give me the direct link to check, well, AppleCare status by serial number.

After a while, I stopped searching Google, and using the ever so helpful macitguy, I just started typing https://selfsolve.apple.com/GetWarranty.do, it was just easier (believe it or not).

Quicktips:
-Be really nice to the Genius’, they hold your fate in the palm of their hands. If for some reason you’re not happy or aren’t being treated the way you want, ask for a manager. If you’re not happy with the result of your appointment, ask for a manager. Even if you’re out of warranty, even if you’ve damaged the computer a little bit, there’s always a chance. Be professional, curteous, and show them you’re a loyal Apple customer, and you might get pleasantly surprised.
-Always arrive to your appointment with your data/personal information backed up. The Genius may need to wipe/restore your device; you would lose all your data without a backup. Or you would need to make a second trip after being told to go home and back your stuff up.
-Innocence, ignorance, and a gentle attitude. The three keys to success at the Genius Bar.

Fun fact:
The reason they call AppleCare “an extended coverage” for your product, as opposed to an extended warranty, is to avoid liability in the event that Apple goes under. If Apple declares bankcruptcy tomorrow and closes their doors, and you have 2 years left on your AppleCare coverage, and something goes wrong, you’re on your own :]

Download Movies & TV Shows: Rookie's Guide to Bit-Torrent

note: Since this post has been put up, mininova has been shut down. www.thepiratebay.org, and www.torrentreactor.net are good alternatives.

I’m always hearing friends, family, randoms, saying they wish they knew how to download movies or television shows off the internet (for free). While there are some pretty good sites for streaming – and many television networks actually upload new episodes to their website after airing the night of, or soon after – it’s not the same as having a large library of all your favorite shows and movies available at your finger tips. The added disadvantage to all of these streaming sites (legal and illegal alike) is that they usually sacrifice quality; that, and the added loading period makes this quite the arduous process. As such, the following guide should set you in the right direction to start downloading to your hearts content.

Try to follow these steps as best you can; at the end of this article you will find video tutorials which will guide you through this process, from beginning to end.

Step 1: Downloading your Bit-Torrent client.

To download torrents, you’ll need a client (you) program that is used in conjunction with these files to download your content. www.utorrent.com (UTorrent) is the most popular Windows XP/Vista (PC) application, but if you’re a Mac OS X user, you’ll want to download www.transmissionbt.com (Transmission). For utorrent, click download and run the installation file, once everything is finished, you’ll find the shortcut on your desktop. For Transmission, download the *.dmg file, once it’s open, copy Transmission to your applications folder, and run it from that location.

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Learn to Bit-Torrent - OS X

The following videos are part one & two of setting up and using the bit-torrent client Tranmission. These video guides should be viewed after having read through the written tutorial that I’ve put together here. It’s a supplement, not a replacement, so make sure you’ve taken a look before viewing the following:

1 of 2 – Learn To Bit-Torrent Tutorial – OS X


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