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Resume Writing Advice For the Recent College Graduate
Friday, September 13, 2013

In an ideal world, every college grad entering the job market would have a secured place in it. Many, however, can only hope to have a career prospect waiting for them after graduation, but why hoping won't get you very far.

If college teaches you anything, it's that preparation is crucial for success! So why wait around and hope for things to work out when the time comes when you can get the ball rolling yourself? Use the following tips when putting your resume together and go from hoping for a job to expecting one:

  • Describe yourself accurately
You want a job so much that you'd be willing to go above and beyond for it. Just don't get carried away. Overselling yourself for an entry-level position doesn't help. Hiring managers evaluate your potential for the position as well as your growth as an overall employee. They'll be interesting in what skills and experience you gained from internships, projects, associations, or previous jobs. Be realistic, exaggerating too much could backfire because you'll be setting expectations higher than you can live up to. Be confident without bragging.
  • Discuss relevant skills
You may have a range of talents and know-how but if they don't pertain to the job, the hiring manager won't be impressed.  Each resume and cover letter should be position specific and tailor to the job description. Avoid trying to tie in skills that are too far-fetched to be relatable. You may have been a great line cook in a past life but it's best to leave that out in your application for an accounting position. Oftentimes, your resume is going to be scanned by a program first so you'll to make room for the keywords they're looking for (hint: find them in the job description).
  • Read the requirements thoroughly
Job descriptions often ask for more than is really needed in hopes of getting the next best thing (which would essentially be the perfect candidate. Hiring managers know that they won't get exactly what they're looking for, but they still want to get someone who can do the job well even if they don't meet every single requirement. Job positions that you're underqualified for don't have to be ruled out as long as you can make a good case for yourself. If the job position is something that you're determined to pursue, it helps to mention ways that you're working towards fulfilling the requirements and how you're on your way towards be adequately qualified.

A job interview is like a first date. You want to impress and you want it to progress. In order for the relationship to go anywhere, there has to be chemistry between the two sides. Applying for positions that you're compatible with will make for a better chance that it'll grow into something promising.

3 Realizations College Grads Made After Graduating
Friday, May 24, 2013

I'm sure there are plenty of times in your life that you've looked back and thought about how you could have done it differently, done it better. Of course you have, everyone has. College is an experience that many people would more than likely back and do all over again but with a few altered decisions.
If you're in college or thinking about attending it's probably because you're in pursuit of a better job. Naturally, this is the most common reason that people consider going and getting their degree but often by the time that these students make their transition into alumni, their outlooks have changed.
After graduation, a handful of students were asked what kind of advice they wish they could have given their college freshmen self in order to get the most success out of college. The words of wisdom they provided stemmed from lessons taught outside of the classroom by the most effective teacher there is: experience. Here is some of the insight they shared:

Visit the career center often.
The campus's career center is a building that many college students seldom make good use of. If you're lucky, someone from the career center will reach out to one of your classes and feed you some valuable information. College freshmen and sophomore are usually too excited about college life that they keep graduation thoughts aside. But really, before and while in college your thoughts should be centered around what comes after. After all, a degree is only as good as what you make of it.

Most college students have an idea of what kind(s) of careers they want to pursue with their degrees but many also have no clue of the specifics. The career center is there to guide you and help you pinpoint a specific career. This will then help you focus your curriculum for that particular job. College is essentially a blueprint, plan, a roadmap all pointing to one destination or final product. The better you stay on a determined course, the better your chances are for guaranteeing that you'll achieve the desired end result.

Take an interest in extra curricular activities.
In general, anything you do other than coursework and attending classes is pretty much voluntary and it does little to effect how well you do in school. It can, however, make a big difference in the kinds of opportunities available to you after graduation. Being proactive in activities beyond what's expected is valued in the job market.

Employers will see that you're taking the initiative to go above and beyond the bare minimum. Your involvement with community groups and organizations can often be the edge you need to land a competitive job position. Employers like to see people who have the drive to pair their academia with real world experience, and not because it was handed to them. College campuses are hubs of community involvement. Just find the flyer that interests you and get going!

Use your electives for both fun and your major.
Most major's allow you to have a lot of flexibility in the way you structure your class schedules. Some students might see the remaining units they're required to fulfill as a free for all in taking "easy" classes or classes they can take with their friends. Not to say that this is a bad thing but these units should be well-invested in to your major. For example, if you're a creative writing major, taking a bunch of biology classes that sound easy or interesting won't do much for you after graduation if you don't intend to use it in a practical way.

You want to be able to come out of college with a valuable skill. The most classes you take that are related to one another, the more expertise you'll gain in a certain discipline. So classes on different styles of writing or literature, and even theater, will be more useful to a creative writing major for their career. Your major should be first and foremost something that interests you that way, all your classes, both required and non, will be fun and useful to you.

Writing Your Resume After You've Just Graduated
Friday, April 12, 2013

Until you graduate from high school or college, the majority of your life is spent in school. Whether you had a summer job as a teen or not,  it probably didn't give you more than your basic cashiering or customer service skills. These skills are hardly enough to get you the kind of job needed to get your professional career started.

It's not uncommon for new grads to embark on their career journeys staring at a blank paper for a resume. The way you approach filling it can give you the push you need to get going. One approach would be to go with the conventional way, and the other is to customizing it so that your strengths are placed at the top of your resume and less notable attributes toward the bottom. Ideally of course, your entire resume will comprise of great strengths and accomplishments but starting from scratch may require squeezing in some filler. 

Both approaches are equally effective as long as they are composed and applied in the way that they are best suited. As a new grad seeking guidance in their resume writing techniques, here are some tips to help you get started:
  • If you are set on one specific job, define a career objective that outlines exactly what it is you hope to get out of this position. that you want to use in your future career moves. Being vague about your goals, the hiring manager won't know whether to you would be right for the job. 
  • List dates, schools, and other notable achievement that support you as a good candidate. Things like fraternities, clubs, or other school organizations show that you were engaged in extra curricular activities. If you want to get a job in accounting, you should highlight relevant courses you took that demonstrate your background and knowledge in the field.
  • Don't rule out a job because it's not your first choice. Jobs that are generally considered to be menial are often great starting points for the recent grad. Everyone has to start somewhere (usually at the bottom) and for those who don't have any experience to build on, having work-related responsibilities  allows you to create a foundation for your next job.
  • Use numbers instead of fancy words. You could litter your resume full of big words or fancy sounding descriptions to embellish your lackluster background but a pretty picture doesn't serve as credible proof. Numbers, on the other hand, are more concrete and show the hiring manager rather than just telling them how good you are.
When you're just stepping into the professional world, it's likely that you're going to feel at a disadvantage without already establishing a starting point in it. This is typical, though. And it's actually a very effective way for young people to figure out a clear path for where they want to go in their careers if they haven't already. So take your time in created your resume and don't be afraid to go with your instincts, they're often the best source for finding direction.

The 4 Courses Every College Student Should Take
Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Posted by Alison Greenland, Freelance Blogger

Hiring managers these days, with the state of this economy, look for a college education as the bare minimum now. With the ratio of jobs to seekers being at around 3 to 1, their methods of hiring have gotten more scrutinizing.

Back when college wasn't as common as it is today, it wasn't such as strict requirement and the amount of candidates applying to positions requiring a degree were in fewer numbers. When the job market conditions are as tough as they are now, employers have to find the right balance between being fair in their consideration of qualifications and best fit. Times are changing are so are demands.

College should really be about exploring a field that interests you and gaining valuable knowledge that will lead you to a well-paying and enriching career. Ideally, that is. Realistically speaking, a college education is more likely to pay off when the major pertains to a field with rising demand, as opposed to just being really good at what you do.

Every industry has taken hits at some point in time and workers on every level have gotten their share of bad news. Professionals and veterans of the print publishing industry where I was stepping into were beginning to see their retirement catching up to them sooner than they had expected. The switch over to digital was imminent and so were the tough calls. Those that survived were those with backups, with skills and expertise in other areas.

I've compiled a list of four classes for you to add to your schedule that will prove useful for any job position:

Computer Programming/IT
Basic computer knowledge can only get you so far in an age of augmented reality and flying cars. Considering that most college grads today have grown up with computers in the home, being tech savvy is pretty much instinctive. Computer programming may seem hard, but isn't any subject that you aren't familiar with? Taking this course will give you a place in an industry that is always looking for new talent.

Math was never my forte but that doesn't mean I don't see the value in having advanced math skills. Any type of organization from an art gallery to the zoo is a business. They all offer a service or a product and they all employ people to help run the operations. Being able to work with numbers is a major plus. Positions that require analyzing and interpreting numbers can be found anywhere that people are employed and will always need to be filled.

Keeping in mind that the entire job market is one big business itself, it doesn't hurt to have an understanding of different types of markets and economics. Learning the basics of price, value, and cost, and other economic principles will give you some insight as to how these businesses run and what takes those who run it tick. This is not only knowledge for your career but also for life in general.

Financial Planning
Financial planning teaches you how to project revenue, budgeting, debt, and costs. Financial planning can help you in all aspects of your life, including your career because it provides the fundamentals of pragmatism. Given that the above mention courses all pertain to business, you're probably thinking, "I should just go into business." Not if it isn't what you want. The point is to have a skill to fall back on that has proven to have infinite need and value. In other words, you want to avoid becoming a modern-day milkman and instead more like the grocer who delivers your online order.

A Quick Guide On College Financial Aid
Monday, January 21, 2013

Financial aid is every college student's best friend. Going through the process is no breeze, though. Students can easily get lost in all the unfamiliar terms and find the process too difficult to go forward with.

While in college and after graduation, you'll realize just how important the financial aid you're eligible for will prove to be extremely helpful after you graduate. When you know how to navigate your way through it, applying for financial aid won't seem so overwhelmingly complicated.

Don't let financial aid confusion deter you from collecting your share. Save yourself the trouble, and more importantly the thousand of dollars in school costs, with this reference guide on some of the most common financial aid terms that students should know.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid): Filling out a FAFSA is the first step in getting the financial aid process going. The application figures out how much you or your family will be paying along with what financial aid may cover. After completing the form, you'll be able to see how much you'll be able to get from either work-study, loans, or student grants. The form is already free and the results can save you more than you expected.

EFC (Expected Family Contribution): This term refers to how strong your family's finances are and how much of your college will be paid for by them. This amount is determined by a formula that takes into account taxed and untaxed income, assets, benefits, family size, and the number of members attending college. The results for this calculation is provided when you fill out a FAFSA.

Award Letter: Award letters arrive by mail and tell you how much financial aid you'll be receiving. You can expect these to come in around mid to late April and basically outline your financial aid package. The problem with these letters, however, is that they don't often include ALL the information you need. Some may underestimate the cost of attendance and your package seem more appealing than it really is.

Financial Need: Your financial need is based on your total cost of attendance that isn't covered by your EFC or other forms of contribution such as scholarships or outside grants. You have to be able to demonstrate your financial need in order to be eligible for this type of aid.

Loans: Taking out a student loan is one of the most common ways that students get financial aid. Essentially, you borrow money to get you through college while you're enrolled and pay it back after graduation. There are a variety of loan types which FAFSA usually determines the best one for you. Most loans allow you a 6-month grace period after graduation to repay the loan and any interest that may have accrued with it.

Grants: Grants are free money. That's right, money that the government, your school, or a private source awards you that you don't have to pay back. Grants too, are calculated in the results when filling out a FAFSA.

Scholarships: Scholarships are kind of the in-between of loans and grants. The money is free, but you have to work for it and it isn't guaranteed. Depending on the certain criteria for the scholarship, you may have to write an essay or participate in a specific project. In general, scholarships are awarded for academic merit which allows all students a chance to earn money without repayment.

Work-study: The Federal Work Study program makes funds available to students who work part-time. In this case, the school or employer pays up to 50% of your wages while the federal government covers the rest. Students are often employed by the college itself or by another organization.

How to Find a Better Job Than the One You Already Have
Monday, January 07, 2013

In tough times like these, you would be crazy to think about giving up any job even if it isn't one you really want. The security alone can be satisfying enough, knowing that there's a paycheck out there with your name on it. But that's essentially the problem.

This sense of security causes many people to fear taking the risk of making changes. They end up settling for what they have instead of going after what they truly want. But if you've ever read into the background of someone who has made it big, many of them had to take majors risks in order to get there. There's a saying that "there's no reward without risk," and those who have taken them know just how true this is.

Whether you're ready to get started on your new career path now or wanting to wait it out until the moment is right, the following tips will be useful to you when you do decide to make your move:

First and foremost, ask yourself this question: how badly do you want to leave your job? If the entire time you are at work is spent wishing you could be somewhere else--anywhere else--then the answer is pretty clear. But if you notice that even though you don't like it, you stay because it's a generally desirable position, you might want to instead ask what it would take to make the current job you have more enjoyable.

Don't let one bad day question whether you want to keep your job, bad days are unavoidable no matter what the job is. Instead, think about how your job makes you feel. You might not like the fact that you're waiting tables or taking orders at a register, but does it actually get you down? A good time to start thinking about change is when what you're doing is making you unhappy.

When you do start taking steps toward finding your new job, make them baby ones. Taking your time will help you to continue thinking it through as you go and avoid jumping into anything you'll regret later on. Create a plan of action and be strategic in where you apply. Success from your search will be a result from how well you execute it, not necessarily from how many places you apply to. Spend the time making sure that you left no room for error. You owe it to yourself.

In a job search where the seeker is unemployed, they want to let everyone know so that any and every opportunity may come their way. In your case, though, you need to be selective about who you share this information with because it could cause some rifts between co-workers and supervisors. Remember not to incorporate anyone from your current job into your search for a new one. This means leaving them out as references and refraining from updating them on upcoming interviews.

Speaking of interviews, be careful when scheduling them. Take a personal day if you need to, but don't try to squeeze it around your work schedule. Should there be an unexpected time change, you'll want to have the liberty to be flexible.

So now you might be thinking that seeing all of this through is impossible given your time constraints with work and well, life in general. Consider all the responsibilities you already have. At one time or another they weren't there and yet you found a way to incorporate them into your life. Your new job search duties will require doing the same. Here's another quote to add to your job search notes: "With great power comes great responsibility" (yes, the same quote from the Spiderman movie). More risk, more reward, and of course more responsibility.

The Best Ways to Use Social Media In Your Job Search
Tuesday, December 18, 2012

From sharing photos to sharing your thoughts, just about anything you do and think can be published through social media. Social media has also proved its uses as a tool and resource in the job search process.

Job seekers everywhere are being told of the benefits of expanding their networks and building an online presence. LinkedIn is just the surface. Social media sites are communities without limits therefore sticking to certain websites or groups puts you at a huge disadvantage.

Becoming noticeably proactive online can be very intimidating or very exciting depending on your approach. Social media is meant to serve as the balance between casual and formal. Imagine the atmosphere of a corporate board meeting except everyone in it is wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

The first thing you should do when you want to get your social job search going is to spread the word. Make it known with your Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, and Twitter followers that you're after a job. The beauty of sharing on social media is that now people will think of you when they hear of new opportunities and pass on the information to you.

You may find it odd to start using Facebook for more than just personal reasons, but it's actually much more versatile than the average user might think. Earlier this year, Facebook topped one billion active users, according to reports. This makes Facebook a gold mine of connections that may hold the key to your next job opportunity. Keeping in mind that it's often about who you know rather than what you know, it's best to get to acquainted with as many people as possible.

Even though you'll want to extend your Facebook reach, keep your profile private for security reasons. Since you, like most people, use your Facebook profile for primarily for personal use, keep hiring managers from seeing a picture of you in an unprofessional light. Adjust your privacy settings appropriately and maintain the separation between work and play. The point of being on several social networks is to connect with different groups separately.

This is not to say that you shouldn't be doing a bit of research of your own. Find information about hiring managers on LinkedIn and Twitter, but try to stay away from connecting with them on Facebook as that pushes the boundaries of being invasive. You want to find out about their professional backgrounds such as where they went to college, where they've worked, etc. Keep your investigation relevant to the job search. No one wants to hear from a stranger that they liked a picture of you on your family vacation.

Facebook lists are a great feature for this purpose. It allows you to still have professional contacts without being afraid of posting personal updates. You can do this by going to your Account, then Friends and creating a new list where you'll be able to customize your settings to control who sees what.

Incorporating your LinkedIn and Twitter handles on resumes and email signatures is now the norm. Along with providing your email address and phone number, these links give the hiring manager other options of reaching you. It also allows them to see you beyond the paper.

Online networking can feel like a lot of work but done right, it can also be a fun experience. People have been using online services for years now to meet dates, sell items, and find a job. With social media, finding a job is no longer limited to job boards and classifieds. The job search is more personal and allows for making real connections with real people. As 2013 approaches, there's no better time to sign on, plug in, and reach out.

How to Avoid Crippling Your Own Resume
Friday, December 07, 2012

Posted by: Alison Greenland, Freelance Blogger

Those red and green squiggly lines. You know what I'm talking about, the spell and grammar checkers in your Word document.

Be honest, your first draft of something probably resembles Christmas lights more than it does a professional document. While that's typical of a first drafts, when you've gotten to your third edit and it's still riddled with those Christmas colors, your resume will look just as tacky as having your lights up after the holidays.

When applying for a job your resume is meant to respresent you in the most appealing light. Grammatical errors and typos can make a major negative impact on your chances of landing an interview. Even the most qualified candidate will be passed over for someone with a well-composed resume.

Employers are always looking out for candidates that clearly demonstrate their attention to detail. Flawed writing doesn't reflect professionalism well for a company so hiring managers don't overlook them in resumes. Avoid having yours reflect badly on yourself by being extra meticulous with these three things:

1) Spell check, please!
Common mistakes like accidentally inverting a letter can be hard to detect when you've been typing and reading for a while. Your eyes will tend to skim rather than carefully read so the spell check feature will help pick these errors out. It's important to give your eyes a break before your final resume read to pick out grammatical and contextual mistakes with fresh eyes.

2) Formidable formatting
The way your resume is formatted also effects how it's read. Formatting isn't hard to do, but improperly doing so is easy. No hiring manager is going to take a second look at trying to decipher an unorganized resume. Avoid blocks of text or going from numbers to bullet points. Make things easy to see. Formatting ideas can be found through a variety of online resources so find one that best suits you and your industry.

3) Understand me, can you?
As a jedi master, Yoda probably didn't have to worry about grammar or resumes. For the rest of us on the other hand, making clear sense is a must if we want to find a job. When in doubt about whether something is grammatically correct, there is a fool-proof test to check if it is: does it makes sense? If your writing doesn't even make sense to you, it obviously won't for anyone else. Expand your vocabulary with a thesaurus so as not to sound repetitive. Always, always read your resume aloud.

Candidates are books judged by their cover letters and resumes. A resume is you on paper, so how do you look?  In the same way that you spend time in front of a mirror making yourself presentable, your should be doing the same with your resume. A clean resume will clear the way for you to get a noticed by a hiring manager. Don't mess up your chances with a messy resume.

Why You Don't Have to Wait to Graduate to Get Your Dream Job
Thursday, November 29, 2012

Grads have more reasons to be scared of the job market than they do for being excited about joining it. Most grads are probably more worried about what it's going to be like moving back home with mom and dad more than they are about finding a job. Interestingly, finding a job--a good job--is actually easier than they think.

You don't have to go to a prestigious school or even be an honor student to have a fair shot of landing the job of your dreams. It takes savvy and persistance--and knowing what you're doing--to go after exactly what you want. When nothing is ever handed to you, you have to be the one to take matters into your own hands by working hard and linking up with the right people.

There's no secret formula for getting a job. Here's how you, and any other determined grad, can get your dream job before graduating:

Pursue something you actually WANT to do, not just want you think will make you the most money. When you enter college and decide on a major, it's usually based on a subject that interests you, right? Many students who don't know right away figure it out eventually after taking a variety mix of courses.

The problem that many college students have at that point is figuring out what do after receiving their diploma. They know that a college degree can get them a job but they often don't think about what kind of job. Thinking about these things early will help you in the long run and if you're near graduation it's never too late to start lining up ideas.

The next tip is a little less appealing but is effective all the same. Working for free isn't what any college student looks forward to especially when they're already living on pizza and ramen noodles. The good thing about volunteering or internships during college is that there are plenty of opportunities to go around and they're much easier to do when you don't have to worry about paying back loans yet.

These opportunities open up doors by adding interesting tidbits to your resume. Employers want to see that you didn't just get a college degree but you earned it by being an active member of the student body. This is the time when you start "paying your dues" and give yourself somewhat of a head start once you graduate. In college, it's so easy to get by with doing the bare minimum that demonstrating you went the distance is impressive in the eyes of potential employers.

To get the job you want, and by all means deserve, you don't have to give up having fun in college. When college, or anything for that matter, is all work and no play it can be easy to lose sight of the ultimate goal. Socialization skills are just as important as any other learning experience. Knowing how to carry yourself in situations where everyone is new isn't easy for everyone, but practice makes perfect. Your ability to connect with people on a professional and personal level will take you far. Socializing at parties is not the same as socializating professionally. Make sure to attend conferences and industry events to work on your professional presence.

These personable skills will also play to your advantage when you start interviewing for your dream job. Interviews take lots of preparation. As a college student, you're more than equipped with the necessary prep skills. Interviews are basically tests, final exams even. You need to study the subject and prepare yourself with the proper materials.

Employers want to take on people they want to have around and the qualifications give them justification for having you there. They know that college students don't have the personality of robots so relax and let your personality shine through. If you start to get nervous, remind yourself that interviewers are actually routing for you. You are part of the next wave of new additions to the work force. Reaching your dream job is more real than you might think it is.

New Grad's Guide to Personal Finance
Thursday, November 15, 2012

New grads have a lot to worry about when it comes to their finances. Check out these budgeting basics and get yourself on the right track to free yourself from debt!

5 Tips For Young Job Seekers
Thursday, November 01, 2012

Within every demographic are groups of unemployed job seekers and there's no shortage, especially with those who have recently graduated. Young job seekers are eager to get their careers started but don't have some of the advantages that older, more experienced candidates have.

These job market rookies do, however, have a lot of factors working in their favor that their inexperience might be canceling out. Things like the networking etiquette or how to follow up with contacts could be holding them back regardless of competition.

In order to make sure that young job seekers have as equal of a chance as any other candidate, here are some tips to help level out the playing field:

1) Don't be a career fraud.

It's okay to not have everything figured out. It's common for many people starting out in their careers to not know what is they want to do. Oftentimes, people end up in careers that they initially had no intention of pursuing. By pretending that you have you mind completely made up, it will prevent others from offering any help or advice. You still need to know who you are even if you aren't sure where you plan to end up. Have an idea of the kinds of work that appeals to you and use that as a starting point.

2) Be in-tune with who you communicate with.

Being confident in who you are is a great quality and is an important one to have during an interview. As much as you want to stay true to who you are, you have to also refine the professional you. The part of you should shine in an interview instead of the you that your friends or family are used to. Keep boundaries and formalities in mind. You want to be able to talk to potential employers with respect without making them feel old.

3) Accept all offers of help.

Whether you want it or not, you should always be open to someone's offer to help you. Aside from the fact that it would be rude to decline a such a generous gesture, taking it can open up opportunities for making more industry connections. On the other side of that, don't be afraid of asking for some  help. Most recruiters or HR managers will be happy to oblige if they can.

4) Take a piece of humble pie.

You've got a degree or a diploma and you should feel proud of it. But having it simply means you are now qualified for certain jobs, not entitled to them. For someone who does not have much of a track record to speak for up for, you should be representing yourself in the best possible light. This means being the grateful and approachable industry rookie you are. People will see that you've got your head out of the clouds and planted firmly on your shoulders.

5) Avoid being picky.

No one wants to accept a job that they don't prefer but anyone who really wants a job will take what they can get. Pickiness is a very effective way of prolonging unemployment. Getting your career going is easier when you've got experience on your resume so that you have something to build on. This goes back to not knowing what you want to do. Even if you do know, where you begin doesn't always have to be where you end up.

Modern Ways to Job Search
Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Is your job search stuck in 2010? It's 2012, a new decade! Time to modernize your job search!

Manage Your Work Life Without Sacrificing Your Love Life
Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Time and money: the two things we all wish we had more of in life. The reality is that both diminish at a rate faster than we want. When you throw priorities into the mix it can be hard to choose between where to place what, especially when it comes to work and love.

Work = Money. Love = Happines. Well, for the most part at least. These days you it seems like you just can't do enough to have enough. So how does one choose between success and desire? Fortunately, you don't have to.

The right kind of balance allows you to have it all, in moderation. Many people use that same idea in their diets where they don't limit any food group, rather balance the intake of each. In this case, you equal out the time you dedicate to the different areas of your life.

Your job might not allow you to always be home in time to have dinner with your significant other or take off work for some quality time with your loved ones. Some of these tips mcan help you get the different parts of your life to complement one another.

For example, setting some ground rules for yourself. If you have a hard time getting out of the office, set a time limit for how late you'll allow yourself to stay the doesn't infringe on time spent at home. This also means time spent working from home. Coordinate a schedule that the both you can agree on such as which day on the weekend you both can work from home or which hours of the day.

Of course, you can't discuss work without getting to the topic of money. It's a common issue that many couples deal with so you might as well address it sooner than later. The worst time to bring up money is when money's not good. Make it clear what each of you expect in the case of certain circumstances such as career changes or even layoffs. Is either of you willing to be the sole bread winner? If not, better find out before it's too late.

When it comes down to it, you want to spend as much time with your love as much as they want to with you and where there's a will, there's a way. The only thing that's really stopping you is you, despite work seeming like the actual barrier. It's times like these that make the little things count even more. Whether it be a trip to the grocery store or setting up a date night, couples that make it work are the ones that wholeheartedly want to and find ways of doing it.

This can sometimes mean having to give up other things. Perhaps cutting down girl's/guy's night from every week to every other week. Sacrifices should also be evenly balanced if you want to avoid cause for any other issues, although that should go without saying.

In a most relationships, each person goes from being a "me" to a "we." When making decisions it's important to think in terms of a team. Along with making sacrifices comes making compromises. A basic example of this being the "You cook and I'll clean," agreement.

It's no joke when people say that relationships are work. When you have so many things going on, harmonizing it all can sometimes be exhausting. But you can get the reward without putting the work in. They only people who says it's impossible to have it all are the ones who haven't tried.

5 Ways for Grads to Get a Career Without Experience
Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Getting a job without any experience in that field, or maybe none at all, can be a problem just as tough to figure out as the question of whether the egg or the chicken came first.

Most jobs require having some sort of previous experience to show that you're familiar with the type of work and position you're applying for. But how do you get experience in the first place, especially when those jobs might require having experience as well?

This kind of situation might make you feel stuck, but there are still plenty of ways to find a place for yourself in the workforce even in an area you're completely new to.

1) Start from square one.

You can get to first base without starting at the home plate first. So to get your foot through the door, you've got to get back to basics. This might mean taking a few steps back but that's better than going nowhere at all. Sure, you might have to settle for a pay cut or a different positon, but if you have your mind set on making a place for yourself in an industry you've never worked in before that, you're going to have to earn it. On the brigher side, this process goes quicker as you gain more work experience in general.

2) Hit the books.

Education comes in handy when you need to make up for a lack of experience. Enrolling in some courses for certification or even a new degree can increase your chances considerably. Taking that step to get additional schooling and expand your knowledge on an unfamiliar field demonstrates your drive and initiative.

3) Go the traditional route.

The easiest way to gain experience is through volunteer work. Volunteering can turn some people off since the time and effort is unpaid but the benefits are not meant to be monetary. Some of the advantages of volunteering  aside from experience are: meeting new people/networking, training is usually provided, you can find opportunities that can combine both your interests and career goals, the rewarding feeling you get from helping out a good cause. Companies also like to see that you are voluntarily active in a cause.

4) Refine your appearance in print.

When breaking into a new career field, you have to start fresh. Starting fresh begins with who you can prove you are. Since others haven't been around to get to know you or how you work, you'll have to do your best to make a good first impression with your resume. Don't forget your LinkedIn profile, this is an equally important part of your application documents. Make your resume and profile represent who you are as a person, even if you just have your education and interests on their. Let them see which clubs you were a part of and any community groups you were apart of.

5) Use the experience you have to your advantage.

Even though you may not have experience in the line of work you want to get into, you could have some transferable skills. Transferable skills are the kind that are applicable across a wide variety of fields. These would be things like strong communication, typing skills, or proficiency in using computer software. People learn skills all throughout their lives that dob't necessarily come from formal work. Think about the skills you've honed in your life and how they can serve as an advantage when venturing into a new career role.

Rookie Resume Mistakes
Saturday, September 08, 2012

You can always tell the difference between someone who knows what they're doing and someone pretending to know. For someone who is new to the job-hunting game, it can be a challenge to pull off years of refined professionalism flawlessly.

These tell-tale signs are especially obvious to a hiring manager in a resume where there are clear distinctions between good/bad and right/wrong. Take a look at the common mistakes that many rookies makes that give them away as amateurs, or at least make them look that way.

1) Irrelevant job experiences.
Including irrelevant job experiences is simply wrong and looks bad. Even if you don't have much work experience in general, listing the ones you have that don't apply to the one you're applying for isn't going to help you any. Look at what they're asking for in a candidate and think about skills and experiences you have acquired, whether through a job or not, and highlight those instead.

2) Short-term positions.
This doesn't include seasonal jobs, those you go into knowing they will be temporary. The problem with jobs that you left on your own accord or were terminated from don't reflect on you as a desirable candidate. You'll have to expect that they are going to want further information about your past employment and if there might be anything you wouldn't want them to know, better to leave it out completely.

3) References.
A part of being able to put good work experience on your resume is being able to have good references from those places as well. You don't, however, have ot list these references on your resume. This part of the hiring process should already be expected. Naturally, if a potential employer requests references you would give it to them.

4) Listing responsibilities.
Your job title pretty much already sums up what was expected of you but says nothing about what you actually did. That's the information that the hiring manager cares about since that's what will differentiate you from another candidate who may have held the same position. They don't want to see a list of job descriptions on your resume, they want to see accomplishments and specific details.

5) Explanations.
Keep in mind that your resume should ideally be one page so you'll want to keep your descriptions brief. Stick to bullet points and avoid explaining why you left a job. They only want to see the "who, what, when, and where" of your past experiences. If they're interested in finding out the "why," they'll give you a call back.

6) Personal interests.
Adding a personal touch of who you are by mentioning your hobbies or interests can be good as long as they are somewhat relevant to the job. Otherwise, this approach could backfire on you. The hiring manager could start making assumptions about you. When in doubt, leave it off. Again, your resume shouldn't be your life story, rather a brief introduction to who you are. Imagine that you're speed dating with each company, what would you want them to know about you in the few moments you have of their attention?

The Unwritten Rules of Job Searching You Need to Know
Friday, August 31, 2012

What's worse than being the last one to know is being the only one who doesn't know. In just about every professional situation, there certain are rules or guidelines that aren't going to be spelled out.

When you're not getting the results out of your job search that you expect it could be due to being unaware of these rules. Instead of scratching your head wondering what you could have done better or what you may have done wrong, see if any of these could be your issue:

1) Lack of organization.

True good organizational skills will be apparent in all aspects of your life.You can try to make the arugment that you can be organized in your professional life even when you aren't so much in your personal, and while this may be true, you'll find both worlds to be much easier to tackle when the organization is evenly balanced. Use labels and categorize your emails. With all your information organized in a way that minimizes slip ups, you can easily create a seamless strategy. Or at least one with less bumps along the way.

2) Accessibility and gumption.

Make sure that you can be reached at all times. Employers get the same kind of frustration that you might when you call someone whose phone is off. They, however, can just move on to the next person. Failure to receive important phone calls results in missed opportunities and the more you miss the less they will come up. It's very bad form to reach other to others while being hard to reach. You're always expected to take the initiative, but unless you are able to follow through future potential employers may not take you seriously.

3) Reckless applying.

It is a big mistake to apply for any and all open positions. Firstly, it won't get you anywhere. Secondly, unless you plan to write hundreds of seperate cover letters and resumes, it's not practical. For each company you apply to, the process needs to be on a one-on-one basis where you and the hiring manager. It shouldn't be you and fill-in-the-blank.There's no genuineness or sincerity to a generic letter. It's a clear sign that you just want any job, rather than that one.

4) No focus.

You need to approach your job search as if that was your job and getting hired was a project on a deadline. With that outlook, it won't just be something you have to do, but something that's getting done. Process everything that is going on throughout your job search so you can adjust your strategy accordingly along the way. Try to read people and direct your efforts towards those who seem most interested or on the same wavelength as you.

5) Only looking out for #1.

If you're thinking that it's every many for himself in the job market, you would be one of the few left to themselves. The job market is competitive, yes, but doing a successful job search has a great deal to do with your ability to network well. Collaborating with other job seekers and recruiters allows for a harmonic give and take relationship. When someone needs a favor from you now, you may also need one from them later. It's always best to know that that opportunity will be available to you.

Career-Ruining Internship Mistakes
Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It may be all to easy to not take an internship seriously, especially if you're not getting paid for it. But an internship is still a job that serves as an important career move. The connections you make at an internship are invaluable which is the trade-off for not being monetarily compensated.

Plus, an exceptional performance can often lead to a paid offer from the organization. These opportunities aren't handed out to everyone so those that do get them should not miss out on the many advantages that come with them.

There are plenty of ways to mess up an internship that can have consequences on your professional careers. Here's how to avoid sabotaging yourself in the long-run.

1) Complaining or showing disdain towards menial assignments.
Part of being an intern is paying your dues. You can't expect to move up if you can't manage to handle the little things with a smile. Once you've proven  you're capable of giving 100% to every task, no matter how boring, people will want to see what you can do when you're challenged. Enjoy your time as an intern since there are plenty of others who would jump at the chance to take your spot.

2) Not dressing the part.
Dressing inappropriately can often say more about your standard of professionalism than your performance. It's a clear relection of how seriously you take your job so you want to be able to show that you understand their expectations. Try to mirror the level of formality that your supervisors and collegues wear to play on the safe side. You can always add your own style as long as they stay along the same lines. Avoid flip flops, showing too much skin, or visible undergarments.

3) Being more casual than you should.
Even informal workplaces tend to be more formal than a campus atmosphere, and interns need to adapt. Anything that has to do with a career setting must uphold a standard of professionalism. That line needs to be clearly established and not crossed. That means don't put your feet up on your desk, use text-speak in emails, swear, or use cavalier phrases like "my bad" when you realize you made a mistake.

4) Not fitting in with the office culture.
Part of making a good impression has to do with how well you get along with the people in the office and their way of operations. Office culture is a very important factor in determining how you do things around the office. It's pretty simple to observe how others in the office go about doing things and adapt. Since you're new you should be learning and picking up onthings as much as possible. Keep in mind that you're working around professionals so you'll want to follow their lead.

5) Clashing with other interns
While you want to make a stand-out impression on your higher-ups, you don't want to make it a competition with your fellow interns. At this point, you guys are a team. And with that, you also don't want to simply stick to them either. Getting to know as many people around the place will get you noticed and leave an impression, which is what you want when making career connections.

6) Not asking for or taking heed of feedback.
Internships are a learning experience and with every lesson comes constructive criticism. Your co-workers and supervisors are there to support you and offer their insight. Their main goal is to help train and prepare you for a future in the industry but they can't do so unless you meet them halfway. Most employers will offer feedback without you asking, but it makes a bolder statement when you solicit it yourself. It shows them that you have an active interest in your performance.

7) Not being involved enough.
Being involved at your internship goes beyond your expected duties. Do things that aren't required of you or find ways to be a part of a project that may not have initially involved you. Going above and beyond will make it clear that you are invested in your place there and that you're enthusiastic about your work. This is the kind of attitude that will take you places.

8) Forgetting to thank people.
This may sound silly but it can be easy to forget simple manners when you feel comfortable around people. It's a good thing to feel at ease at your internship but it shouldn't change the tone of your interactions with people. Those who help you need to see that you appreciate it since they aren't obligated to do so. Let people know that you're grateful for any help extended to you.

9) Making it about you.
Listen more, talk less. That should be one of your general rules at any internship or workplace. It can be easy to fall into the idea that you need to say more in order for people to take you seriously. However, if people get the impression that you want your own ideas to dominate then they will merely considered you self-centered. Be a sponge instead and soak up as much information from others as you can.

10) Losing touch when your internship ends.
Keeping in touch after you leave your internship is extremely important since it's up to you to make the most of the connections you made. Interns come and go at companies so in order to still be able to take advantage of any future opportunities, you'll have to make the effort to keep your presence alive in their minds. Maintain and build on relationships with people who can help you down the road and eventually you'll find yourself among that circle of people rather than outside of it.

Grads: Are You Making These 5 Common Job Mistakes?
Thursday, June 21, 2012

Freshly graduated applicants are exciting for employers. They get their choice of the newest ideas and faces entering the job market. For grads, however, this part of life can make finals seem like fun.

But it shouldn't be scary if you know what you're doing. No one can teach you how to work like a professional, but you can find ways of acting like one in your own duties. Most grads won't even get that chance.

This is because of many of them are making the same mistakes right at the gate with flawed approaches in their application. If you want to hang with the big dogs, you've got to prove you have what it takes to fit in.

The job market is meant to build up your skills. Here are some ways to avoid being beaten by it:

1) Don't tell a company that it's where you want to "start" your career.

With competition so fierce among college grads, companies have their choice of the most qualified or  personably compatible candidate. They can essentially pick and choose whomever they want, so you'll need to do everything possible to make yourself the perfect candidate. They don't want someone they have to babysit which is what hiring someone who is looking for a career start will do. They want someone who will push them forward rather than slow them down. Instead, impress upon them that you would be good at doing what they do.

2) Don't put all the focus on yourself.

While you want people to get a sense of who you are, you don't want that to be the only topic of discussion. When the goal is to get a job, you want your skills and qualifications to be the focus. In your cover letter, focus on things that pertain to your contributions to the company. The main thing that companies want to hear about you is how they would benefit from your employment there.

3) Don't write a lengthy cover letter.

It can be easy to get carried away when you're trying to sell yourself to an employer. It's common for many college grads to not have much work experience by the time they graduate, which isn't all bad. But trying to make up for a lacking resume with an extra long cover letter isn't going to help. Keep it brief, to the point, and honest.

4) Don't include irrelevant information.

Applying for jobs is a basic process that grads should have down. In this day and age, those practices have undergone many changes, nonetheless, as the newest generation of job candidates you should have been keeping tabs. If you're still putting things on a resume that shouldn't be there or that the employer you're sending it to won't care about, it shows that you don't really know what you're doing. Things like common summer jobs with an excess of 5-6 bullet points for each are employer repellants.

5) Don't be clueless about the employer.

You should always research every company you applied to beforehand. Failing to do so can be embarassing if they consider you and start asking you questions you don't know the answers to. Plus, it doesn't really make sense to apply to a company you know nothing about. It makes it harder to sell yourself as a good candidate for working at a company when you're unable to give soild reasons why.

Tricks Jobs Interviewers Use: Are You Falling For Them?
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

We sharpened our test-taking skills as students and we later find out whether they paid off as job seekers. Interviews are a test of your compatibility with the company and of your qualifications for the position. Like many tests, interviews can be peppered with trick questions and tactics to keep you on you feet.

Interviewers who have been doing their job for a long time have seen it all. The way they spot a winner is in both your response and your ability to tackle whatever comes your way.

If you've ever been thrown off in an interview, chances are it wasn't by accident. Here are some other things to look out for that can trip you up if you're unprepared.

1) Being super friendly.

People who are overly friendly can seem insincere like they're putting on a show. While this can make you even more uneasy, many interviewers do this to actually make you less nervous. They want to make you more comfortable not because they care so much about your feelings, rather they want you speak freely and reveal more about yourself. Of course, you should still be able to feel comfortable in the interview, just be aware of slipping up by saying more than you should.

2) Keeping silent.

This approach probably will but isn't entirely meant to make you nervous. Interviewers want to get inside your head and one way they do that is by letting you lead the way. By being silent after giving an answer, they want to see whether you'll continue talking. Nervousness usually causes an interviewee to fill the silence and perhaps say more than necessary.

The best way to handle if put in this position is to ride the silence out. If you feel like you've adequately answered the question, then don't bother going on. Interviewers will pick it up from there for time's sake and if they don't, simply ask whether you answered their question.

3) Asking about your knowledge of the company.

This question isn't so much of a trick as it is to gauge how much homework you did to prepare for the interview. Every interviewer wants to see that you took the time and initiateve to learn about the company beforehand. To them, it looks silly for someone to apply and interview at a company they know nothing about and don't care to know.

4) Asking about your reason for leaving your last employer.

What you reveal in your answer will tell an interviewer a lot. It looks extremely bad on your part to be someone who badmouth people or companies. Be honest, but also respectful.

5) Giving you one-on-one time with the receptionist.

Why anyone wouldn't want to make a good impression on everyone they meet when going to an interview is unfathomable. And yet, there are those who let their guards down when talking to reception and are still scratching their heads as to why they didn't get hired.

Saying anything less than professional to a receptionist will make its way back to the interviewer and eliminate your chances for employment. The feedback interviewers get from receptionists will definitely contribute to their ultimate decision.

6) Asking when you can start.

Interviewers like to see a willingness to begin as soon as possible. What they don't like is hearing someone ready to ditch their current employer to jump on board. Companies want people who won't just look out for themselves. With any employer, a two-week notice is a must.

7) Wanting to know your dream career.

Answers that are completely unrelated to the position will indicate to the interviewer that your passions lie elsewhere. This will lead them to doubt your commitment to the company and whether you are the best-suited for it.

8) Asking for your thoughts.

Wanting to know your opinion isn't really a trick. But the types of question you ask also reveal a lot about the type of thinker you are and what your main interests are. Are asking questions related to benefits and compensation or about the actual job duties? Asking questions regarding the company's culture and background show sincere interest.
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