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Thursday, 31 January 2013 17:21

Boost Your Resume Before Graduating College

Outside of college being a time to master key skills and coursework related to your field of interest, it's also a time to grow and mature professionally. The immediate goal after college is to get a job in your field and prove that all your hard work in college wasn't in vain. However, in today's economy more and more college graduates are finding it harder to gain employment. Below are five experiences that all students should have before walking across that graduation stage. 1. Internships: Scoring an internship has to be one of the most important and beneficial professional experiences during your college years. Internships will not only give you experience in your desired field, but it will also allow you to gain contacts and get a better idea of what kind of job you want post graduation. 2. Resume Workshops: While all resumes are subjective and no one resume will be perfect in everyone's eyes, having someone assist you to create your resume can help you better organize your professional experiences on paper and prioritize which skills should be listed. Attending resume workshops will also give you a clearer picture of what it is employers are looking for when…
Tuesday, 29 January 2013 15:06

Budgeting When Your Income Is Inconsistent

I hear it all the time: "I can't budget when my income is inconsistent." The truth is, if your money is inconsistent, you need to be budgeting way more than the average bi-weekly paycheck earner next to you! Budgeting an irregular income is a tad bit trickier, but it's not an impossible task. When using the steps below, remember to keep two things in mind. 1) Although your income may vary greatly, many of your expenses will not. So even if you have a great month, you have to plan ahead and recognize that at some point in the future you could run into a not so great month. And, 2) you may not know the exact dates for when your income actually comes in. Accidents don't make appointments, so you may very well have a need for extra money before even your basic needs are taken care of, or your average income for the month has been met. It's up to you to take care of you! Use the steps below to help you with budgeting inconsistent income. Determine your average monthly income. The more months you can include, the better, but don't use any less than three months…
What comes to mind when you hear about an interesting job opportunity? For most, the answer tends to include one of these three elements: better title, higher salary, more flexibility. These are all great things to consider, but one critical consideration is missing: greater opportunity to fulfill your mission. Having a mission gives your work purpose, one that goes beyond the organization you serve. Working with this mission in mind will lead to true career satisfaction. In order to explore the mission-driven career path, I spoke with Lydia Sermons, executive director of the African-American Experience Fund, a former television news producer and public relations executive who is now using skills gleaned from a successful 20-year media career to shine a spotlight on the National Park Service's African-American focused sites. Here are three tips that Sermons shared regarding how she moved beyond simply working a job to fulfilling a mission: Assemble your "kitchen cabinet" when planning your career. Many people have a personal board of directors with whom they discuss career aspirations, but Sermons believes that you also need a small group of people—two to four—who know you on a personal level and have a good understanding of where you are…
Between scouring job boards, attending informational interviews and making professional contacts, one thing recent grads and job seekers often overlook is how helpful it can be to connect with their alumni network. It's important to know how to maximize the limitless opportunities to connect and find advancement via this pool of people. Check out three best practices for networking with your fellow alums: Build a relationship before you ask for any references or favors. To avoid rubbing people the wrong way, don't wait until you're in desperately in need of a job before reaching out to alumni. You're more likely to make genuine, long-lasting connections by reaching out to others in a spirit of generosity than you are by reaching out to ask for favors. Don't overlook alumni groups. Your first stop for alumni networking should be the local chapter of your alma mater's alumni club or association. Even if you don't join the club, make sure to attend some of their events for one-on-one networking. It may be your only opportunity to shake hands with a potential employer or reference. Connect through social networks. Just joining the alumni group or friending/following grads is not enough. Use social networking sites…
Thursday, 24 January 2013 15:49

Boss Moves on a Budget

Following your passions and ultimately becoming a better you often means gaining access to new industries and professionals. Networking plays an essential role in embarking on a new career path or branching out on one's own, but coffee and dinner dates quickly add up for those with lean wallets and even tighter budgets. Yet with a little creativity and open mindedness, all hope is not lost when networking on a budget. In fact, suggesting out-of-the-box meeting locations and attending free local events demonstrates resourcefulness and a willingness to experiment. Whether contemplating a new opportunity, looking to enhance your current career path, or simply trying to make new friends, consider these low cost, yet effective networking ideas. 1. Great Minds Think Alike "Neighbors getting together to learn something do something share something" is the main goal of Meetup.com, an online platform that allows users to create groups around common interests and organize local gatherings. From Young Lesbian Professionals to Alpine Hiking & Climbing, this enterprising website provides users with countless opportunities to meet individuals from a diverse array of industries and personal interests. One can find virtually any professional group, but if a specific area of interest is not covered, users…
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 16:10

Pray for Your 'Enemies' At the Work Place

There is always a moment at church on Sunday when the Pastor instructs the congregation to pray for their enemies. Pastor begins to run down a list of said enemies from family, to friends to ex-lovers and even co-workers and supervisors on the job. I always pray for that ex-boyfriend and what not, because 9 times out of 10, said ex-boyfriend may have been a little "touched" by evil, however, I had never experienced an enemy at a job, so I could not relate. Where does this enemy come in? You go to work, you do your job, you collect your pay, you go home! I have never been one to strike up meaningless conversation and/or entertain co-workers once off the clock, so I figured this message from Pastor just never has and never will apply to me. Of course that was until... I worked for a law firm and was hired to manage their case load in a particular jurisdiction. I worked solo initially and then they hired a junior associate to come on-board to assist with the increase in work load. Things were going great, the associate was pleasant and a hard worker. I was offered a promotion…
Imagine running for president of the United States in 20 or 30 years. Your activity on social media in past years will be heavily scrutinized. Perhaps especially from your younger years. What types of things did you post about in college? Who did you most interact with? What were you like? Of course, not every job out there goes under the magnifying glass like running for president does. But applying for just about any job in the 21st century will subject you to Google searches, social media visits and blog hits. (Not to mention meeting new people, dating and other things you'll do in the future.) What will searchers see? It depends what you do online every day. That's what shapes your personal brand. It's how people see you. You develop a digital persona over time by what you post, how you post it, and when. Every word can have an impact. And with the Internet, any word, combination of words, video or photo can be amplified at any time. So you have to keep that in mind as well. All of your activity on social media and the Web, even right now, even when sharing privately, can re-surface later…
Monday, 21 January 2013 02:11

The Problem with your Plan B

Once upon a time, your career aspirations were the stuff of rose-colored fantasies. You wanted to be an astronaut, or a spy, or a fashion designer, or a model, or a princess, or... But somewhere along the way, the voice of reason – via your mom or your aunt or the sweet old lady who lived down the street – presented its case, effectively bursting your cute, little, unrealistic bubble. "That's real nice, baby," it cooed. "But in case that doesn't work out, you really need to have a Plan B." Plan B. Conventional wisdom says that, regardless of intended destination, we should proceed cautiously – with a pre-planned detour that will rescue us from imminent disaster should the road ahead become too treacherous. But there's a very real, life-altering problem with back-up plans: Their mere existence begs for acknowledgement and, ultimately, implementation. Eventually, that Plan B hijacks the whole operation and gives your real dream – your passion and purpose – the boot. At the time, forgoing your plan to open an all-organic coffee shop with your best friend in favor of signing on as a pastry chef at your would-be competition (a logical Plan B) seemed liked the…
Friday, 18 January 2013 15:48

Formulate a Financial Back-up Plan

In this uncertain economy it is important now more than ever to have a financial nestegg. Without a financial back-up plan, a large number of families are one incident away from collapse. It could be something as simple as new tires for the car to a major healthcrisis. Recent surveys have shown that fewer than half of American families have a financial back-up plan. People are caught off guard financially all the time. From a busted water pipe to a deathin the family. Also, having a job right now is no guarantee of financial security becauseyou could lose your job.Without a back-up plan or emergency fund you put yourself financially at risk. Withwages getting smaller and everyday bills getting larger, a financial safety net is anecessity. Before retirement, before any kind of investing, you must invest in everydayfinancial security. Understand that a financial back-up plan does not mean retirementaccounts. You are saving money that will allow you to react to emergencies that comeup and that could be today, next week or next month. And at this point in time, workerssee retirement being further out reach, I would actually advise you to lower retirementplan contributions and put more money in a…
If you're preparing for an interview, it's essential that you've prepped questions to ask. This lets the employer know you are engaged and are interested in learning more about the company. It also helps you leave a lasting impression. Although other questions may arise during the interview Ebony.com shares five that you shouldn't leave without asking. What have been the three biggest challenges you've faced in the last year? This question is a great way to determine your potential boss's pain points. If you can find these out, make note. You'll be able to get in some final thoughts on how you can help solve them and make his or her life easier. What do you believe is the most critical part of this job? This may have been flushed out earlier in the interview; but if not, it's a major opportunity to find out the real nature of the job. Titles don't always tell you a position's true responsibilities. (Sometimes job descriptions don't either!) Aside from setting up a great closer, you don't want to get the job and then realize it's completely different than you expected. This happens more often than you might think. Read more: http://www.blackenterprise.com/career/post-interview-questions-you-should-ask/
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 15:40

Turn Your Idea into an Income Stream

With my brand coaching clients, I have noticed a pattern of thinking that most would-be consultants generally fall into. They don't believe that they can do it, they don't know how to package their services, and they don't know how to charge. If this sounds like you, this year I want you to step into the marketplace with a fresh frame of mind. If you have always wanted to offer your expertise to people, or you always find yourself giving away great advice for free, resolve to put these three tips into action this year. Embrace your Expertise. Chances are, you are an expert at something. That something is the thing that people most frequently ask your opinion on or most frequently thank you for. Accept that this is true, and that what you do/have/give is good enough to charge for. Don't worry about whether or not people pay. People will always pay for something they want and something that they perceive will add value. That is the first step. Identify Your Process to Package Your Services. Depending on the service that you provide, one reason that you are not making money off of it right now is because you…
As an intern, your eagerness to work and gain experience is at an all-time high. Your biggest goal is to impress your boss and show you're worthy of that full-time position. Transitioning from intern to employee may seem like an easy transition for many, but for some the promotion can be difficult when one loses sight of the key professional skills that got them to where they are. Below are three internship skills that young professionals should never leave behind. Complete every assignment with passion and eagerness: Even full-time employees are sometimes asked to do the tedious work. Rather than feeling like you're above it, take a second to meditate and accept the fact that someone has to do the job. The passion you show in doing the smallest tasks will impress your boss and prove you're also ready to handle the biggest task. Don't be afraid to ask questions: As an intern you are usually told with every assignment, "If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask." This same rule applies when you're a full-time staffer. Also, having an inquisitive nature throughout your career can be an asset, ensuring you have more than enough information and know-how to…
Friday, 11 January 2013 12:49

What Are The Best Jobs For Women In 2013?

It's a new year and for many of us, that means a new you. From hefty workout plans to visions boards and all that in between, we all want to do better and be better. And with all this self-improvement, improved careers are at the forefront. According to Forbes, 80% of the working public claimed to they will look for a new job in the new year, while 60% wanted a new career altogether. The author of "Best Jobs For The 21st Century," Dr. Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D analyzed women as they relate to the working world and those women who reported a "very high" satisfaction rate in their careers are the women who caught Dr. Shatkin's eye. As reported on Forbes, "based on the National Survey of College Graduates, the highest median annual earnings as of 2011, strong projected growth through 2020 and the largest number of total annual openings, as tracked by the U.S. Department of Labor." Check out some of the interesting results below:1. Diagnosing medical doctors (Physicians, Dentists, Optometrists, etc.) Percentage reporting high satisfaction levels: 60%Median salary: $121,000 Forecasted growth through 2020: 27%Average annual openings: 79,000 2. Health Professionals (e.g. Registered Nurses, Pharmacists, Dieticians) Percentage reporting high…
Thursday, 10 January 2013 15:21

Getting Started

The Jan. 2 edition of USA Today contained a comparison of the two most common New Year resolutions : (1) Exercise/Diet More and (2) Manage Money Better. The graph compared the number of people making this resolution in 2009 vs. 2012. In 2012, 44 percent of people committed to exercising and dieting more vs. 40 percent in 2009. In 2012, 41 percent committed to managing their money better vs. 39 perent in 2009. Looks like more people are committed more than ever to improving the two biggest aspects of their lives – health and wealth. However, let's face the facts. Most of us have committed to one, if not both of those goals, at the start of each new year. The problem is that both resolutions are ripe with the same potential pitfalls: not understanding how you spend your money (or in the case of dieting what you are eating), failure to plan, and/or lack of discipline. In regards to finances, think about what you want to accomplish. Do you want to save for retirement, pay off credit cards, save for education, save for a vacation, etc.? Take some time to think this through because knowing why you are making…