All Articles Tagged "tips"
The season of beaches, BBQs and outdoor festivals is quickly coming to an end, but it’s not completely over yet! Take advantage of the last unofficial weekend of the summer season — Labor Day weekend — and pack lightly (or not at all!) for these last-minute, affordable ideas for ending the summer on the right note!
Deals online through various getaway websites like Groupon, LivingSocial, Last Minute Travel or Expedia can make your last summer weekend your best weekend of the season. With many deals in various destinations, going online to book a last-minute trip has become one of the most popular ways, with up to 80 percent off regular hotel prices.
Tip: Make sure you read the fine print of your online deal to make sure the Labor Day holiday weekend is covered with the number of nights you need. Book your travel, pack your bags and you’re all set to soak up the last summer weekend.
These days, the first step towards getting your foot in the door is making it past the “applicant tracking system,” or ATS, that HR pros are using to flush out the best resumes from a mountain of candidates. Notice how we said the best “resumes” rather than the best “candidates.” These computer systems are using a number of scanning tricks to pick and choose people who move on to the next round. On paper, at least, they’re the most qualified of the bunch.
AOL Jobs has pulled together a few tips to help you get past this first digital stage of the application process. At the top of the list, they suggest using appropriate keywords. How do you determine the right keywords? They’re in the job description. If you’re applying for a managerial position at an insurance company, be sure to include the words “manager” and “insurance” in your resume. They don’t necessarily have to be at the same company, but your resume should reflect that you have the desired experience somewhere in your background.
As a matter of fact, you should include those most important words in your cover letter as well. ICYMI, here are a few tips to make that portion of the application even better.
Another piece of good advice: “Demonstrate flexibility and adaptability.” AOL makes the point that experienced employees sometimes have a hard time convincing potential employers that they’re capable of learning new tricks. Also worth keeping in mind is the fact that, unfortunately, more companies are working with fewer employees these days. It’s possible, if not probable, that you’ll be asked to step in when a colleague is out of the office on vacation or maternity leave. Or called upon to step in if there’s an abrupt job vacancy. Using your resume to demonstrate that you can roll with the punches is a positive.
Finally, the article advises that candidates “highlight results.”
“When you create bullet points that draw direct connections between what you did and what the employer wants you to do, it will be easier for the reader to envision you in the job,” the article says. Another way of putting it, and a great tip that we once heard from a college employment center specialist, is to use “action words.” Verbs describe what you did and what you’re doing; the work that you’re accomplishing. Someone who gets things done is someone that employers want around.
Separately but related, AOL Jobs also has a story outlining the things that a modern resume does and doesn’t need. We’d like to call special attention to the “Objective,” something that no resume should have. Every “objective” says the same thing and says it poorly: You want a good job that will help you build the career of your dreams. That’s obvious and there’s no need to re-state the obvious. We have never, ever, ever, ever, never, ever read a worthwhile “objective” so just avoid it altogether.
Do your back-to-school shopping during your state’s “tax holiday.” Not every state has one, but if yours does, or you live within traveling distance to a state with a tax break, it might be worth it to make the trek. (As long as you don’t spend more money on gas getting there.) Among the states with a tax holiday are Florida, New York, and Maryland. No matter where you are in the country, you can also follow these money-saving back-to-school tips. Maybe there’s a trip to the outlets in your future?
And, just an FYI, some states also have tax breaks on things other than back-to-school items.
Use a credit card with a good warranty program. We depend on so many gadgets. And if one of them breaks, it’s costly to replace. CardHub.com has analyzed the pros and cons of the different cards to find the ones with the best programs. Amex and Discover topped the list.
Get health insurance. Planned Parenthood has pulled together an infographic that outlines the benefits for women of the Affordable Care Act. Did you know that half of women put off doctor visits because of the cost? And more than two-thirds of women pay more out-of-pocket expenses than men? Since the law was passed this year, 45 million women have been promised no co-pays for preventative care. And nearly five million women will get tax credits to help pay for insurance.
Save on energy costs. Using energy efficient light bulbs, making sure your air conditioner is in good working order and unplugging appliances that use power even when they’re off. These are just a few of the ways you can save on your energy bill.
Follow these tips and spend less at Target. Because you know you can’t walk out of there on a normal day without spending at least $100. Put the markdown schedule in your calendar!
Become a freegan. The freegan movement has been on the rise for the past few years, but it’s hitting the mainstream these days via Project Runway. One of this season’s designers, Fabio Costa, is a proud freegan. So what is a freegan? A person who cuts down on consumption, environmental impact and cost by dumpster diving, participating in swaps, scouring Craigslist’s free section, squatting and foraging. Learn more on this Freegan website.
Prepare for a move to Niagra Falls. Starting this fall, Niagra Falls, NY will try to attract young professionals with $3,942 (up to $6,984 over two years) for to help pay student loan debt. Recipients have to live in the downtown area and should be in the clear with landlords, mortgage brokers and student loan administrators. Funding for this program will last for two years and subsidize 20 recipients. Who doesn’t want a view of the Falls?
The research released this week finding that nearly half of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets should be enough to scare us all straight. We need to get our personal finances in shape.
So we asked the folks at Mint.com for their help. Mint.com is an online tool that helps you budget and track your personal finances. Below, Janet Al-Saad, editor of the MintLife and Quicken blogs (both Mint and Quicken are Intuit companies that help with financial planning), has outlined three financial issues and their solutions. Are you guilty any of these things?
Mistake #1: Not taking advantage of an employer-matched 401(K). When money’s tight, a smaller paycheck seems too high a price for investing in a 401(K). But some employees don’t realize that companies often offer a match for a percentage of your 401(K) contribution.
That’s right: Many companies will offer you free money just for doing something you already should — saving for retirement. For example, say you make $50,000 per year and you deposit 10 percent of your pre-tax income — $5,000 — into a 401(K). If your employer matches that by 50 percent, it’s an additional free $2,500 in your pocket. And since it’s a 401(K), this free money comes on top of the tax-advantaged nature of your account, meaning it can grow without paying any taxes until you begin withdrawing. Heck, even if your company didn’t offer a match, a 401(K) is almost always of benefit to your bottom line, since it reduces your taxable income.
The solution: Your HR department is there for good reason. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to sign up for your 401(K) or if you’re unsure about your company’s matching policy, just ask them. The sign-up process is usually less difficult than you’d think. Many experts recommend saving between 10 and 15 percent of your income toward retirement, but if this sounds too big a number, start with a lower percentage, aiming for at least the amount that your company will match. Remember, it’s free money, and saving for retirement isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity.
Maybe you have a job, but have a secret passion. Maybe you want to make a little more money using a skill that comes naturally. Perhaps you’ve always thought about starting a business, but didn’t want to give up the stability of a 9-to-5. Or you could love your career and simply want to try a little somethin’ somethin’ during your free time.
Whatever the case may be, you’ve given some thought to the “side gig” — that thing you can do in the off hours to make a little extra cash — and you want to give it a whirl. Even if it isn’t a full-on career change, it can seem daunting to get a brand new operation off the ground. But, according to Investopedia, it doesn’t have to be.
“[Many business owners] aren’t expecting these businesses to pay the bills, but they don’t limit themselves on growth either,” the article says. “Starting small keeps the startup costs low. If it does fail, they have lost very little. ”
Among Investopedia’s tips: Don’t go crazy with the marketing since it could be a waste of money and start with a manageable business, like something that can be done out of your house or would only require that you find a small space to rent or own.
Taking it a step further, The Huffington Post has a list of tips to get a business off the ground. Among those tips:
-Choose something you’re passionate for.
-Have a business plan. In other words, answer this question: How are you going to make money?
-Don’t be afraid to ask for help from mentors, friends and family.
And once you’ve got your small business off the ground, tell us about it and you could end up in our Small Business Spotlight. (You can reach us at email@example.com.)
The experience of a vacation with your closest girlfriends is an unforgettable one. It gives you the chance to reinforce the bonds that you have and allows you to form new memories. To make the most out of your girlfriends getaway trip, read our tips below:
- Determine who’s traveling, select a destination, and set a date. Inform the essential parties (boss and co-workers, spouse, family, babysitter) and organize yourself well in advance so that everyone is prepared for your departure.
- Share in the duties of planning by dividing up the responsibilities so that each girlfriend takes ownership of the logistics: airfare, hotel, rental car, restaurants and attractions
- Bring recent photos to visually update each other on your lives
Get the rest of the travel-planning tips on BlackVoices.com.
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Oftentimes, these messages make up much of your relationship with your colleagues and clients. They represent you and the quality of your work. With that in mind, it’s important that your email correspondence show how professional and knowledgeable you are.
Inc. has compiled “8 email mistakes to avoid.” Among them, keep the abbreviations to a minimum, use an email address that sounds like you mean business (you should use the same thinking when choosing a Twitter handle), and keep your messages short and to the point.
We’d add four recommendations to this list:
- Use spell check.
- Proof your messages before hitting send. This will also help curtail embarrassing typos, including those that the spell check won’t catch, like a client’s name.
- Avoid sending huge attachments. If you must, send a warning email first.
- Determine whether an email is the best way to discuss the matter at hand. Sometimes, going old school with a quick call will more effectively allow you to explain a situation or give detailed instructions.
What else would you add to the list?
Want to look good for your next date, but not looking to splurge for your look? Looking the part for a date should be effortlessly chic, but not rob your pockets. Looking good for your next date night doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. Do your research, prepare ahead of time and save some money to look just as good on a budget!
Here is how you can do it!
Every day, we head off to work, mentally creating our to-do lists as we take our commute and grab our first cup of coffee. The next thing you know, it’s 4 p.m. and most of the things on that to-do list haven’t gotten done. Yikes.
We live busy lives. And, with company meetings, lunch dates, social media, email, and myriad other distractions and intrusions on the work day, getting through a set of tasks can be a task in itself.
Black Enterprise has compiled a list of 10 tips that will help you have a more productive day. One example:
Each day, I make a number order for my daily activities and try to follow it as closely as possible, so the most important tasks get done early in the day and early in the week. Less pressing activities can be moved to another day, if my schedule changes.
These tips even include a few moments for a much-needed break. Read more on Black Enterprise…
Are you spending for the life you have or the life you want?
That’s the question I had to ask myself as I stood in an electronic store recently mulling over an iPad purchase. As I stood there considering how much this purchase would set me back financially, I glanced down at my shoes. The rubber had all but completely worn off the bottom near my toes and it looked to be only a matter of time before my big toe came out for air. These were my only pair of decent flats to wear to work and they were at a point way past raggedy. I’d been too cheap to purchase a new pair, yet I was justifying a shiny, new electronics purchase that was easily forty times the price of a new pair of shoes.
There I stood between the life I have: a working girl who needs dress shoes for the office versus the life I want: a lucrative, self-employed woman whose line of business requires flip-flops…and the latest electronics. The lives were mutually exclusive at that point, one decidedly less expensive and the other undoubtedly rooted in fantasy. Yet, I was much more willing to throw away my life savings chasing a mirage instead of investing my disposable income to improve upon what I already possessed.
I’d done this time and time again:
Deciding I wanted to be a “Woman who Scrapbooks”, I bought a ton of scrapbook materials and never made a single scrapbook page.
Deciding I wanted to be a marathon-runner, I bought a pair of custom running shoes and signed up for a gym membership only to use them both twice in six months.
Deciding I wanted to be a great cook, I purchased a Wok to make cool Asian-inspired cuisine…and that Wok is collecting a considerable amount of dust.
Deciding I wanted to go to grad school, I bought several GRE study guides and vocabulary books and hardly cracked one of them.
Author Scott Young, would call my efforts “feel good tasks”: tasks I do to make me feel like I’m doing something without my actually doing anything. He says a feel good task is a task not essential to getting started nor directly contributing to success; therefore this task rarely results in achieving a particular goal and instead becomes an end unto itself.
In other words, I determine I want to be well-read so I subscribe to the New Yorker and immediately feel like I’ve reached my goal despite not having actually read a thing.
This isn’t to say I can never change, pursue my dreams or pick up a new hobby, but maybe I can ease into those changes financially once I’ve made a serious commitment (evidenced by follow-through) rather than using my desire to change as an excuse to spend money.
If I’m serious about scrapbooking, I can start by collecting and organizing all the pictures lying around the house. If I’m serious about running, I can go outside and run every day for a month. If I’m serious about cooking, I can unthaw the meat that’s been in my freezer for a considerable amount of time. If I’m serious about grad school, there are tons of free, online practice guides for the GRE. And if I’m serious about saving money and building wealth then I can stop spending money on random, unrelated projects just to feel like I’m doing something.
Prioritizing purchases is one thing, financing a life I don’t actually live is another. It’s a sure-fire way to end up in debt or, at the very least, with a lot of stuff I don’t need or use.
What do you think? Have you ever found yourself financing a life you don’t actually live?
Alissa Henry is a freelance writer living in Columbus, OH. Follow her on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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