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Blog post written by David Hackel.

Congratulations! You have sometime in the not-so-distant past received a degree from a higher education institution (or are in the process of doing so), refined your skills in varied fields, and seriously begun the process of transitioning into the phase of life deemed “the real world.” This is also the stage in life where you are monetarily rewarded for your services, if you know how to market yourself to get your dream job.

And since you’ve come this far…and spent years—essentially you’re entire existence—preparing for this moment, you might as well do a bit of research into how to get that job you are oh-so-keenly interested in. Why? Because attaining that job may certainly provide you with a sense of personal gratification but will also help to place you in a comfortable financial position.

So take a few minutes to peruse this list of four ways to market yourself and be a desired job candidate. After all, you deserve that job. And you deserve a great financial future!

4 Ways to Market Yourself for a Job

1. Be Personable

This is perhaps the most crucial element of learning how to market yourself to be offered your dream job. According to MarketWatch, David Deming—an associate professor of education at The Harvard Graduate School of Education—has thoroughly studied the job market and has concluded, “The labor market increasingly rewards social skills.”

According to Deming, an aptitude in mathematics and quantitative skills—too—is a plus. Jobs that include high social skills and high math skills include: physicians, financial managers, and engineers. Meanwhile, jobs that contain intensive social but relatively limited mathematical proficiency include: police officers, detectives, social workers, lawyers and dentists.

However, as automatons become an increasingly vital part of production and the job market, rote-based (largely mathematical) jobs will progressively be replaced. And as such, personable, warm, and social individuals will become more desirable. Similar to the study performed by Professor Deming, a 2014 report by the Pew Research Center, stated that: “Traits such as empathy, creative thinking and judgment are things that machines will never be able to do, or anything approaching a short timeline.”

Interestingly, according to MarketWatch, the increasing importance of social skills is closely tied to a progressive closing of the gender wage gap. Currently, women dominate fields that include nursing, education, and accounting—all of which require you to be a likeable character. Thus, as these fields’ services become more preferred, their wages will ultimately increase.

We’re not saying you need to hug everyone you meet, but it’s certainly in your benefit to be personable and someone that others want to work with on the daily. Ultimately, that’s what matters when it comes to marketing yourself and for placing you in the best position to score that job.

marketing yourself

2. Be Confident

Be confident, and be someone your interviewer respects and admires. According to Tim Sackett, current president of HRU Technical Resources, at the final stage of an interview for an HR position at Applebee’s, Sackett’s future boss asked him one last question: “Are you better than me?” This is a horrifying position for an applicant to be put in. If you answer “yes,” do you disrespect your superior? If you answer “no,” do you show weakness and lack of faith in yourself? Sackett responded, “Yes.” He got the job. That’s a great example of how to market yourself right there! However, most people would not have the courage to respond as such. Executives and those responsible for hiring prefer confidence and a belief in one’s ability. Display that you maintain faith and courage. Be a leader: someone who your future boss wants not only to respect, but to learn from.

Famed CEO and Co-Founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has given a succinct response to what he searches for in a candidate: “I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person.”

So…

Speak of your achievements. Be confident and proud of who you are and what you’ve done. As stated by Entrepreneur.com, many prospective job candidates “make a…fundamental mistake: They never state, in clear language, what they’ve done for a previous employer or in their academic pursuits.” When marketing yourself in an interview, be sure to run through your academic, work-related, and personal accomplishments. This will distinguish you from your competitors! And on your résumé and LinkedIn Profile do not simply state your past duties. Boast (modestly, please) about your triumphs!

market yourself

3. Be Informative and Stand Out

Résumé. Since most employers will merely glance at your résumé—and not study it as thoroughly as you would your own—it should not only be impeccable, but it should stand out. What is very rarely considered when marketing yourself for a job on a résumé, and what is also crucial, is the order in which you present information. Please, for your sake, list accomplishments, strengths, and the pinnacle of your achievements at the top of your page. Continue the list in order of decreasing splendor. Think about this logically. If an employer must read through thousands of applicants for one position, he or she can only spend so much time reviewing each candidate. Some aspect of the candidate’s résumé must strike the employer as intriguing or fascinating in order to move through to the next stage of the application process. And since nearly all people on this lovely planet of ours read from top to bottom, place this captivating information about yourself near the top of the page.

LinkedIn. Additionally, as we have become engulfed in the digital age—LinkedIn has become an ever-so-important aspect of the job hunt and, yup—you guessed it, how to market yourself for a job. So make sure your LinkedIn page is up to date.

Here are several tips to keep in mind, thanks to the kind folks over at Forbes:

  • Display at least 50-100 connections.
  • Ask colleagues to endorse you or to provide recommendations on your profile.
  • Post articles or blog posts you may have written.
  • Add a professional-looking picture.
  • Join and participate in relevant professional groups, which will then be listed in your profile.

Keep these suggestions in mind—for your résumé and LinkedIn profile will likely be what scores you an interview.

ways to market yourself

4. Be Practical (with Your Major)

That said; certainly do not force yourself into a field for monetary or outside-motivating factors. More than anything, you should engage in work that you are passionate about. However, there is an important balance between what you find interesting and what is practical after the collegiate world. Ideally, attempt to determine a major that contains both factors.

Keep in mind, however, the direction in which the world is heading. For your convenience, we have gathered together a list of college majors with the highest / lowest unemployment rates AND majors with the highest / lowest starting salaries.

According to StudentsReview.com, university majors with the lowest unemployment ratings include: Nuclear Engineering; Astronomy; Radiological Sciences; Neuroscience; Kinesiology; Chemical Engineering. These majors are all graced with unemployment percentages of lower than 2.5%.

Meanwhile, university majors with unusually high employment rates include: Dentistry; Animal Studies: Art and Design; Interior Design—which range from roughly 13% to 29% unemployment.

As for starting salaries…the highest starting salaries for majors—according to ThinkAdvisor.com include:

  1. Petroleum Engineering: $102,300
  2. Chemical Engineering: $69,600
  3. Computer Engineering: $67,300
  4. Nuclear Engineering: $67,000
  5. Computer Science and Engineering: $66,700

On the contrary, the worst paying starting salaries are for students who major in:

  1. Early Childhood Education: $29,700
  2. Child and Family Studies: $31,200
  3. Culinary Arts: $31,900
  4. Child Development: $32,200
  5. Early Childhood and Elementary Education: $32,300

Lastly, when it comes to your major or your career of interest: Stay up to date on all relevant information—being in the know gives you an edge when marketing yourself! You should subscribe to email lists, attend networking events, and be prepared to “WOW” your interviewer, as you proceed to discuss the new and latest trends with fervent interest.

Go out and conquer. Your dream job and a fruitful financial future await you!

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11 Ways to Save During the Holiday Season

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The holiday season is upon us, which means significantly more spending—and more potential to encounter financial trouble. Because of the emotional play many retailers use to get you to buy from their stores, it’s important to be overly vigilant with your spending during this time. Below are 11 ways you can save (instead of spend) during the holiday season.

1. Decide how much you can spend and make a plan.

Many people don’t like to use the word “budget” because it seems restrictive. However, creating a holiday budget or “making a plan,” as we’ll call it here for all intents and purposes, is imperative during the holiday season. By making a plan, you’re avoiding overspending and essentially telling your money what to do—rather than allowing it to be in control.

2. Open a holiday spending account.

Using your main checking account to do your holiday shopping is one of the biggest mistakes you can make during the holidays. Doing so allows you to tap into money allocated for other important things like bills and groceries. By opening a separate checking account for holiday spending, you’ll help yourself stay on budget. And once the money is gone, you have a clear stop on holiday shopping. Make sure it’s a free checking account, opening an account that charges fees would defeat the purpose of doing so.

3. Account for splurges.

Let’s be honest: you’re going to splurge this month. A dress for your office Christmas party? A sale at your favorite retail store? The jeans you’ve been eyeing for months are suddenly 40 percent off? We could go on and on, but you get the drift. Set aside a dollar amount that you’re willing to spend on yourself this month. Knowing how much you can afford will keep you from being swept up by “can’t-miss” deals.

4. Cut back on expenses.

Cutting back on expenses during the holiday season—or even before—will give you more money to allocate towards the holidays. Small changes like cutting your cable (you’ll be visiting family and friends most of the month anyway!) or avoiding takeout meals will save extra cash and make a big difference in your budget.

5. Track your spending.

Using a spending log is essential this time of year. Gifts aren’t the only thing affecting your budget—more social occasions means more spending. From extra Ubers to hostess gifts, your expenses can add up quick. This usually forces people to make decisions that they may not want to make, like tapping into credit or using money that is not allocated for holiday shopping. Using a spending log will keep your spending in check.

6. Narrow down your list.

It’s easy to get caught up in the fun of the season and want to gift something to everyone you’re close to. Let us remind you (as corny as it sounds) that presents are not what the holiday season is about. Take a look at your holiday list and be honest about what you can afford. It’s not fun, but your loved ones don’t want you hindering your financial future for them.

7. Set gift-giving expectations.

Setting gift-giving expectations is really important: If your love ones assume you’re going to spend a lot of money on them, they may feel obligated to do the same in return. Having a conversation early on about gift limits will allow both parties to avoid overspending, not to mention it will sidestep any ensuing embarrassment or guilt that comes with one party not giving an equally as lavish gift.

8. Take advantage of store offers and coupons.

Taking advantage of store offers and coupons should be a given, but you’d be surprised at how many people pay full price for things during the holiday season. Many people feel like they are competing against other shoppers to get the best gifts, so they don’t spend the necessary time finding the best deals. Don’t believe the hype! Make a shopping plan for each individual on your list. Research where you can find the best deals on the product and then sign up for company email lists. Follow sales and make purchases at the right time. Ordering presents in advance (or price shopping with ample time) not only assures that you get the best deals, but also that you don’t spend excess cash on things like rush shipping.

9. Be creative.

Being creative is about understanding that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg in order to show your love ones you care. There are many people who are more appreciative of the thought that goes into a handcrafted gift than a purchased item from a big box store. Being thoughtful can have a lasting and more memorable effect than breaking the bank. Spending quality time with an elderly relative, helping a friend clean her home the day after a big party, or offering to babysit for a couple are just a few ideas.

10. Reduce decoration costs.

You may feel inclined to go all out when it comes to decorations, but if you’re crafty enough, you can save a lot of money by creating your own. If you really love holiday decor, wait until the season is over and purchase for next year. Prices for decorations are inflated during the holidays, so buying them during the off-season can save you a lot of money.

11. Remember the reason for the season.

We cannot repeat this enough: remember the reason for the season. The holiday season is not all about gift giving. Sometimes your presence is better than your present! The holiday season is about family and friends, and should be cherished in that way.

Do you have a holiday season savings hack that you swear by? ‘Tis the season to share!

11 Ways to Save During the Holiday Season was originally published on TheEverygirl.com.

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5 Tips for Holiday Break

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Photo credit iStock by Getty Images

Like most students, you’re probably looking forward to spending time with family and friends over the holiday break. But before you relax, take a little time first to size up your finances for next semester. Here are a few tips to get you started: 

Review Your Spending from Last Semester

Not sure where all your money went? Now is a good time to examine your spending from last semester by reviewing your bank account statements, check register, credit card statements and receipts (if you saved them). One way to do this is to make two lists: one with all your unavoidable expenses, such as tuition, rent, basic food costs and insurance payments, and another with everything else—in other words, purchases you wanted at the time but did not necessarily need. Now take a look at that second list. Bet you’re surprised at how many things you spent money on that you could have done without, or don’t remember why you purchased in the first place! Make a pledge to cut back on some of those items and watch your savings grow.

Save Your Cash Gifts

Did you get some cash in your stocking? You might be tempted to blow it on those irresistible post-holiday sales, but take a moment to think about your needs for next semester. Will you have enough money for books, school supplies, gas and other school-related needs? At the very least, plan to save 10-20 percent of your extra cash for unexpected expenses like car repairs or medical emergencies. Knowing that you have a little nest egg set aside will give you some peace of mind and allow you to focus on your studies.

Budget Your Anticipated Financial Aid Refunds

If you will be receiving a refund from your financial aid award next term, keep in mind that a good portion, if not all, of these funds may be from student loans that you signed up for. These funds will have to be repaid when you graduate or leave school, so it is important to budget and spend them wisely, and make sure you have enough money to last the entire semester.

Re-apply for Financial Aid

Remember, you must re-apply for financial aid every year. You can submit the federal FAFSA form beginning January 1, 2015 for the 2015-16 academic year. Your state and school may also require you to re-apply or update your information, so be sure to visit with your school’s website or contact the financial aid office for information on deadlines and other requirements. Also, check out Mary’s article in the Huffington Post for more information and tips on applying.

Look for Part-time Job Opportunities

If you think you’ll be running low on money next semester, start looking for some part-time job opportunities or increasing your hours at your current job. The best place to start your job search is right on campus. There are lots of jobs available, from library clerk to food service worker—check with the employment office or website. You might also want to consider capitalizing on your own talents to make some extra cash by offering services such as tutoring, babysitting, dog walking, or repairing cars or electronics.

Following these tips will allow you to enjoy your much-needed break and put you on a path to financial peace of mind for next semester—so start today!

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The Perfect Traveler: 10 Ways to Plan a Trip Like a Boss!

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Photo credit iStock by Getty Images

Abraham Lincoln once said, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” This is true in anything that you do in life. When the weather is nice, travel is an activity that experiences an immediate uptick. Whether it’s travel for business, pleasure, or both—know how to travel like a boss! Having the right travel plan will not only save you time, but also save you money as well. The following are 10 ways to become the perfect traveler:

1. Book online.

Many airlines charge fees for booking in person or on the phone, so avoid those costs by booking online. Be careful, though—even websites sometimes charge booking fees, often for certain types of tickets, such as those that include more than one carrier. Read the fine print before you click “Purchase.”

2. Choose your website.

All the airlines have their own websites for booking, and there are dozens of independent sites that let you check fares across all airlines (or almost all—Southwest doesn’t participate in third-party booking sites, so if you want to fly on Southwest, you have to go to Southwest.com). Good options for searching across multiple airlines are Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Kayak, Hipmunk, Routehappy and Momondo. They all have their own feel and features, so shop around to see which one you like best. Once you have an idea of what your preferred flight costs on the aggregator sites, check the airline site to make sure you can’t get it cheaper.

3. Avoid high-traffic travel times.

The busiest (and most expensive) days to travel are Friday and Sunday, so consider flying on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday. If you have a choice of flight time, pick the first flight of the morning (it’s usually the cheapest and least likely to be delayed), or the red-eye.

4. Book at the right time.

When you book makes a difference. There’s no magic formula and airline ticket prices are notoriously unpredictable, but good air travel deals are likely to appear in the morning, so set your alarm. Also, be sure to book well in advance of your trip—in general, the more last-minute the ticket, the more it’ll cost you. Again, there’s no one right answer, but those in the know say a good time to book is six weeks before your trip (or, if you believe the Airlines Reporting Corporation, which is owned by nine major airlines—57 days). Experts say you’ll find the best deals when you book on a Tuesday or Sunday.

5. Be spontaneous.

Several airlines let you sign up for last-minute deals that can save you a bundle. You’ll get an email early each week listing the available destinations for the coming weekend—all you have to do is book, pack a bag and go.

6. Be careful about baggage.

Airlines are increasingly adding fees for things that used to be free, including baggage. Each airline has their own charges and rules, so make sure you check with the airline before you book, because those charges (typically $25 for the first bag) add up fast.

7. Make friends with the airlines.

Some of them are experimenting with targeting Twitter followers or Facebook friends for special deals, so it’s worth adding them to your social circle. Not to mention, it takes two seconds to click that “Like” or “Follow” button.

8. Sign up for fare notifications.

Several sites, including Airfarewatchdog, FareCompare and Kayak will let you sign up to receive an alert if the fare for a flight you’re considering drops, so you don’t have to keep checking.

9. Be flexible.

Many travel booking sites let you search for fares over a range of dates rather than exact dates. Often, you’ll find that changing your travel dates by even one day can save you hundreds. Also, be sure to check alternate airports—Baltimore Washington instead of Washington Dulles or Reagan National, Long Beach or Burbank instead of LAX, Love Field instead of Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale instead of Miami, etc. A few extra minutes of driving could mean significant savings.

10. Don’t make changes.

We know, things happen—but try to avoid making changes to your tickets once they’re booked. Most airlines charge at least $75 to change your flight, and some charge up to $450 for changes to international flights. But here’s a hot tip: If you must cancel your ticket, airlines are now required by the Department of Transportation to issue a full refund if you request it within 24 days of making your purchase, provided your departure date is more than a week away.

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