Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Interviewing and Career Fair Tips

Whether you are looking for an internship, part-time job, or your first job out of college, your first impression to a Human Resource Representative or a Recruiter is everything.  At my previous job, I would assist our HR Department with Career Fairs.  A horrible first impression from a potential candidate would result in the word “Trash” written on the back of their resume.  But do not worry.  It is very easy to make a great first impression during an interview or at a career fair.  Just follow these simple rules:

1.)  Have A Good Resume.  Not having a resume when looking for a job is like Burger King not having any burgers.  This is an absolute disappointment for employers.  On the internet, there are hundreds of examples of great resumes; hundreds of great resume writing tips; and many resume writers (for a fee).  Therefore, there is no excuse.  You can write a “Chronological” resume, which will highlight your past work experience in timeframe order.  If you do not have any work experience, you can write a “Functional” or “Targeted” resume, which will highlight your relevant skills or knowledge needed for that specific job, such as typing, computer skills, classes, scholarships, or community/volunteer involvement.  A “Combination” resume accomplishes all of the above.

2.)  Show Confidence.  Whether you are confident or not, it does not matter if you are not at least portraying this characteristic.  Exemplify confidence by introducing yourself with a greeting and your full name; give a firm handshake; and always make eye contact.  In addition, utilize the representative’s name frequently when speaking.  This will always keep their attention (e.g. “Yes Janice.  I always believed that...”).

3.) Use Specific Examples When Answering Questions.  Defining success by stating your future goals is a good response.  However, defining success by also providing one or two specific examples of how you had to push yourself to obtain previous goals is great and impressive.  As long as these examples are relevant, they could be either business related or even personal.   Remember, you are trying to convince the representative that they should hire you. Carefully thought out examples and details provide lots of convincing within a short time frame.

4.)  Wear Proper Business Attire.  Employers are always scoping out potential candidates’ attire.  So always dress to impress; and when in doubt keep it conservative.  If by chance you cannot afford such attire, do not be afraid to borrow from a friend or relative.  Also, even a little cash goes a long way at the Goodwill or a local consignment shop.  These stores typically have good quality merchandise at a very cheap price.

With the current high unemployment rate, many individuals are heavily competing for available jobs.  Therefore, make sure you are doing everything you can to separate and distinguish yourself from the rest.  Flinkey wishes you the best!

Next Topic:  Time Management in College

Friday, September 2, 2011

Make Money While in College - Part II: Need Cash Now!

Okay, during the last blog we mentioned a few ways that you can make money while in college.  Now for the most part, the suggestions in that blog combined making money with long term success ideas.  But in reality, sometimes you just NEED CASH NOW!  We’ve been there and fully understand that times can be hard.  Therefore, here are a few ways that you can make a few bucks within a very short time frame.

1.)    DONATE PLASMA:  If you have never done this before, it can be quite uncomfortable.  However, this is a guaranteed way, as long as you medically qualify, to get a few extra bucks in your pocket immediately.  Compensation can range anywhere from $10 - $60 per donation.  Just set up an appointment with a local clinic (who usually advertise for donors) and get paid with hard cash right after donation. 
2.)    PARTICIPATE IN A STUDY:  Many universities and their respective departments, especially Psychology and other medical fields conduct research studies that need willing participants.  A lot of these studies will offer pay in exchange for your time.  Typically, the more time needed from you the higher the pay.

3.)    FIND A DAY TEMP AGENCY:  There are many local day temp agencies, such as “Labor Ready”, which have immediate positions open for that same day.  The process is easy.  Call in advance and/or show up that morning, work that day, and get paid when you are done.  These jobs can range anywhere from grounds keeping to construction to catering to light clerical work.  This is a good way to get money without making a long term commitment.

4.)    SELL PERSONAL ITEMS:  For immediate cash, you can always take personal items, such as gold, electronics, and sporting items, to a pawn shop.  You will not get top dollar for your items, but you will walk out the door with more money in your pocket than when you walked in.  Just remember, real quality jewelry and rare items always generate the most cash back.  If there are already 50 ipods in one of the cases, most likely you will not get a lot for yours.  You can also list your items on the internet with sites such as ebay and Craigslist.  This will create a longer wait time and definitely more effort on your part.  However, you will most likely generate cash back closer to market value for your items.

5.)    GET FAMILY AND FRIENDS TO SIGN UP TO FLINKEY:  Family and Friends, especially distant ones, are more willing to give you money for food and books if they: 1.) have an easy way to do it; and 2.) know what you are doing in college (major/minor, activities, experiences…etc.).  Flinkey does just that.  Collect college donations from your profile page, collect donations for your group or organization, or sell personal items with Flinkey’s marketplace.  Join the many others who have collected donations from family and friends just from being on this free site.

Next Topic: Interviewing and Job Fair Preparation Tips!   

Monday, August 1, 2011

Make Money While in College - Part I

Being in college typically means that you are most likely financially strapped or flat out broke.  But you are okay with it, because you believe that, with your education, there will be a high paying job waiting for you.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  However, a lot of times this is far from reality.  Now your degree will significantly increase your chances of getting a better job.  But, this is not always a guarantee, especially depending on the competitiveness of your field.  When comparing candidates, most companies will give the competitive edge to the individual with the most experience.  Therefore, you must constantly look for ways to increase your value.  One of the ways you can do this, and get money at the same time, is get real work experience now.   This can be accomplished many different ways, but here are three:

1)  Get an Internship.  An internship is an on the job training program for college course credit.  Not only will this be experience to add to your resume, but the credits will help you graduate slightly sooner (typically from 3 – 9 credits), you will gain another reference or contact to use when you apply for another job; and you may potentially get a little income if it is a paid internship.

2)  Get a Summer or Part-Time Job.   Even if you do not do an internship, you still should strongly consider getting a job, whether in your field or not.  Not only will this provide you with income, but when you graduate, you will find that companies will most likely hire you if they see that someone else was willing to hire you, especially if that employment worked out great.  This is due to the fact that they know that “general” work experience (following directions, working with others, dealing with customers…etc.) is just as valuable as specific job training.

3)  Start a Business!  Okay this initially sounds very hard to do.  However, with the internet and the many available and free social media platforms, this can be easier than you think.  We all know the story of Facebook, and how one college student’s idea turned into billions of dollars.  But did you know that there are hundreds of successful examples of students who started their own business while in college?  Inc. Magazine (www.inc.com) just recently released their 2011 “America’s Coolest College Start-Ups” report (http://www.inc.com/coolest-college-start-ups-2011/index.html).  With host services and packaged sites such as, Hostgator, GoDaddy, Social Engine, Rsitez, Wix, and Blogger, you could have your own company up in running within 30 days and for a cost of anywhere from $0 - $5,000.  That’s right $0.00!  So why wait?  If your business fails, you at least have another thing to put on your resume, plus a story to tell.  If it succeeds, you may just become a millionaire.  If you do become a millionaire, just remember to thank Flinkey for the motivation.

Next Topic:    Make Money While in College (Part II)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

College Dating: Success or Failure?

To date or not to date, that is the question.  Many college sweethearts do end up marrying each other, having kids, and growing old together.  Some other couples will not last; but will actually say that they had a great time with each other and will remain very close friends forever.  But yes, there will always be those nightmare couples were one or even both believe that their remaining time on earth will be best spent if they never see or hear from the other again.  I remember a couple who were high school sweethearts and decided to go to the same college.  They always ate together, studied together, and played pool and ping-pong together.  They eventually broke up the summer before their senior year.  From being around each other so much, they never made close friends with others on campus.   Needless to say, they begin eating by themselves, studying by themselves, and were never seen in the reck hall again.  This is no way to end your senior year.   So if you are going to date, please keep these three tips in mind.

1.)  Always make friends with others.   All types of relationships in your life help mold you as a person, and relationships can be a key factor of success in your life.  Education is important.  However, more often, it is not about what you know, but who you know.  As much as your heart can take, put the jealously aside when it comes to your partner having friends and hanging out with others.   Especially in college, your partner should enhance your life, and not be your life.

2.)  Share your goals with each other.  A partner that truly cares about you will always push you to attain your goals.  If your partner becomes a major distraction every time you attempt to work on them, then it may be time to look for another partner.

3.)  Have fun together.  If you do end up growing old together, you will have the rest of your life to argue, play the “not speaking” game, or figure out ways to drive each other crazy.   So make sure that fun is always at the top of the list of things to do.  The only thing that will keep you two together during those hard times will be the memories of the good ones

Next Topic:  Make Money While in College!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How to Narrow Down Your Scholarship Search?

As you already know, college is very expensive.  With tuition, books, room and board, travel, and other miscellaneous items, your total cost upon graduation can be well over $100,000, even more.  Obtaining scholarships is an easy way to reduce this cost.  And unlike loans, you do not have to pay this money back.  But where do you start?  Not too long ago, a high school senior was in the news for obtaining a total of $300,000 in scholarship money from various sources.  Now a lot of that money was contingent upon her majoring in certain fields, attending certain schools, or even rejecting other money that she could have received.  But this showed every student and parents the amount of available scholarship money that gets untapped year after year.  Through research, focus, and yes essay writing, you too can get needed scholarship money.  So make your scholarship search easier by following these three simple tips:

1.)  Determine what “types” of scholarships might be available to you.  Your time is precious.  Therefore, the worst thing for you to do is to start applying for scholarships that have certain eligibility requirements that you do not meet.  Be aware that there are four major types of scholarships: Academic, Athletic, Financial/Need Based, and Unique Criteria.  During your search, you should be thinking about your own abilities and history to focus on a specific type or types of scholarships.  Unique Criteria based scholarships could be anything from being an example community citizen to just being left-handed.    If you can think of something that makes you special, most likely there is a scholarship out there that is specifically for that talent or unique characteristic of yours.   There are a plethora of unique criteria based scholarships that never get used.

2.)  Always start your search with the university or college that you are attending.  This is very important for two reasons.  The first is that you would be surprised of the amount of money that colleges and even specific departments within the college set aside to assist students.  If you maintain good grades and are actively involved, you are a student that they want to keep enrolled.   The second reason is that the amount of money that you get from external or outside sources may actually reduce the amount of money that your school is willing to give you.  For example, if your school sees a scholarship check come in for $3,000 from your volunteering organization, The Red Cross, they might reduce the scholarship that they had already given you by $3,000.  Therefore, you might have wasted your time completing that three page scholarship application and writing that five page essay that had to go along with it.

3.)  Have a focused online search strategy.  It is very easy to get lost or confused with the tens of thousands of online scholarship sites.  So either focus your search by typing in specific types of scholarships or criteria, as mentioned above, that meets your eligibility (political activist scholarships, music scholarships, academic scholarships…etc.) or use “one stop shop” online search scholarship tools such as, www.scholarships.com or www.scholarships4students.com.  This will save you time and energy, so that you can focus on your school work and having fun!

Next Post:  College Dating:  Success or Failure?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

So You Made it to College, Now What?

You spent an enormous amount of time filling out applications, visiting schools, studying for and completing your SAT’s, and taking pre-exams.  You got accepted.  You are all moved in…now what do you do?  Well you already know that you should go to class, study, and have fun, right?  This sounds good, but you still need a strategy or game plan for the entire 4+ years if you are going to succeed.  At any college or university you will find a lot of activities, organizations, and free time.  Without some measure of planning or structure, you might find yourself learning a little of everything, or leaving school early for not learning anything at all.  In order to avoid this, make sure you do the following:

1.)   Set goals before each semester and year.  You hear this all the time, and know it works, but only a few do this on a regular basis.  Think of it as setting your GPS before going on that long trip.  Even though you might make some stops or hit some detours on the way, you will most likely end at your proper destination.

2.)   Limit non-educational activities during your freshman year.  Being involved in extra-curricular activities can be very beneficial and fun.  However, your education should always come first.  For the majority of students, attending college for the first time requires some adjustment.  Being heavily involved in an organization, participating in too many activities, or spending too much time with friends, can help you lose focus on the primary goal of getting an education and graduating on time.

3.)   Don’t wait too long to choose your major.  Declaring a major is a strong sign to you and others of having direction in life, even if that direction changes.  If you are “undecided”, still choose a focus of study that might become your major.  If it does become your major, you will be ahead of the game with qualifying credits.  If not, you will at least find out what you “don’t” want to do, which a lot of times is more important in this stage of your life.

4.)   Push yourself to be, at least, slightly different than your normal high school self.  The old saying is, “If you continue to think what you have always thought, you will continue to do what you have always done.  If you continue to do what you have always done, you will continue to get what you have always gotten.”  College is not only about academic learning; but it is also about self-learning, which is more important?  Getting that “A” in Biochemistry will be very rewarding.  However, knowing that you pushed yourself to overcome some of your fears, reservations, or limitations that you always had will be just as, or even more, rewarding.   

Sign-Up: www.flinkey.com

Next Post:  How to Narrow Down Your Scholarship Search?

4 Simple College Safety Tips!

Being away from home can be a fun and exciting experience.  But with parties, meeting new people, and the availability and access of alcohol, a seemingly safe environment can in an instant turn very dangerous.  You can help reduce the risk of putting yourself in a bad situation by following some simple rules:

1.)  Keep You Door Slightly Open.  This holds especially true for someone you are meeting for the first time.  Whether they are a new friend or a study partner, keeping your dorm room open is a great way to stay safe.  It not only puts your visitor at a disadvantage for an attack; but it also lets the individual know that you control your environment.  In addition, it also lets your neighbors know that you do not want full privacy with this individual.  If they see you shut your door when this individual comes to your room, they will automatically assume that you trust them and so should they.  Therefore, they will be less likely to intervene if they hear unusual noises or any type of disruption coming from your room.

2.)  Keep Friends Informed.  It is everyone’s hope that you would never be in a bad situation, but keeping friends or family informed of your whereabouts and who you are with are vital.  However, many make the mistake of informing everyone before they are actually going out with this new individual or group.  In order to prevent a bad situation from occurring, you always want to let the individual(s) you’re hanging out with know that other people know as well.  Therefore, make that call to your best friend or mom while your date is right next to you.  Your date or group will be less likely to do something inappropriate or violent.

3.)  Use Campus Transportation.  When back to your room during the late night, do not hesitate to call campus police for an escort, or use campus transportation if available.  Campus police is there for this very reason, and would rather work on preventing an incident than dealing with one.

4.)  Follow Your Instincts.  I just can’t stress this enough.  If you feel like you are in a bad situation or something is wrong, most likely it is.  Don’t wait to find out if you or correct or not….it’s time to go!

Sign-Up:  www.flinkey.com

Next Post:  So You Made it to College, Now What?