Practicality Or Passions

“Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars, but remember to keep your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt

 

It’s often said if we do what we love, we’ll never have to work another day in our life. Yet, is that completely true? While we may love what we do, will we love who we do it for? Where we do it? How we are doing it? How much we get paid to do it? Will we love it forever? How do we know what we love today, will be something we are so passionate about in five, ten, fifteen or twenty five years? Do you truly believe that if you got a job doing what you love at 25, you’ll be in the same career when you retire (hopefully) at 65? The fact is we most likely have no idea what we will love to do the rest of our lives. Yet, as children, we are given the impression that we should follow our dreams and pursue something that we love. Unfortunately, this viewpoint can cost us a lot of wasted time, opportunity and debt. Is it worth taking on $100,000 worth of debt in student loans for something you think you love only to find out you can’t get a job doing it or discover that it isn’t something you liked as much as you expected?

 

Quite frankly, while we are told by educators and our schools that all degrees are valuable and you can get a multitude of jobs with any degree, the “real world” doesn’t work that way. In fact, I would argue, there are very specific paths most of us should follow in order to reduce our debt, maximize our time, and give us ample opportunities to succeed. Let’s discuss college first, as that is what a majority of high school graduates do afterwards. STEMM is science, technology, engineering, math and medicine. These career paths will bring you a plethora of opportunities at the cost of plenty of hard work up front, and potentially a lot of debt without scholarships and or grants etc. Also, just deciding to major in one of these paths won’t automatically result in a job. Certain degrees in science are in higher demand than others and not everyone who majors in engineering may be guaranteed work. If you live in Rhode Island and don’t plan on moving away, would there be a point in majoring in Petroleum Engineering?

 

Let us jump over to the liberal arts side of things. I would argue, that unless you have a specific desire to pursue a liberal arts career, do not focus on these degrees. In other words, if you want to study Anthropology, then know in advance where your opportunities may lie, such as field work studying primates, working in a museum or teaching. Don’t study anthropology with the notion that you can always get a job as a Business Analyst. If that’s your plan, then just pick a business concentration and study that. If a hiring manager for a Business Analyst position has to choose between two similar resumes but one candidate has a degree in Anthropology and the other in Business Process Management, who do you think they will go with?

 

Likewise, unless you want to be a historian, a history teacher, or a historical author and have a plan to make these things a reality, maybe consider a different major than just history. Philosophy is another possible example. Unless you want to become a Doctor of Philosophy and work in a university, this major might not be for you. If you choose philosophy and figure you can always get a job as a some sort of business relations manager- think again. Just study business management and save yourself the time from the start ensuring that the debt you may accrue will have greater potential value.

 

Again, there is nothing wrong with choosing a liberal arts degree, but don’t choose one just because it’s something you love to do, with the false belief you can always “get a job in business.” College is an expensive investment and with high expenses comes practicality. This is the biggest financial decision of your life being made before you are even 20 years old. By putting practicality ahead of your passions you may see greater potential in your career along with less stress, job security and favorable financial health.

 

Remember, you can always keep your passions while going through school. Just because you love playing an instrument, doesn’t mean you have to stop. If you love to write, there is no reason why you can’t keep writing (maybe start a blog??). If you enjoy being active then keep staying active. It’s good to dream big and see into the future, but don’t forget about what’s happening right in front of you. Remember, college is not for everyone. Plenty of jobs are available by learning a trade or even joining the military. A high skilled tradesman can live just as well as any college graduate while being in just as much if not more demand for their skills. This spans everything from plumbing, electrical, carpentry, mechanics, HVAC, iron workers and so forth. The military has hundreds of career paths you can follow to learn a myriad of important skills both technically and socially. Even better, they will usually pay for your schooling!

 

The explosion of college, doesn’t make hands on work any less important. Only more important! If you are going to college, my ultimate advice to you is simple; Remember to choose a degree that will afford you as much opportunity as you can get. In the end, you will be able to buy your time to do the things you truly love to do. What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think practicality needs to be set ahead of passion? Or do you think there is a healthy combination of how both can be achieved? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Why Workplace Culture Matters

“Live your passion. What does that mean, anyway? It means that when you get up for work every morning, every single morning, you are pumped because you get to talk about or work with or do the thing that interests you the most in the world. You don’t live for vacations because you don’t need a break from what you’re doing—working, playing, and relaxing are one and the same. You don’t even pay attention to how many hours you’re working because to you, it’s not really work. You’re making money, but you’d do whatever it is you’re doing for free.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

This is the first blog I’ve written in a while. Things have been busy, for sure. However, I’m glad to be writing this to connect with the community on The Thrive Vine. Today’s topic is just why Workplace Culture is so important. In my personal life I’ve recently made a job change that has proven to be excellent financially however the workplace culture, has proven to be challenging. I’ve found that many of us in the beginning stages in our careers or even fresh out of college might not know what to expect or even what to value in a workplace. If you are unsure of what to look for in a workplace culture, you are in luck because this blog is for you! Sit tight as we dive deeper into exactly why Workplace Culture is so important:

What Are Your Values –  Before you can be aware of what you are looking for in a workplace you first need to be aware of what you value. Do you value camaraderie amongst your co-workers, do you value a quiet space so you can perform your best work, or do you put a high priority on leadership and development? Aside from all of these topics being wonderful interview questions, these are also wonderful aspects to ponder to gain a self awareness of what you value. The million dollar question is how do you know this, or how would you figure out what you value in a Workplace? I feel Corporate America has kind of set us up via trial and error. Aside from a self awareness for what you are looking for the best way to understand what you value, and what you do not value, is to experiment with working at different places, networking with different professionals, and doing some introspection on what you value, and can you achieve your goals based on the company culture and vision. 

Safety and Acceptance – When we think about Workplace culture we tend to think about the time off policy, the layout of the office, happy hours, etc… However in reality Workplace culture is nothing more than achieving basic needs of humans as a species. In order to thrive in any environment humans, or any social species, need to feel Safe and Accepted by their family or pack. When our behavior doesn’t match what is around us, we might feel as an outcast or that we don’t fit in. Realistically when we are in our 20’s and 30’s we spend most of our waking hours as work. If we don’t feel safe due to workplace conflict or accepted due to the culture, issues such as workplace stress and anxiety can ensue and can take a huge toll on our mental health. 

So how can we combat workplace stress and anxiety? This very topic is what I’ve been thinking about for the past few months. In my personal situation I was offered a position at a not so “emotionally intelligent” workplace where excessive swearing, slamming of phones, and yelling doesn’t seem to bother anyone… except for me. However the money is wonderful and sometimes it makes sense to “suck it up.” Yet, as most of us know after a while of being in an environment our body reads as toxic, biological effects take place such as anxiety, panic, and stress. Here is what I did personally to combat these feelings and get myself mentally back on track:

  • Getting up from my desk and taking more frequent walks. Sometimes taking yourself out the environment for short periods of time can do wonders for your mental health
  • Taking a step back and thinking long term. What I mean by this is that the probability of me being at this new job for the rest of my life is extremely slim. By taking things into perspective and realizing that I can use the pay increase I received by taking this job, to invest more aggressively; will help me reach my goals faster. I look at this opportunity as just a mere page in an entire book of my life.
  • Always keep an eye out for new opportunities. It’s really important to remember that you are in control. Especially when it comes to your employment. Even if you’ve worked at a place for a week and the work culture is not what you expected and is being toxic, there is nothing preventing you from starting your job search again or pursuing your own entrepreneurial endeavors. There are always options and you should never feel trapped in a toxic environment. 

Purpose/Support – I think most of us have been raised to think that our purpose of working for a company is to make the company money, or produce a level of value to the company so it secures our employment. Yet, most of us don’t realize that value is a two-way street. As much as we provide value to a business or company, it is the businesses job to enrich our lives not only through the transaction of money; but through purpose and support. If you really think about it, any job on the planet can be a great job (or at least more enjoyable)  if it’s in the right environment and we are surrounded by the right people. I understand first hand how hard it can be waking up when Monday morning comes around, however I encourage you to really think about what value and purpose does your job/career/workplace give you. You should feel a good feeling when you help a customer, or you make a big sale, and I encourage you to celebrate those wins; however the place you work for should also help you celebrate those wins and in turn be there when you are struggling.


Conclusion –  In Corporate America there seems to be a generational disconnect of what each generation and individual values. Is it practical for each company to heed to a generation’s needs? Probably not. However, in my opinion, a business is more than just a place people go to work. It’s a place where employees spend most of their time, and should be obligated to provide safely, sustainability, and support to the people who are growing it as a direct result of their time. What do you think? How can we do a better job with providing a better culture to employees? What are some aspects  you value in a workplace? Share your comments below, we’d love to hear from you!

3 Ways You Can Network During The Holiday Season

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” -Vanessa Van Edwards

 

Oh the holidays! Nothing quite like the smell of peppermint and gingerbread, and all the little kid’s faces when they open their presents (#warmandfuzzy) Still fresh in my mind, I remember six Christmas’ ago exactly what I wanted… no it wasn’t a Red Ryder BB gun; it was a job. Being fresh out of college and not interning at a single place, I was finding quite the challenge in actually landing that elusive rewarding career. When I look back, I was an absolute fool to not utilize the holiday season. Aside from the songs and good cheer, you’re getting a complete network in front of you! Here are my three ways you can network during the holiday season:

 

The Family – In my world family comes first and networking is no exception. This holiday season when you might see family who you don’t usually see, really voice your needs. I used to be incredibly shy or even scared if I told family that I didn’t have a job or my life together. Screw that! Voice your needs and put the energy of what you want in your life out there. Really share your goals and the steps you want to take to achieve them. You’ll be surprised who is listening!

 

Spread the Wealth – Businesses love individuals who go above and beyond. They want well rounded associates not only professionally, but people who go above and beyond in their personal lives as well. A great way to get an employer’s eye is to ask to set up a toy drive or donation box at their facility. Even if you don’t work there (but one day might want to) it’s such a great gesture and will be sure to catch someone’s eye. Monitor your donation drive, speak to company employees about your passion for the drive, and see the project through. At the end of your drive thank the company for participating, and then voice your interest. You’ve already made your first impression and have shown the company you can successfully start a project, connect to its purpose, and see the project through. All the while giving to a tremendous cause.

 

Get Out There – Aside from Family and Volunteering there is one more strategy to network… get out there! Shopping for holiday gifts, taking a break for lunch, or even checking in on LinkedIn during the holiday season, all boast opportunities to build and gain connections. Of course we never know when a networking opportunity will hit, which makes it so important to be open to introduce yourself and get a conversation going; it could just create the opportunity that you’ve always wanted.

 

Conclusion – This is the season of giving; but not just to others. Be sure to give yourself the gift of opportunity. Networking happens everywhere and anywhere; take your time and really voice what you need and what you’re looking for. What are your dreams and what are you working towards? People want to know, including me! Share in the comments below what you’re working towards, and what you want to accomplish in the New Year!

Three Reasons Why You Should Substitute Your Master’s Degree For A Real Estate License

“There is no more profitable investment than investing in yourself. It is the best investment you can make; you can never go wrong with it. It is the true way to improve yourself to be the best version of you and lets you be able to best serve those around you.”– Roy T. Bennett

 

Ah, Spring is here and as usual the creativity is running through The Thrive Vine. Today’s topic is near and dear to me; mostly because this is the approach I took with my educational journey. I racked my brain for years wondering if I should go for my Master’s Degree (who knows someday I still might) but in the short term I opted for the not so conventional substitute of getting my Real Estate License.

 

Overall, getting my license has paid off. In my best year so far I was able to make 32k in commissions while working part time as an agent (if anyone wants to know more about how I did this I can certainly write a blog on this). Being in real estate has been a really fun and exciting path, and I think both short term and long term it has been a better investment than going for my Masters would have been.

 

Usually when I talk about getting a real estate license most people out the gate protest “I don’t want to sell real estate” or “I’m not a good salesperson” well that’s perfect! Because in today’s blog I’m going to explain why getting your real estate license isn’t just for selling houses, it’s just down right a more practical decision than going for a Master’s Degree. Here are three reasons why you should substitute your Master’s Degree for a Real Estate License:

 

Practicality –  In the opening of this blog I mentioned that getting your Real Estate License is more practical than getting a Master’s Degree. Why do I feel this way? Because whether you are going to be a homeowner or renter I’m about 100% positive you’ll want to know what your contract/lease means. We have to look at buying a home as being one of the biggest financial decisions of our lives (aside from college) and just having the knowledge of different types of loans, the options you have, and how the process works is beyond beneficial. You’ll never have to worry if someone is looking out for your best interest; because you’ll have the tools necessary to do so.

 

Supplement Your B.A – When driving myself crazy about whether to go for my Master’s Degree or not I started to ask myself some introspective questions, such as: What will a Master’s Degree do for me? Is it worth going into more debt? (this was a big one for me) and possibly what is my goal in my career? The answers to these questions I still have with me today.

 

I believe for most, a Master’s Degree ultimately means a larger potential salary, faster career advancement, and makes you certainly more marketable to employers down the road. Yet when I thought about it; these same qualities are what a Bachelor’s Degree was supposed to accomplish 20 years ago. So 20 years after I receive my Master’s Degree, would it be obsolete? More importantly, would I be obsolete? Could I be dispensable by a younger generation coming out of school with PHds? All of these questions came in to play and aided my decision. Instead of spending the tens of thousands of dollars on a Master’s Degree I went towards my Real Estate License, which including books and a 2 week class, was a  total of a thousand dollars.

 

When thinking about pursuing a real estate license many people assume you need to sell real estate. Although that’s what it’s most commonly used for, you can also use the credential to supplement your Bachelor’s Degree. How you might ask? Well think about real estate development companies, commercial real estate investors, property management companies, real estate investment trusts, even healthcare such as senior living companies, etc… any company or non profit that wants to expand, has a targeted demographic, and wants the best success for their business will have a need for someone who knows real estate.

 

Personal ROI – I lastly wanted to talk a little bit about Personal ROI (return on investment) between a Masters Degree and a Real Estate License. Let’s look at some numbers: Say you spend 20k on a Master’s Degree and get a job for about 70k-80k, if you have industry experience, or possibly 50k-60k if you don’t have any industry experience and just your Master’s Degree. If you’re coming out of school with debt, you won’t see the full return on your investment until you pay off your debt completely. On the other hand, real estate offers different kinds of Personal ROI. Keep in mind your total investment of your license is about a thousand dollars; so even if you sell one home you’ve made your money back on your initial investment.

 

But say you don’t want to sell houses, or choose to not, use a real estate license to supplement your career. Then how does getting a real estate license make sense? The answer is investing. Simply put, if I didn’t have my real estate license I probably wouldn’t have gotten into real estate investing as fast as I did. It was because of my real estate license that I was able to see properties that hit the market first, meet mortgage lenders and get great rates on my personal mortgages, and additionally meet wonderful people and form relationships along the way. As I’m sure you can tell, I feel getting a real estate license has the potential to have tremendous Personal ROI.

 

Conclusion – This blog admittedly a tad biased in favor of substituting a Master’s Degree for a Real Estate License. My goal here is not to deter anyone from pursuing their Masters, but really bring awareness in making a conscious effort to explore what additional credentials will do for you, and most importantly is it worth the debt you’ll take on. Furthermore think about your personal ROI, and hopefully, the joy and personal fulfillment a Master’s Degree might bring to you.

 

I sincerely believe having a real estate license is such a useful tool, to not only build wealth; but make connections and form relationships as well. What do you think? What does a Master’s Degree mean to you? Would you ever consider getting a real estate license? Let us know in the comments below!

Why You Should Apply For Every Job That Interests You

 

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” – Mahatma Gandhi

 

When was the last time you looked for a job? Perhaps you have been on the hunt recently and still are? Or maybe you’ve been in the same position for years, are getting bored , and want to look for something new and exciting! Looking for a job is one of those things that we all need to do at some point, but never really want to spend the time or energy doing. Additionally, it may hurt your motivation when all the jobs you want to apply for have a description that sounds like a league (or many) above you. Sometimes, the only jobs that seem like we can do are the jobs that are similar to the ones we do now. Yet, often these positions will keep you doing more of the same at similar pay and continually reduced interest.

 

I suggest, rather than being discouraged, apply to those jobs which initially may come off above your comfort zone. Many times, job descriptions are written in such a broad sense, that some of what is asked, is rarely or ever actually needed. Additionally, if you don’t meet every requirement, you aren’t automatically disqualified. It’s impossible for HR to find candidates with every possible quality they want, so instead they list a bunch that are related and look for the best fits – not perfect match. Also, remember, you will always be learning something new and it is always expected that you’ll be learning in your new position for many months. Your new coworkers will hopefully be eager to help you and mentor you along as you grow in the new position.

 

Keep in mind, if everyone was perfect there would be no need to interview. You would simply apply for a job and get hired. However, because there is so much variety and uniqueness in the workforce, the hiring process exists to help companies find the best fit. Assuming you aren’t a good fit because you miss a few requirements or are a couple years short in experience does not guarantee you to be out. In fact, if you applied to 10 additional jobs that you deemed “beyond your level” you would probably hear back from at least 3 of them – if not more!

 

Therefore, my new advice to you – apply to any and every job that interests you. If it’s somewhat related to your line of work and you feel genuinely compelled to go for it, then the only person stopping you is yourself. If you get told no, or don’t hear back then you can simply move on, but if you get a call, get the interview and get hired, then looking beyond your inside voice of doubt was well worth the few minutes it took to send in your resume and hopefully the beginning of a great new career!

 

How do you feel about applying for a new job? Do you get discouraged when you think you aren’t “qualified” for the position? Do you apply anyway? Have you ever been told no for a job you thought you were qualified for? Share below in the comments!

How I Learned Web Page Design From a Plumber

 

“Believe in yourself, your abilities and your own potential. Never let self-doubt hold you captive. You are worthy of all that you dream of and hope for.” – Roy Bennett

 

Lately I’ve been getting alot of compliments on the new look of the site. It was a big move for sure, and so much was learned during the site migration. It wasn’t until recently that one of my friends asked how I knew so much about web page design, site layout, reading source code, yada yada yada. I started thinking about how to answer this question and thought this would make a really empowering blog topic.

 

You see, from the job descriptions we read, to the tasks we only “wish” we could achieve; it becomes apparent that we put some major limitations on ourselves. However, today’s blog is going to be my story of how I learned web page design; not from college, or even webpage design classes, but from a Plumber. Without further adieu here is the story of how I learned web page design…

 

The Plumber’s Story –  Everyone loves a good story, and this one picks up on one summer day in my Mother’s kitchen of all places. She hired a plumber to fix her kitchen sink and as he was just finishing up and heading out, I came home from my college classes. He asked me, “hey I’m starting a webpage design company, your ma says your good with computers. Wanna come work for me?” Now, this guy was like Mario straight out of Nintendo. Before me stood a sicilian Plumber in overalls with an italian accent that persuaded me just enough to say yes. I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little scared of being “whacked.”

 

On my first day with the Plumber I met him in a little office in Greenwood Lake New York. When I say the office was little, I mean my bedroom closet was bigger… Nonetheless I came to work and learn, and that’s just where we started. It turned out the Plumber had a dream of his own, starting a giant database of all the master plumbers all across New Jersey, and building these plumber’s websites.

 

After a few weeks of hands on training I learned to not only design websites but read and create source code. Some of it was absolute monotonous work, copy and pasting the same code over and over. However it taught me the importance of everything being uniform. Everything had to be linked, meta tags inserted, and the page completely SEO’ed (search engine optimized) so people could find us on google. The amount of attention to detail was crazy to me; but taught me to always double check my work.

 

But Why –  After a year of working for the Plumber, I finally asked him “when did you come up with this idea, and why is it so important?” He then explained to me that in just a few years it was planned that he would go blind due to macular degeneration. He had already had several operations on his eyes and would no longer be able to rely on plumbing to support his family. His goal was to get his website design business started and be able to create some sort of income for his family. He taught himself web page design by reading books, and watching youtube videos. He, like me, never took one class on web page design.

 

The Takeaway –  Whenever I get really down on myself I think about the lesson the Plumber taught me. There are too many times in life where credentials are over weighted. We convince ourselves that we can’t do things because we don’t have MBA’s, 10+ years experience, or don’t have “advanced” skills in excel or SAP. The biggest truth in life is that any skill can be learned.

 

The next time you’re challenged, connect to the scenario “what if I had to.” What if you had to learn a skill so that you can go deeper in your career, to bring in more income for your family, or even so you can be happier? If a Plumber can teach himself web page design, if a real estate agent (such as myself) can blog about personal finance and career advice; there’s certainly no reason you can’t do anything that your heart desires. The key takeaway I really want to drive home in this blog are that the only limitations that exist are the ones we set upon ourselves.

 

What do you think? How do you overcome your obstacles and stay focused on your goals? Share with us in the comments below!

How Quitting Your Job Can Save You Money

“There are many things money can buy, but the most valuable of all is freedom. Freedom to do what you want and to work for whom you respect.” – J.L Collins

 

Reading the title of this blog you might be thinking “this guy is way off his rocker.” I mean you don’t need to be a financial guru to know that you need money in order to live. But you see, that’s exactly it! You need money to sustain a lifestyle of your choice, not necessarily a job. Whether your idea of comfort is a 6 bedroom house with a courtyard, or a 2 bedroom home nestled away in the woods; that part is up to you. When most of us think about how to get money we think, we need a job. However in today’s blog I’m going to propose that in some instances we can actually save money by quitting a job/profession we dislike and replace it with something that is much more flexible and purposeful that we do like. Here is how quitting your job can actually save you money:

 

Commute – Let’s face it gas prices aren’t going down, in fact according to the U.S Energy Information Administration “the United States consumed 143.85 BILLION gallons of gas in 2017 that’s a daily average of about 391.40 million gallons of gas.” With a demand like that, oil companies have the upper hand with fuel prices, plain and simple. So what can we do about this? And what on earth does this have to do with our jobs? Well.. since you asked… one of the first things I ask people when they say they do not make enough money is: what does your commute look like? Are you driving an hour, or two hours to work everyday? After bringing awareness to this it’s extremely easy to see where our paychecks are going.

So there are a few options here: Either you can get a more fuel efficient vehicle, find a job that is closer to you, or limit your commute all together. Now you might ask, how do I limit my commute altogether!? I’m glad you asked! We are witnessing a revolution when it comes to positions and employers that allow employees to work from home/ or freelance. Sitting at home blogging and writing content is amazing! The best part about it is that you can get paid to do it and you don’t need to sacrifice your hard earned money to your gas tank! This ties into our next point:

 

Working From Home –  Does your employer offer the option from home? If your employer is like mine, they probably don’t! (#didn’tseethatcoming) so how can you work around this. Well take a look at your position and figure out how maybe you can work from home. Think about it; even if you could swing working from home two days a week, that still saves money on items like gas, vehicle maintenance, and even items like possibly child care. But most importantly it saves you time. How does it save you time? Well every 30minute, 45minute, or hour commute add up! What could you be doing in that time aside from driving or sitting in traffic?

I know what you’re thinking – How the heck am I going to convince my boss to allow me to work from home, even for a few days a week? The best advice I can give is that you have to establish yourself as an absolute linchpin and incredible asset in your company first. What I’m saying is after 3 months on the job to not ask your employer if you can work from home; but maybe after 3-5 years when you’ve proven yourself and your employer knows what an asset you are to the company. People have much more leverage than they realize and this could be a wonderful option to keep your same pay and cut down on your expenses.

Time –  Only you know the best use of your time. But like I discussed in the previous point, I know it can be used better than sitting in traffic. The thing about time is that it’s the only resource that we can’t get more of. If you might be thinking about leaving your job or thinking about “what’s next” think about how you can make things easier on yourself. From all the time that you spent sitting in traffic what could have you been doing to make yourself profitable or happy? What’s the opportunity cost? What is your time worth and can you use it better to create results that can yield income that you’re missing out on by commuting?

Conclusion – So what do you think? Is it possible to actually save money by quitting your job and exploring a career like blogging/freelancing or working from home?  What if you didn’t have to pay for as much fuel, possibly save on child care, drop to a one car household, and didn’t have to sit in traffic for an hour? Most importantly what would you to do with the time or money that you could potentially save? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Eight Secrets To Resume Writing

“The challenge of life, I have found, is to build a resume that doesn’t simply tell a story about what you want to be, but it’s a story about who you want to be.” -Oprah Winfrey

 

Yes! You read up on a job description, and it catches your eye! Now, the application process begins. The first step to selling yourself is your resume, and it needs to make a statement. It needs to highlight the quality of your related work experience, credentials, and other capabilities. Here are eight things to remember when painting this professional portrait of yourself.

 

1. Take your time! If you have not yet drafted a resume, it is suggested that you start doing so as soon as possible. There is nothing worse than the pressure of waiting to the last minute and scrambling to put it together. Your resume should be an ongoing project that you revisit from time to time to ensure that it is up-to-date and well-written.

 

2. Vary verbs and include buzzwords. Eliminate wordiness and use a wealthy variety of keywords that are relevant to the job position you are applying for. This is essential to building a strong resume. Occasionally, it is easy to use words repeatedly. Use a thesaurus to diversify words, and when beginning each bullet point, remember to utilize a variety of verbs to increase the interest factor. Remember, your goal is to captivate others’ attention.

 

3. Honesty is the best policy! Of course, your resume needs to be professionally appealing. However, do not try to be someone that you are not. The last thing you want to do is include information that may be untrue or fluffed. How embarrassing would it be to not be able to elaborate on bullet points or answer the interviewing questions because you are ultimately caught in a lie? Keep it real!

 

4. Do not over elaborate. Do not oversimplify either. Keep the interest factor elevated by keeping your resume to the point. Of course, include the most important points, but allow for the recruiter to want to know more. Their interview questions will allow for you to really sell yourself in person.

 

5. Length of your resume is all about preference. Occasionally, recruiters prefer all of your writing to be on one page. However, if you have a great deal of related and additional experience that may help you land a position, include it, and make your resume extend onto a second page. It does not hurt to keep a copy of a simplified version of your resume that lists all of your experience and credentials on one page handy for if you feel as if this is more appropriate.

 

6. Your resume needs to be appealing to the eye. Of course, your font type should be a standard type that looks professional. In terms of size, it can be smaller but not eye-straining. Space out your sections on your resume and allow for some spacing between your bullet points. A cluttered resume may quickly get the boot.

 

7. Don’t be repetitive. Occasionally, if you have had multiple positions that are related, your work experience may be similar. If bullet points can repeat, list them in the most current job experience. You still need to include some information to briefly explain less current employment or experience, therefore, include points that stand out and differentiate between the two related experiences.

 

8. Proofread – Meticulously read through your resume, or have someone reputable review it for you. Ensure that this document is rid of grammatical errors, misspellings, and sounds professional. Slight mistakes may turn off a recruiter instantly.

 

Do you have any resume secrets? Share them with us and the community by commenting below!

3 Steps You Can Take To Advise Yourself Through College

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” -Bruce Lee

 

Ever wonder why peer advisement for college courses isn’t more of a thing? I do. I never really thought much of it until I went to go schedule my classes for my last semester of college. Me, being the ambitious guy I am, wanted to take 18 credits, stack my schedule, and pretty much hightail it out of college. The classes I needed to take however, needed to be approved by my advisor; a professor of mine. As I was sitting across from my professor I had all my courses and a checklist laid out: electives? Met. Gen Ed’s? Met. Credits needed to graduate? Shy by 18 credits. My advisor looked down at the classes I lined up that I wanted to take, looked up at me, looked back down at my list, sighed a little, and then said “why take so many credits? Why not take less credits and take some next semester? I mean what’s another semester, right?” The last sentence he said penetrated my scull, and immediately I made the connection. “What’s another semester!?” I thought to myself, “another five thousand dollars, is what another semester was.” Needless to say I went on to take my 18 credits (6 classes) and pulled a B or better in each of them. Here are my three steps you can take to advise yourself through college, without an advisor:

 

Pick Your Classes – I know typically when we think of educational institutions, business isn’t the first thought that comes to mind. Honestly the institution I attended was a non profit. Yet, I realized that college professors do not take into account the student’s financial situation. In my case there’s a reason I wanted to bust my butt to finish up with college; money. I didn’t want to pay for another semester of books and tuition. To this day I think that having college professors who are paid from the tuition you pay, and advise you for the classes you should take, is a bit of an inside job. So how do you get around this? I know in my situation my classes did need to be approved by my advisor, but I pretty much got to call the shots. If you have a decent GPA and know you can handle the work and courses you want to take. I say go for it.

 

Know Your Requirements- I had another really great experience with advisement that I’d love to share. Majoring in both economics and history my university would offer courses that could count towards both majors (#score) So when I saw a class that said Economic History and was advised to take it, I jumped on it! I mean what could go wrong. Well… essentially everything. So it turns out the course wouldn’t be accepted by the business college to go towards my economics degree, and would just count towards my history credits; not exactly what I was hoping for. Yet, after the smoke cleared there was a valuable lesson. Advise yourself. Especially if you are picking up majors in different areas of study, do not count on communication between different colleges within the university. So how do you advise yourself? Online you can find all of your course requirements for any majors and minors that you’d like to pick up. When scheduling or viewing available classes be sure to have a checklist on what requirements you need to take each class. After picking out your classes for the semester go to your advisor and get your selections approved (*I’m sure this process is different in all institutions, so double check what the process is for your college). By you taking on the responsibility you’re assuring yourself your advisement is done right, and at the same token taking the responsibility off the advisor who might not be as educated in the realm of advisement as you might think.

 

Peer Advisement – I know the university that I attended did not offer peer advisement, but I certainly hope this changes. One of the most useful tools I utilized while advising myself was asking my peers. The great thing about college courses is that there are tons of people who are in different levels of their college careers. You might have seniors and freshman in the same classes. I was quick to find a group of students who I had multiple classes with and asked them what their next moves were, and I remember even sitting down with some going over my own schedule. If colleges aren’t utilizing peer advisement I’m not sure what they are waiting for. It was an excellent way to network, and get better information on what professors and courses I should take.

 

Conclusion – “So what’s another semester?” You tell me. With a generation drowning in student debt I would make the assumption if another semester could be avoided it would be appreciated both personally and financially by the student. Remember while advising yourself to do your homework. Make sure you know and understand your requirements, prerequisites, and always be sure to put yourself out there to your peers. The work alone in college can be challenging enough, but sometimes you need to step up and make your own luck; something that in my life, proved to be immensely beneficial. What do you think? Do you think professors should advise students on what classes they should take? Do you attend an institution where peer to peer advisement is a thing? Let us know in the comments below! I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

3 Reasons Why You Owe Your Success To Standardized Testing

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” – Mark Twain

 

I want you to travel back in time with me. The year? 2006. I’m a junior in high school, and just found out that I failed the math portion of the State Standardized testing exam. As a result, I need to take remedial math classes in order to graduate high school. Now, I’d love to tell you that I absolutely sucked at school… but honestly I didn’t. In my high school class I went on to graduate number 96 out of almost 400 students; and college? I double majored and earned two bachelor degrees, one of which was Economics which generally relied on some quantitative math skills and analysis. I finished college with a 3.4 GPA. Throughout my education I always pulled generally good grades; finishing on honor roll or high honor roll almost every marking period. Yet, there was always one week out of the year that would make me proverbially shit myself; State standardized testing week. My state testing career started in the third grade and lasted to the twelfth, and yet I honestly was absolutely horrific at taking those tests. Let’s fast forward to 2017. I’m 28 years old and have been out of high school for 10 years, yet the lesson those tests taught me were a little more than the subject matter I proved to fail. Here are three reasons why I, and I’m sure many others, owe our success partially to State Standardized Testing:

 

Grit – I haven’t met one person who likes to sit in a classroom with a moderator for four hours taking a test. Come to think of it I haven’t met a person who likes to sit in a four hour meeting at work listening to people lecture either. See what I’m getting at? State tests teach grit to all those who don’t want to be there. I know when I was growing up that was me. I think most people would agree it’s important in life to do things that you don’t want to do, to get out of our comfort zones; it’s the only way to grow. Our brains have one job; to protect us, and we all love to take the path of least resistance. It’s always easier to not ask or negotiate for the raise, to not ask for help, and learn to accept things. Yet, what if you were forced to go against the grain? In my case, sitting through lengthy tests proved to me that sometimes you need to suck it up, do your time, and do what’s necessary and best to move on to the next chapter.

 

Time Management – I think what messed me up the most during standardized tests is knowing that you have a boat load of questions in front of you, on subjects you might not really care about, and oh yea you have like 10 minutes to complete them; good luck! Now I’ll share a little wisdom from experience; do not turn your scan tron sideways and make a smiley face by coloring in the corresponding circles, I assure you that is not a good idea… But I will share another piece of knowledge that I did learn. Time management. State tests are your first crack at time management. When will time management come into play? When it’s 3pm and your boss needs that report on his desk by 4:30pm, or when you’re managing five real estate clients and you need to manage your time between showing houses, writing contracts, and going to closings. You see what I’m getting at. It’s rarely touched upon, but I would certainly credit standardized testing to the introduction and cultivation of time management.

 

Be Prepared – Showing up to a test without a pencil sucks. Showing up to a presentation without anything prepared in front of the company sucks a little more. One thing that standardized testing taught me was to be prepared, mostly mentally. To me, tests were intimidating; that’s why my weapon of choice is writing. Writing is something I can carefully think about, take my time with, and always come back to. From a young age I realized I didn’t like to be put on the spot for something I couldn’t prepare for, especially to test my knowledge. Yet as I grew up and experienced life a little more I also realized there are so many situations and circumstances both professionally and personally that we could never prepare for. Like those tests, we sometimes need to take our best educated guesses and move on to the next question. Don’t get hung up on that one thing, or time will certainly expire.

 

Conclusion – If you’ve made it this far in this blog you’re probably thinking, so does this guy like standardized tests or does he hate them? My answer is a little of both. Do I think standardized tests are useful in testing any child’s knowledge of subject matter? Not at all. I think there are children who are great confident test takers and then there are those, like me, who psych themselves out about tests; getting anxious and even stressed about their performance. Yet, I feel there are underlying lessons in these tests that will prove useful throughout one’s life. What are your thoughts? Do you think standardized testing is useful in schools to wage academia? Or do you feel there is a greater or no purpose to them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!