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Want A Rewarding Career Path? Become a Financial Manager

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The basic tenet of any successful business is to sell products and services for profit. However, in order to scale up a small business, one must possess a greater financial acumen which can help the individuals find additional ways of making money. Becoming a financial manager will expand your awareness level and increase your odds of being successful.

The importance of finance in successful businesses

Growing a business requires access to new financial resources. Expanding a business, launching a new product or performing mergers and acquisitions, all require core finance knowledge. Clients will trust your business and you with their money only if they have the confidence that your heart is in it.

Then again, if you think that you can go about nodding your head to whatever the accountant explains to you, you are doing yourself and your business a disservice. For concepts like profit margins, debt burdens, and asset management, your financial knowledge should be impeccable.

So what do you need to actually become a successful financial manager?

Become qualified

Becoming a financial manager is not an easy choice to make. The highly specialized nature of this field makes it imperative for serious aspirants to gain credibility and build a reputation, and until you gain some respect, money won’t come easily. Thus the first thing to do is earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business administration, economics or finance. These academic programs will acquaint you with financial analysis methods and technology, and help you develop the analytical skills required for career success. Soft skills are also taught as a part of the program as peer to peer communication is an important part of the job of financial manager.

Gain experience

Obtaining an entry level finance job isn’t the easiest thing in this world. Competition is tough, especially in fields like investment management. To make sure you do not waste your time looking for the perfect job, experienced professionals advise that you should accept any relevant opportunity that comes your way. This will help you gain a foothold in the industry, make new contacts and develop the relationships required to advance your career.

Get certified

Globally recognized certifications like Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Financial Planner (CFP) make you a good candidate for promotion or a salary hike at your workplace. These certifications have the best ROI and are therefore the most sought after. Employers also prefer candidates who have at least one professional certification highlighted in their resume. Needless to say, such professionals are paid exponentially higher than their counterparts who do not pursue these certifications.

Qualities of a good financial manager

Now, your decision to become a financial manager should actually be motivated by self-introspection of your qualities and traits. Performing well in a job is one thing, while being a great manager is another. So, besides all the technical knowledge and number crunching, what else sets a manager apart from a normal finance guy?

  • Ability to manage and motivate team members to do their best
  • High proficiency at formulating, implementing and evaluating sales policies
  • In-depth working knowledge of the whole financial industry
  • Sound investment acumen
  • Strong communication skills; clarity of thought and speech
  • Excellent time management and multi tasking skills

The rewards

Financial managers are some of the most handsomely paid professionals. With the right mix of experience, certifications and education credentials one can easily expect to earn a six figure salary. As per the USA Bureau of Labor & Statistics, the average median pay lies in the range of $109,740 annually.

This article was contributed by guest author Saurabh Tyagi.

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Searching for Green Job Opportunities: What Every Young Person Should Know

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Young people looking for green energy jobs may be a bit disheartened about job prospects without applicable experience. Fortunately, this should not be a barrier to pursuing a dream of working in green energy.

4 Things to Learn About Pursuing Green Energy Jobs

In a recent interview, the 28-year-old founder of Alcen Renewable, Tao Kong, offered insights to young people looking for green energy jobs. Here are four lessons from his experience to help you break into the field.

1. A Broad-Based Renewable Energy Education Is Essential

Educational institutions are developing new renewable energy programs to help keep up with the transition to low-carbon systems. Fortunately, the renewable energy industry is helping to speed up the process. The larger this industry grows, the more workers it needs. This information may not seem incredibly helpful for recent college graduates; however, Kong didn’t leave college with any specialized skillset or a significant amount of knowledge about renewable energy.

This lack of experience was hardly a hurdle, though. Almost everything he learned to land his first job in the industry was the result of self-study. Everything else he learned while on the job. For young people, this approach can actually be a huge advantage, as Kong points out. Without a new family or other major commitments, job seekers can follow Kong’s footsteps in learning about this new and exciting market.

2. Age Doesn’t Matter

Of course, it’s worth pointing out that Kong’s age hasn’t always played to his advantage. In the interview, he mentions that the industry seems split regarding his success. One half scoffs at his innovations. At the same time, Kong notes that these people tend to be part of the “status quo.” They don’t want things to change because they built their business models on what has always worked.

There are also the independent developers who, Kong points out, don’t really care about age. They’ll hear him out because they’re excited about what he may bring to the table. Anyone who is able to introduce improvements to the industry can succeed, regardless of age or background.

3. Ask Lots of Questions

Kong’s first real experience with the renewable energy industry was attending a conference. By this point, he had begun doing some preliminary planning for a family friend who was working on renewable energy projects in China.

To prepare for the conference, Kong committed to rigorously learning about renewable energy (he originally knew nothing). By the time the conference rolled around, Kong didn’t have all the answers, but he did know all the questions he had to ask. While many of the attendees wondered why he was there to begin with (due to his age), Kong was happy to explain himself because he got the answers he needed to help his employer.

Reinventing the wheel is not necessary. Kong probably could have come up with many of the answers he needed on his own, but it was far more efficient to simply find the people who had the information he needed and ask them.

4. Look for Green Energy Jobs with Startups

Kong cited a couple of important reasons why young people should look to startups for their green energy jobs. The first one is that startups are more likely to get excited about fresh ideas. An innovative idea can often beat years of experience in terms of getting a foot in the door.

Startups can also offer the opportunity to wear as many different hats as possible. This provides a broad-based education about the industry along with a better understanding of what roles might be good fits. Startups can usually offer this type of opportunity because of their lean structures; they need every employee to wear several hats at once.

Countless Green Energy Jobs Are Out There Waiting

Green energy jobs are growing. Solar, alone, is growing 12 times faster than the rest of the economy. A lot goes into finding the perfect job, especially for new job seekers. By utilizing Kong’s tips, including asking questions and providing fresh insights, the chances of finding the right opportunity are improved significantly.

This article was contributed by guest author Susy Bento.

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5 Student Tips for Making Money While Traveling the World

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When you’re studying abroad or exploring on your gap year, you’re going to need some money to take care of yourself. It’s hard to work a traditional job while bouncing from place to place, but there are a few jobs you can count on to be there wherever you land. There are even some jobs you can take with you wherever you go – and keep doing once you settle down at your last destination.

English Tutoring

English is the most popular second language in many countries. There are plenty of families that would be willing to pay a native English speaker to tutor their children. Some university students might be willing to pay you for English lessons as well. Advertise your services as a private tutor. You’d be surprised how many people would be willing to take you up on your offer – you might even run into businesses that want your services for their employees.

Remote Team Work

If you had a job back home, you might be able to take it with you. Ask your company if they’ll allow you to do remote work. If you already work with computers a lot, like in social media marketing or customer service, you might be able to do it wherever you go. Your company might have other positions that are open for remote work – you can simply switch over while you’re traveling.

If you don’t already have those options, you can always find a new company hiring virtual team members. A lot of startups or companies with large internet presences are always looking. You might even be able to keep the job if you find that you like it.

Become a Freelancer

Freelancers can work from anywhere. Think about special skills you have. Writing, editing, translating, and social media jobs often fall into the laps of freelancers. You can create your own profile, market your skills, and have people from all over the world hire you to do what you do best. Since freelancing is mostly internet based work, you might want to consider using a VPN. It may not be wise to use public WiFi to supply your freelancing platform with your bank information – anyone can intercept it without an encrypted connection.

Be a Tour Guide

If you’re ready for a long term stay in a country that sees a lot of tourism, you might be able to become a tour guide. English speaking people prefer English speaking guides, because they’ll be able to learn about the monuments and locations they’re seeing on the tour. Offer up your services to popular tour companies. You’ll get to enjoy all of the sights and sounds of your new location while explaining them to others.

Work in Tourism Hot Spots

Hostels, hotels, restaurants, and bars near international airports require a lot of language diversity among their staff. You’ll know what visitors from your home country will be looking for, and you’ll be able to communicate with them. Even if you only take a temp job, these businesses may be grateful to have you for as long as they can get you. You can bridge the gaps and help them serve more visitors.

Variety is the spice of life. If you don’t like a position, you won’t have to deal with it for very long. Travel to a new place, find a new job, and keep going until you find something that works. You’re at a time in your life that’s all about experimentation – find out what makes you happy.

This article was contributed by guest author Sophia Beirne.

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3 Vital Professionals Students Need (and Can Become)

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School is more than a launchpad to a job or more school. School is fertile ground for students to explore careers through professionals who help them every day.

The National Center for Education Statistics reports student enrollment in higher education programs has increased dramatically since the start of the century. With students of all backgrounds and ages at an all-time high, becoming a school professional is an in-demand option for high job security.

Teacher
Teachers use knowledge, curricula and their unique personalities to promote learning across a wide range of students. The close relationship teachers share with students is hands-on exposure to this profession. Teachers give students an advantage to see them in action on a daily or weekly basis. They often unwittingly inspire students to become educators.

State laws vary, but most high school teachers hold a four-year college degree and special certification. College and university professors will have advanced master’s and doctoral degrees.

Counselor
A school counselor keeps high school and college students on track to graduate. These individuals are not only well-versed in the school’s curriculum; they are a treasure chest of knowledge about many career paths and higher education opportunities.

Counselors meet annually or regularly with students to plan out their progress. This role is perfect for people who enjoy being in academic environments and influencing students’ lives. While many schools have great in person programs, online counseling degrees are also becoming more popular. This means that the degree can be easier to attain while working in the field.

Librarian
Librarians are the silent backbone of most schools. From stocking textbooks to securing information teachers need, librarians manage the school’s collection of books and materials. They order books, publications and digital media to enhance schools’ missions to educate.

Depending on specialty and focus, librarians can receive a wide range of master’s degrees in information science and library studies. The rise in digital media and archives has created a demand for librarians with recent degrees and certifications. Most libraries and schools look for degrees from schools\ accredited by the American Library Association.

Teachers, counselors and librarians empower students and collaborate with each other on a daily basis. In addition to providing valuable services and guidance, these professionals are accessible to answer students’ questions about their jobs. An informational interview or few hours of shadowing will go far to demystify the indispensable roles they play.

This article was contributed by guest author Brooke Chaplan.

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Great Tips to Make Career Decisions

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Losing a job nowadays is much easier than finding one – amply highlighted by the global economic recession that began in 2008. Thousands of employees worldwide, especially in the US, lost their jobs overnight as banks and financial institutions jumped in to stem their losses by foreclosures of loans. Hundreds of employees laid off nearly a decade ago continue to remain redundant for reasons ranging from lack of skills to dropping demand.

Economic depressions have a penchant to strike large economies such as the US with alarming alacrity: Nobody can predict when another big bender will strike. Thus, for fresh job seekers, it is imperative to know what to look for when taking up employment. The emphasis now has to shift from doing a “job” to developing a career that is time-proof.

Here are some tips to help students and prospective job seekers to choose a fitting career.

Job vs. career:
An American poet and essayist once said: “Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams.” This axiom holds good for today’s youth who are increasingly at odds over finding and pursuing a great career. A job is something you do to earn money. You sell your skills and time for a fixed pay, regardless of whether you like the work. A career is different: It involves doing what you enjoy, and as much as you can. In plain terms, it means getting paid to pursue your hobby.

Developing a set of skills:
Everyone is intensely passionate about something other than food, clothing, shelter and other basic needs. Each human has innate skills that need to be stirred and developed. However, only a few enrol in courses that permit them to develop their intrinsic skills. Regardless of the course you have studied, you’re probably aware of your ardour for a particular profession or trade.

Investing your time and effort into developing your skills in that specific work can help bag a job in a career of your choice. The legendary Chinese philosopher Confucius exclaimed over 2,500 years ago: “Choose a job you love and you will never work a single day of your life.” You can also develop your chosen skills by attending classes or courses outside your regular university hours.

Upgrading your skills:
This is vital since man and machine are now locked in a race – and the outlook for the humble human doesn’t look promising. Newer software and machines can do the job of many, reducing dependence on manpower. Upgrading your skills frequently is crucial. Myriad resources available on the Internet can help you hone and update your skills to give you a vital edge when applying for jobs.

Join groups related to your skills and career:
Scores of online forums exist across the world for almost every conceivable skill or talent. These permit persons from diverse cultures to exchange notes on existing and developing trends. Group discussions are held online that add to the skill development process.

Social media networks such as Facebook feature interest groups from various countries. Staying in touch with developments worldwide can help you get better paid jobs abroad, provided you are willing to relocate.

Multinationals usually headhunt for people who are willing to work outside their native countries. Blogs are an effective way to learn about the demand for your skills.

Obliterating deficiencies:
Humans have inborn deficiencies that you need to guard yourself against. This process begins with identifying areas that are directly related to your career but not have no imminent impact. For example, a student may be a financial wizard but lack basic computer skills.

Whatever your grey area, it would pay well to identify it as early as possible and work on acquiring the additional skill. It could turn out to be a lifesaver in situations such as an economic depression.

Time proofing:
A relatively new concept, time proofing made its appearance in the US and other major job markets in the aftermath of the 2009 global economic recession. Plainly put, time proofing means protecting your career and skills against adverse times and developments that occur in any sphere over a period.

Acquisition of new skills, fine tuning existing ones and remaining in touch with the industry help buy some degree of time proofing. Meaning, you are protected to some degree against an imminent layoff.

Develop business skills:
Acquaint yourself with how a company works. Such knowledge is essential when applying for a job or vying for a promotion within an organization: Bosses look for people who are business minded. Remember, business is all about making money.

Avoid underselling yourself:
Most job aspirants are desperate to get employed. They are willing to take the first job offered regardless of the salary offered. Such job aspirates prioritize experience over earnings and settle for payments that can be significantly lower than industry standards.

This jeopardizes your future prospects since your salary will be one of the bargaining chips while applying for another job. Job adverts usually mention salaries or wages a worker can expect, which gives a fair idea about what you can expect to be paid. Monitoring job websites is therefore a good idea.

Gathering certificates, documents and accolades:
This is very simple. Ask your school and every educational institute attended for certificates and other proofs of attendance and performance. Certificates issued for attending camps, competitions and accolades earned for your performance in sports or other activities help boost career prospects.

Apple polishing your teachers guides and mentors:
Many reputed organizations now engage companies to run background checks on job applicants. These background check companies call or email the references you provide on your resume. An adverse remark need not necessarily disqualify you for a job, but is highly undesirable especially when embarking on a chosen career. You can reap rich dividends by staying in the good books of your teachers, guides, mentors and other persons who may feature as your references.

Why these tips are important:
Educational institutions in the US and elsewhere pay millions of dollars annually for career counsellors on their campuses. Despite its importance, most students frown upon career counselling because they are insolently determined about what they wish to do.

Such haughtiness can cost dearly. Students tend to sacrifice enjoyable jobs for the glitter of money, so you should realize that you can be happy in your work while prospering.

This article was contributed by guest author Sam.

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Cities Where College Graduates Should Migrate To

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People go to college and work hard for years in order to live a life others can only dream about. Do you actually think it’s going to happen? It will for some people – and it’s not just because of the profession they’re going into. A big part of being successful is packing your bags and heading in the right direction. You want to go where the money and opportunities are waiting. We’re going to take a look at a few cities you might have overlooked while searching for jobs in your profession.

Houston, Texas
Houston has a booming economy at the moment and there are lots of great jobs available in every field, but it’s especially good for lawyers. It actually ranked as the second best city after various accounts were taken into consideration. Obviously, there are jobs available and the salaries are high, but it’s not what makes Houston stand out. The biggest draw is the low cost of living, which means a lawyer’s salary will go a lot further than somewhere like New York.

Phoenix, Arizona
When you think of the financial industry, the first thing that comes to mind is Wall Street, which will probably never change due to its history. If you want to escape from New York, you should consider Phoenix. It’s almost emerged to become a very livable city, and it’s been taking the financial industry by storm since the crash of 2008. Growth is up around 13 percent, and if bankers know anything it’s that numbers on the rise is a good thing, especially if they’re unemployed and looking for a job.

Columbus, Ohio
The demand for surgeons is projected to keep going up for the next few years, so why not be in one of the best cities? One of the top choices outside of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles is Columbus, Ohio. Not only is the city itself a fantastic place to live, but it’s also the home of two nationally ranked hospitals. The average surgeon will be earning just shy of $250,000 per year.

Durham, North Carolina
If you’re an aspiring artist, you don’t necessarily want to go where all the large galleries are. You want to live in a place where they give young talent a chance. Once you head to Durham, you’ll be able to show off your talent. The city has grown in recent years, but it has still tried to remain artsy through it all. There are lots of galleries around throwing frequent events where you’ll be able to socialize, and some where you’ll be able to showcase your art.

Denver, Colorado
Anyone with aspirations of becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg might want to forget about Silicon Valley for now. It’s so expensive to live there that you might want to seriously consider other rising tech hubs for your permanent residence. In Denver, you’ll walk away with over $10,000 more per month once your rent has been paid. The state is also the biggest tech hub outside of California, and it’s only going to get better with so many people flocking there. There are so many new startups popping up that you won’t have to worry too much about finding a job.

Miss the Ride and You’ll Regret It
You hear so many stories about college graduates being unable to find jobs, at least in the industry they were hoping for. Most of the time it’s because of what they studied; but occasionally, people have failed to achieve their goals because of where they were living. If you want to be one of the success stories, don’t be afraid to go where the development and growth are!

This article was contributed by guest author Andre Smith.

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Searching for Opportunity: My Job Hunt Story

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In the summer of 2014, I had just finished my first year at university. Commuting was helping to save the family money, but it left me with little money for myself after I had to quit my job to accommodate the lost time travelling. I had worked at a Shoppers Drug Mart ten minutes away from my house, and leaving not only lost me my discount, but the ease that went into working every day.

I wanted to try and gain a position that had more to do with the profession I wanted to go into, which was being a doctor. I also wanted the ease that came with working close to home. So I opted to apply for a numerous amount of jobs – probably too many. I’ve heard from many since then that if you are applying to too many jobs at one time at the mall, things circulate and its likely to reflect poorly on you. I probably applied to about 10 retail jobs at the mall, but still holding out for an opportunity in research, I applied to about 10 more that I found on a school hiring website.

I found that using the resources given to me by my school was a huge advantage to the position I ended up receiving. You are technically paying for these services, so it is worth it to give them a chance. I would never have known where to get a research position after being in my first year – I barely knew where the library was – but using this school resource was a huge asset. Anyway, I had three callbacks from about 20 applications (such is life sometimes). I had a callback from a clothing store in the mall and two callbacks for research positions in psychiatry and in biology.

I ended up interviewing for the psychiatry position and the clothing store position, because the biology lab position ended up not working with my schedule. I was taking summer courses at the time and didn’t want to have something with too many hours. The research position was great because it was part of a program at U of T where there are a limited number of hours, which made it flexible for students. I had never worked at a retail store before so I was a little bit confused in the interview. Do I know what to do with inventory? No, I don’t know how to work a POS system.

It turned out that that job at the mall was the first job for which I had ever been interviewed and rejected. I always prepare well for my interviews – going over common answers that are typically asked, picking out my dress, relaxing myself before I get in there. I come with my cover letter, resume and references ready. It just eases my mind so I can perform my best. I guess my lack of experience kind of undershot my chances, so I ended up taking the position in psychiatry.

I’ve been working in that job for two years and I’ve learned a lot and made plenty of great friends. The fact that it is flexible helped me balance school and work and allowed me to meet different psychiatrists and employees at CAMH. The key to finding a good job is making sure that your resume is short and highlights all of your relevant accomplishments, preparing for the interview as well as following up after the interview, and just making sure that you are prepared every step of the way. You’d be surprised at the kinds of jobs you can find when you’re prepared!

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How Important Are Internships?

Image by William Iven, unsplash.com

Image by William Iven, unsplash.com

Many college students may find after graduation that the job market now asks for more than just a Bachelor’s degree. Recruiters are expecting candidates to have experience fresh out of school and most will be looking for that experience through internships. Internships have become the new normal for college graduates. As a newly graduated student fresh in the job hunt, you will want to have not just a college degree on hand but also a plethora of internships to show off to recruiters. Here are some reasons why interning is an important supplement to your college degree:

1. Gaining Valuable Experience – Internships are one of the best ways to gain real-world experience in the field of your choice. Recruiters are often searching for applicants that already have experience working within an established company through an internship. Experience as an intern shows your future employers not only that you are familiar with a professional work setting but that you are eager to learn and be flexible.

2. Resume Booster – A resume with one or more internships listed will likely put you a step above other candidates that have no internships. This goes along with gaining valuable experience as the more you intern, the more experience you have to list in your resume. An ample resume can help you stand out from the sea of applications that many recruiters receive and internships are an easy way to gain work experience. Your resume is also not just a place to show off what you know but also who you know. Internships are also a great place to meet people that you can list as recommendations or references on your resume.

3. Networking – Another key reason internships are so important is that it gives students opportunities to network and to network with the right people. Everyone knows that who you know in the industry matters just as much as what you know and internships give students a great way to get to know professionals in their field. Networking opportunities such as internships can help put you on the fast track to getting your first job out of school.

4. Opportunities For Hire – Internships are often a great way to get your foot in the door for open positions later. Many hiring managers will look to their interns if positions open up as they already have the experience of working with teams and are already familiar with the office culture. Hiring interns allows managers to offer job positions to people they have already trained as well as cut down on the interview process.

5. Earn College Credit – Many internships offer students college credit in exchange for their time. This means as a student you can gain valuable job experience and have it count towards your degree. Earning that extra college credit often means students can get to their graduation deadline quicker.

6. Develop New Skills – There are some things you just can not learn in the classroom and interning can help you learn skills that happen in a real-world, professional setting. The days of interns running to get coffee or office supplies are long gone, as many companies instead choose a more mentorship approach to with their interns. Students often get to sit in on meetings and help teams accomplish goals or projects.

7. Try Out A Field – Many students go into their degrees without ever experiencing what actually working in the field might be like. Interning gives you the opportunity to try out a field and see if it is right for you.

There are numerous benefits for students to intern and in today’s highly competitive job market, interning has quickly become the new normal. Interning is not confined to one industry either; many companies and organizations in virtually every industry offer internship programs. There are also many internship programs that have the added benefit of paid stipends or even going abroad. Overall, students can only benefit from interning both while in school and after graduation.

This article was contributed by guest author Nick Rojas.

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Quick Ways to Make Money While You’re Studying

Image by Fabian Blank, unsplash.com

Image by Fabian Blank, unsplash.com

An independent and fun-filled life is the fantasy of every college student. However, with the limited financial budget of a student, this fantasy remains just that – a fantasy. Moreover, college loan repayment is another obstacle that not only prevents this kind of life for students but also prevents them from investing independently and earning rewards to help financially support them.

1) Freelance
As a student, there are many ways to earn money. Content writing is one huge field that has helped many students. With a lot of freelance websites in motion, students can grab work that interests them, write articles and earn by selling those. Students can also start their own blogs and earn money through them.

2) Be A Tutor
If a student excels in English, they can earn by proofreading and editing articles of their peers or by becoming tutors. Teaching is the best way to excel in a subject and by becoming a tutor, students can earn, polish their own skills and knowledge and be a valuable service to those around them. Schools usually have teaching assistant posts or a campus tutoring center available where students can take the role of a tutor.

3) Become a Notetaker or Sell & Textbooks
Students with learning disabilities are provided with note takers that are compensated fairly well, and by taking up such a position, students can not only help their peers but also earn for themselves. Selling text books at the end of the term is another way income can be generated. Textbooks are a huge expense for students, so many look out for used books from seniors. Approaching such students results in a win-win situation for both parties.

4) Get a Part-time Job or Internship
Most universities and colleges have a career counseling department that provides students with opportunities to work with local or multinational companies. Students can look out for such internship / job opportunities and work part time. This would build their resume, provide them with adequate experience and help students make money. On campus jobs such as waitressing or administrative work in various departments are also available that help students to make money. Usually, students also participate in paid interviews, surveys and medical experiments that add cash to their wallets.

For most students, having cash to spend freely is a major issue; not only during their study years, but also after graduation. This is mainly due to the high amount of interest they have to pay on student loan repayments. While some students have their repayment strategies chalked out, most do not care to think about it until after they graduate and the grace period has almost ended. Hence, having made some money while studying at college can be a huge advantage for every student while at college and even after they graduate.

Earning while you study can also reduce your dependency on student loans, resulting in fewer repayment problems and reduced interest payments.

This article was contributed by guest author Henry Kingston.

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