Tag Archives | tips

Great Tips to Make Career Decisions

Image by kaboompics, pixabay.com

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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15 Science-Backed Memory Tips to Help You Succeed

Why is it that we can remember our home address growing up, but we have trouble remembering what we ate for breakfast a week ago? Clearly our memory works in a very special, unique fashion. In a world full of distractions, it is sometimes hard to concentrate on the things that we need to know and remember. But, understanding the way our brains work is the key to improving things like studying for tests or learning new facts or figures. To help unlock the mystery of the brain, GetVoIP has put together 15 memory skills that will help supercharge your memory.

Image by Vincent Nero

This article was contributed by guest author Reuben Yonatan.

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How to Develop Your Study Skills – Work Smarter, Not Harder

Even the most dedicated students will go through periods when they’re struggling to focus on studying. For students who want to achieve their goals, it is imperative that they have a dedicated study plan.

Studying isn’t about how long you do it, but how much you learn. When you’re studying, it’s important to try and avoid any distractions, and focus on the task at hand. Effective studying isn’t about sitting at your desk and staring at a book all day. In fact, research has shown that studying is more effective in short blocks. Do some work and take a break – you will find that you learn more overall.

Have a look at this infographic from Study Medicine Europe for more detail on how you can make the most of your study time. Work smarter, not harder!

This article was contributed by guest author Aris Grigoriou.

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12 Tips to Help You Make the Most of Your Freshman Year

Image by Aaron Burden, unsplash.com

Image by Aaron Burden, unsplash.com

College freshman year is your first step into adulthood and it’s a year you’ll remember for the rest of your life. All those past achievements and high school grades can get you into the college you desire, but once you’re in, it’s a complete new start. Everyone gets an equal chance to prove themselves and what you make of this opportunity matters the most in shaping your personality and career.

So here’s a list of ‘must dos’ to help you make the most of your freshman year so you don’t look back and regret your decisions.

Choose wisely
The very first thing to do (*cliche alert*) is to put some thought into selecting the right major. As statistics show, 30% of college students in the US drop out of college in the first year, or complete their graduation elsewhere. I’m guessing that you wouldn’t want to fit into that number, right? You must believe in your instincts and pick the right program that interests you, while at the same time being feasible with your SAT/ACT scores.

Be an occasional nerd
It’s okay to sometimes stay back and study instead of slipping out at night to party with the clan. You must resist the temptation (I know it’s hard!), and prioritize academics whenever need be. Trust me, it’s really cool to be the student who’s out with friends when he/she wants to – and who also does well in class. You must learn to say no at the right time, and loosen up and unwind when required.

Timetables and due-dates
It’s college, not high school. Every time you’re late with a submission, or miss out on a lecture that you “didn’t know” about, it’s a red alert. Colleges are very strict with timetables and dates right from the time of applications. It’s wise to sit down and draw up a timetable of lectures and upcoming due-dates for submissions. Put it in a chart and hang it on a wall over your bed so you don’t forget.

Hang in there
It’s not easy for everyone to cope with the newfound freedom that comes with college. And it’s okay to be scared. Some of us are introverts. Some of us don’t make friends easily and need time to build a good rapport. The good news is, you’re not alone. There are others just like you feeling the chills in a new place. Find them and make friends with them as they are also probably looking for someone who can understand how they feel. Always be nice to your roommate, and if they don’t reciprocate, change rooms. It’s hard to survive college without at least a small set of friends, so surround yourself with like minded people.

Define your study style
The college curriculum is a lot harder than high school, and it takes your first year to understand and implement this in your study routine. It doesn’t mean you’ll be slogging through the years. Be smart at your work. Identify your study style. Are you good with group study? Check out the library and find students who do the same. Stay connected with your groups online even when they’re not around. Like to keep testing your skills? Take pop quizzes and solve question papers from the university’s website. Like to make short notes? Use websites like Evernote to save notes, and Cram to make your own flashcards to remember hard concepts. It’s important to find your comfort zone while studying.

Try to be yourself
Right from the time of filling out an application, to writing that crucial college essay, applicants are expected to describe who they really are. Adding that ‘you’ element in an essay describes your unique quality and gets you into the college. You need to maintain that ‘you factor’ all throughout freshman year.

Work on your speech
Take a speech class if needed. Communication skills are very important to make yourself heard among the cluster. You may have been a pro debater or an elocution expert in high school, but the trick is to keep that spirit alive in college. Communication skills are like a good dessert after dinner. From making college life easier to impressing potential employers that want to recruit, your communication skills will play an important role in your future.

Draft a plan for the next four years
Yes, live in the present, but also think of the future. College is about enjoying your precious young-adult years, but with an element of added responsibility. It’s the right time to plan your academic goals for the next 3-4 years. Discuss them with your counsellor / mentor. This helps you to stay on course, tick off the milestones, and reevaluate your choices and options if needed.

Join a club
Extracurricular activities are crucial to making your resume shine, exploring your interests outside of the classroom and to make new contacts. Involving yourself in college clubs (drama, debate, etc) and student organizations will help you reap significant benefits in later years. It improves your leadership skills and your ability to perform as a team; two qualities much sought after by employers.

Technology is your friend
Times have changed and it’s a definite perk to be tech savvy. Learn to work your way around on the internet and use online tools like Google Drive (If you’re not already into it!). List down important blogs to read. Learn online etiquette to get a good reputation. It’ll help you to finish your assignments quickly, and stay in touch with the latest developments in your field.

Build a good rapport with professors
A good piece of advice here is to get noticed and fall straight into the good books of at least one teacher. It helps with getting good research opportunities, recommendations for internships, and a better understanding of the subjects. You don’t need to become a ‘teacher’s pet,’ but be regular for the lectures, take interest in finishing the assignments, and contact them for study help.

Seek internships
Draw up your resume (if you don’t have it already) and keep updating it with your newly acquired skills. Towards the end of your Freshman year, start sourcing for summer internships. Your teacher reference comes in handy for this. It will help you to get another internship next summer after your sophomore year. Graduating with two of these certificates will give you a competitive edge over others.

Freshman year is all about re-discovering yourself and laying the foundation of your career. Remember, it’s very tempting to get carried away into different social groups and succumb to peer pressure. Stay focused on your goals.

This article was contributed by guest author Ethan Miller.

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Health Tips To Know Before Heading To College

Image by Christopher Campbell, Unsplash.com

Image by Christopher Campbell, Unsplash.com

College is an exciting time in a student’s life — a movement toward adulthood and its unique freedoms. Along with the privilege of greater freedom, however, comes greater responsibility, including caring for your own health for what may be the first time. Do you know how to stay healthy while away at school? What steps should you take to stay well?

To help answer these questions, here’s a look at some of the top tips to know in order to care for your body while in college:

1. Watch what you eat. Your diet plays a major role in how you feel day to day, but when you’re busy with a heavy class load, a hectic social calendar and other new activities, you might be tempted to grab whatever is fastest and easiest — even if it’s a candy bar. That’s why you need to decide now to prioritize a balanced diet. One great way to do this is by choosing to make more of your own food. When you shop for your own groceries and make simple, healthy meals at home, you can better control what you eat.

2. Drink lots of water. When you lead a busy lifestyle, it’s easy to get dehydrated. Keep a re-usable water bottle with you, drink often and fill it up at drinking fountains on campus in order to keep refreshing your body’s water supply.

3. Stay active. Exercise is about much more than losing weight. The truth is, getting your body moving is important for everything from mental clarity to emotional stability. Whether you participate in pickup sports, join a gym or spend a big chunk of time each day walking all over campus, stay active.

4. Locate your nearest health clinic. Maybe you have an awful migraine from studying all night, or think you may have the flu. It’s important to know where the closest urgent care center or health clinic is in order to maintain optimal health. Your college will likely have this information on hand.

5. Get your sleep. When you’re facing high-pressure deadlines, upcoming tests or the opportunity to party all night, it’s all too easy to miss out on sleep in college — but don’t make this mistake! Missing sleep can mess with your brain function and increase headaches or even weight gain. Instead, try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.

6. Skip the drugs, drinks and smoking. When you want to stay healthy, choose to avoid drinking, drugs and smoking, all of which can damage your body over time. Skipping these substances helps reduce your risks for various diseases — both now and in the future.

7. Limit sugar and caffeine. Think chugging energy drinks or soda will give you the extra boost you need? Think again. As much as possible, skip these stimulants that typically make you crash a few hours after your temporary high.

8. Protect yourself in the sun. Heading to the beach with friends on spring break may be a college cliché, but it’s a fun one. Whenever you’re soaking in sunshine, however, make sure you take protective measures. Wear sunscreen, and re-apply it regularly. Likewise, skip the tanning beds completely as they can increase your skin cancer risks.

9. Have fun. There’s no denying stress is bad for your body, so do yourself a favor and find things to enjoy in college. Just as important as studying for tests and sticking to a budget is making time to unwind and relax. Whether it’s getting out with your friends for coffee or going for a walk, make time to de-stress. It’s one of the best things you can do for your health.

When you’re young, you might not always feel the urgency for taking care of your health — but your college years are the perfect time to implement healthy habits that continue for the rest of your life! Set good patterns today so you can enjoy maximum energy and mental clarity well into the future.

This article was contributed by guest author Dr. Abhijit Shinde.

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Study Tricks to Get You Through College

Image by StartupStockPhotos, pixabay.com

Image by StartupStockPhotos, pixabay.com

You spend a lot of money and invest a lot of time in your college education. To make the most out of your college career, you should consider a few study tricks that will help you sail through smoothly.

Use School Resources
Colleges are geared toward successfully educating students. They have tons of educational resources available to you on campus. Some places you may want to look for resources include the library, student services, the school’s website, career center, study sessions, and peer tutoring services. By just asking, you can find a lot of services and free resources you haven’t taken advantage of yet.

Online Resources
There are many online resources that will make your education much easier. You can find classes for an online masters in organizational leadership or supplemental courses for your own major. Services range from online tutoring, to free classes on a variety of subjects from Saylor Academy, to managing your academic career with an app like iHomework. Just performing a google search for help may return some extremely useful web tools which are available to you around the clock.

Get to Know Your Professor
It may seem old fashioned, but talking to and getting to know your professors is a great tool professionally as well as academically. They are a wealth of knowledge, and are there to help you succeed. Getting to know each professor can give you insight on how they grade, what their expectations are, and they might even serve as a mentor to you and help guide you in your career path. You never know what great benefits you might receive from forming professional relationships.

Study Groups
Many students form study groups. If study groups are well-organized and efficient, they offer many benefits. Some of the benefits include seeing information from different perspectives, filling in learning gaps, no procrastinating due to a set time for studying, and learning to work cooperatively with others. Be sure you choose your study group wisely. If you find the group mostly chats and wastes time, you should search for a new one.

Be Prepared for Class and Take Comprehensive Notes
Completing homework and the required reading before class is critical. The lecture will be based on your assigned reading and the professor will highlight important information during class. You will understand the lecture more thoroughly if you go to class prepared. During lecture, your note-taking should become an art. You will rely on your notes to review for tests, so they must be comprehensive. If you still do not understand a concept during lecture, ask for clarification in class or through an email.

Use these tips, and you’ll be that much closer to success!

This article was contributed by guest author Brooke Chaplan.

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5 Things I’ve Learned Halfway Through University

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Photo by uniinnsbruck on Flickr

Reaching the halfway point of my university career has been a bit scary. Those two years flew by and soon enough the next two years will be done as well. I find it important to reflect on the things I’ve learned throughout my first two years both in and out of the classroom, and in regards to university as a whole. More importantly, I believe it is essential to highlight the skills I have learned in regards to studying, and how newcomers to university can learn from previous mistakes that I’ve made. Having finished my second year of university and reflecting back on my time of studies, there are many things I feel should be highlighted for new students.

  1. Start the semester strong – Being able to do really well on those early midterms and essays makes a difference. Rather than being pressured to ace your final exam or essay, do well on the earlier work to reduce the stress you’ll have later on.
  2. Find YOUR best way to study – Not everyone works well in study groups or at the library; I know I didn’t. Finding the manner in which you work the best and sticking to it will help you excel in school. By the end of first year it may already be a routine!
  3. Manage your time for other activities – Constant studying will exhaust you and it’s important to do other things while on campus – playing sports, joining clubs, seeing friends, attending parties. Make sure to leave time for fun and don’t constantly think about what’s due next week.
  4. Get enough sleep – Especially for those living on residence, getting the proper amount of sleep can be difficult sometimes. Ensuring you’re well rested for lectures and not being lazy about attendance is good habit to keep throughout your four years. Don’t get too immersed into the party life and staying out late on school nights; your studies should still come first.
  5. Take advantage of the resources on campus – Every university, no matter their size, is equipped to help students deal with the problems they’re having. And even if you’re not in a pickle and just looking to find a job or some information, your school will have the right people there to help you.

I hope these tips help you get through your first two years of university and avoid some of the mistakes that I made. University is a great time – be sure to enjoy your stay!

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Graduation Goals: Tips to Finish with a Strong Semester

Image by Shawn on Flickr

Image by Shawn on Flickr

One of the best tips to help you finish your semester strong, and graduate with all your goals met, is to remind yourself why you’re in school in the first place. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture and the stress of end of term papers and exams can take a toll. Nearing the end of a semester is crisis time for many. The following tips can help motivate you onward to a strong finish.

Stay Inspired
There’s a reason you chose to attend college. That reason is just as important today as it was yesterday. Your inspiration is the fuel that can drive you toward life success and beyond. Write your inspiration for attending school down and keep it where it can easily be seen. Out of sight often means out of mind and you don’t want your end goal to just be a piece of paper.

Ask for Help When You Need it
Never allow fear or pride to stand in the way of getting assistance if you need it. If you’re behind on a project or your studies, don’t hesitate to let your instructors know. Asking for help now is always better than asking for help later. Instructors are usually more willing to help if there’s a chance you can make up for lost time and better understand the concepts you’re learning.

Avoid Procrastination
One of the best ways to stay on track is to start and finish your assignments and projects on time. If you are working toward a math or engineering degree you can’t afford to get behind on assignments, and for degrees in the arts your big projects should be ongoing throughout the semester. Getting things done on schedule allows you to avoid stress. Being proactive is also a good habit to form – one that can benefit you in every area of life.

Stay Healthy
Exercising and eating healthy are always important for your wellbeing and education. While in school, it’s easy to get into the habit of eating junk food, staying up late, and overlooking the need to exercise. Unhealthy habits may appear to have no effect on you now, but it’s a given that they’ll catch up with you down the line.

Form a Dependable Research Group
Classmates, if they’re serious about their studies, can be a tremendous help in setting a standard for study. A study group provides an excellent opportunity to share ideas, quiz each other, and simplify complex topics. You can pace each other in a more collaborative environment.

Sleep
While not everyone needs eight hours of sleep, having a refreshed body and mind can go a long way toward putting forth your best efforts. Well rested, your mind and body will function much better in the classroom. Your attention span will be longer and sharper.

How you finish your semester is how you’re likely to begin the next one. Finish strong, and celebrate. Then prepare to get back to business.

Information Credit from Ohio University.

This article was contributed by guest author Brooke Chaplan.

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Five Things I Learned in my First Year of University

Image by GotCredit, Flickr

Image by GotCredit, Flickr

  1. Readings will pile up – fast.
  2. Between attending lectures, tutorials, extra-curriculars, and writing essays, readings were sometimes pushed aside in my first year. However, I realized the importance of readings, not only for refreshing my memory, but also to help supplement the lecture material. It’s important to stay on top of readings – it really helps with studying. Plus, I paid for all my textbooks, so I decided I may as well get the most out of them.

  3. Many opportunities and resources will become available.
  4. University is full of different opportunities. The first few weeks, I was overwhelmed by the number of clubs and resources available. I took advantage of the writing centres on campus, which help to organize and edit essays and assignments. I also joined a mentorship program for first generation students as a Mentee. I participated in many learning and social events and met frequently with my Mentor. Through dedicated participating, I will be a Mentor-in-Training for next year, which I am extremely excited about!

  5. Balance is key.
  6. Between all the opportunities I took and the school work I had to do, balancing life was sometimes a struggle. Creating a schedule became my solution. I planned out when I had time to study before, between or after classes, and when I had free time for some fun. Sometimes one area of my life took over more than others (have I mentioned that time I had four essays due in the same week?). But as I said, balance is key.

  7. Budgeting will lessen financial worries.
  8. First year brought many expenses for me, from tuition to textbooks to transportation. I was lucky to win a few scholarships that helped to cut down on some of the costs, but budgeting throughout the year was helpful for the rest of my expenses. I took advantage of student discounts – there are thousands out there! I also planned out how much money I should be spending each month and which expenses were necessary. For example, although it’s awesome to eat out, bringing lunch to school is much cheaper.

  9. Being hard on yourself will get you nowhere.
  10. I thought that I could juggle absolutely everything this year. I was so excited to take advantage of every opportunity and to learn as much as I could in subjects I loved. When I started to get overwhelmed with everything I was doing, I wondered if there was something wrong; but it just came to realizing that I’m not superhuman. I learned to say no when I didn’t have time to help out with extra-curriculars. My first year of university has been the most thrilling experience for me. After reflecting on my year, I’m ready to take on second year!

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