Category Archives: Individual development

Organizational Tool: Data Worksheet

It is unquestionably necessary that you have your essential job search data available at all times. You do not know when you will be asked to complete a job application, respond to job leads, or provide reference information. Remember, any face-to-face meeting with a decision-maker may be considered an interview for a present or potential job opening. This high level of organization is absolutely necessary for any serious job seeker.

Keep a list of three KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS that best prove your ability to do the kind of work you want. These are S*T*A*R* STORIES that emphasize skills and accomplishments that support your ability to do the job you want.

S*T*A*R* stories are an interviewing technique for responding to behavioral job interview questions. The premise behind the behavior job interview is that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance. With that said:

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  • “S” stands for situation. You must describe the situation with enough detail so that the interviewer understands the specific event that was at issue.
  • “T” is the task you needed to accomplish.
  • “A” is the action that you took to accomplish the task.
  • “R” are the results that you achieved. The results do not have to be yours alone if you worked with a group to resolve the task.

List your EDUCATION AND TRAINING, beginning with high school and including all formal or informal learning, workshops, military training, college, certificate programs, etc.

  • What are the names of the schools that you attended and the years of attendance.
  • What subjects and extracurricular activities, hobbies, associations, etc. relate to your employment objectives.
  • Do not forget to list any accomplishments or things you did well and any special skills learned.

Work and Volunteer History: List your most recent job first, followed by each previous position/job. Military experience, unpaid or volunteer work, and work in a family business should be included here, too. If needed, use additional sheets to cover all significant paid or unpaid work experiences.

  • Emphasize details that will help support your job objective and your interest in the present position. Include metrics (numbers, statistics, ratios, etc.) to support what you did.
  • Emphasize results you achieved, using metrics to support them whenever possible.
  • Examples are the number of people served, the number of transactions processed, the percentage of increased sales, the number of people supervised, total budget you were responsible for, percentage of increased response time to customer inquiries, etc.
  • Make sure to repeat this information in the interview to reinforce your skills for the position.

References are those people who know your work well and will report positively as to work and character. Contact past supervisors, work peers, customers, subordinates, etc. about serving as a reference for you. Tell them about the position you want and your skills and quaifications for the job. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they will say if contacted by a potential employer.  Some employers will not provide references in a phone call so ask them for a letter of reference in advance.

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If a past employer may provide a negative reference because not all partings are amicable regardless of the circumstances, negotiate what they will say in the reference. Also, get written references from others you worked with while employed by that past employer to counteract what may be a negative reference.

 

Now, get to it . . .

Source: Quick Online Job Search, Michael Farr and The Editors @ JIST, 2011 ed.

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This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Why Table Manners Still Matter: A Book Review

240_f_61521310_jyqub3jpkclu7vd4aqcyj9kdb6hd0knzTable manners are often viewed as an out-of-date, classist set of rules that have no place in the 21st century. But in his new book, Table Manners: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother, chef Jeremiah Tower argues that knowing how to comport yourself over a meal can still help you get ahead.

 

240_f_108751778_v0hf6m6swbupcvctjmnuo3lumpipmvcyIn some cultures, for example, it’s considered improper to gesture while you eat. Although the rule itself might seem arbitrary, obeying it signals to your dining companion that you respect his culture, an invaluable skill in business dealings. Similarly, knowing how to properly set read and white wineglasses (both on the right side, with the red wineglass closer to the center of the table) could be an easy way to impress a boss who’s a wine buff.

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“I have found that when people approve of your table manners they think you know how to do everything else properly as well,” Tower writes. “That is how you enlist them to your side.”

 

Book review by Sarah Begley, viewed in Time Magazine, October 30, 2016

Now, get to it . . .

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This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Viewpoint: How Thinking Like a Kid Can Spur Creativity

How thinking like a kid can spur creativity

By Peter Himmelman

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It’s common for adults to feel like we’re drowning in judgment — “You’re not famous enough,” You’re not smart enough,” “You’re not thin enough.” The weight of these appraisals, from others and from ourselves, can prevent us from looking at the world as a child might, as a place of wonder and new possibilities. This, in turn, keeps us from accessing the state of mind that stands at the root of creativity: playfulness.

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When a child is engaged in play, she is taking material from her inner reality, or dreamworld, and placing it into what we might call the real world. Very young children don’t think about the consequences or how they might be perceived; they just play. Studies have shown that when we fully immerse ourselves in joyous doing — as opposed to anxious mulling – we can become more creative.

How can we, as adults, adopt this mindset? Before undertaking a daunting task, spend a few minutes writing a detailed description of what your idea could be in its most beneficial form; that way, you’re primed to think positively, as kids do. Then set a timer and being one small piece of the task, which forces you to act rather than ruminate. To be sure, you may have to assess the kinds of risks that children do not. But more often than not, we tend to stress over imagined threats, not real ones. The more we’re aware of that trap, the easier it is to avoid.

 

Viewed in Time Magazine, October 30, 2016

Peter Himmelman is the founder of Big Muse and the author of Let Me Out: Unlock Your Creative Mind and Bring Your Ideas to Life

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This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

How Power Posing Can Improve Your Career

BODY LANGUAGE: How A Short ‘Power Pose’ Can Change Your Life and Career, Article by Henry Blodget posted November 19, 2012 (viewed Septermber 18, 2016 on Business Insider).

“Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy gave a TED Talk this summer about how tiny changes in your body language can radically change your job performance and career.

“Certain “power poses” immediately change your body chemistry, Professor Cuddy says.

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Lower power pose                VS.                           High power pose

“And these changes help or hurt the way other people perceive you and, importantly, affect the way you actually perform.

“Professor Cuddy concluded her talk with a startling revelation about herself, one that led her to choke up momentarily. Then the talk ended in a standing ovation.”

 

Mr. Blodget then listed Professor’s Cuddy’s key talking points. Below, I’ve listed a few of these talking points:

  1. Body language is the non-verbal communication that can tell us almost everything about what is going on in a given situation such as a interview.
  2. Small gestures, such as a handshake or smile, reveal glimpses of character and shape perceptions about how people are percieved.
  3. One of the most important elements of body language is what is called the “power pose.”
    • In this pose, the person is “opened up” and taking up space. Such as holding your arms over your held in a large “V.”
    • This is the most common high-power poses.
  4. In low power situations, when people feel feeble or helpless, they close up and become small.
    • In this pose, the person hunches over, crosses their arms, and wraps him or herself up.
    • This person takes up little space and closes off from other people.
  5. The “high power” and “low power” poses tend to compliment one another so that it appears  that one person is in charge and the other is not.
    • Professor Cuddy detemined that our nonverbal communication affects how other people think and feel about us.
  6. Professor Cuddy also determined that our nonverbal communications govern how we think and feel about ourselves. In other words, our bodies can change our minds.
    • After a two-minute “high power pose,” the risk tolerance of the high-power posers soared. The risk tolerance of the low-power poses shrank.
    • After a two-minute pose, the testosterone (dominance hormone) levels of the high-power posers rose 20%.After a two-minute pose, the testosterone of the low-power posers fell 10%.
      • After a two-minute “high power pose,” cortisol levels dropped sharply and people were better able to handle stressful situations.  The cortisol levels of the “low-power” people rose.
  7. So, can power posing for a few minutes really change our lives in meaningful ways?
  8. Professor Cuddy found that tbody language is everything. According to Professor Cuddy:
    • Our bodies change our minds
    • and our minds change our behavior
    • and our behavior changes our outcomes.
  9. Professor Cuddy’s message is this . . . FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU BECOME IT.
    • Small changes in body language can change our body chemistry : tiny tweaks result in BIG CHANGES
    • Eventually you will no longer fake strength and confidence because  you will have strength and confidence. You may have started out faking it but eventually you will have it.

CONCLUSION:  Try a power pose before your next interview and see how it makes you feel. Try a power pose every day until your physical presence emotes passion, enthusiasm, confidence, authenticity, and comfort.

BODY LANGUAGE: How A Short ‘Power Pose’ Can Change Your Life and Career, Article by Henry Blodget posted November 19, 2012 (viewed Septermber 18, 2016 on Business Insider).

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This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences and interests with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Power Posing and the Impact on Presence

“‘Power Posing’ Before A Interview Makes You Much More Hireable” by  Max Nisen posted November 23, 2012 (viewed September 18, 2016).

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Harvard Professor Amy Cuddy has found that taking up a short “power pose,” an open and expansive stance, can acutally change body chemistry and make people more confident.

Her new research with Caroline Wilmuth and Dana Carney tests power posing in a real, high-impact social situation: a job interview.

Often, realizing that someone else has power over them, people hunch over their phones before an interview, which makes them feel even more powerless.

In the experiment, subjects that prepared in a different way, by adopting a power pose before a mock interview, got significantly higher scores from evaluators for hireability and performance.

Here’s how the authors sum up their results:

“This experiment demonstrates that preparatory power posing affects individuals’ presence during a job interview, which in turn influences judges’ evaluations and hiring decisions. Compared to low-power posers, high-power posers appeared to better maintain their composure, to project more confidence, and to present more captiving and enthusiastic speeches, which led to higher overall performance evaluations.”

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Many interactions in the workplace have what Cuddy calls “power asymmetry.” One person controls the future of another, which creates an imbalance. “Power posing” is one way that people can change feelings of powerlessness, and get some of the performance advantages that come with being on top.

“‘Power Posing’ Before A Interview Makes You Much More Hireable” by Max Nisen posted November 23, 2012 (viewed September 18, 2016).

keyThis Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences an interests with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Job Search Is All About First Impressions

On your next interview, networking event, or other event in which you will be meeting with people remember that job search is all about impressions. Your

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Viewed on linked on Monday, March 28, 2016.

Original post: https//www/linkedin.com/hp/update/6117433865121325056
bitmoji1895589661This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Job Search Step 2: Identify Your Skills

Many of us have the skills we need to successfully perform well in our ideal job. Unfortunately, an equal number of us find it extremely difficult to effectively describe those skills in a resume, cover letter, or to prove to an interviewer that we can do the job.

In other words, we fail in an interview to confidentially or effectively answer the question:

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In step 1 of the job search process, we identified and described our ideal job. In step 2, we will identify the skills necessary for our ideal job.

There are three types or categories of skills:  job-related, self-management and transferable. Job-related skills are the skills needed to do a particular job. For example, a systems analyst needs to know several programming languages to do the job.

Self-management skills are the things that make us good workers. Self-management skills are things like honesty, adaptability, and creativity and often form the basis of other skills.

It is super important to emphasize your self-management skills on your resume and in an interview. Even if the interviewer does not specifically ask you about your self-management skills, you should be prepared to list these skills in your responses to the questions you are asked.

Transferable skills are skills that can be used on more than one job or activity. These may be things that come to us naturally or a part of our personality. Transferable skills often form the basis of other skills.

Transferable skills are accumulated in one position and taken with us when we move on to our next position. Put another way, transferable skills are not job-specific skills but things that become a part of us like:

  • communication skills,
  • research and writing skills,
  • computer and technical intelligence,
  • emotional intelligence, and
  • interpersonal and leadership skills

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When looking at a job posting or job lead, you want to identify the skills needed to do that job. Hopefully, they are skills that you already possess or that you can pick up easily and quickly. You will want to emphasize these skills on your resume and quantify them with money saved or statistical data.  At the interview, you should be prepared to give examples of a time when you utilized those skills successfully.

Try this exercise:

First, make a list of the requirements of your ideal position as set forth in the job lead. You can supplement this list at O*NET Online (http://online.onetcenter.org). O*NET is easy to use and provides a wealth of valuable information. Follow these easy steps to use O*NET:

  1. On the main page, type each name of the career that interests you in the Occupation Search box.
  2. Choose from the list of results and click the job link that is closes to the position you want.
  3. Click the Skills link and you will see a list of the most important and relevant transerable skills for that job.

Second, list your matching experience next to each job requirement.

Third, complete the following sentence — I am confident that I have unique skills, knowledge, and abilities to perform this job because:

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If you are unsure about this exercise, begin by finding a position on O*NET that is similar to a job you have now or held previously. List the requirements for the job as defined by O*NET. Then list your matching skills and experience. Now, try this exercise for your ideal job or position and see how you match up or what you need to do to bolster your skills.

Now, get to it . . .

 

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

 

25 Oddball Interview Questions

It’s been awhile since I offered any suggestions for answering interview questions. This is always an interesting topic because there are so many possible interview questions and so many excellent answers to those questions. Today I’d like to share with you some strange and unique interview questions I found on Forbes.com.

After reading the list below you may think there is no way that you can prepare in advance to answer these questions. You would be wrong.

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Your goal in responding to an oddball interview question should not be to get to the “right” answer. Your goal should be to show, by example, how you handle challenges and approach the process of solving problems.  The interviewer will assess whether, when faced with a difficult situation, you are likely to freeze like the proverbial “deer in the headlights” or if you are quick “on your feet,” composed, and confident.

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If asked an “oddball” question at an interview, do not rush into your answer. Take a moment to breathe and gather your thoughts. Perhaps you will ask a pointed question for added details or descriptions. Then respond with a thoughtful and reasoned answer.

 

 

fotolia_26700943The Forbes.com 25 Oddball Interview Questions are:

  • If you were to get rid of one state in the United States, which would it be and why?
    • Asked at Forrester Research
  • How many cows are there in Canada?
    • Asked at Google
  • How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State Building?
    • Asked at JetBlue
  • A penguin walks through the door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
    • Asked at Clark Construction Group
  • What songs best describes your work ethic?
    • Asked at Dell
  • Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it?
    • Asked at Amazon
  • What do you think about when you are alone in your car?
    • Asked at Gallup
  • How would you rate your memory?
    • Asked at Marriot
  • Name three previous Nobel Prize Winners.
    • Asked at BenefitsCONNECT
  • Can you say: “Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper” and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time?
    • Asked at MasterCard
  • If we came to your house for supper, what would you prepare for us?
    • Asked at Trader Joe’s
  • How would people communicate in a perfect world?
    • Asked at Novell
  • How do you make a tuna sandwich?
    • Asked at Astron Consulting
  • My spouse and I are going on vacation, where would you recommend that we go?
    • Asked at PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • You are a head chef at a restaurant and your team has been selected to be on Iron Chef. How do you prepare your team for the competition and how do you leverage the competition for your restaurant?
    • Asked at Accenture
  • Estimate how many windows are in New York City?
    • Asked at Bain & Company
  • What’s  your favorite song? Perform it for us now.
    • Asked at LivingSocial
  • Calculate the angle of two clock hands (pointers) when time is 11:50.
    • Asked at Bank of America
  • Have you ever stolen a pen from work?
    • Asked at Jiffy Software
  • Pick two celebrities to be your parents.
    • Asked at Urban Outfitters
  • If you were kitchen utensils, which kitchen utensils would you be?
    • Asked at Bandwidth.com
  • On a scale form one to ten, rate me as an interviewer.
    • Asked at Kraft Foods
  • If you had turned your cell phone to silent, and it rang really loudly despite it being on silent, what would you tell me?
    • Asked at Kimberly-Clark
  • If you could be anyone else, who would it be?
    • Asked at Salesforce.com
  • How would you direct someone else on how to cook an omelet?
    • Asked at PETCO

Source: 25 Oddball Interview Questions – In Photos, Forbes.com. Viewed on 2/4/2016.

Do you think you would be called back for a second interview if asked an oddball question in the first interview?  The way to your next job is just like the path to Carnegie Hall . . . Practice, Practice, Practice.

Now, get to it . . .

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Example of An IRS Phone Scam

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My post on January 13, 2016 forewarned of IRS Scams during this upcoming tax season.

Below is an example of one such phone scam as experienced by AARP Consumer Advocate Ron Burley in the December 2015/January 2016 edition of AARP Magazine. Here is Mr. Burley’s article in its entirety:

“An alert AARP member recently got a call from an “IRS agent” and right away sensed something was bogus. The agent left a voice mail message saying back taxes were owed and told the man to call back right away.

fotolia_92696714“The AARP member contacted me instead, and I returned the call, posing as him.

“The supposed IRS agent told me that my only hope to avoid jail was to pay fines and back taxes before the police came knocking on my door. He also said there might be a way I could stay out of the slammer, but only if I acted quickly.

“For the next 10 minutes, he alternated between threats of pending arrest and hopes for salvation. Finally, he directed me to a local market where I could purchase several thousand dollars’ worth of Green Dot MoneyPaks – a way to transfer cash to another person instantly by just giving him or her a secret code number. Having received my instructions, I promised to call back when I’d completed my mission. I didn’t, of course, because I knew right away this was a scam.

“The Federal Trade Commission reports that, from 2013 to 2014, complaints about the “IRS Scam” increased 20-fold, with more than 54,000 Americans being targeted in 2014. Fraudsters often target immigrants or older Americans less likely to have the knowledge or support system that would keep them from falling into the trap. As in my case, after stoking the fires of fear, the phoney agent turns helpful, providing a solution that involves sending cash in a quick and untraceable way.

“Unfortunately, IRS scammers often thwart tracking efforts by operating from overseas, using relayed calls, and by showing fake caller IDs. The display on my phone actually read “IRS GOV.”

“Of course, most of us, wouldn’t fall for a foreign scammer’s heavily accented delivery and unlikely story, but some always do. And the prospect of pending arrest might rattle even the coolest of us.

“Scammers often bolt at the first sign of discovery. When I called back my scammer and identified myself as a journalist, he gave me a terse response and hung up.

“Here’s what you should do if you receive a suspicious “IRS” call.

  • Assume it’s a scam. The IRS doesn’t call people about back taxes; it’ll send you a notice by mail. If you think you might have unpaid taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040.
  • Hang up the phone. Do not engage the caller in any way. Any information you provide may just mark you for more bogus calls.
  • Report the incident. If you are contracted by phone, report the incident to the U.S. Treasury inspector general for tax administration at 800-366-4484. If contacted by email, forward the message directly to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.
  • Educate others.  Talk to the vulnerable people in your life about the scam.

“Finally, stay abreast of con artists’ latest tricks and find out how to protect yourself against fraud by going to the AARP Fraud Watch Network at aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.”

Now, get to it . . . But be careful out there.

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Money and Work – How Sharp Are Your Skills?

fotolia_61198618According to Jean Chatzky, an American financial journalist, author, and motivational speaker, today’s 20 to 30 year olds (born between the years of 1982 and 2000) have developed some useful and practical financial skills. Ms. Chatzky suggests that these skills are transferable to workers of all ages. Ms. Chatzky has given personal financial advice on various television shows and is the financial news editor for NBC’s Today Show.

In the December 2015/January 2016 edition of AARP Magazine, Ms. Chatzky suggests that we could all pick up a few financial pointers from millennials.

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  1. Save more money.
    • Millennials stick closely to a budget and increase the amount that they contribute to their 401(k) with each pay rate increase or job promotion.
    • The maximum 401(k) contribution for 2016 is $18,000.
    • If you are 50 years or older in 2016, you can make the 401(k) contribution plus an IRA catch-up contribution of up to $6,000 for a total maximum contribution of $24,000.
      • A traditional IRA contribution is tax-deductible.
      • A Roth IRA is a special retirement account where you pay taxes on money going into your account and then all future withdrawals are tax fee.       fotolia_77684650
  2. Don’t overuse credit cards.
    • Many people get into trouble with credit. If your balance is creeping up each month or if you are using one card to pay off another, you may be overusing your credit cards.
    • Many millennials pay with cash or debit accounts.
    • You may be tempted to cancel your credit cards but don’t. Canceling credit cards has been shown to negatively impact credit scores.fotolia_99648697
  3. Use technology to reduce the costs associated with investing.
    • According to InvestmentNews, financial advisors charge an average of 1.2% in fees annually to manage a $500,000 portfolio.
    • Many millennials use robo-advisers to manage their portfolios.
      • Robo-advisers are online wealth-management services that use algorithms, rather than people, to manage portfolios.
      • Robo-advisors such as Wealthfront, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services and Betterment keep costs low by investing in exchange-traded funds.

Source: December 2015/January 2016 AARP Magazine, page 22.

Now, get to it . . .

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.