10 Tips for Job Seekers

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“January and February are always big months for hiring, regardless of what’s happening with the economy. Companies have new budgets, new positions, and a need for workers”. – SaltMoney.org. With this in mind, you may find yourself gearing up for your last semester and preparing for spring graduation.  How do you stand out from other applicants? What is proper interviewing etiquette?  Below are 10 quick tips for you to keep in mind during interviewing season:

  1. Clean up your social media – Performing a social media cleanup is an important step in the job search process. Employers can, and will, check social media outlets prior to interviewing candidates. Remember, what you post online is a part of your personal brand and proper online etiquette is a must.  Review your personal accounts before you begin sending out resumes and filling out job applications. Taking down those Aggieville and spring break pictures may not be such a bad idea…
  1. Build your network – Your network is already bigger than you think! Reach out to professors, family members, or those you have met within your industry. Do not hesitate to ask for a hand; at some point, we have all had to ask for assistance. In fact, most people are happy to help.
  1. Start applying now – Many students make the mistake of starting the job search process too late. It is important to allow yourself time to send out resumes, attend initial and follow-up interviews, and potentially finalize salary offers and prepare for relocation.
  1. Target your resume and cover letter – Do not make the mistake of generalizing your cover letter and resume. Customization is key in standing out from other applicants.  Prepare these documents to reflect the skills and knowledge required for each and every position you apply to.
  1. Be confident – Be confident in your skills, experience, and education. Be ready to answer questions honestly about your strengths and weaknesses, and be able to cite examples of when your skills were put to the test. Remember, millennials (anyone born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s) have been dubbed an entitled generation, so be sure to remain self-aware.
  1. Know the company – Job seekers often only glance at the company website before their interview. Take time to review the company website in depth.  Know what the company stands for, who they are, and have a firm understanding of what the company does.
  1. Show appreciation to the interviewer –Young applicants also often fail to conclude an interview with an expression of gratitude for the interviewer’s time. Always thank the interviewer in person, make it clear you would consider it a privilege to work at the company, and ask about the next step in the process. Then, follow up with a handwritten thank-you note or email that references specifics discussed in the interview. – According to Forbes.
  1. Don’t give up – The job search process can be timely and frustrating. Continue searching and applying until you find the job that is right for you!
  1. Take advantage of campus opportunities – Kansas State University campus hosts a variety of job fairs, interview and resume workshops, and many other opportunities to sharpen your skills, and facilitate job searches. Be mindful of these great opportunities and check out upcoming ones through Career & Employment Services.
  1. Visit Powercat Financial Counseling – PFC offers peer-to-peer financial counseling for students transitioning from school to work. A trained counselor can review your job offer packet and answer questions regarding your finances and benefits offered as you prepare to enter in to the workforce.

Good luck as you begin the journey towards your future and congratulations for getting this far!

Emily Koochel
Graduate Assistant
Powercat Financial Counseling
www.ksu.edu./pfc

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Amazon Prime: Is it worth it?

“Hey, give me your money,” said Netflix, iTunes, and online shopping shipping costs. As college students, there is a good chance that these expenses are present in our lives. However, Amazon Prime has made it possible—and affordable—to provide students with instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows, access to over a million songs, and free two day shipping.

If you’re like any other student, you seek out every entity possible providing students with a discount. Amazon Prime offers a 50 percent discount to college students. This makes Amazon Student Prime a one-time payment of $49 for a year-long membership. If you do the math, that totals out to a little over $4 a month, which is half the cost a month of Netflix.

Textbooks: an unavoidable cost for college students. Amazon advertises students can save up to 90 percent on textbooks. Begin by typing the ISBN number of your book into the search on Amazon.com. You may find the book is offered for a much lower price, to either rent or buy, on Amazon compared to other bookstores. You can use the money you’d be saving in your budget for books to purchase Amazon Student Prime, and receive your books in two days!

Other services built-in with Amazon Student Prime include free release-date delivery on video games, unlimited photo storage, exclusive early access to Lightening Deals, and free books each month through Kindle First. If any of these forms of entertainment are important to you, this could be a good investment. Another unique feature is the opportunity to share your account. This allows you to share the Amazon Student Prime services with family members in the Amazon Household, which qualifies one other adult and four children. Once you invite them to join your account in your settings you can successfully share your prime membership, regardless if they are a student or not.

To help you decide if Amazon Student Prime is right for you, there is a free six month trial. Unfortunately, during the free trial you will not be allowed to utilize the free movie and TV show streaming. After the free trial is over, if you wish to not purchase Amazon Student Prime, make sure you discontinue your account. If you do not discontinue your account, you will be automatically charged $49 for a year-long membership.

In conclusion, you have nothing to lose—including money—to at least try Amazon Student Prime. During the free trial, you may find yourself saving money, or it is possible you will find yourself barely using the different services. Whichever decision you come to, make sure it is the right one for you financially. For other financially savvy decisions visit Powercat Financial Counseling for a free and confidential peer-to-peer consultation.

Allison Becker
Peer Counselor I
Powercat Financial Counseling
www.k-state.edu/pfc

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Your New Year’s Money Resolution

The New Year will be here in a few short weeks. With finals and the busy holiday season approaching, the New Year will be here before we know it. Around the end of the year we start to reflect, wondering if it went as planned. Maybe 2015 brought some unexpected financial hardships, maybe you ended up spending more than you earned, and maybe your student loan debt grew and grew this year. All of these situations can seem overwhelming. That is why PFC is here to help. Remember, you can always request an appointment at www.ksu.edu/pfc for personalized help. But below are a couple generalized tips to keeping your financial goals, or New Year’s Money Resolution for 2016 in line.

What if I am happy with my finances?

You may be thinking you don’t really need to change any part of your finances. But it is important to remember that the unexpected could always happen or things may not go exactly according to plan. So if you are one of the lucky students who have little, or no student loans, maybe you could work on building your credit. Or if you have an excess amount of money each month, instead of splurging on a trip to the mall, put it into an emergency savings account fund. The point is that even if your financial situation seems great, there is always something to work on to make it that much better.

What do I do if I need to start up a new and improved budget for the year?

Although it is difficult to change the things of the past, you can always plan for the future. 2016 may bring many obstacles and your financial stress could be at an all time high. If this is the case and you need to vamp up your budget, you can visit our website at www.ksu.edu/pfc/budgeting for some information on budgets. Don’t get discouraged if 2015 didn’t go as planned. Sometimes it can be hard to stick to a budget. Try to get a fresh start for 2016 and push yourself to stick to a realistic budget that allows you to spend money where you want. Remember, sometimes it doesn’t always seem this way, but budgets are your friend. They help you stick to a plan, which can be essential for you to reach your long-term financial goals.

How can I build my credit throughout the year?

Credit can be a scary thing. Just remember, that like a budget, credit is your friend. A good credit history can help you get a lower mortgage rate or a higher credit limit, as well as benefit you in other ways. If your goal for the New Year is to gain some good credit history but you don’t want to change much about your spending habits a credit card might be for you. There are other ways to establish credit like: auto loans, secured credit cards, and student loans. Visit our website, www.ksu.edu/pfc/credit to learn more about the various types of credit and find out which one may work for you. If you are making payments currently on your student loans this is helping to build your credit history. If you want to build existing credit make sure you are always paying your bills on time, and using your credit wisely- we recommend about 30% of your credit limit. Another important tip to remember is to check your credit report for discrepancies, if there is incorrect information on your credit report, clearing this up can dramatically increase your credit score immediately. You can check your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com 3 times a year, one per credit bureau, for free.

Finally, no matter your financial situation, do not get discouraged. A year is a long time and a resolution is in fact that, a resolution, a goal, something you are aspiring towards. So if it doesn’t go as planned immediately, or if you have a couple hiccups throughout the year don’t give up! Just check in on yourself periodically, or have a friend or family member hold you accountable if need be. Good luck! And happy (almost) 2016!

Hillary Williams
Peer Counselor I
Powercat Financial Counseling
www.k-state.edu/pfc

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