Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Creating a Resume: Things have changed

If you are a recent college graduate, or anyone else job-hunting, you are probably sending out quite a few resumes. In the past, there were little things that you were supposed to do. Well, times have changed. Resumes have been taken into the age of the internet and doing business online. Remember, the companies you work for are probably not standing still. They have the latest technology and their employees and managers are using it. In addition, logic has taken over the resume world.

For instance, you no longer need to include anything about your career goal or objective. The person hiring you does not need to know that, nor do they care. They only care if you are the perfect person for the job you are being interviewed for. In fact, putting a career goal or objective might counter what job is being offered. The hiring manager might scratch you off the list because you won't stay long. You should certainly emphasize your abilities and talents.

The days of mailing your resume are long gone. If you mail a resume, chances are it will sit at the bottom of a pile somewhere, until it gets tossed with the trash. Do not waste time and money on fancy resume paper, envelopes, or mailing fees. Resumes are now sent electronically.

In the past, people put every job they held on their resume. There no longer is a need to do so. It just fills up the resume with unneeded information. Certainly your last employer may be something to put, and one or two other jobs that highlight your skills and experience. But you don't need to account for each and every job you've held.

References on a resume are something else that is not needed anymore. You don't even have to put the over used line, references available on request. Every hiring manager that needs them is going to automatically dig for references.

Those last two tips bring up the last one. You can make your resume anywhere from one to two pages. A one page resume is fine. A two page resume is fine. Don't make your resume longer than two pages however. You need to fine tune it. But many people have a hard time putting it on just one page. In the past, a one page resume was the standard. This is no longer the case. Add another page if you need to.

>>Tips to finding a job after graduating.

>>Job interview tips.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Help with repaying student loans

Most college students will graduate with thousands of dollars in student loans waiting to be paid off. If you borrowed wisely, this may not be a burden. Sadly, many college students borrow more than they should and later find themselves saddled with student loan payments that are tough on the budget. Add this to the state of the economy, and defaulting looks like an option. It's not. You really cannot get away with defaulting on a student loan. It is not discharged in bankruptcy. Not paying on a student loan will lower your credit rating making it hard to buy a home or even get a job. If you feel you are not going to be able to make payments, here are some things you can do.

If you only have federal student loans, it may be easier to rework the payment terms. Private student loans will have other terms from the specific bank. As of recently, all direct student loans are now made through the government.

Get help before you need it. That is, before you have missed any payments. Your student loan is more likely to have better options if you have not missed payments. If you miss a couple of payments, you will be charged late fees and the loan may go to a collection agency. Don't wait until it's too late. If you work, and get a judgment against you, your wages could be attached. If you are getting calls about payment, your loan probably has been turned over to a collection agency.

For student loan payment help, who do you call first? The federal government has set up a toll free number: 1-800-4-FED-AID

The government has many options, including smaller payments, or some sort of delay in making payments.

Before calling, have your financial records in order so that you know what kind of repayment plan that you can handle. Be realistic. They do have repayment plans based on income. But remember, a forbearance and deferments are just that. Delays. You are still responsible for the loan.

If you return to college, join the military or the Peace Corps, you will not have to make payments until afterwards. If you are too ill to work or you care for a loved one, you may be eligible for a deferment as well.

Student loan consolidation normally gets you a lower payment. If you have many student loans, putting them as one lump sum may help.

In rare cases, you may be able to absolve yourself from the student loan and have it completely discharged. This really only happens if you are the victim of loan fraud, or become permanently disabled.

There are various jobs and positions you can take, like teaching in under served areas that will forgive some of your student loans.

Here are key places for information and where to start:

1-800-4-FED-AID

http://www.studentloanborrowerassistance.org/

If collection agencies are calling, contact:
http://www.ombudsman.ed.gov/

More student loan information:
>Student loan consolidation
>Repaying student loans

Thursday, July 7, 2011

3 ways to cut the cost of a college degree

College is expensive. Tuition rates are going up due to budget cuts. Many prospective college students and their parents are trying hard to figure out ways to finance the education. Before you scramble your finances, did you know that there are ways to almost instantly cut your college costs? By quite a large margin?

If you are still in high school and planning your junior or senior year, think about taking AP classes. These classes have the potential to give you college credit for a high school class. These classes will be tougher, but they will also teach you study skills needed for college. You will have to get a passing score on the AP exam at the end of the class. Did you know that getting credit for AP classes can lead to more scholarship money? One big reason to take an AP class is that it counts as a college class. One that you would have spent time and money on in college. That's right. Tuition is expensive. By eliminating classes you need to take, you instantly lower the cost of a degree. It has also been shown that students taking AP classes are more likely to finish college in four years, unlike others. Talk to your school counselor for more information.

Speaking of not having to pay for college classes, have you heard of CLEP? The College-Level Examination Program, or CLEP, gives you college credit for taking a test. Why take a class if you already know it? There are 33 examinations for college credit in a wide range of subjects. The cost of the test at this moment is less than $80. You could get credit for a whole class for that price. Many colleges and universities charge $300-$500 for each unit! A 3 unit class would cost a minimum of $900! Keep in mind too, that many colleges are now limiting the number of units you can take each term. They used to be quite generous. They would charge you per unit up to a level of around 15, then anything over that was the same price. They are now limiting how many untis you can take. Instead of being able to take 21 units, you are maxed at 16. The less classes you need, the better and cheaper for you!

Much is made about where you graduate from college. It might be true in rare cases, most often it does not matter where you graduate from. If worse comes to worse, pick the cheapest, closest college that fits your needs. But before you think about graduating, think about the first two years. The first two years of general education are probably the same no matter what your major. You can do the first two years at a local community college for very cheap. The tuition will be thousands of dollars less. Many local junior colleges have agreements of guaranteed admission with some state colleges if they graduate from the two year school. You can also earn an associate degree in probably something in or close to your major. Not only will thins save money, but the degree will look good on your resume. Most community colleges allow high school seniors, some juniors, to take college classes. Get these classes out of the way now, and you graduate sooner. Graduating sooner means less money out of your pocket!

If your goal is to get a degree, and you are willing to look at all options, you can make college cheaper!