5 Skills Every Graduate Must Have

You’ve left school behind. Now that you’re looking to make it into the work force, present yourself in the best light possible.  That starts with ensuring you have the skills all employers look for.

Decisiveness and Problem Solving

Employers want workers who solve problems on their own and can make decisions that help the company. Lifehack offers a couple ways to develop this skill. Being able to solve problems creatively is an essential skill every graduate should work on.

Team Work

You can be amazing at your job, but if you can’t work with anyone else, and you can’t communicate with them, most of your talents will go to waste. If you want to up your team work abilities, consider working with others in different environments. Recreational sports teams, volunteering and other activities will help you grow this skill. For graduates, focusing on group work you did in school in your cover letter and job interview is a great way to show off this skill.

Organization and Prioritization

When you apply for a job, you’re likely to see something about a fast-paced environment. That they are looking for someone who is organized. Being able to do your job is important. Knowing what to work on and what to put aside is essential. If organization isn’t your strong suit, Wikihow has some tips on developing this skill.

Computer Programs

As a graduate, you’ll probably have this skill taken care of. Knowing your way around a computer is an essential skill for anyone. Make sure you note on your resume the computer programs you’re proficient in. Microsoft Office, Apple iWork and other programs are used constantly in the work place. Don’t stop there, if you know some Adobe Photoshop or iMovie, make sure you mention those as well. 

Technical Knowledge

Do you know your industry inside and out? Do you know what trends are showing up? Do you know about just the job you’re applying for, or are you well versed in the technical aspects of things surrounding the job? The more you know about your job–specifically the nitty gritty stuff–and the work that surrounds it, the better off you’ll be.

The great news for graduates is that you have many of these skills already. Your goal is to grow these skills and make sure you point them out on your cover letter, resume and in your job interview!

Money Tips for Recent Graduates

Congratulations! You’re done with school forever and the world is your oyster. You can do anything you want. Well, almost anything. If you’re like most of us, you’ve got a hefty amount of money to pay back first.  For recent graduates, money management quickly becomes a very important skill. Here are a couple of money tips to keep you in the black. 

Keep Your Credit Cards in Check!

One credit card can be useful and helpful, and two could have their uses, but any more than that and you’ll likely end up in trouble. Credit card companies bank on you not being able to pay your card balance each month. They add around 20% of interest each month. Before you know it, you’re facing even more debt and you could be hurting your credit score too. 

With credit cards, people have a tendency to spend more than they can afford because credit cards feel like free money. While they have their uses, the less you can use credit cards, the better.

Speaking of Student Loans

When it comes to student loans, some suggest that trying to tackle it immediately doesn’t make sense. You’re better off putting your money in high-yield savings. Most schools or government-assisted loan programs allow you to defer your payments for a while; most of them also have low interest rates. The best thing you can do is ensure you know as much as you can about your loan, when it’s due and how much it is.

Start Your Savings

With student debt hanging over you, it may seem like strange advice to tell you to start saving money, but a savings fund is essential for when things don’t go according to plan. Think of it as a rainy day fund. If your car needs some work you weren’t expecting, or you need to take a trip out of the blue, a savings fund allows you to access that money without putting more strain on your credit card.

Have a Budget

Having and keeping to a budget can feel like a chore, but it is by far the best way to keep on top of your finances.  Making sure you only spend what you can on a month by month basis will help you make all your payments, and it’ll set you up with great habits moving forward. 

Think Long Term

When you’re planning your budget and looking at the money you owe, start to map out a long term plan for paying it off. How long will it take to pay off your student loan if you pay $50 a month? $100? How much can you afford and how long are you willing to work with your debt. Thinking long term will help you know what you financial outlook looks like. 

Now that you’re striking out on your own, don’t let poor money management get you in hot water. Don’t hang on to too many credit cards, and remember to pay your student loans. 

A Few Pointers To Make The Job Search A Little Less Stressful

A Few Pointers To Make The Job Search A Little Less Stressful

Job searching can be stressful. Sometimes, week after week of a fruitless search things can start to feel totally hopeless. Before you fall too far down into the dumps we’ve got a few tips that should help make your search a little easier.


80/20 Rule

When you’re first starting out on your job search, you may not yet have a lot of concrete experience to offer potential employers. Looking through the job requirements it might seems like you aren’t qualified to apply to anything!


It’s totally normal for people new to the job market to have less experiences and qualifications than listed on job postings. You can still apply to some of those jobs. The question is, which ones? That’s where the 80/20 rule comes in. Do you have at least 80% of the required skills and experiences? Do you think the remaining 20% are things you can learn on the go? If you can back that up in an interview then you can go ahead and apply.


Tailor your Resume

If your resume is continually getting zero response, it could be because you are sending out the same resume for every job. Before sending out a resume make sure you tailor what you say to the specific job. Highlight qualifications and experiences particular to what they’re looking for. Add relevant keywords. You aren’t just trying to attract the attention of the recruiter, there’s also the possibility your resume will pass through a computer programmed to to pick out those keywords.


Make Your Cover Letter Engaging

Cover letters can be tough to write. But if you compose one that’s engaging and reads like a story with a beginning, middle and end, there’s a good chance you can hook the recruiter. Once you’re called in for the interview do it all over again in person!

How Much Happiness Can You Buy?

How Much Happiness Can You Buy?


Obviously if you’re worried about keeping a roof over your head and food on your plate, those are your first priorities towards being happy.  Assuming the basics are covered, now we can ask the question – Is happiness something you can buy?

To buy or not to buy

Let’s see. Your phone is already three years old. It can’t do a quarter of the things your sister’s phone can do and it’s ten times slower than everyone else’s phone. You really, really, really want a new phone. You have the money. If you buy it, you know you’ll be ten times happier than you are now. Easy math:

10 X better phone = 10 X happier person.

So you buy that new phone. And you’re right you are happy! But you’re not quite ten times happier then you were before. And the happiness factor doesn’t stick around either, because before you know it, your new phone is just your phone and worse, everyday that you have it, it’s getting to be an old phone compared to all the new phones being pulled out of the pockets and purses of all your friends.

That’s the thing about things. You think the purchase of them will make you happy. You certainly feel happy in anticipation of the purchase and the second you get your hands on the thing, but that happiness is fleeting. Like the happiness you feel when eating your favorite dish. Once you’ve swallowed the final spoonful of that delicious chocolate sundae the happiness melts away. It’s a happiness of the moment. No staying power.

To do or not to do

However an experience can achieve much longer lasting happiness. Think of it as happiness created by what you do rather than what you buy. It’s the kind of happiness that can accumulate interest – interest being the happiness gained through memories of the event.  Then there’s compound interest – doing something for someone else where you get a double helping of feel-good, both in the moment of doing and during the time of revisiting.

Anticipation of a goal

Whether you’re anticipating buying something or doing something that pre-happiness time is some of the happiest time of all.  Future happiness keeps us engaged longer than the actual event.

Ultimately it seems happiness is an illusive emotion that comes and goes. Things you buy eventually lose their luster, even the best experience fades away into the past. Since anticipation seems to be a mood improver maybe that’s where we should focus our attention. Continually working towards new goals, new experiences, always having something to look forward to. That way you have the satisfaction of the goal once achieved (fleeting or long lived as that is) and always following up with another goal to keep things fresh.

Tip Tuesday: Grads, bring down your ego

In this day and age, it’s usually the norm to have either a university degree or college diploma. Because of this, many recent grads in the past years feel entitled to secure a job in their field right after or a few months after graduation. And when they aren’t able to, they blame the poor job market and the economy and start feeling unmotivated with their job search and life in general.

If you’re guilty of that, bring your ego down a bit! If you look at the very successful people, they all started from the bottom and most hopped from random job to random job. Stepping it down a notch and getting any job after graduation while looking for the right job will keep you from feeling negative and blaming the economy. You’ll also build character, learn to budget, meet new people (possibly connections to another job closer to your filed) and most importantly, real life work experience.


Tip Tuesday: Budget With $5 Bills

Here’s something to try out if you want to start budgeting: for every $5 bill you receive, save it. At the end of every month, count how much money you’ve saved up from just those bills alone. Five bucks doesn’t seem like much but you’ll be surprised how fast things add up.

Hopefully this tip will motivate you to put some money aside while working in the summer or at you full-time job.


How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Do you just feel like falling right back into bed every morning when you wake up? Need ten cups of coffee just to function? Then we think you might need a sleep intervention.

Not getting a proper amount of sleep can affect every aspect of your life. It can slow your thinking, hinder your memory, make it easier to get sick and even cause depression. And worst of all, it may prevent you from having the energy and determination to search for jobs!

We don’t want any of that stuff to happen to you, so we’re going to tell you how to make the most of your good night’s sleep.

The Four Stages of the Sleep Cycle:
You should understand a few things about sleep before you try to improve its quality – namely what sleep cycles are and their stages. So first off, a sleep cycle is a 90 minute cycle of four stages: two REM (Rapid Eye Movement, which is caused by dreaming) and two non-REM. People generally need five or six cycles to feel well rested, so that’s what you should aim for. If you can’t fit all of them in, it’s possible to feel adequately rested on just three or four, but you need to wake up at the right time.

Stage 1
– A very light sleep. The body is either easing into a shallow sleep from a deep one (stage 4), or easing into a shallow sleep from wakefulness. People are easily awoken at this stage with very little side effects. It’s about 10-15 minutes long and is the window we want to wake ourselves up in – but we’ll get to that later.

Stage 2 In stage 2 your body is preparing for deep sleep. You’re less easily awakened here and your heart rate slows, and body temperature drops. Waking up isn’t terrible, but it’s sort of disorienting.

Stage 3 & 4 These are your stages of deep sleep: 4 being much deeper than 3. They’re when the REM sleep sets in, and quite difficult to wake from. If you are awoken from stage 3 or 4, you’ll feel grumpy, groggy and disoriented. These make up the bulk of your cycle, and you do not want to wake up from either.

Get Sleep and Don’t Wake up Grumpy!
Waking up during stage 3 or 4 in the morning because of your alarm clock is probably why you hate mornings so much. So lets change it up!

Knowing that each cycle takes about 90 minutes to arrive at completion, and that the average person takes about 15 minutes to fall asleep, you can calculate the best time to wake up from whenever you want to go to sleep. Remember, you’re aiming for stage 1, which lasts 10 – 15 minutes, so you want to wake yourself up 5 or 10 minutes after the end of your last cycle.

If all that sounds a little too complicated, don’t worry! Here’s a sleep calculator which will do all the math for you!

If that doesn’t help, you can try turning your phone off or putting it to airplane mode at night (your phone gives off tiny electrical pulses some people are sensitive to and keeps you awake,) and you can try reading a book instead of a lit screen – studies have shown that LED screens have the same effect on the brain as caffeine.

Hopefully that will help you sleep through the night from now on and always be at your best at work or that early morning job interview!

See you next Tuesday for another great tip!

Question of the week: How long have you gone without sleeping?

Also check out:
How to Not Be Late For Work
How to Stay Awake at Work


Tip Tuesday: Remember to Smile in Job Interviews!

“I was asked once how we taught all 1700 employees who worked at one property to smile. We didn’t teach anyone anything. Instead, we hired people who were already smiling.” – Arte Nathan

There is a lot of advice floating around the internet about how to be professional & sell yourself to showcase your skills for a job interview. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, often the deciding factor between a job offer and no job offer is your attitude and your personality – it’s if the person interviewing youwants to work with you. Sometimes it can be something as small as a warm smile that will put you ahead of competition!  As much as people will throw around the term “sell” yourself, you need to keep in mind that you’re not a product. You’re a person. Someone who your potential employer will be spending eight hours a day with, five days a week for the foreseeable future. Like anybody, they would much prefer to spend that time with someone they like.

Don’t get us wrong, skills are great – your qualifications are what got you called into an interview in the first place, and they’re important. But you’re there because they know you’re qualified – now they want to figure out what kind of person you are, and how you would fit into the position. Remember, everyone they’re interviewing is qualified. There are twenty people with resumes just as good – or better – than yours in the running. So stand out – this is about you as an individual now, not your skills. Be friendly and authentic, and show them why you in particular deserve the job more than anybody else they’re interviewing.

What do you offer no one else does?

Do your best not to freeze up from the nerves of trying to remember all that advice you’ve heard about handshakes and eye contact and tiny details. Forget all that. Just be confidant, relaxed and natural. Eye contact, smiling, posture and all sorts of other positive body language cues will fall into place naturally if you’re genuinely comfortable and confidant.

So take a deep breath, relax, and remember that your interviewer is a person just like you, and you don’t need to feel intimidated. Treat them like a person – ask them briefly about themselves, maybe joke with them (if the situation is appropriate, you don’t want to appear as if you don’t care – just that you’re confidant, and comfortable enough to show your sense of humor.) Be friendly, smile, show that that you’re both qualified for the position and a generally good person to be around.

If you strike up a good connection with them, they’ll remember you. If you make them laugh, they’ll want to see more of you. When it comes time to consider who gets the position in the end, you can bet you’ll be near the top of that list.

Tip Tuesday: Spring/Summer Work Attire


It’s getting warmer and you know what that means…spring and summer work attire!
But don’t wear just anything to work. Just like we’ve been preaching from the start,
keep it professional. Avoid wearing pants higher than your knees or tops with spaghetti
straps to work.
Instead, ladies who choose to wear sleeveless shirts should make sure
it covers the whole shoulder. For pants, capris or loose sundresses/skirts
are also appropriate.
Men should wear golf shirts instead of t-shirts.
Enjoy the sun!