4 Things all Graduates Should Know While They’re Job Hunting

Written by Salina Jivani

As a growing tween, you dream of many milestones in life—the first time you’ll drive solo, your very first car, your first kiss, who you’ll marry and even what you’ll make of yourself in the future.

Graduating college is an exciting marker because it brings you one step closer to discovering one of those unknowns—what you’ll be.

But after the euphoria of never ever, ever again having to set foot in a classroom fades, it doesn’t take long for reality to come crashing through…because all of a sudden, you realize it’s you all alone in this great big world. Soon you’ll have responsibilities to fulfill and payments to make, but first you need to land that perfect job. No pressure, right?! But pause before you go dashing off, applying to every available position out there. Because a few simple tips can help you make sure you’re making a sound decision and one that’s not grounded in haste or distress.

Don’t stress

With that diploma burning fresh in your palm and your chest swelling with pride as you shake hands with the dean, you’ve got confidence thrumming through you, making you certain the moment you step out, you’ll have a barrage of job offers clamoring for your acceptance. However, don’t be surprised, disappointed or, yes, even stressed, when/if those recruiters don’t come pounding into your inbox for a few weeks, even a few months. Finding the right job takes time and a whole lot of patience. In the meantime, if after some waiting you still don’t get any bites, it might be time to reevaluate your resume—or your search filters. Run your resume by someone who’s been in the job market for a while, and make sure the jobs you’re applying for are well aligned to your skillset and background. But whatever you do, do not—DO NOT— cast yourself aside as a failure who’ll never ever find a job and be forced to flip burgers at the local burger joint, just because you didn’t hear anything back pronto.

Your first isn’t your last

The good news here is that jobs are fluid, meaning just because you landed something that doesn’t provide the pay or the title you were hoping for, don’t get discouraged—there’s always next time. Instead, think of every role as a chance to tuck more experience under your belt. Each time you move, imagine yourself scaling another rung toward a bigger, better opportunity. If you think of each opportunity as a temporary transition into something greater instead of a permanent prison sentence, each day will become easier to conquer.

Don’t settle

While every job should be seen as an opportunity to propel you ahead into the future, that’s no reason to settle for just anything that comes your way. Because you’re at the very start of your career, this is the time to make sure you’re in a field that’s actually enjoyable and every bit of amazing as you’d imagined. So go after what you wanted and don’t just accept something because it pays big money. In the end, the money will keep you happy only so long, but if your heart isn’t in it, you’ll only end up wasting precious time.

Use your connections

Ever heard the saying, “It’s not about what you know, but about who you know”? Well, whoever said that was spot on. This is the time to put all that networking and socializing you’ve perfected throughout high school and college to use. Reach out to friends, or friends of friends, even family, who might know of an opening or can employ leverage to help you land your ideal job with the company they work for. Recruiters almost always give a direct recommendation priority over a random online application.

In the end, remember that if your line of work doesn’t pan out to be as fabulous as you’d hoped, it’s not too late to reroute. However, five, even ten years down the road after you’ve invested much more time, the decision to make a change will prove much more difficult and costly. So think of this time as an opportunity to experiment and find out what makes you happy and where you want to be.

5 Ways to Become a Better Learner

Written by Salina Jivani

Maybe you’re looking to acquire a new skill or polishing up an existing one. In either case, you know that, soon, you’ll be thrust into a virtual or actual classroom…and it’s been a while since you’ve been in a formal learning environment. It’s enough to give anyone the jitters. And understandably so. After all, you’re there to succeed, but you want to make sure you’re making the most of this opportunity and not falling flat on your face.

The fact that you’re anxious is an indicator that you’ll work hard to succeed, but follow these additional easy tips to achieve the most from your learning endeavors.

Understand the benefit

If you’ve voluntarily signed up for a course, it might be easier to identify its value or benefit, but if you’re strong armed into attending a work-related training, you may be attending begrudgingly and, therefore, be more reluctant to pinpoint an advantage to your participating. In either case, make sure you discover the underlying benefit of the classes or trainings. Think about what you’ll gain from them, how they’ll help set you above your peers or how they’ll give you a clear advantage that you’d otherwise miss out on. Understanding the value of your education or training will make it that much more priceless to you, enabling you to soak in information with a receptive, open and eager mind.

Set goals

Once you understand the training’s objectives, be sure to set specific goals for yourself. Think about what you want to acquire as a result of the training or what particular skills or knowledge you want to obtain as a result of your participation. Outlining these goals at the onset of the course will help you subconsciously work toward achieving them as you progress. But to make sure you’re on track, take notes and jot down milestones as you inch closer to your learning goals–and be sure to mark them as complete once they’re achieved.

Ask questions

Many people hesitate to ask questions, but doing so will only hinder your learning and understanding of concepts—which means you won’t be able to optimize your educational experience. If you’re anxious to speak up, take a deep breath, gather your thoughts and figure out exactly what it is you need clarity on, then ask away. It’s likely someone else has the same or a similar question but is having trouble gathering the nerve to ask.

Develop your skills and knowledge

Perhaps the most important component of all during your training is to acquire new knowledge or skill. But more importantly, be confident you’re clear on how you’ll be able to apply what you’re learning in a work setting or in the real world. Making the connection between learning the skill and how it will play out in actuality is perhaps the most vital piece of all.

Put it to practice

Finally, get to work on using what you’ve learned. Doing this ASAP is important for a few reasons. First, you don’t want to forget what you know while it’s still fresh in your mind—which is what will likely happen if you wait too long to use your newly acquired skills.

Second, you’ll be eager to know how effectively you’re able to extend your new expertise to the real world. And what better way to find out than to get hands on? Plus, putting things into practice will likely allow you to better connect the dots and have a deeper understanding of your newfound skill or knowledge, allowing you to perform it with improved confidence and assurance over time.

A word for the wise: it never hurts to have a trusted, experienced professional on hand (maybe a fellow buddy or colleague) in case you encounter any questions or hurdles along the way and require a trained eye to help you through.

Alongside these learning tips, I leave you a tid-bit of encouragment with a quote from Anthony J. D’Angelo: “Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.”

3 Surprising Ways Reading Helps You Become More Intelligent

Written by Salina Jivani of “The Great Word Nerd” blog

065d8cf84455aba96b64b7254937b3dbWho doesn’t want to boost their IQ a few notches? It’s a competitive world out there and with that healthy dose of competition comes a quest for self-improvement and advancement. After all, it’s the intelligent people who can more easily snag the higher-paying jobs and expect to land themselves on the career-path of their dreams. This search for building intelligence has given spark to apps like Luminosity and Quiz Up. Because with intelligence comes more money, luxury and prestige. But you don’t have to indulge in exhausting, mind-numbing activities to sharpen your mind and gain the knowledge you seek. There’s a simpler way to do that: read. Don’t believe it? Read for yourself (see how we did that?). Here are three ways squeezing in that book time will help you become a cleverer more intelligent you.

Promotes analytical skills

Reading every day increases analytical abilities and helps develops logic. Routine readers are able to better pick apart stories, piece together components, deduce and induce logic and make stronger educated guesses than those who don’t read regularly. The more you read, the more you’re able to develop logic, connect the dots, increase comprehension and establish reasoning. And because you’re able to comprehend and piece together facts better than those who don’t read, you’re also able to understand more than them.

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Improves focus

In our technology-driven world, cell phones, laptops and iPads are all the rave—and constantly vying for our attention. As a result, attention spans are shorter than ever before. But focus is integral and one way to develop that focus is by reading. Unlike our technology-driven gadgets, reading requires keen attention, without which you wouldn’t be able to comprehend whatever it is you’re perusing. And, as is the case with any other exercise, the more often you read, the better you’ll become at maintaining that focus.

Keeps your mind stimulated

Just like your body needs exercise to remain in shape and healthy, the same is true of your brain. Reading stretches your thinking and comprehension muscles as your mind works at deciphering words, both familiar and unfamiliar, based on context. In short, reading puts your mind to work, which done frequently enough can help sharpen it, allowing it to work like a well-oiled machine.

The list above is in no way a complete overview of the benefits a regular reading routine can offer. But just in case you’re curious, among its many others are: vocabulary expansion, better communication skills, improved writing and greater empathy for others. Think of it as an all-in-one vitamin for your brain and take advantage of any spare moment you have to skim through a news article or flip open a book. Your mind will reward you later.