Limited knowledge of personal finance and weak financial literacy skills are some of the concerns expressed by college students in a survey conducted by WalletHub. Findings in this study included:
- Nearly all (93 percent) of the students surveyed expressed concern about the economy.
- After graduation, the two major worries of students are not finding a job (36 percent) and educational loan debt (30 percent).
- One-fifth of students expressed a belief that a college education is less important since the COVID-19 pandemic.
- About half (52 percent) of the students responding voiced a concern that they were not learning enough about personal finance in school.
- As a result of the pandemic, the three major financial lessons learned were: (1) having emergency savings (44 percent); (2) not going into debt (23 percent); and (3) having a steady job (22 percent).
Some suggestions to address these concerns include:
- Financial anxiety can be reduced with simple personal finance actions: track your spending, cut back on unnecessary items, shop wisely, maintain a workable budget, pay off debts, and increase the amount in your emergency fund. Most importantly, emphasize the enjoyment of your connections and relationships with family and friends rather than on material items.
- Various career paths may not require a college degree; consider online courses, certification programs, trade schools, and other educational/training options.
- Be creative in your savings efforts with: (1) saving $5 a day instead of $150 a month; (2) using “no buy” days to save money; (3) paying for your drinks (or snacks) at home by setting aside the “price” in savings; (4) visualizing a savings goal and budget categories with a photo or post-It notes as a reminder; (5) create, or locate online, a poster that displays savings and debt categories to track your progress; (6) placing your credit card in a bag or container of water and place it in the freezer to avoid impulse purchases, then defrost it under warm water when you need to pay for an emergency.
- When applying and interviewing, clearly communicate the connection between your skills and experiences with the current and future needs of the job position and company. This requires strong research of the company and industry trends but will allow a person to better connect with their prospective employer. Also, be ready to talk about research projects, team experiences, and creative problem-solving.
- Although an increased number of personal finance classes are becoming available in schools, also seek out financial literacy education through community-based workshops, church outreach programs, and neighborhood organizations.
This research was the result of a nationally representative online survey of over 250 respondents. Responses were normalized so the sample would reflect U.S. demographics.
For additional information on the student money survey, click here.
- Have students talk to others to determine if their opinions are similar to those presented in this article.
- Have students create a role-playing drama that communicates actions to avoid various personal financial difficulties and career planning mistakes.
- Which of the survey results are similar to your current attitudes and experiences?
- What additional money and career topics not covered in this survey do you believe are of current concern for students and others?
With inflation, you will not be able to avoid higher prices. However, there is one action you can take that will not be affected by inflation. As advocated by legendary investor Warren Buffet, one of the strongest protections against inflation is investing in yourself. Obtaining additional career skills and improving existing ones will keep you in demand.
These added skills, unlike a lower value of the dollar, are inflation-proof. Various career abilities will be in demand no matter what the dollar is worth. These competencies can’t be taken away from you, and this investment in yourself is not taxed.
As a business owner or investor, the advice is similar. Offer a top-level product or service that will be in demand even in times of inflation. As noted by Buffet: when inflation is high the best thing you can do is be exceptionally good at something.
For additional information on an inflation strategy, click here.
- Have students talk to others to learn about the actions they have taken in their lives to enhance and expand their career skills.
- Have students research online sources available for free and low-cost classes and certification programs to enhance a person’s career skills.
- What actions are you taking to enhance or expand your career skills?
- What are examples of exceptional products or services that might be in demand even in times of inflation?
Lock-downs, sheltering in, and remote working have increased online and virtual interviews. To prepare for this activity, consider these suggestions from career planning experts.
- Some things haven’t changed. Maintain a professional appearance. Wear solid colors; stripes and patterns can be distracting.
- Plan a quiet environment. Keep the door and windows closed; silence your cell phone. Close other sites on your computer to avoid pop-ups and maintain focus. Remove pets and children from the area to prevent distractions.
- Select an appropriate background. Clutter and other home items should be out of sight. Set up a blank background that doesn’t clash with your clothing color.
- Use a small chair. Check your lighting to avoid shadows and glares. Natural light is usually best, but beware of direct backlighting, like a window behind you.
- Choose an appropriate camera angle so the interviewer can clearly see you. Avoid using a phone for a video interview.
- Test in advance and practice. Try out the software, and install a backup copy on a second device. Do a test run before the interview day to verify that audio, video, and lighting are appropriate. Record your practice session to view how you might improve.
- Check your time, especially if in a different time zone.
- Maintain eye contact with the camera. Set notes on the wall behind the screen with reminders of key points and questions to ask.
- Show energy and enthusiasm. Move around and do light exercises before you start.
LinkedIn has introduced software when preparing for a virtual interview. Artificial intelligence programs give feedback on practice answers for common questions. The critique includes an assessment on pacing, use of filler words, and phrases to avoid.
For additional information on virtual interviews, go to:
- Have students practice their interview skills for a virtual interview.
- Have students talk to others about methods used to prepare for an interview.
- What are the main differences between an in-person and virtual interview?
- Describe benefits and drawback that might be present when using artificial intelligence to prepare for a virtual interview.
When considering a career change, the following financial suggestions are offered:
- have an appropriate amount of savings for unexpected expenses during the transition.
- create a budget to live frugally; cut living costs to be prepared for sudden expenses.
- reassess your investment portfolio to reduce risk exposure and possibly eliminate fees.
- seek advice from a financial advisor.
- determine how a career switch might impact your ability to save.
For additional information on financial advice when changing careers, click here.
- Have students talk to a person who recently changed jobs to obtain information about their experiences.
- Have students create a video presentation with suggested actions when planning to change careers.
- What relationship exists between a person’s career choice and money management activities?
- Describe additional financial planning actions that might be appropriate when considering a career change.
Before a person views your resume, it might be scanned by a computer to screen your qualifications.
Career experts suggest preparing your resume for three audiences: a computer screening program, a human resources specialist, and the hiring manager.
To pass the test of automatic resume scanners, consider these suggestions:
- Be sure to include your contact information, and avoid putting required information in the heading where it might be missed by the scanner.
- Avoid fancy formats and fonts. Use a professional presentation. Bullets are suggested for an organized, easy-to-read appearance.
- Emphasize keywords that reflect your competencies and experiences.
- Connect to the job description. Use the requirements and responsibilities of an employment position as a guide for presenting your background, skills, and accomplishments. Avoid a generic resume; tailor your resume to the specific position. Especially look for keywords that are repeated in the job description.
- Use clear job titles. Adapt and simplify previous job titles to fit generally-accepted labels in an industry.
- Seek guidance. Ask for assistance from career development centers, professional colleagues, friends, and others who can help you prepare a resume appropriate for scanning software.
Of special note, job applicants with military experience should match job description keywords to their military service. They should also emphasize and communicate their background so the resume scanning software will easily recognize their employment competencies.
For additional information on automatic resume scanners, click here.
- Have students create a resume for a specific job description to connect their background to the available position.
- Have students talk to a few people to obtain suggestions for improving their resumes.
- Based on selected job descriptions, name keywords that might be appropriate to use in a resume for those positions.
- List various sources that might be used to obtain resume preparation assistance.
While many savings, investment, and retirement plans are available to achieve financial goals, other actions are possible to achieve personal ambitions. Financial advisors and counselors also recommend these actions:
- Learn a new skill, which can result in time away from shopping or expanding your career and income potential.
- Invest in friendships that does not involve a major monetary requirement as many free and low-cost activities are available.
- Participate in a reading challenge at your local library or through a community organization.
- Create art by getting involved with writing, photography, drawing, or sculpture through a community-based group.
Many activities are available to invest your time and energy without spending much money.
For additional information on non-financial goals, click here.
- Have students list free and low-cost activities that can enhance personal and career development.
- Have students talk to others for additional suggestions for free and cost-cost personal and career development activities.
- What factors might a person consider when selecting an activity to enhance personal and career development?
- Describe personal development activities that could result in enhanced career and income potential.
Conducting an annual review of your career situation is vital for long-term success and satisfaction. To achieve career goals, avoid these mistakes:
- Ignoring relationships within your organization. Connections with co-workers and managers is often reported as one of the most important factors for career advancement.
- Not getting proper rest. Sacrificing sleep for achieving career goals can be very dangerous, such as creating stress in your relationships with co-workers and hindering job performance.
- Becoming too diversified. Select an area of expertise to focus your efforts and energy.
- Limiting your network activities. Expanding and connecting with contacts allows you to be aware of more opportunities while also developing awareness of industry trends.
- Not being care in your social life. With social media, many aspects of your private life become public. Be cautious of what you post online.
For additional information on career mistakes, click here.
- Have students talk with friends about their experiences with these career mistakes.
- Have students suggest actions for avoiding these career mistakes.
- What situations have you heard of that resulted in limited career advancement?
- Describe other possible career mistakes that might be avoided.
“The war for talent that obsesses tech companies is intensifying and is about to spread economywide.”
This Fortune article is a must read for job seekers in today’s world, Geoff Colvin explains that after nine years of sluggish economic growth, the economy has turned the corner and creating jobs at a record pace. The hiring boom is not only creating opportunities for unemployed workers, but also currently-employed workers who want to get a better or higher-paying jobs.
In the current job market, employers are seeking talented employees that have a great future. Traits that include creativity, the willingness to work hard, and love of learning often help employers evaluate potential. Digital skills are very important, but not restricted to just tech companies. For example, many retailers are hiring workers who can use digital skills to reach customers in new ways.
Human skills are also more important than in the past. Companies want workers to feel they’re part of the organization and a valued asset. These “same people” skills are very important for workers applying for management positions.
For more information, click here.
You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to
- Reinforce that employers want workers who have the knowledge and skills that they need, but also are willing to work hard, become part of the organization, and keep learning once they get the job.
- How do you develop the traits and skills so that employers are willing to pay you a salary?
- If you were an employer, how would you choose between job applicants applying for a customer service position at American Airlines? What traits and skills are most important?
Nearly everyone has minor stumbles in a job interview. However, these flaws can be overcome with actions to engage the interviewer. Some ways to make yourself memorable in an interview include:
- Start the interview with a question or comment that reflects your preparation about the company.
- As appropriate, answer the questions you are asked with a question. This approach is usually only valid when talking with operating staff, but not with a human resources person.
- Remember to emphasize your awareness and potential contributions to the needs of the company, including ideas for addressing current concerns and market opportunities. Rather than a specific solution, communicate your sensitivity and awareness of their problems.
- Show your humanness through humor, openness, and vulnerability.
- Prepare with strong research on the company that allows you to better answer expected questions and to interact as you discuss your experiences and potential organizational contributions.
- Think and talk like a consultant to communicate confidence and competency.
For additional information on strong interview impression, click here.
- Have students role play situations interview situations that they might encounter when applying for a job.
- Have students create responses to potential interview questions based on the suggestions in this article.
- How might the advice offered in this article be used when you are in an interview situation?
- Describe some common mistakes people might make in interviews. Explain actions to overcome these mistakes.
“Letting Employees Work from Home Can Be a Win-Win for Employers and Staff Alike.”
For employees, the option to telecommute appeals to a vast majority of full-time workers. Research by Global Workplace Analytics found that there are benefits for employees and employers when employees telecommute and work at home. For employees, the chief advantages are
- Reduced time commuting to work
- Lower costs of commuting to the office
- Less stress of juggling the demands of work and family
There are also benefits for employers including
- Less office space is needed because not every employee works in the office every day
- Lower expenses for rent or costs associated with ownership of office space
- A new way to attract talent because employees like the option of working at home
- Increased employee motivation and engagement because telecommuting is considered a benefit
The top five companies and organizations that encourage telecommuting are:
- United-Health Group
- S. Department of Agriculture
For more information about this article and a complete list of the top 20 companies for telecommuting, click here.
- You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to point out the benefits of telecommuting.
- Not everyone is a candidate to work at home. What traits and time management skills are needed if you obtain a job where you can work at home?
- Are there disadvantages to telecommuting and working at home?