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September 9, 2010 / Suzie

What To Do About Those Unpaid Internships

Intern

The economy might be turning around for those nearing graduation, but that doesn’t mean that the job market is hiring left and right. One of the best ways to have an edge over your competition is to have an internships in your field. But is it economical to take an unpaid internship? Before considering whether or not to accept the unpaid internship, please review whether or not it is legal to be unpaid.

Firstly, think about the opportunity cost of accepting this position. That is, will taking the internship limit you from doing other fantastic, money making jobs, or high quality projects that will boost your resume? The unpaid internship should come last if there is a better job or project opportunity.

Next, think about what you’re paying for this internship. Many pay over $1000 a credit for the college to accept the internship. Furthermore, there is the price of gas, lodging, eating off campus, and professional work attire. In summary, the internship is not only unpaid, but will also cost you. Be prepared for that.

However, unpaid internships have the potential lead to phenomenal resume boosters, professional contacts, and maybe even a job offer after college. I do not know a student who would argue that an internship who did that for him/her regretted it, which brings me to my next point.

Would you love the work that you would be doing? If so, take it. You only live once.

September 2, 2010 / Suzie

Should I Join Greek Life? Three Pros and Cons to Consider

Greek Alphabet

Recently, I was accepted into the national honors society “Mortar Board,” or Pi Sigma Alpha (ΠΣΑ). Joining a Greek national honors society has benefits, and for many the benefits outweigh the costs. However, most people do not take the time to sit down and really think about how much those costs might affect them.

The Pros

Fellowship
Greek societies are known for promoting brotherhood (and sisterhood) among its members. Companionship based on similar interests has the potential to last not only in college, but well into the future as well.
Community Service
Most fraternities and sororities have a community service component, which allows for its members to give back to the world. Not only do fraternities tend to give back to the community, stewardship to society opens doors to networking and personal character development.
Future Career Opportunities
Because of the academic nature of Mortar Board, being a member reflects well on me. For example, if I list Mortar Board on my resume, an interviewer or recruiter may be familiar with or even a previous member of the society; my membership would give me an edge over other candidates. Mortar Board, along with many other Greek organizations, also has an alumnae job board.

The Cons

Dues
Most Greek societies have a fee involved for joining their fraternity or sorority, and many tend to renew their dues every year. Mortar Board has a fee of $75 for each member. Luckily, as a senior, I only have to pay it once. Many fraternities and sororities have a dress code for events, and don’t think that clothes don’t cost money. In addition, if they have a house, they have to pay for upkeep and rent. Cha-ching!
Time
In order to be an active part of Greek life, one is expected to attend all of their fraternity’s events and sometimes even live in their “house.” That means giving up valuable time normally set aside for work and play to the fraternity.
Rushing, recruitment, hazing, and drinking
Though the TV version of Greek life is a little outdated and exaggerated, there does tend to be an association with hazing and alcoholism with some fraternities and sororities (please note: not all). Also, initiated members of the chapter have the power to pick new members; if they don’t like you, tough luck. Rushing can be stressful and hazing can be nasty; if you are not up to it and the fraternity/sorority participates in such endeavors, I don’t recommend trying.




After considering the pros and cons of joining Mortar Board, I signed my $75 check and turned it in. However, I know that many of my peers who were accepted decided not to join after realizing the cost of dues. I, personally, don’t blame them.

September 1, 2010 / Suzie

Understanding the Market: Two Words You Should Know

Bullish!

This morning, the market jumped 2% in reaction to President Obama’s call to the end of the War in Iraq. He is refocusing his efforts on the economy, which means that it is likely time for us to start translating market vernacular into layman’s terms and using it to our advantage.

The Wall Street Journal announced that the stock market “kicked off September on a bullish note.” I’m sure that you’ve heard the terms “bull” and “bear,” but what do they mean? Well because we know that the market went up 2%, that must mean that bull (or in this case “bullish”) means an upward trend. A bull market means that investors are showing faith in the current market. Prices go up, share trades increase, and things are looking up. For a true bull market, the rise of value in the market must go up by at least 20%. I remember it this way: bull markets charge ahead.

We like bull. We want a lot of bull. We want to try to avoid the bull’s opposite, the bear. A bear market  is a market where investors have little faith in the current market. Prices and share trades decrease. For a true bear market, the fall of value in the market must go down by at least 20%. I remember it this way: bear markets are bad news bears!

Next time: Stocks, Bonds, and Mutual Funds, Oh My!



August 30, 2010 / Suzie

6 Ways to Save Money on Textbooks

Old Texbooks

Everyone, it is that time of the year when textbook fees are slamming college students young and old. Have no fear; there are ways to ensure that you are buying your textbooks at the cheapest price (and you don’t always have to skimp on quality either).

  1. Do not buy from your campus bookstore unless your textbook is impossible to find.
  2. Use isbn.nu. Don’t know your book’s ISBN number? Look it up on Amazon and scroll halfway down the page. I’ve found that ISBN-13 is better than ISBN-10.
  3. Calculate shipping costs. Remember that Amazon has free shipping for college students.
  4. Used saves… a lot! However, you don’t want your textbooks to be unreadable; try sticking to “Very Good” and “Like New” books only.
  5. If you are only planning on using your textbooks for one semester, consider renting. Chegg has the best prices that I’ve found.
  6. Unless you are planning on keeping them for life, resell your books at the end of the semester. You will have the most luck selling your book to students within your university first, amazon marketplace/ebay etc second, and sites like Cash4Books or your college bookstore third.

Happy reading!

July 16, 2010 / Suzie

Suzie Preps for Monster DLP in Atlanta

Monster.com Sponsors Monster DLP

Ya’ll, I’m in Georgia getting ready for Monster DLP! The Monster Diversity Leadership Program “helps top-tier college students bridge the gap in the transition from college to entry-level career. This dynamic, energy-filled program gives students the opportunity to build life and career skills and network with industry-leading employers while forging lifelong relationships with other high-achieving peers.” Like I said in my last post on how to attend a career fair, I’m going to treat this leadership program as a recruiting event.

In preparation, I have researched the sponsors and their job openings. After narrowing down what jobs I would actually be interested in, I took my standard resume and molded it to fit key words and phrases that the job description calls for. On a side note: don’t forget that I am reviewing resumes for FREE this week! Email savingsuzie@gmail.com. Details here.

I think that the DLP will be a great experience, and maybe I can find a job out of it!

Oh, and on the career fair I went to on Wednesday. There were long lines, and a lot of careers that I wasn’t interested in, but after talking to a few enthusiastic recruiters, I am definitely going to apply to some federal internships made for recent grads after college. Overall: worthwhile to go to, but nothing worth getting your hopes up for.

See you Monday!
~Suz

July 14, 2010 / Suzie

Suzie’s 9 Steps to Braving a Career Fair

Be brave!

Later on today, I will be attending the 2010 Public Service Career and Internship Fair in Washington, DC. I’m hoping to meet with a variety of employers who will want me after college. In preparing for the fair, I stumbled upon a variety of sites dictating how to land that job ASAP in four steps or less. I’ll be upfront: there is more to career fairs than dressing up and perusing job opportunities.

Disclaimer: Career fairs are not for everyone and will definitely not guarantee you a job!

Step 1: Make sure you pair yourself up with the right career fair
Would a student with a major in anthropology really want to explore a career fair geared towards mid-level IT professionals? Doubtfully. Be sure that your interests line up with what is available at the fair.

Step 2: Really make sure you pair yourself up with the right career fair
If the fair’s theme is broad or you are looking for a particular company, have no fear in emailing or calling the organizers for a list of participating companies. Research and highlight the companies you intend to interview for.

Step 3: Find those jobs!
The internet is a beautiful thing in that it can give you a preview for what the recruiters are looking for. You don’t want to waste your time looking at a company only to find that they’re hiring for a COO instead of an accountant!

Step 4: Tailor yourself to your potential employers
Print out doubles of your resume for each job you intend to apply for, and tailor those resumes to the company’s mission statement and job description. Not sure what a good resume looks like? I will review yours for free, this week only. Email savingsuzie@gmail.com.

Also, create your 30-second to a minute personal pitch. Cover your major, a few strengths, and what kind of job you’re looking for. You don’t want a recruiter to ask you “tell me about yourself” and to respond with “uhhhh… well I was born in Tahoe and my mom is a teacher and I like lemonade…” Wrong! Remember the three C’s: clear, concise, and concrete.

Step 5: Personalize
Have a great list of references? A portfolio of your graphic designs? A knock-out transcript? Bring them, and many copies.

Step 6: Dress nicely
I do not care if this career fair is held on a pirate-themed party boat, you should look your best. That means business to business casual, and definitely lean towards business. Ladies, put make-up on, gentlemen, iron your shirts. Repeat after me: I shall not look like a slob.

Step 7: Attend!
Communications is the heart of all career fairs. Smile, be polite, don’t fidget, and act like you want to be there and build a personal relationship with the recruiters. Pass out your resume like candy. Be sure to grab business cards from every recruiter you talked to with a position you are interested in.

Step 8: Follow Up
With those handy-dandy business cards, write a thank you letter to each recruiter you talked to with a position that you’reinterested in. Thank them for their time and interest. Remember that a hand-written note is more personable than an email. Wait two weeks. If the recruiter has not yet contacted you, follow up again. Tell them that you are still interested in their company, that you think you would be an asset, and ask what the next steps are in the process.

Step 9: Do it again
Recruiters may tell you to contact them in another few weeks. Mark it on your calendar and follow up once again. Then hopefully, you’ll land a job! If not, there are plenty of career fairs around the country that are just begging for folks to fill an entry-level position. That could be you!

I will update you folks on how my experience with this career fair was. Also, this weekend I am attending the Monster DLP program in Decatur, Georgia, which I will also be treating like a career fair. Wish me luck!

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