Who Should be Your Professional Reference? 

Bad hires can cost a company a fortune. That’s why recruiters are being more careful when it comes to bringing in new talents to the team. In their approach to hire the most suitable candidates, recruiters will conduct background check and screening by asking a professional reference to potential candidates.

What is a professional reference? 

Professional reference, also referred to as a job reference, is someone who could provide an insight into your earlier working experiences. As fresh grads or students who are currently looking for a job, their professional reference can be lecturer, teacher, or professor. For those who have working experiences, professional reference can be former colleagues and/or supervisors who can attest to one’s skills and qualifications. 

See also: Are You a Boring Job Applicant? 

Why does an employer want a professional reference? 

When an employer sees you as a prospective hire, more often than not, they will ask for you to provide one or two job references in order to reaffirm all information you put on your resume or say during an interview regarding your skills, experiences, and suitability for the position you applied. 

Job reference also helps employers confirm that candidates are honest in their job applications and interview responses. Besides, references are also vital opportunities for employers to get a sense of candidates’ performance on the job and personal qualities. 

Who should you ask to be your job reference? 

For fresh job seekers a.k.a graduates with no working experience, finding the right job reference can be tricky. As graduates, however, it is likely that you are applying for an entry-level position, so recruiters will understand that you might not be able to provide professional references. Recruiter might as well not consider your lack of professional reference as a problem. 

Nevertheless, you might still need to provide job references in case your recruiter will ask you for that, advised Jessica Hernandez, the president and CEO of Great Resume Fast. In many cases, college grads will have their supervisors from internships or work-study jobs as a reference. Even if your past internship does not really align with your current job application, former supervisors could still provide insights into your character, dedication, and overall attitude. 

So what if you are a fresh grad who has no job experience, even an internship? In this case, Hernandez advised that you should turn to your professors, coaches, or any authority figure who has knowledge of how you work hard, grow, and deal with people. Parents or relatives are not great choices here, added Hernandez, because they might give biased answers to recruiters. 

Who is the most effective job reference? 

To provide the best professional reference, you should consider these points. These considerations will help you choose the most effective reference you can ever have. 

  • Do you have the list of who your job references are? 
  • If yes, choose the most recent person you work with/collaborate with. If you have graduated from university 2 years ago and ask for your professor reference, it is likely that your professor could not give updated information about you. 
  • If no, you might want to consider a colleague you are collaborating with, be it a volunteer colleague, project partner, or stranger you’ve been working with for some time. 
  • Consider their relevance to your job and/or their position/seniority. For example, if you are applying for a junior accountant and you have two reference choices who would be able to provide high praise. Refer to one who either has knowledge of an accountant or who is the most senior.
  • Lastly, ask your reference politely and tell them that you have included them in your resume/job search. To deliver your intention, it is always better via face-to-face communication. However, if you think your reference is a highly busy person, sending a chat or email first could be the best move. Always cite your intention earlier to avoid misunderstanding. 

Read also: 6 Phrases to AVOID When Applying for Job and Interview 

Why and How to Make Industry Transition? 

Ameera loves reading and feels fortunate to have a job that actually engaged her interest. She works as a librarian in her town’s public library. She is passionate about doing her job as it allows her to do what she loves while contributing to the community by sharing and teaching people who visit the library.

However, over the last few years, the funding to the library has decreased, leading to its inability to afford new reading materials for readers. Ameera finds the job no longer makes her feel content because everything changes since the funding was cut. Then, she starts wondering if there is an opportunity to do similar works somewhere else, where resources are not so constrained. After thinking it over, Ameera decides to make an industry transition. 

What is and why industry transition? 

Industry transition, or industry switch, refers to going from your current industry to a new one. Industry transition is different from a career change that often requires you to gain new skills and adapt to a completely new environment. When you do an industry change, you will gain new skillsets and experience working in a new environment. 

Oftentimes, individuals will make industry transition to look for a new challenge that still requires their current skillset. Industry change can also be a perfect step to grow professionally as you are able to strengthen your current skills so you can hone your expertise. Industry change is also good to help keep your job satisfaction. 

See also: 10+ List of Jobs for Graduates with English Degree 

So are you interested in doing industry transition? If yes, you should know that the road to the transition is not easy. Albeit it is less dramatic than a career change, you still need a lot of to-dos. Here are NTUC tricks to help you achieve a successful industry transition. 

Trick 1 – Know your why(s) 

Look within yourself why you need to make an industry switch. Is it because your department has declined? Is it because you want to gain more experience by collaborating with a new team? Is it because your target industry has better career prospects? When you understand your why(s), you can better identify which industry is the best for you to grow professionally, and whether you really need the switch or not. Your reasons will also help you stay motivated throughout the change. 

Trick 2 – Research the target industry 

After that, learn about the industry you want to transition into. Does the industry have what you need and want? Does the industry suit your work style? Does the industry align with your long-term career goals? 

You can go to the industry website and search for skill framework. Or, you might ask the industry’s head to provide you with the framework. The skill framework can give you information on sectors, employment landscape, workforce profiles, career pathways, wage trends, desired skillset, and a list of training programmes. 

Trick 3 – Expand your network 

A transition is never easy, especially if this is your first industry transition. Thus, it is best for you to get a person who can guide you and know the in and out of an industry transition. Attending network events could help you meet industry insiders. When you have successfully built a relationship with the target industry insiders, it will be easier for you to find out what kind of projects they are working on, skills needed for the job, current challenges that are being faced in the industry, the lingo they use, and even hidden job opportunities. All of these can ensure your success when you decide to change between your current industry to another. 

Trick 4 – Maximise courses and support programmes available online or from current employer 

Generally, industry change will require you to gain up-to-date skills that align with the target industry. Thus, keep improving, upskilling, and attending classes or courses to gain your credibility. If possible, seek an opportunity which gives certification as it can play as a crucial proof for recruiters or hiring managers when you make the transition. 

Read also: 6 High Paying Jobs that Allow You to Work from Home

4 Important Steps TO DO When Building Business Right After Graduation

There are many young generations who own small businesses today. In fact, CGK reported that 30 percent of millennials have already started their own small business and 49 percent others have plans to start a business within 3 years. 

Businesses owned by young generation, however, are likely to not stay longer than businesses built by middle-aged individuals. The most common reasons why younger generations often fail is due to a lack of confidence. According to Financial Times report, millennials do suffer from a lack of confidence, thus, making it no easy for building a business. This also explains why overcoming fear of failure tops the list of young-generation-founder-to-be. 

Other reasons for the failures are, said Jason Albanese, young generations often have no financial resources or don’t know how to get the funding. 42 percent of them cited that lack of money as the primary obstacle to starting their own startup. Lack of experience is also top of the list that contributes to business failure in young generations. 

See also: 3 Valuable Things TO DO When You are Unemployed That Can Make Your Life Better

If you are among those young individuals who are keen to start a business right after graduation but facing above hurdles, make sure to read these useful tips.   

Step #1 Know what business you are building 

There are various types of entrepreneurship and business. The most common types of business are as follows: 

  • service – it focuses on providing services to customers than giving tangible products.  
  • merchandising – it is a buy and sell business. For example, you buy products at wholesale price then sell them as is at retail price. 
  • manufacturing - a business that focuses on turning raw materials to final products, then you sell them. 
  • hybrid - business like restaurants and hospitality fall into this category. 

Meanwhile, there are 9 common types of entrepreneurship, including: 

  • big business entrepreneur aims to make profitable and new revenue every day. 
  • social entrepreneur with the ultimate goal to improve the environment and to make the world a better place to stay. 
  • buyable business entrepreneur aims to create products or something new with the aim to sell the business to a bigger tech company. 
  • scalable startup entrepreneur is also called tech startups as your goal is to establish a company that obtains financing from inventors.  
  • SME entrepreneur is the idea of gaining revenue by gathering potential people to join the startup. 
  • joint entrepreneur is when you own a profit from private and government businesses.
  • private entrepreneur is an individual who sets up a business enterprise alone. 
  • state entrepreneur means building a business in government of the public sector for public welfare. 
  • lifestyle entrepreneur is hobbyists who work on their real passion and generate money from in. 

Each type focus on different things. You might able to pursue all of them but the rate of failure is higher as you might not be able to focus on scaling one business. Therefore, it is advisable to focus on one type first, then, make is scalable and profitable. When you have succeeded in one business, you can consider running other businesses. But always remember that the more you own a business, the riskier it is for you. 

Step #2 Launching your business 

After you know your true business niche, it is time for you to go get some funding. Before that, you should launch your business to prove and showcase to investors that your business is promising. In launching your business you should have due diligence and strong motivation. Often times, entrepreneurs are associated with lonely feeling because they should leave everything behind to pursue their career. While this can be true, you can have some tricks to make the loneliness fun, such as making a documentary video, gathering with like-minded people, and getting in touch with nature. 

Launching your business also need plan and ideas to make the business works, thus, create your plan based on the business niche you are building. Recruit a friend or family to help you if you need to. You might also need to use your current finance to back-up your business before getting in touch with investors. Join a competition to know the market value about your business. Once you are able to showcase how valuable your business is, you can start presenting it to investors to get a fund to scale your business. 

Step #3 Focus on clients 

Project Manager advised that customer development is more than essential to your business plan – without loyal customers, your business might no longer run. So, of course, after you get the step 1 and 2 done, make sure to focus on your clients, especially in your early business. The manual to successful customer developments are, as follows: 

  • There are no facts inside the building, so go outside – speak to real people and prospective customers. 
  • Pair customer development with agile development 
  • Failure is an integral part of the search 
  • Make continuous iterations and pivots 
  • No business plan survives first contact with customers, so use a business model canvas to ease your job
  • Design experiments and test to validate your hypothesis 
  • Agree on market type, it changes everything. 
  • Startup metrics differ from those in existing companies 
  • Ensure fast decision-making, cycle time, speed and tempo. Customer’s today demand more speed and transparency. 
  • Preserve all cash until needed, then spend
  • Communicate and share learning 
  • Customer development success begins with buy-in
  • Have passion, it is all about passion. 

Step #4 Don’t forget your network 

Last but not least, you should always remember what you learn and implement what you are learning. No knowledge can go into waste. You can also target all those friends you have back in college to be your first customer. All the connection you have is valuable in your approach to success. 

Read also: Blogging Checklist: Things You Need to Know for Creating a Successful Business Blog

How to Eat Well and Healthy at Work

 Having a balanced diet plays an important role in one’s health and wellbeing. Eating lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains can reduce the risk of some mental health conditions such as depression. In addition, healthy mealtime helps your brain get the nutrients it needs to function and keep you well all day, especially at work where you are required to focus on challenging tasks and responsibilities.

On the contrary, unhealthy eating habits have contributed to the obesity epidemic. In the U.S., for instance, about one-third of adults (33.8 per cent) are obese and approximately 17 percent (12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese due to eating an unhealthy diet like junk foods, CDC reported. Besides obesity, unhealthy food also accounts for high-blood pressure, high cholesterols, heart disease and stroke, type-2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and so on. 

See also: How to Discuss a Gap Year in an Interview  

That being said, the links between good nutrition and a healthy diet are too important to ignore. By taking steps to eat well, you will be on your way to get the nutrients your body needs and live a healthy life. Making small changes in your diet requires a commitment, but it is easier to go to that way rather than bearing the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle. 

“How you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future lies in your food choices.”

So, how do you suppose to eat at work? If your workplace does not offer healthy options, the best thing is to prepare your own foods. Bringing your own lunch is way cheaper and healthier than buying a ready meal. It will also save your energy and time of walking too far when your company does not have a healthy cafeteria nearby. 

Get the right meal  in your lunch sack 

To prevent hunger pangs between meals and overindulging at mealtimes, spread your food intake over five to six smaller meals and snacks, rather than eating three large meals a day.  Thus, when packing your lunch, make sure you throw a few snacks into your lunch box such as mozzarella cheese sticks, hummus, sliced apples, mandarin oranges, and fruit or yoghurts. 

For the main course, you can prepare foods that contain the following points: 

  • Complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta, or brown rice. 
  • Protein such as salmon, chicken, tuna, nuts, tofu, beans, turkey, lean beef, or eggs. 
  • Low-fat dairy products such as low-fat milk, reduced-fat cheeses, yoghurt, or soy milk. 
  • Assorted fruits such as oranges, apples, avocados, mangos, blueberries, raisins, or bananas.

Prepare your meal while you make dinner 

Preparing your lunch foods while making your dinner will save your time so you won’t be in a rush in the morning. It is easy as all you should do is make an extra serving of your dinner and set it aside for the next day. However, if you don’t want to eat the same meals for two days in a row and want different things, you can prepare different things or do something new with the food you have. 

As an example, your dinner is roasted chicken with some potatoes and mustard greens. For lunch, you can slice the same roasted chicken and prepare it with a whole-wheat pita with some onion and apple slices. Or, you can toss it in with some whole-wheat pasta and broccoli. Simple, cheap, and healthy!

Organise a weekly “lunch club” with your co-workers 

To make it more fun, you can form a lunch club where everyone can bring their own meal. It can be once a week or two weeks, depending on your team preference. Then, each member can have a taste of different meal from someone’s lunch box. Or, each member should bring a different meal for each meeting. Always highlight healthy options on each member’s favourite takeout menus. 

For example, Anna brings the main dish. Dash brings the appetizer, Charlie brings snacks or desserts. The schedule will be rolled and each person will bring foods that are enough for the whole member. 

Read also: Are You Talking “Too Much” at Work?

3 Valuable Things TO DO When You are Unemployed That Can Make Your Life Better

Have you ever heard of this old adage, “Empty wallet, a broken heart, and hungry stomach are three best lessons in life”?

Being unemployed and having limited financial resources to live on a.k.a broke are two bad things in life. You can’t either pay for rent or fulfil your daily needs. You might even need to sell the most valuable things you have such as a phone or laptop to keep on living. In other words, you are just trying to survive from one day to another.

However, stop selling your stuff and go hungry (for a few days). It is not to say that you cannot eat at all, there must be leftover bread or cola that you can much at home. There are good chances that you read this article on your smartphone or laptop, which means that you have internet access, right? And when you click the title, it means you are trying to change yourself to be better. Probably, you want to get a job that can turn your life upside-down. Yet, everyone agrees that landing a job can be tough, especially for someone who lacks experience.

Here are 3 things to do when you are broke and unemployed that hopefully can change your life 180 degrees. Enjoy the process!

Thing #1 Get employed

This might sound ridiculous but seriously, get a job. An old granny would say having a low dead-end job is better than no job at all. Besides, a low-paying job can help you survive at least to help you have a full stomach. Find out here for some jobs that require no degree but pay enough.

Having those jobs will likely boost your chance of getting better employment as you can prove to recruiters that you are a person who doesn’t easily give up. That is a big investment for your future career.

See also: Fatal Mistakes New Hires Do in Their First Jobs

Thing #2 Write and write

You might consider yourself as a “bad” writer. You can also argue that this is not your niche and this is not a job you can do. But you should rethink that because writing can be your golden ticket to change your life.

For example, do you know Nicolas Cole? He began writing when he was 17 years old. He started his journey from free platform Quora by answering questions. It took him around 1 year and more to reach millions of upvote, views, and follower. Now, he is the founder of Digital Press. 

Thus, if you are still unemployed and willing to change your life, start your own writing journey. Write for free blogs such as medium, Quora, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Develop your own interest topic and share them with the world. After you develop your own writing niche, you can start professional writing for professional blogs such as Forbes or Fortune. All these can build up your individual reputation. 

BUT remember, all these writing journeys should be accompanied by reading habit. You should be knowledgeable first before anything else.

Thing #3 Volunteer

The next option, you can do volunteer’s work in an institution. It won’t produce money but it does improve your skills, happiness, and life insight. For example, if you do the kind act to veteran shelter, you will have valuable insight about life. Old people do like sharing stories and they are wiser. If you volunteer for a natural environment organisation, you can have a healthier life and knowledge about how to improve the environment.

By volunteering as well, you can also get nice ideas to probably start your own business. You can also leverage your network which is important to your future career.

“When you least expect it, something great will come along. Something better than you ever planned for. Be patient. Be smart. Stay focused.” 

Read also: If You Like Travelling, These Jobs ARE For You

If You Like Travelling, These Jobs ARE For You

Being able to travel and working abroad sounds to be an exciting idea for most fresh grads. Not only you can meet new faces and gain international exposure, but you can also earn a better salary. Not to mention, being an expat will give you a career break from the monotony of working life that you need. It gives you a wider viewpoint which will help you feel more inspired rather than sitting behind the cubicle office.

See also: How to Tell: Are You in the Wrong Career, or Just Lazy?

So, do you love to travel the world while earning money to make ends meet? Read on…

1. Au Pair

If you love children, being an au pair could be a good choice. Au pair takes care of young children as line-in support during a unique cultural experience. Usually, you will be provided with free housing and living costs. You will be part of the family you serve and receive a monetary allowance for personal use.

Before doing this job, you should first have an aim to where you want to stay, in which country and what kind of family you want to offer your service for. After that, you can join or register yourself to Au Pair program online such as aupair.com or interexchange.org.

2. Flight attendant

If you love being on the sky and want to do it freely, then you can apply to become a flight attendant. Not only will you be paid nice, but you can also travel on stunning aircraft to different countries depends on your flight. Requirements to be a flight attendant varies among different airlines. So, if you really want to pursue this career, keep updated with the airlines’ job vacancies in your area.

3. Backpacker

Backpacker refers to individuals who travel with little/limited budget. But you can do alternative travel jobs. The type of work might not require a computer or a college degree. It only needs a more hands-on approach, let’s say – you need to be a talkative and social person. The jobs include musicians, artists, manual labour, street vendor, farm work, etc. These jobs, however, won’t give much wage, but why not?

4. Travel blogging

Think like an entrepreneur and start your own blog. While this seems simple, building a stable blog might take a few years to start earning from your blog. If you are serious with this option, you can start now. Build a free blog, gain visitors, and then purchase the blog. Your income will come from ad words, affiliate marketing, selling products, influencer project, etc. The result of your blogging can be a life saving for you.

5. Teaching abroad

One of the most common ways to travel is to teach language abroad. Generally, a traveller will offer English as it is the most common business and worldwide spoken language. If you are interested, you can register yourself to CIEE teaching programs worldwide. Their program includes every nation so you can choose the one you like. Alternatively, you can search on Google teaching programs which aims at one country such as China, Japan, France, and more.

6. Yacht crew

Do you love the sea and sailing with a private yacht? You can apply as stewardess or job of deckhand for entry-level positions that pay really well. It is a fun job offer to see some exotic locations. Your food and accommodation are covered too, which is great for saving money. Don’t know where to look for a job, you can start here and here.

7. Remote Jobs 

Many companies understand that their candidates demand a good and flexible work-life balance so they offer remote jobs option. Polish your resume and apply to one of these jobs. Remote job is a great offer to generate better income while working from the area of your choice.

Read also: A Beginner’s Guide to Investing for College Students

10 Clever Ideas for Halloween Costume at Work

Halloween is just around the corner. Some people might be excited to celebrate the day, while some others stay calm about it. What about you? Do you love the month of Halloween?

Celebrated on October 31, Halloween originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, where people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In recent times, Halloween celebration typically includes more activities for fun such as trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, as well as watching horror films.

See also: Backstabber at Work: The Signs and What Should You Do About It

As the day is identical with people dolling up with eerie costumes and make-up, Jobiness would like to share with you some ideas of Halloween costume to wear at your office’s Halloween party. Are you ready to be the most “ghostly-person”? Here goes the list.

#1  Improvised sloth costume

This could be less scary but fun costume to wear. You can do little improvisation on the costume such as one eye sloth or cut nose cloth. Especially if you are customer service in the front desk, this costume will represent the sloth in Zootopia movie. Funny but scary…be a sloth!

#2  Bellatrix Lestrange

Are you a fan of Harry Potter? You can get the thrill by becoming the wicked women in the movie. Dress up as Bellatrix Lestrange and don’t forget the wand.

#3  Dolores Umbridge

Another evil character of harry potter, Dolores Umbridge. Get your outfit and set rules around the office. After that you can say, ‘Just a prank, guys!’

#4  Error 404

This is a simple costume for a simple person. If you don’t like to do some makeup, buy a t-shirt and write “Error 404 – bad costume not found”.

#5  iPhone costume

iPhone has gotten the most attention due to the high price tag. While it is expensive to buy the iPhone, it is not expensive to create the costume. You only need a t-shirt or a shirt and a construction paper to create a phone’s infamous camera lenses. Print out the icons and attach them using safety pins. Voila, now you are the iPhone!

#6  Dress imitating your favourite meme

Meme has been popular as it makes people laugh and can somehow reduce stress. If you want to get a better Halloween costume recommendation, maybe you can imitate your favourite meme and dress like the meme character. 

10 Clever Ideas for Halloween Costume at Work

Image credit: allure.com

#7  Filter Make-up (costume)

Technology like Instagram, Snapchat, or other photo-sharing apps is equipped with a filter such as the rainbow face, animal face, ghost face, or fancy face. Pick one you like most.

#8  Black or blank space  

Dress in either all white or all black. Thus, you can either be a blank space or black space. Boom, another Halloween costume idea.

#9  Ghostwriter

This costume is generated from a very simple ghost emoji you usually found in your smartphone keyboard. Find an old white bed sheet, cut holes for eyes, and carry a “death note” book with a pen.

#10  Food (candy) costume

Trick-or-treat is identical with candy or food. So, why not try it. Buy some candies or snacks, find a t-shirt, and attach those foods to your t-shirt using pins.

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What’s your favourite Halloween costume idea?

Read also: Why Is It Important to Know about Politics and Taxation?

A Beginner’s Guide to Investing for College Students

College students typically love spending their allowance on watching movies, hanging out in cafes, travelling, and other entertaining activities. But if you are a student who does not belong to such spender type and love saving money, congratulations! You have come to the right reading.

Why start investing

If you ever wonder, “Why should I start investing my money at a young age? I still want to live my youth life.” The answer is pretty simple: investing can help you live your life at the fullest while saving for the future.

Let’s say you receive a US$1500 yearly allowance from your parents or you earn more than US$1000 from working part-time during the summer.

Now you choose, if you spend all the money on drinks or foods, you can have fine dining all year long. But if you can spare some money and invest them, by the time you graduate – assuming you do nothing with the initial investment, your money could double to around US$15,000 or so.

See also: 11 Important Life Lessons for New Graduates

Investing, however, never comes at no cost. There are risks and bitter chances that you might lose your money, especially when you have a little knowledge of where and how to invest as a starter. Therefore, read the following article to not get lost in your investment strategy.

How to invest money

Remember, investing money is a big decision. To get started, you must find a broker who is willing to deal with investing small amounts of money. Online media is a good and fastest place to find a broker. After you find a broker, pay attention to the commissions associated with your preferred investments. NerdWallet suggested to pay close attention to these options.

  • Individual stocks which require you to pay a per-trade commission of $4 to $7. But some brokerages also offer per-share pricing.
  • Options trades which incur the stock trade commission plus a per-contract fee. Yet, there are brokers who charge only a commission or only a contract fee.
  • Mutual funds carry internal fees called expense ratios. You can either take it or leave it by selecting a broker that offers no-transaction-fee mutual funds.
  • ETFs are like a stock and are purchased for a share price.
  • Bonds which might charge you a fee to purchase individual bonds with a minimum and maximum charge. But you can purchase bond mutual funds and ETFs at no charge by using no-transaction-fee mutual funds and commission-free ETFs.

In addition, you should be “sceptical” regarding each information you receive. Why? Because according to Andre Hallam, the author of Millionaire Teacher, only by being sceptical of nearly everything people tell you when they are giving financial advice, you will be educated enough to make a good investment decision. You should not listen to a salesperson or financial advisor who refutes or supports certain advice as well. Find an academic study, something truly impartial, Hallam wrote.

Where to invest

After understanding what investment is, it is time to find a good place to invest your money. For starters, Hallam advised that you can invest in assets that appreciate over time because currencies (except cryptocurrency) don’t rise in value. When you trade currency, there is another person on the other end of that trade that will love to see you fall.

On the contrary, investing in assets will give less risk. For instance, you and your friend traded a stock market tracking fund for as long as stay in college. Both of you will benefit from the rising value of the stock market plus dividends. Moreover, the overall stock and bond markets increase in value over time just like real estate prices.

Hence, if you want to buy an asset and begin today, here are a few recommendations where to open an account.

  1. M1 Finance

The platform allows you to invest in stocks and ETFs for free. You can also build a portfolio and invest in your portfolio for free.

  1. Robinhood

Robinhood gives the option to invest in stocks or trade option. It might be hard to use than M1 but their platform is also free. You should be informed that Robinhood does not allow fractional share investing which means without a pile of money, it will be hard for you to register to the app. However, this is one of the awesome apps out there.

  1. Fidelity

Fidelity offers some free investing options, including no minimum IRAs and commission-free ETFs. They charge commissions and have minimums for other products and services.

  1. Ally

Ally is a stockbroker that offer commission-free commission trading. They have high-quality ETFs from market leaders that might complement your portfolio and help diversify your investing strategy.

A piece of advice

Now that you know where to invest and the type of investment, it should be noted that this short information is just as a guide, the rest is that you should be more knowledgeable by surrounding yourself with those who know about investment, the real person in the area.

Here are things to consider when contacting a broker. First, because you are a college student, you might not have a million to start, therefore, find a broker who accepts a small amount of cash, for example, $50 dollar. Then, you can increase your overall capital by investing more money on a regular basis. Second, remember that your personality and available funds are two determining factors for any risk happened in future. 

Read also: Saving Money Hack: 3 Tactics You Need to Adopt Now

business taxation and politics

Politics refers to the way a country is governed and how its government makes rules and laws for the citizens. Meanwhile, taxation refers to the practice of government collecting money from citizens based on their earnings and property to pay for public services. Without taxation, a country might not have public libraries, parks, or public transport.

Politics, tax, and government can be said as the backbone of any country. The problem is, from news and updates we often learn that these three things can be the most controversial topics that put headache to people, making them ignorant with their country’s political situation or taxation issues.

See also: 7 Top Languages You Should Learn to Face Future Workforce

What about you? How important is getting updated about politics and taxation to you?

Jonathan Dolen, an online political science professor at Grantham University, said that “the subjects” might be totally not glamorous for some and people might also be apathetic toward it. Yet, there are three major reasons why you should totally care about politics. Here’s why:

Reason #1 Politics impact nearly every aspect of your life

Politics impacts nearly every aspect of life because the laws government made have a huge influence in the way we do daily activities, ranging from what the price of food material at stores, the salary we earn, to what we can purchase. By having knowledge on this topic, you can help determine the best course of action for yourself or your surroundings.

Further, by understanding politics, you will have better knowledge about taxation rules and regulations, thus, helping you prepare for the worst. For example, when the government increases the tax on a certain car, you can calculate if buying the car is worth it and suitable for your lifestyle.

Especially as an employee, said Tim Worstall, you should understand taxation better as it allows you to not be misdirected. As an example, employees constantly believe that they are responsible for paying certain tax while in reality, it is the company that is responsible to pay the tax. Therefore, to really understand how the business system works, you need to understand how taxation works.

Reason #2 Politics help you become a better voter

Having knowledge of politics helps make you an informed voter because it is important to go to the polls armed with the facts so you will not choose wrong. In addition, being an informed individual, according to Dolen, should not necessarily read and follow every news. Instead, you should do some independent research which will give you peace of mind that you have done your homework prior to casting your ballot.

Reason #3 Politics are entertaining

Some people believe that politics can be entertaining. Well, it might not be as entertaining as going out with your friends, but politics can be fun to some extent. You can stay ahead in your social status and include yourself in an insightful debate about political issues and scandal. 

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Smart “Rate-Setting” Tips for Freelancers

Note: Rate-setting is how you rate yourself in a freelance platform to make yourself stand out among other freelancers.

Why doing a freelance job?

There is no doubt that being a freelance can give you the privilege of working at your most convenient time in your most favourite place. More than that, freelance job allows you to set your own standard income and get paid immediately after completing the tasks. The key to this matter, however, is that you should set your salary expectation based on your skills and familiarity with the tasks you enrol.

See also: How to Balance Your College and Work-life When You are a Freelancer

Getting clients as a freelancer

One of the biggest obstacles of being a newbie in the gig era is to get your first client. Getting a client as a new freelancer is not easy and a frustrating situation. First, you don’t have enough testimonials to showcase your skill credibility. Second, many companies are not willing to take a chance on someone who is still green, who is very fresh to join the freelancing world. They would rather find someone who is proven to be successful before.

Smart-rating to get your first client

Thankfully, you can shoo away the headache of getting the first client as a green freelancer by boosting your rating. Laura Pennington Briggs in her book quoted that rate-setting is important for freelancers to stand above the crowd and let hirers know their position.

To set rating that can differentiate you from others but still under your control is by thinking about your overall experience and knowledge of the business market, especially the area in which you are expert in. Generally, said Laura, factors that will influence your rates are as follows:

  • Your experience in the field or the writing world
  • The technical expertise or amount of research required for the project
  • The estimated time to complete the project
  • Whether other aspects of your time, like conducting interviews, will be part of the project
  • The length of the project

Most experienced writers’ charges will depend entirely on their preference, the industry, and the client’s willingness to accept that rate. Most freelancers start their career online with hourly rates and few charges per page.

Hourly rate, nevertheless, is tricky in the freelancing world because freelancer might work longer on the project. Thus, clients are often hesitant about hiring someone who appears too slow even if the time involved is perfectly reasonable. Yet, finishing the project too fast will also get penalised. This means that an hourly rate is a good starting point for creating an estimate, but it is not something most professionals rely on over the long run.

When you have your baseline price, you have a number to begin working with. Each project will be different, and you might also wish to reward clients who are hiring you for multiple projects or who are putting you on retainer.

Another important point is, according to Laura in her book, to consider your goal with your freelance business. If it is simply for a side hustle and additional income, the hourly rate might not be as important to you as someone who is attempting to replace their full-time job.

You should also remember that not every hour you will be working is a billable one. You might spend a lot of time marketing to clients as well as time doing administrative tasks such as submitting invoices. Likewise, you probably won’t work every week of the year since you will need to take some sick time and vacation days. Therefore, adjust your rate accordingly.

Read also: A to D Tips to be a Productive Freelancer