What Job Seekers Need to Know about ATS

Nearly every Fortune 500 company and a growing number of small and mid-sized businesses filter resumes through an applicant tracking system (ATS) which will be tricky for job seekers when submitting their resumes.  

What is ATS? 

Applicant tracking system is a software widely used by companies today to keep their hiring track right as it allows an employer to collect and sort thousands of resumes. 

Why do employers use ATS? 

Back in 2008, the Great Recession hit the United States, forcing companies to conduct massive layoffs. When the situation got better, people started looking for a new job that employers were flooded with job applications. The problem was, employers found that nearly 90 percent of those applying were unqualified for the job, making it difficult for employers to sort and get the best and most qualified ones. This is where the idea of ATS created. ATS was first created for employers who demanded features that could discourage and filter out unqualified candidates in no time.

See also: Maximize Your Job Search with Matrix Decision

Applicant tracking systems then gradually come into play to help recruiters do their job right. ATS would help keep all these resumes in one place, help recruiters and employers stay organised during the recruiting process. ATS also helps employers save time by automatically surfacing and highlighting top candidates. As of today, ATS becomes a necessity for both big and small firms because it could streamline, widen recruiter’s talent pools, and save time to sort massive candidates. 

Does ATS have its drawback? 

Nothing is perfect, so is ATS. Albeit an applicant tracking system could help ease the job during the recruiting process, it has one drawback. According to a Swoop Talent survey, ATS does help hire professionals to narrow their applicant pool, but top candidates often slip through the cracks. This happens because candidates do not know the right standard resume writing for ATS, thus, they applied through a system that has less-than-optionally parsing or data management. 

How does ATS work? 

Generally, different ATS providers would operate a different system. Yet, they have similarities to collect and store resumes in a database for hiring professionals to access. In addition, resumes that are in the system might be stored long in the system before it is sorted and read by real recruiters. Then, recruiters or hiring managers would search and sort through the resumes in a number of ways, depending on the system they are using. The following is the elucidation of each ATS system. 

Automatic rankings 

Some applicant tracking systems use automatic comparison from job description to resume applicant. Based on Jobscan review, one of the best ATS that uses this system is Taleo. Taleo will rank each applicant based on how well their resume scores are based on the job description. This would surely help the recruiter focus on candidates with the best job description match. 

Keyword rankings 

Keyword rankings are very common in almost all ATS systems. As an example, if a recruiter is hiring for a General Manager Assistant, the ATS will then search and sort for “ General Manager Assistant” out of hundreds of resumes in the database. Hence, this system will save candidates who have done the exact job before and anyone that does not would only be kept in the system. 

Viewing application

Last but not least, some recruiters or hiring managers would take a glance over their ATS database to get real results. This, however, is only done by a few small- and medium-sized businesses. Commonly, recruiters would take a glance over a candidate’s past highlights, job titles, and past companies. With this quick scan, recruiters could determine whether they want to learn your resume more or not. Thus, it is important to make sure your top skills and qualifications are easily identifiable, not only for the ATS but also for the recruiter’s eyes.  

Now as you are already armed and know what and how ATS works, it will be easier for you to write better resumes for ATS. If you need more guidance, read here for more tips on how to beat ATS system and get your resume into human hands

Read also: Job Fair & Online Job Search Tips for Students and Graduates 

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 

Are You a Boring Job Applicant? 

Wake up, have breakfast, open a laptop, find a job in an online job platform, click apply, eat lunch, go out, go home, maybe open social media for a while, sleep, REPEAT. You don’t even bother to rewrite your job resume for a different job application and, probably, you use a simple bullet writing technique in your resume. If this sounds pretty much like you, please stop. Why? Because employers are not willing to hire such sluggish, effortless job seekers. 

Amanda Lannert, CEO of Jellyvision, said in an interview that the least a job seeker can do is to stop being “boring”. She explained that recruiters are often bored because people play safe. They (job seekers) commodify themselves into just a bullet-point list of skills and experience. This might look neat but it is one of the most boring things to read. 

See also: Most Important Networking Tips for Jobseekers

Here are other reasons why you can be a boring job applicant. You better avoid it! 

You do nothing besides job search 

It is understandable that you want to get a job as soon as possible, but sitting in front of your computer or smartphone all day searching for a job is a big no-no. Why? During an interview, you are going to be asked about your experience. While you can demonstrate that you are active leaders during your university, what will you answer when a recruiter asks, “What do you do in the meantime of your job search”? 

Therefore, go out. Talk to real people. Expand your circle and connection. Having meaningful activities during a job search can help you have an interesting discussion during your interview session which might catch recruiter’s attention and intention of hiring you. 

You focus too much on writing a boring resume

Crafting an interesting resume is important, especially if you know that the company you are applying to uses Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Resume with the right format and keywords will do the job. However, your resume can only contain your work experience, education, skills, or achievements – which tells so little about you, as a person. 

In this case, Lannert advised you to focus on the cover letter and not resume. There is nothing more refreshing than seeing someone who takes a chance to be incredibly human in cover letter or an outreach, to put themselves forward, she added. This will definitely catch recruiter’s attention as companies today need more empathetic and down-to-earth people. 

Tips: Use your own language. Use words that are not stiff or business jargon-y, especially words you usually find in the google site template. 

You do not go the extra mile 

Your cover letter and resume are top-notch so you are offered a job interview. You prepare for the interview and write some questions you want to ask a recruiter. However, during the interview, you are too focused on “selling” and “telling”. 

Telling and selling your skills are good, but showing them is extraordinary. Seeing your effort in preparing a presentation of how valuable your skills are or how great your ideas will improve the company’s business will be more appreciated. Besides, people are more convinced when you show them, instead of just telling them. 

Read also: 15 Minutes Before Interview : Absolutely Important For Job seekers!

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 Discuss a Gap Year in an Interview  

Some graduates who are not ready to start their career journey often choose to take a year off for various reasons such as to do volunteer work, to travel, to self-reflect, or to discover one’s interests. While taking a gap year is beneficial for self-growth, some people might think that having such gap will not look great on CVs and make it hard for them to be employed.

What about you? Are you interested in taking a gap year? If yes, let’s learn employers’ actual response when knowing a “gap-hole” in a candidate’s CV. 

According to Basecamp article, taking a gap year will not make you look bad in recruiter’s eyes. Why? Because what really counts is what you did during that year off. Albeit some employers might not pick candidates that have “year-hole” in their CV, some others really appreciate you for giving yourself time to discover what really matters for you. Likewise, the tight talent gap in the future will also make employers think that a gap year is not really a problem at all. 

See also: How to Get Your Resume Passed by the Robots & Into Recruiter Hands

One thing that you should note is to tell relevant reasons for taking a gap year that will help you land the job. Here’s how you could discuss the gap year in your resume with a prospective employer.    

Tell only the relevant activities 

An interviewer does not really care what you do in a gap year, whether you have just visited the Taj Mahal or the Great Wall. An interviewer does care, however, whether your gap year has helped you stay relevant in your job application or not. What does it mean? It means before telling your holiday story to the interviewer, sort out some that are relevant to your job application. In a year, you must have done more than just travelling. For example, you can share what you have learnt from reading books about finance, teaching English, or coding for your personal web. 

There is at least one meaningful relevant thing you do in the year around that can make you stand out even after one year off. 

Tell your reasons 

Recruiters might be wondering why you choose taking year gap instead of taking certain training or extended courses. You might have many reasons why you do so. But among those many reasons, recruiters expect you to say something beneficial that help you with your career choice. That said, relevant reasons such are gaining skills as an individual, achieving language fluency by travelling, increasing job satisfaction, or creating better life balance and wellbeing might be appreciated more. 

Emphasise yourself as an awe-inspiring individual

At the end of the question, emphasise an astounding event that helps shape yourself as an individual and why that event is helpful in your job. To do this, you need to be able to explain in your job interview what a gap year really is, what you did, and how it benefits the employer. Do tell what skills and characteristics you developed that translate to the job and to you being a superior employee. 

Be confident 

This is the one trait you should have when giving an explanation. But keep in mind to not be over-confident with your answer. Overconfidence can make you give exaggerated answers, leading recruiter to question your credibility. 

Read also: Ask These Questions to Yourself BEFORE Joining the Workforce 

Phrases to not say at work

Workplace should never tolerate racism, harassment, or any negative behaviour traits, be it in physical or oral form because the consequences will not only affect employees’ morale but also the company’s image. However, this principle might not be easier said than done when the very place you want to scream over tough project and difficult teammates is in the office. It is not easy to always control emotions in a work setting when we are too tired or too happy.

To prevent you from saying pointless and even harsh things, you need to avoid these unethical phrases when at work, during a meeting, or conversation with colleagues. 

“This is boring” 

It is exhausting to sit for a long hour during meetings, especially in a meeting that “seems” like a waste of time. When you’re stuck in such a situation, never complain or say things like “this is boring” – either loudly or quietly to colleagues. Don’t also murmur those words by yourself. If you do that, your boss might think that you are unable to stay committed and focus on certain things. 

Instead of saying phrases similar to “this is boring”, you can talk to your manager the next day or after the meeting about how you feel. Tell him that while the meeting is necessary, it took too long that it ended up interrupting everyone from working. If your boss is a good leader, he will listen to your feedback and do something about it. 

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

“I was doing this and that and … during my weekend” 

Sharing is caring but this does not apply when your boss or HR ask you the question “what did you do on the weekends or holidays?”. Revealing too much about what you did on your personal time could be a boomerang in the future. Even if you do productive things, revealing too much to your employers and coworkers might not be good for your work-life balance. Therefore, you can say one or two things about your personal matter but don’t go into details. To make it more polite, you need to thank your boss or HR for asking about your weekend. 

“It is not my fault” 

Having a job means you are ready for every responsibility that awaits you. Although certain task might not be under your liability, sometimes you are required to take responsibility for it. When your boss comes asking you about a project, never say “it is not my job to take”. Or, when your manager asks you to revise something that is not under your job desc, don’t say “it is not my fault so I won’t do it”. This indicates that you are blaming other people and are hostile or defensive. This can be bad for your personal image.

Instead of saying such things and making yourself look childish and irresponsible, you can tell your boss that you can help take a look at the project and revise it. Yet, when your plate is full already, you can ask your boss for an extended time to do the most important thing first. Alternatively, you can discuss the project with the person who did it but of course, acknowledge your manager first about it. 

“Thanks, hon”

This line is a little bit of a grey line. Calling someone with “baby or honey” will make it look offensive and even sexist. Especially in a workplace where people of diversity work together, these words might be interpreted differently. Remember, how you speak and communicate can change the workplace and work relationship flow. So, be careful with how you call your teammates and bosses. 

“Are you sure you can do this with your condition right now? 

When you ask the question to a coworker after medical treatment, it might sound caring. Yet, never throw the question to employees with disabilities or ill-body. This could mean you are underestimating them. Don’t say phrases that indicate racism or harassment such as “because you are black/Asian/white/having slanted eyes, you have no friends here”, or “You cannot do that with that body” as well. 

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

question to ask yourself

Nearly every recruiter (99.4 percent) will be recruiting on campus, according to Nace survey. From the job outlook, recruiters are open to hiring graduates or experienced employees. They also focus on hiring both full-time and intern. 

Are you ready for the workforce, then? 

Well, no one feels 100 percent ready for what’s coming next, especially when it is something new. After years of studying in college, it is time for you to put your knowledge into practice and step into the working world either becoming a full-time, intern or self-employed worker. The problem is, facing a new environment with endless possibilities can make the job search unnerving, maybe even overwhelming. 

When such feeling happens, you should keep one thing in perspective in order to follow the light: know thyself. In search of jobs, you must understand what you truly desire so you don’t have to deal with a job you actually hate. Just like an old saying, “Do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”

In preparing yourself to commence a career journey, ask these vital questions to yourself first. Think about the answers sincerely and most importantly, follow your gut feelings. 

Quest #1  Do you have a plan? 

Be it weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly planning, do you have it? If no, make one now. The plan is your first leap to a successful career and life as having a plan helps lead you to something that you hope for a.k.a your goals. For example, if you expect to land a job in the same year of graduation, then you need to include resume crafting as well as skill development in your plan. If your goal is to be fit all day, your plan can include a healthy diet and exercise. Whatever it is, planning is a good way to help you focus and stay out of procrastination. 

Yet, don’t rely on those plans too much. Life always offers a fun way of teaching us a lesson, therefore, be flexible with your plan. 

Quest #2  Where do you want to work? 

This could be included in your plan but more specific. When applying for your first job, there is a lot of things you should consider. For example, do you prefer to work with actual coworkers or alone in your comfort? Do you want a traditional work hour or manage your own schedule? In terms of office environment, do you want to work in an open office or a cubicle setting? 

All the considerations can determine how you want to live your life as when you are working, most of your time will be spent there. Picture your ideal workplace or employer. When you are done, write down the things that are most important to help you bring the job search into focus. 

Quest #3  How is your online presence? 

Undeniably, technology has helped a recruiter to be more cautious about the candidates they choose. Today, nearly every recruiter (60 percent) won’t only look at your physical resume, but also your online presence such as in social media. That said, your social media can determine whether you will be accepted in the company you wish to work for or not. 

So, is your social media clean from negative posts? How about your comments and shared media? You can start fixing your social media feeds from today, search for the work culture of your dream employers and start posting something that aligns with their work culture. This will likely boost the chance of getting a job offer. 

Quest #4  Does your targeted employer match with your personal values? 

Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or organisation. Core values dictate behaviour and can help an individual understand the difference between right and wrong. In an organisation, core values help companies determine if they are on the right path and achieving their goals by creating an unwavering guide. Core values also determine how companies do what they do to achieve success. 

When your core values and your targeted company’s core values align, harmony can easily be created. When harmony exists, engagement and productivity tend to rise. On the contrary, when core values clash, you will be an unhappy and disgruntled employee. Needless to say, you might not be the prospective candidate that the recruiter looks for. 

Hopefully, those questions guide you to get the right and a perfect job you always dream of. Good luck!

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

How to Build Successful Remote Career 

Many individuals, maybe including you, would agree that an option to work remote is a big yes when it comes to achieving better work-life balance. When you have good time management, building a remote career would give a huge advantage as you can travel to places you love without having to ask permission from supervisors. Working remote also ensures satisfaction in life because you can say goodbye to boring office routine and everyday cubicle office view. 

Unfortunately, working remote is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are times when working remotely would make you feel excluded from the team. You get less face-to-face time with coworkers, are unable to get an after-work connection with the in-house team, or are unable to meet the C-Suite directly to discuss important things. 

See also: Think Twice: Are You Ready to be a Remote Worker?

That being said, a remote career can be both fun and challenging. Yet, if you are keen to build a career as a remote worker, here are four tips you can take. Afterall, doing what you love can turn difficulty into an opportunity. Good luck! 

Success remote career starts with a remote-first company 

Remote-first company is an industry that allows and supports its employees to work remotely – meaning that an employer is a determiner in your successful remote career. A study from HBR showed that it is easy for remote workers to feel left out if they don’t work for a company that has taken measures to build trust and connection between their on-site and remote employees. Therefore, as a first step, choose employers that best support remote workers. Appen and Lionbridge rank first and second in the top 100 best companies with remote jobs in 2019 as per FlexJobs survey

Stay connected with the in-house team 

Time gap often becomes a great barrier for remote employees, especially when they live in different time zones. When it is noon in your place, it can be early morning or night in the headquarter company. Hence, real-time communication might be hard to achieve. Yet, it should not be your reason to give up. 

For that reason, you need to have effective verbal and written communication skills. This skill can help you gain trust and transparency. Writing, in this case, is the utmost importance because an in-house team often cannot be contacted face-to-face or on-call due to time gap or a different schedule. That said, it is essential to be a great writer when walking a remote career path. 

Use the time challenges for a solution 

Albeit the time zone is a huge challenge, if you can use it wisely, it can be an opportunity to show your skills. You can use the different time creatively to solve problems when everyone is asleep and you are the only one awake. 

Constantly improve yourself 

Another thing to successfully working remotely is to use the advantage of working away from the cubicle office to stay up to date with a different point of view that can shape your creativity in both personal and professional perspective. As you are out of the office routine, you can always have more time to expand your knowledge. You have the power and flexibility to do your best deep work, invest in your career growth, and build meaningful professional relationships with people and professionals around you. 

Read also: Difference between Remote Work and Telecommuting

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. 

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