Author Archives: Katie

Helpful Encouragement for the Class of 2009

Unemployment may be at a 25-year high but there is still hope for the soon graduating college students! NY Times recently wrote an article titled “All is Not Lost for the Class of 2009” giving the class positive encouragement on finding a job in today’s economy:

The first thing that is so important for college job seekers is to adjust your expectations on your first job. This includes the pay, the location, and the job description. If your a public relations major, you don’t have to work for a public relations firm. Look for jobs in company communication departments or non-profits and apply for jobs that need any kind of communication background.

Use the big job board sites to search for job listings and try ones that are focused on recent graduates like Collegerecruiter.com. Also check the corporate and big business website to check their own personal job listings.

Another great suggestion the article makes is to look for unpaid work that you can do to gain experience and connections. Contact organizations and non-profits and ask if you can work an unpaid entry-level position. Hopefully you can impress them enough that they will want to hire you for the long run, or at least you will learn alot in your field and make vital industry connections.

You can use social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to find job leads, as long as you use them correctly. Do not use your Facebook as a networking tool if you have pictures of you out drinking with your friends and other inappropriate information on your profile. Use Twitter to follow people in your industry and companies you might be interested in. Sometimes they might post some job openings or useful information for you. Also use LinkedIn to introduce yourself to an employee in your industry. Message them and see if they would be interested to meet you for a quick information session. Do not ask or show interest in looking for a job in the company, make sure it is stricktly for information.

Lastly, being forced to work for a restaurant or retail store in order to pay your bills while you are job searching is totally OK. These jobs on your resume might even help you land your desired career because they show you have experience and certain skills that might be desirable to your employer. So don’t be afraid to work at Starbucks while your trying to find that yearly salary job you need and want!

So don’t give up Class of 2009! We can do it!

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Stand Out in the Croud by “Double-Hitting”

Want a way to get your name to stand out amongst the hundreds of other job seekers?

The concept is referred to as “Double-hitting,” which was first referred to in a New York Times article titled “A Cover Letter is Not Expendable.” Liz Wolgemuth from U.S News’ The Inside Job also reports on this concept.

First send your resume and cover letter through email, then send in a hard copy a few days later. This presents your name from getting lost among all the other applicants. The New York Times article also mentioned attaching a hand-written note to the hard copy you send in saying “Second submission; I’m very interested.” You could even take the hard copy personally in to the company and tell them you also submitted your resume and cover letter online.

This tactic has been known to double your chances of getting an interview because the company can see the job seeker’s persistence and extreme interest in the job. Don’t be afraid to use your creativity and make that extra effort while your applying for jobs!

Choosing the Right Law School

Whether you are currently applying for law school or have already applied and are receiving your admission letters, you need to make the important decision on which law school is right for you. The first step to choosing that law school is to know what you are looking for and what personal and professional needs the law school needs to meet for you.

The main factors you should consider about every law school includes:

1) Reputation: The information provided on the school’s website is going to be biased, so try looking at other sites that come up when you type the school’s name into Google.

2) Bar passage rates: The bar passages rates should be high (in the 80-90% range at least).

3) Cost: Law schools can range from only $15,000 a year to $50,000 a year. Know what your price range is before you even apply.

4) Size: Law school class sizes range from 100 to 300 students.

5) Curriculum and programs of study: You may not have an idea of what type of law you want to focus on, so research what each law schools offers. Also make sure you have the freedom to take a variety of different classes to find what your law interest is.

6) Schedule for classes: Most law schools offer part-time, full-time and day or evening classes. You need to decide which schedule fits you the best and apply to schools that offer that option.

7) Location: Are you a city person or enjoy living in a more suburban area? Decide what your preference is and research the addresses of the schools. Also research the housing options in the area as well as the cost of living.

8) Competitiveness level: Do you like extremely competitive environments? Sometimes fellow classmates are highly competitive over grades, etc., but this is not always the case.

9) Organizations and activities: Law school isn’t just about going to your classes. If you are one of those people who enjoys keeping busy and being involved in various organizations, look for schools that offer lots of options that interest you. A well-rounded law student attends a school that has several options for work and other social and professional organizations you can join.

10) Professor-student relationships: A reasonable professor-to-student ratio is crucial in law school. Having professors that have the time to provide you extra help is extremely valuable. You also want to make sure the professors and students have close, personable relationships.

11) Career planning facilities: Every law school should have a career planning office that helps you find your summer jobs and future career after you graduate. It’s important that they can provide you with all the assistance you need.

When researching law schools, the information needed to make your decisions can be found through various websites and books. US News and The Princeton Review are the most credible providers of such information. You can search their websites or purchase one of their law school ranking books from any local bookstore.

Ten Best Cities for Recent Graduates

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After you graduate from college, one of your biggest concerns is where you’re going to live. Are you going to look for jobs or go to grad school in another state? Somewhere cross-country? There are so many considerations and options that need to be factored into this decision. To help recent grads with this big decision, fellow blog site Gradspot.com just named their top 10 cities for recent graduates:

#10 Atlanta, Georgia

#9 Los Angeles, California

#8 Denver, Colorado

#7 Houston, Texas

#6 Boston, Massachusetts

#5 Seattle, Washington

#4 Washington, D.C.

#3 San Francisco, California

#2 New York, New York

#1 Chicago, Illinois

Check out why these cities were ranked top 10 here, http://tinyurl.com/csc68o.

Beyond FAFSA

Still feeling overwhelmed about finding the financial aid you need for graduate school?

After reading Ashley’s informative post about filling out your FAFSA for federal loans, I wanted to explore the other financial aid options out there beyond the general Stafford federal loan.

After filing your FAFSA, hopefully you will be eligible for Stafford loans from the federal government. For this to occur, the FAFSA needs to show that you are expected to contribute very little to nothing toward your graduate school education. The federal government caps graduate student Staffords at $20,500 a year and $138,500 over a lifetime (usnews.com). But for most students, particularly going to law or medical school, this is not enough money for a poor twenty-something who just graduated from college to live off of for at least 3 years.

The U.S. News & World Report gives valuable advice on financial aid options for graduate school:

Perkins loans are the cheapest federal education loan for students with low incomes, with graduate students qualifying to get up to $8,000 a year at only a 5% interest rate that doesn’t start until after you’ve finished school. Unfortunately, these loans are only given through the schools. Subsidized Stafford loans also do not charge students interest while they are in school. After you max out your Perkins and Stafford loans, you can borrow money from the PLUS program. This program provides financial aid for tuition and transportation and basic living expenses, but be warned of high interest rates.

Beyond federal financial aid, there are other smaller options to collect money for graduate school:

1) Tax benefits

If you have some sort of income, the government may give you a tax credit or tax deduction for education expenses. You can qualify for the full credit of $2,000 if your income is under $43,000 or half credit if your income is under $53,000. You could also file for a tax deduction for up to $4,000 for tuition if you make under $65,000. Unfortunately you cannot take both the tax credit and deduction.

2) Help from an employer

Thinking about finding a job and then going to graduate school? Let your employer pay for it! Many employers will offer tuition benefits if your graduate degree will strengthen your job performance. The only catch is most employers require you to take job-related courses so make sure your job is something you are interested in pursuing further!

3) Need-based grants or scholarships:

Use your undergraduate school resources! Visit your financial aid office and career development office for information about scholarships and need-based grant options. In order to be considered for need-based grants from your graduate school, you need to complete and file your FAFSA by the end of January. Some companies and non-profits provide grants or scholarship information as well. Here is a list of some scholarship websites that could provide options that are available to you specifically.

For more information on your options for financial aid, visit the U.S. Department of News education website at http://www.usnews.com/sections/business/paying-for-graduate-school/index.html.

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