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Adulting Other Transition

How to Manage Bills as a College Student

December 30, 2021

College can be a challenging time for students, but it doesn’t need to be stressful.

College students often struggle to manage their money and pay their bills on time as they move to this new chapter in their life. We are here to help you learn what you need to know about managing your finances as a college student.

Take Note of Every Expense

The first step in budgeting your money is to figure out what your monthly expenses will be.

You will have to pay for housing, utilities, phone service, internet access, and food while you are in college – it’s just the way things work! While different students have different living arrangements, most students will need to pay for these things. You may also need to consider the costs of transportation, textbooks, and other school supplies. Also, don’t forget the costs of any extracurricular activities or hobbies you want to pursue, like joining a club or participating in intramural sports.

From Netflix to the water bill, write down every single monthly expense you have. The more you know about how much all these things cost each month, the better prepared you can be for managing your money.

Begin with Your Fixed Costs

The first type of expense in factor into your budget are the ones that don’t change, or changes very little from month to month. This can include any bills you pay that are not negotiable (meaning the payment cannot be negotiated by a credit card, check, or cash, such as rent payments and car insurance premiums. These are important to remember and can serve as the foundation of your monthly budget.

List your Flexible Expenses

The next step is to determine your variable expenses – these are the monthly bills that change from month to month depending on how much you use. Common examples include utilities, groceries, transportation or gas, and even some cell phone plans. It can be very easy to go over budget with these types of expenses and is crucial that you pay attention to how much you are spending each month.

Plan on Unexpected Expenses

Life happens and you can’t always plan. One thing you should plan for is unexpected expenses, like car repairs or doctor visits. You can do this by setting aside a small amount each month (e.g., $20) in an emergency fund using your checking account. Another way to help the unexpected is to set aside money each month in to a savings account. This can be used for unexpected things you may need, or want, such as trips or a going out to eat that you did not account for in your budget.

Once you have paid all of your bills and set aside this monthly emergency fund, you have reached the end of your spending plan for each month. The amount left over in your checking account is yours to do with as you see fit!

What if money is too tight?

In some situations, budgeting may be difficult and you may not have enough money. If this is the case, it’s important to figure things out as soon as possible – don’t wait until your bills become overdue!

If you need more income to cover expenses, look into getting a job or increasing your hours at work. If you have to cut spending, start with the things that are not as important such as eating out or shopping.

However, attending college is often a full-time job in and of itself. On top of that, it’s important for you as a student to have a healthy amount of free time and disposable income for entertainment and leisure in order to manage the stress of college.

If you have your basic budget under control but need a little leeway for leisure and unexpected expenses, there are plenty of credit cards designed specifically for college students that will help take the pressure off. Just make sure to do your research and compare cards before signing on!

Conclusion

At the end of the day, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of expenses you have as a college student. However, if you take an organized approach and write down each expense before it becomes due, managing your money should become much easier.

Author Bio

Colin Crown is a contributing writer and media specialist for Compare Credit. He is an avid foodie, marketing enthusiast and loves the city of Memphis.

Adulting Career Transition

5 Important Things to Know After Graduating From College

December 22, 2021

There are plenty of things you could do after getting your college degree. You can jump right in and immediately work or you could take a gap year. The important thing is you get to do what you want at that moment and you get to pace yourself so that you can decide on which path to take.

Here are some important things you need to know after graduating from college.

It’s okay to take your time

You are in a new chapter of your life. If you think you can afford to take a break in the meantime, go and get it. It’s better to face this new phase with a clear mind so you can decide better. Taking your time is not just about taking road trips or slacking off. You can also do other hobbies you have put off when you were studying. You can do anything that puts you at peace. You can also revisit your previous passions because these are often sources of inspiration.

Consider this as some sort of rehabilitation instead of slacking off. The time you invest for your inner peace is never a waste of time. 

Plan for the future that best suits you

You can also do this time to reevaluate your plans. You could have planned everything while you were studying, but there are always new things to consider at a different time. For instance, you can consider the economy, the industry that you are into, and many more.

It is also a time to consider other factors in your life:

  • Do you have someone with you?
  • What’s your current financial situation?
  • Do you still have student loans?
  • Are you willing to relocate for a job?

There are a lot of factors to consider but more importantly, you have to choose what you think is best for YOU, and not for anybody else. 

Consider your location

This is an important factor to consider after graduating from college. Does your industry have demands in your area? Will you be able to get your dream job in your current location? Does your paycheck cover your expenses? How much does it cost to live in your current area?

It is important to consider these things because you are now in charge of your life. Some people may have been considering this even when they are studying, but some people do start being independent only right after they graduated college. Either way, it is important to consider these things. For instance, if you are in the health or logistics industry, Jacksonville, Florida could be a great place for you because of such high demand in these industries.

It would be great if you are already living in the area. But if not, you should plan your move ahead to avoid inconveniences. To continue the scenario, if you are in the health or logistics industry and you are considering moving to Jacksonville, Florida because of the demand, book yourself some local movers for a more convenient move.

Stop comparing your current state with others

One of the things that could always hold you back is comparing yourself with others, especially to the ones in your age bracket. Please remember that everybody moves at their own pace. Not everybody has the same timeline. It could be discouraging to compare your struggles, or even successes, with others. Focus on yourself and be reminded that the only person you need to compare yourself with is the old you — not somebody else.

It’s okay to get help

Don’t be discouraged to get help, whether it is from friends, family, or the government. Some people could ask for temporary financial support from their families while they continue to look for a job and thats okay as long as the family is supportive. Other than financial support, you could also ask for emotional support from your friends and loved ones. Words of encouragement could go a long way for some people and be a source of inspiration or strength to push on.

But on a more practical note, you can also ask the government for help. For instance, there are tools such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and USAJOBS that could help you gather data on the career path you are trying to take and connect you with employers in your chosen industry.

Don’t worry about not figuring anything out yet, you’re not alone in this!

Other Transition

Wrapping Up Classes Before Graduation: 5 Tips to Help You Now and Later

December 14, 2021

It’s the last semester of your undergrad career; congratulations! Soon you’ll be free of homework, essays, required readings, and tests. But not so fast. You may be painfully close to that finish line, but you haven’t crossed it yet, and it’s important to end your college career strong. So as you’re wrapping up your classes this semester, be sure to follow these tips:

1.  Tie Up Loose Ends
You might be wrapped up with finals and term papers at the moment, but don’t forget about anything that’s been lingering on your to-do list for a while. If you’re unsure about your grade for a particular class, ask what your current standing is. If you know you haven’t done well, try bargaining for some extra credit assignments, or see if you can get any points for turning in missing assignments late. Do what you can to get your workload and assignments squared away for your classes. Your grades can only improve, and you’ll be glad about that later!

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Adulting Transition

A College Student’s Guide to Car Insurance

December 10, 2021

When you leave home for the first time and head off to college, oftentimes you are faced with new challenges. Car insurance may be one of them, but it doesn’t have to be! We’ve done the research for you so you know what top three things to keep in mind when it comes to car insurance for college students. 

Avoid High Rates for Inexperienced Drivers

Rates are a large contributing factor when deciding which company to get coverage through. Your parents may think to remove you from their policy while you are away from college because you may not have a vehicle on campus with you. But something to keep in mind when you are looking for coverage is that adults ages 18-25 have rates almost $4,000 over the national average because they are considered high-risk drivers. 

Having your own insurance policy can be more expensive for students and if your parents decide to remove you from their policy. It may also result in you having a gap in coverage that will most likely increase your premium when you do acquire car insurance down the line. Talk to your parents or their current insurance provider to find out what option is best for you. 

Keeping Your Premium Low 

Although discounts are great, they aren’t guaranteed with every insurance company. After age 25 once many people have gained more experience driving, car insurance rates start to drop. The best way to ensure you can benefit from those rate decreases is by practicing safe driving habits while you are still young to be eligible for a good driver discount. Some providers have devices or apps to use while driving that track your good driving habits and offer steep discounts for regular use.

Now that you have shown the car insurance company that you’re a safe, responsible driver, you may be tempted to buy a luxury vehicle. Because expensive cars are more costly to repair in the event of an accident, they can be difficult to insure and have a much higher premium. If you want to keep your insurance cost down, buying a fancy car isn’t the way to go. Stick to something reliable, and maybe even slightly used, to keep more money in your wallet. 

Student Discounts

When you are looking for a policy that fits your needs, you will want to inquire about any discounts they may offer. You may have heard about a good student discount which can take anywhere from 10 to 15% off your premium, however you will need to reach out to your provider to find out exactly what they offer. In addition to just being enrolled as a student, they may provide some additional discounts such as:

  • Good grades: Depending on your insurance company, the qualifications may be different such as needing all A’s or simply a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • High standardized test scores: Show your insurance company your test scores on the SAT, ACT, or PSAT.
  • An administrator signed letter supporting your academic successes
  • Making the Dean’s list
  • Having your Associate degree or Bachelor’s degree
  • Military discount: Active duty or veteran 
  • Being a sorority, fraternity, and honors society member
  • University and alumni discounts

You will likely need to provide proof to your insurance companies to qualify for these discounts.  These discounts can still apply either on your own policy or if you are still covered under a parent’s policy.

Bonus: Distant college student discount

Here is another great reason to stay on your parent’s policy while in college: If you attend college out of state, they may be eligible for a discount!

It is called the “distant college student discount” or “the student away at school discount.” You may be able to receive this offer if you attend a university that is over 100 miles away from your parents home and you don’t have a vehicle of your own. 

The only catch: you must be away at college and cannot have a car with you for your parents to receive this discount.

Final Thoughts

One of the most important things to keep in mind while weighing your car insurance options is to shop around. Whether you have your own policy or you stay on a parent’s, get quotes and pricing options from other companies to see if you are able to get the same exact coverage for less. Some companies offer better rates based on if you pay directly through your bank account or annually, rather than monthly. Shop around and make it a challenge with yourself to find the best rate for you!

Safety Student Life Transition

Finding Your First College Apartment: A Checklist

November 29, 2021

For many young people, moving into an off-campus college apartment is an exciting first step to independence. But before you can enjoy your newfound freedom, you have to find a suitable apartment and arrange the move.

Here’s our college apartment checklist to help make the process easier.

Finding the Right Apartment

Students need to consider more than just price and location when looking for a college apartment. You should also consider:

Distance

How close to campus do you want to be? If you have your own transportation, you could expand your search to neighborhoods further away, where you may find a better apartment at a lower price. 

Safety

If you will be walking or biking to and from campus, safety should be a top concern. How safe is the neighborhood and what security features does the apartment complex have?

College community

If you want to be part of the student social scene, then an apartment near campus would probably be ideal. If, however, you would prefer less social distractions, choose a quieter neighborhood.

Amenities

What type of amenities would make your life easier — laundry facilities, communal areas like pools or gyms, or nearby restaurants and shops?

Access to public transportation

If you don’t have your own transportation, find an apartment close to public transit so it’s easy to get around.

Pets

Would you like to bring your pet? Not all apartments allow pets and those that do are likely to have some rules around pets. In addition, you may want to look into getting renters insurance that covers pet-related incidents. Note that some policies restrict certain types of breeds, like Pit Bull Terriers and German Shepherds. 

Planning Your Finances 

You may dream of a trendy studio apartment in the heart of the city, but your budget may relegate you to a more affordable option a little farther away. Finances play a big role in where you eventually settle. But with some planning, you may be able to find a happy medium. 

First, crunch the numbers:

  • What is your budget for rent?
  • Are utilities included in the rent? 
  • Will you be paying extra for a parking bay or garage?
  • How much will your public transportation or vehicle running costs amount to? 
  • Will you be paying for car and renters insurance?

If the total costs are higher than your budget allows, there are ways you can make renting a college apartment more affordable.

  • Consider a roommate. This is a great way to cut costs, but choose wisely. Pick a roommate with a similar lifestyle and habits. Remember, a bad roommate who breaks the rules could get you kicked out of the apartment. 
  • Get a part-time job. You may not even need to leave your apartment — there are online jobs for students like freelance copywriting or teaching English online.  

Preparing to Move 

Once you’ve found the right apartment, it’s time to pack. The easiest way to do it is to pack by room, i.e. kitchen, bathroom, living room, office/study area. Label boxes clearly so that the movers can immediately put the boxes in the correct room, ready for you to unpack.  

Moving Day

Moving homes is one of life’s most stressful events. With a little planning and forethought, you can breeze through it.

  • Decide on whether to move yourself or hire a moving company. Weigh up cost-saving versus time-saving. Hiring a moving company is an extra cost but it may save time and be more convenient. There are also moving companies who specialize in helping students move at more affordable rates.
  • If you’ve decided to tackle the move yourself, gather some troops to help with the heavy lifting. Mom, dad and friends may be happy to help. As a thank you, treat them to some snacks and drinks in an end-of-moving-day party.
  • Be prepared emotionally. Moving day can be emotional, not just for your parents, but also for you. Don’t worry, though, mom and dad will always be a phone call away when you need them! 

Moving day doesn’t have to be stressful. Keep these tips in mind for a smooth move!

Career Transition

Dealing With Age Diversity in the Workplace at Your First Post-Grad Job

November 15, 2021

Congratulations! You’ve graduated college and you’re ready to settle down into your first post-graduation job.

You’re probably a bit nervous, which is understandable. You know there’s a lot to learn, and you’re going to encounter people with more experience than you. What might surprise you on your first day, though, is the variety of ages.

Many new graduates don’t think about age diversity at work. Up until now, anyone you worked with or went to school with was similar in age. Anyone older tended to be a boss or professor.

Not anymore. Now you’re going to have peers that are decades older than you — and you might even manage someone who is your senior. How can you navigate this in your first job? Here are some tips.

Build a Strong Relationship With HR

Many professionals think of HR as “where they go when they’re in trouble,” like the principal’s office, but that’s far from the case. The human resources department can help you with various important issues when you start your first job.

For example, HR is where you set up your benefits and ask questions about health insurance, retirement accounts, and other employee perks. A good HR manager can also help you navigate the different generations of employees that surround you.

There’s no reason to be intimidated by older employees or to disregard their ideas as outdated. Instead, respect them as peers and learn from them while communicating your expertise as well.

Know the Different Generations

Because you’ve been surrounded by your own generation your entire life until now, it can be a bit challenging to understand how other generations see the world. Of course, memes and jokes on social media don’t help, either!

Baby boomers were born between 1945 and 1964. They have a strong work ethic but didn’t grow up with access to a lot of technology. They tend to stay in one job for a long time, and they prefer face-to-face communication.

Generation X was born between 1965 and 1980. This generation is financially responsible and hard-working. They are often comfortable working with technology but also do well in person. Generation X workers look for flexibility in their work environment.

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996. They joined the workforce during difficult economic times, so they have a looser view of long-term careers. They’re comfortable with digital communication and are quick to join social networks. Millennials look for a deeper purpose in their work, along with opportunities for advancement.

Finally, there’s Generation Z. That’s you! Born between 1997 and 2012, these folks are just entering the workforce. Gen Z are digital natives and concerned with financial debt. At work, they look for flexible working arrangements, social opportunities, and career development.

As you meet your coworkers, pay attention to what generation they’re in and how that might shape their outlook on work as well as their goals. For example, baby boomers and Millennials are very different in their approaches!

Take Advantage of the Diversity Around You

Working side-by-side with different generations may be a bit scary at first, but the truth is that it’s a huge benefit for your career. There’s a lot of wisdom in people who are older — and younger — than you are.

Make sure you learn to communicate professionally with everyone and consider their perspective, life experiences, and goals. When you do, you’ll find that other generations are happy to accept you and learn from you as well!

BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

Student Life Transition

8 Ways to Pay for College

November 8, 2021

Attending a college or university can be a great way to open up new doors in your life. You can make professional connections, explore different career paths and nurture your personal interests all on a single campus. A big problem many students face today, though, is paying for college. As costs continue to rise students find themselves scrambling to cover tuition and fees so they continue working toward their dream. If this sounds like you, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to pay for school so you can enjoy your classes without worrying about tuition.

Fill Out FAFSA

This is the free application for federal student aid. It’s the federal government’s way of assessing your needs and seeing what it can do to help. Universities and colleges use the information in this form to determine what types of funding you might be eligible for. Things like scholarships, grants and student loans are all determined by your FAFSA. The form is filled out per school year and needs to be renewed each year.

Find Scholarships

Almost every higher education institution offers its own scholarships, both campus-wide and departmental. These are also the scholarships that everyone else at your school will be applying for. They’re great to get in on or be awarded, but they’re by no means the end of your scholarship opportunities. Plenty of national organizations and large companies offer their own scholarships to college students. Start searching early and you’re likely to find a treasure trove of alternative scholarships that can help you pay for school. 

Apply for Grants

Grants, like scholarships, are another type of funding that you don’t have to pay back. There are federal and state grants that you’ll be considered for through filling out your FAFSA. The most popular type of grant is a federal Pell grant, which can cover a significant amount of tuition for qualifying students. States have a variety of grants for certain types of students as well, such as Louisiana’s Go Grant for low-income students returning to school.

Get a Work-Study Job

Plenty of students work their way through school, but some lucky ones get to work at their school. Work-study jobs are especially helpful because they often come with some type of tuition remission or exemption (in extremely lucky scenarios). The university or college pays you to hold a position on its staff and as an added bonus it also discounts your tuition. These jobs are typically offered through certain departments, so check with your school to see which areas offer work-study jobs.

Tapping into Your Savings

No one wants to pay out of pocket for their education, but sometimes it’s a reality you have to face. Saving for college throughout high school or in the years before you plan to attend can help you satisfy tuition requirements without having to work extra shifts and worry about missing a payment. A good rule of thumb is to have two years’ worth of tuition and fees saved before you start and a solid savings plan to keep yourself funded throughout your education. 

Choosing an Affordable School

Wouldn’t everyone love to attend an Ivy League school? Although your dream school might have the best program in the country or be in a beautiful area, college is also a time where you have to get real about your financial ability. Setting your sights on a school that’s above your budget will likely set you up for disappointment. Choose a school that’s affordable on its own and also offers lots of funding opportunities. If your state offers scholarships for in-state students, look at schools that honor those programs. Some universities even have legacy scholarships available for students whose parents and grandparents attended as well.

Paying for college can seem impossible, but there are lots of ways to find the money to finance your dreams. Fill out your FAFSA, look for scholarships, grants and work-study jobs, make sure your savings account is in order and find an affordable school. Don’t forget to protect your investment in college with tuition insurance!

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Student Life Transition

Must-Know Tips for Incoming College Freshmen

September 27, 2021

Heading off to college is one of the most thrilling times for many young adults. With a brand-new environment, exciting new experiences, new friendships and your future ahead of you, there are plenty of things to be excited about; however, for many, this can also be an intimidating experience. If you want to enjoy your first few weeks of college and put yourself on the path to a successful future, here are a few must-know tips.

Develop a Healthy Diet Plan

Freshman fifteen is a worrisome experience for many new incoming students. You may suddenly have a whole new sense of control over what you eat and when you do. If you want to enjoy your first year at college, you need to have a plan for a health-friendly diet, which means getting the right nutrients and avoiding processed foods. Once you know your schedule, consider what a nutritious meal plan can look like and set some guidelines for yourself. Don’t forget vitamins and supplements to help keep you on track!

Explore the Campus

Another common plight of first-year students is getting lost on campus. Due to the vast exponential size of many college campuses and the newness of the territory, it can be easy to get lost and confused. The last thing you will want to do is be late or unable to find your way. If you want to make for a smoother transition, take time to explore the campus and get acclimated. Not only can this help you be on time, but it can also help you find the best eateries and cool spots to hang out on campus.

Get Organized

If you are accustomed to adults keeping you organized, college may present numerous challenges. With you being on your own for the first time, you need to learn how to get organized. Whether this is organizing your class schedule, assignments, laundry schedule or even just your room, there are plenty of areas that you need to learn how to manage on your own.

Get to Know Your Advisor

One of your greatest resources on campus is your advisor. This person is meant to help guide you and offer advice as you take on your college experience. Your job is to know when and how to ask for help. You can use this person as a sounding board and another source of support, so make sure that you prioritize cultivating a relationship with them.

Be Open to Trying New Things

College is a time of massive transition. This adjustment can take time and at times feel uncomfortable; however, if you want to make the most of your college experience, you should be open to trying new things. Introducing yourself to strangers, joining a new club or trying a new class may change your life, and all you need to do is be open to the experience. The exciting and reassuring part of this is that you can know that everyone else is experiencing the same thing.

Venturing into the collegiate experience can hold boundless opportunities and exciting experiences. With a bit of planning, preparation and intention behind your decision-making, you can assuage all of your anxieties and open yourself up to this wondrous new opportunity.

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Adulting Career Transition

4 Tips for Finding Your First Job After College

September 18, 2021

Though you may have been able to follow a clearly defined path towards graduation throughout your college experience, at a certain point that path ends and another begins. As you finish your degree, the time comes to embark on the search to find your first job. This can be intimidating, but a basic knowledge of some of the best practices for first-time job seekers can make the initial search much smoother. Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you prepare for finding your first job after college.

Perfect Your Application Tools

It can be helpful to hone a variety of different skills that can make the application process smoother while simultaneously increasing your chances of landing a job.

One critical element of the modern recruiting landscape is a solid, polished online presence. Ideally, this is something you should be working on far in advance of your first application via cultivating a positive, professional manner throughout all of your social media interactions. Past behaviors, comments, and attitudes can all come back to haunt candidates as recruiters scour their online profiles in an attempt to learn more about them.

With that said, even if you haven’t taken the time to do so yet, it is never too late to start cleaning up one’s online presence. Make sure to clean up your common social media profiles and take time to create a fully filled out LinkedIn profile in order to facilitate your communication with other professionals in your field as well as potential workplace recruiters.

It’s also crucial to prepare your resume ahead of time. While you may not have a plethora of past experiences to populate it with, a well thought out resume that properly represents your professional and academic experience, as well as any other relevant skills, is important.

When you go to apply, ensure that every application is uniquely crafted for the position you’re applying for.

Network, Network, Network

Whether you’re an industry leader with a dozen years of experience or a fledgling college graduate, the power of networking cannot be underestimated. While readers of this article will likely still be in the early stages of their career, it is still absolutely worth the time to invest in networking with professionals within your industry. Great avenues for networking include attending professional organization meetings for those in your field and reaching out to a potential mentor on social media. Whatever avenue you choose, finding ways to network is an excellent way to increase your chances of finding a job quickly.

Use the Resources You Have Available

College graduates typically have a host of various resources available to aid them in their search for employment. If your institution has a good alumni network, it can be beneficial to try to tap into it. Another option is to take advantage of your school’s career center and meet with a career counselor to discuss ways to go about your job search. This can be helpful for refining your search, perfecting your resume, and helping to work through any other questions you might have.

Making It Through the Interview

There’s nothing more exciting (or nerve-wracking) than getting your first interview. Naturally, you’re going to want to do everything you can to prove you’re the best candidate for the job. Here are a few tips for successful interviews:

First and foremost, you need to dress the part. Even if the job you applied for has a casual dress code (or you’ll be working from home in your pajamas), you must dress professionally for your interview. First impressions are everything! 

Second, it’s always a good idea to practice your answers to common interview questions. You don’t want to find yourself tongue-tied or coming up blank when potential employers are asking questions you should have expected. It’s practically inevitable that you’ll be asked the old chestnut “Tell me about yourself,” so be ready with a professional, authentic answer.

Finally, whatever you do, don’t speak negatively about your previous employers. Prospective employers will end up thinking you aren’t capable of resolving problems with your managers through negotiation and diplomacy. You may be perceived as a gossip, complainer, or simply unprofessional. If you’re asked why you left previous jobs, have constructive answers that don’t put the blame on a specific person (i.e. “there was no room for advancement.”)

Accepting a Job

Once you begin to hear back from recruiters, you’re going to want to prepare for job offers that could follow. If you decide to accept a job, make sure to be thoughtful and respectful in your acceptance in order to maintain a professional demeanor as you prepare to join the ranks of your new employer.

Typically, a job will first be offered over the phone or in person. If you accept, a formal job offer letter will follow. If you feel you need time to consider the offer, don’t be afraid to ask. In fact, rushing to accept a job can often be a mistake. Just make sure your request for time is made respectfully. Once accepted, make sure you understand when you are to begin working. The one thing you should absolutely avoid doing at this point is negotiating over the salary. This should be done earlier in the process and can appear dishonest if done after an offer has been made.

As a final note, once you receive the formal job offer letter itself, make sure to respond appropriately in turn. There is more than one way to accept a job offer, and it’s likely you’ll accept the offer initially over the phone. However, whether you accepted on the phone, or asked for additional time to make your choice, once you have reached a conclusion, it is important to confirm your acceptance of the job offer in writing. An official job offer thank you letter typically reiterates the primary details of the offer, the start date, and a personal acknowledgment of your interest or excitement in starting at the company.

Confidence is Key

If you take the time to prepare for your job search, you are much more likely to find success quickly. Not only that, but a professional approach to your search and a polished, pulled-together demeanor as you go through the hiring process will enable you to start your new job with confidence and likely create an added level of respect from your new employer as well.

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Adulting Career Transition

10 Most Common Business Plan Presentation Mistakes to Avoid

September 8, 2021

Making the leap from college student to entrepreneur can be daunting; especially when pitching your idea to investors. Presenting college projects to peers and professors may have given you some experience, but successfully selling your business plan to a room full of executives requires practice, polish, and professionalism.

To avoid the most common mistakes, follow these top tips:

1. Poor Time Management

A thorough business plan presentation should last about an hour. If you’re the person presenting, the responsibility of time management is yours.

You need to plan your use of time carefully, or risk running out of time to explain essential aspects of your idea.

2. Not Pitching Correctly

It’s not uncommon for several members of a team to attend a presentation. However, investors want to hear from the CEO.

If the CEO isn’t adept at public speaking, they’ll need to practice. This isn’t a college group project, it’s a business pitch. Relying on others to pull the CEO through isn’t going to cut it.

3. Forgetting Visual Elements

Not every investor pays attention to visual slides—but some will be put off if you don’t provide them.

Create a detailed visual presentation, just in case. Visual presentations are the gold standard in the business world, and most investors will expect you to bring one along.

4. Not Identifying the ‘Big Problem’

Your presentation should start by highlighting WHY your company has been created. If you don’t address this driving force in detail, you can’t explain how your business aims to solve it.

5. Failing to Be Convincing

Your presentation must be convincing. You can achieve this by implementing a mix of credible and accurate information, honest forecasts, confidence, and personal belief in your business plan and capabilities.

6. Lacking in Focus

The last thing you want during a presentation is to veer off on a tangent. One question from an investor can send a conversation down dozens of different paths, few of which were included in your original strategy.

If your meeting veers off course, respectfully regain control and direction.

7. Telling a Weak Story

Your business plan needs to tell a story, and your presentation gives you the chance to relay that story to investors. If your storyline is poorly coordinated or weak, investors may not see the merit in investing in you.

Make your business’s story coherent, compelling, and told in enough detail to make sense to outside parties. There may be a generation gap you need to account for.

8. Ignoring Your Audience

The point of your presentation is to demonstrate how you can make investors’ money. Your interviewers are assessing whether you’re a good investment.

You’ll need to ditch the student mindset and focus on how your ideas and skills can benefit investors. Leave out your college achievements, sports trophies, or hobbies. They’re not relevant!

9. Underestimating Your Competition

Confidently stating your business won’t face any competition is not a smart move. Such bold assertions make you seem egotistical, arrogant, and poorly read.

If you conduct enough market research, you’ll always find competition, no matter your sector or market. Being honest about potential challenges shows you’re reasonable and level-headed.

10. Dressing Too Casually

The point of a business plan presentation is to impress investors. Stereotypical student attire has no place at a pitch.

You’re going from the dorm room to the boardroom and need to look the part. Dressing smartly and professionally will make you seem mature and capable.

You can always put on your hoodie once the seed money is in the bank!