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Traveling: a working vacation



"Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take ya, Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama, Key Largo, Montego baby why don't we go..." Oh the Beach Boys.  Fine, twist my arm why don't you.  Go to the beach, get my tan on, sip on some coconut juice with a "splash" of rum?  Sounds like heaven!

Or, I could travel to Spain, eat some paella, watch the Flamenco, do a little Salsa! The possibilities are endless with a world this big!

What is interesting though is that with all of these exotic and cultural places you actually learn something while you sit on the beach or eat paella.  You may not realize it now, but your interaction with the people and the culture is a valuable asset that cannot be taught in school or by your parents.   Whether you are studying abroad or just on vacation, you still learn about your surroundings.  With that knowledge, you can take it and apply it to your life at home.  More specifically your job.  Use your wordly views as a way to broaden not only your own horizons, but those of others.

What are the differences you notice while traveling?

When you travel you are subjected to an environment that is different than what you are accustomed to.  The culture, the food, the people, the list goes on. For example, say you travel to Spain to study for six months. Your first observation is that obviously everyone speaks Spanish.  Secondly, you realize you are not in Nebraska anymore.  You soon begin to figure out that the way of life is different from back home.

  • Siesta Time

In Spain, they take afternoon "siestas" or naps and most stores close for a few hours.

  • Markets and shopping

Another cultural difference is that when they go to the market for food, they do not buy large quantities, only what they need for that day and maybe the next.  At home you are used to buying for the week, or even some items in bulk.

  • Nightlife

The hours for nightlife are a bit different as well.  It is common in Spain to begin your night about 1 in the morning and end around 5 or 6 a.m. Depending on where you are from in the United States that may be similar, but most places do not stay open that late.

  • Spanish time

One very big difference is that in Spain, you are on Spanish time.  This is the mentality that, it will get done, when it gets done.  It is more relaxed and at a steadier pace.  When compared to the U.S it may be slightly frustrating because in the U.S everyone is in a hurry and is constantly on the go.

  • No tipping

At restaurants in Spain, you can but usually do not leave a tip.  A strange concept if you come from the states because that is how servers in the U.S make their money.

  • Cars and transportation

The cars in España are much smaller than in the U.S.  Public transportation is also very common.  Depending on the size of your city in the U.S, public transportation is also widely used, however it is also very common to drive to work in big cars or trucks.

  • Language

Obviously in Spain they speak Spanish.  However, similar to English, they have one word with multiple meanings or synonyms. It is already hard enough to learn a different language, but that just adds to the confusion. What is even more confusing is that there are different dialects and accents of Spanish, making it harder to understand if you are not fluent.  It is also very common for those living in Spain and much of Europe to know English as a common language.

What can you learn from these differences? How can they help you?

With all of these different points, how can that help you in your job?  Why does it matter? The answer is subjective.  However, what is true is that experiencing these differences you become more wordly and open minded which can help you understand your own work environment.

  • Enjoy life

Take time to smell the roses.  Yes, it is important to work hard and achieve our goals but we must not lose sight of what is important.  Family and friends play a large role in life and if those aspects are neglected there are many opportunities that you can miss out on.

  • Respect and understand

Traveling opens your eyes to unfamiliar situations.  Often they may be uncomfortable, but what you learn is to respect the views and opinions of others.  You may not agree or be accustomed to what is said or done.  However at the end of the day you learn that everyone is different, whether they are from Spain, or one of your coworkers at the desk next to you. Understanding a different point of view is essiential in the work environment.  Each day you meet a new person, with a new personality, with new views and a new sense of being.  Understanding where they come from and why they think what they do can help you to read that person and to strategically use that knowledge to target their likes and dislikes.

  • Creativity

Seeing different traditions and ways of life allows you to open your mind and see more than one road to success. You see what works in one country as far as ways of transportation or how they communicate with each other and you can take that and relate it to your home.  Use those ideas and that knowledge of differences to create new ideas and to build a bank of experience and wisdom to share in company meetings or even conversing with friends.  Show others that there is more than one path to take to get to their destination.

  • Grow

Traveling helps you grow as an individual.  It is not always clear what you want out of life or out of a job or a relationship.  However traveling allows you to see yourself and to know what you personally want.  This is the most valuable piece of knowledge because only you can discover this on your own.

Being a well-rounded person takes more than a college degree and experience with internships and jobs.  It takes the assests that cannot be taught such as patience, respect and self-knowledge to really become a person of experience and wisdom. Next time you go on vacation or take a break to study abroad, really enjoy your surroundings and soak up all that you can. The information you gain is immeasurable.


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How to Choose Your College

Choosing a college can seem very daunting for some, especially with the large amount of choices that exist. However, you can make it easier for yourself by following these tips.



university choices


Choosing a college can seem very daunting for some, especially with the large amount of choices that exist. It is not to be forgotten however, you can make choosing a college into a systematic process, allowing you to come to a final decision through a much more controlled process. Many high-school graduates also have problems when choosing their college as the amount of different opinions that exist on each college one vary widely from person to person. It is often much easier and much more strongly recommended to build your own opinions through research of various kinds.

Top Tips to Choose Your College

  • Visit - Hearing about colleges through other people even when it´s close friends that have gone their is never a good idea. You should always try and build your own opinion. By visiting multiple colleges you will begin to get an idea of what you want and do not want. For example you may start noticing patterns weather you prefer a smaller or a bigger college. Visiting a college also allows you to gain a first hand impression of their facilities and the people that are attending there. This is worth more than many think and visiting more than one college even if you are not sure you want to go there will help massively with college selection in the long run. 
  • Don't base everything on rankings - Although it is a good idea to look at the rankings in order to get a feeling for how colleges have been compared to some others you know, it is not recommended to apply to one college over another because of it's ranking. Rankings, as done by the New York Times every year, often concentrate on the spending of a college on it's faculty, facilities, and classes or the amount of research undertaken. However, the colleges spending habits do not necessarily impact the quality of the education you will receive and the value of the people that you will meet while being there.  This is why visiting colleges is so important, you may wish to go to a certain top ranked college, however after visiting it, you may decide it's not for you after all or that you definitely wish to attend that school. Keep in mind, it is often far more accurate to search for college rankings concerning themselves with your course or major specifically.
  • Apply to 3 ranges of colleges - It is a good idea to apply to some "reach" colleges which you believe are just slightly out of your reach when it comes to results. It is possible that you will be pleasantly surprised if you are not completely unrealistic with your choices. Then apply to two or three colleges which you believe that you would really like to go to, choose these carefully as they are the ones you will most likely end up attending. Also choose a safety school, make sure you still like this school as much as your others however it should be a sure thing that you are getting in.

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How to Optimize Your Resume for Applicant Screening Software

In order to diminish the numbers of applications some companies will automatically screen applications, make sure you do not get filtered out with these tips!



Resume Optimization


When bigger companies advertise the opening of a position, it is not uncommon for them to receive a large amount of applications for the respective job. While not all companies do this, some use applicant screening software in order to filter out the applications by a set of rules that are predetermined by the employer. However, this sometimes also causes problems for the applicants. If your resume or cover letter does not contain certain keywords related the to the job for example, it is possible that no one will ever see your resume. It is a good idea to format your resume and cover letter correctly, in order to avoid being eliminated before the hiring manager has considered you.

Resume Optimization

  • Use keywords - One of the main things that screening software does is scan the resume for certain keywords. Problems arise when, for example, the job description requires the ability to use a certain program, however, it is not mentioned in your resume even though you are able to. This is why it is important to include skills that are required or maybe even seem obvious as screening programs often filter resumes out that do not contain certain words, in an effort to only select candidates that are fully qualified.

  • Repetition - If the job seems to focus on a certain skill or function it is a good idea to include it multiple times throughout your resume. Screening programs will often filter out resumes that do not seem relevant enough to the job, this can be combated however, by using the words from the job description especially those which seem to play a large role in the job.

  • Job titles - Applicant screening software also often scans your employment history and checks its relatedness with the job you are applying for. This is usually the case when the job requires a certain amount of experience. Sometimes however, the software will not recognize a job title and class it as unrelated. It is therefore a good idea, if your recent or current job title does not match with the one you are applying for, to clarify or even put the new employers name for the same job in parentheses. It is not recommended to change the job title entirely as this would be seen as a discrepancy if questioned about it.

  • Save in a standard format - It is often debated which format is the best to send out a resume as, when the company does not specify. Using nonstandard software or formats may cause your resume to be discarded by the screening process or the company may have trouble opening it. Due to the number of applicants the company will not alert you of this fact and your resume will also be discarded. Therefore when sending your resume it is suggested to use a PDF or Word (.docx or .doc) file as most companies will view these as standard.
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Tips for Submitting an Online Job Application

Online applications can be daunting for some, however by following these tips will help you avoid the most common mistakes when applying for jobs online.



Job application web


Online job applications are becoming much more common, however for many people the process is fairly new and unfamiliar. The adopting companies often prefer the paperless aspect of online applications as well as the fact that losing documents also becomes a non-issue. The overall application process may be similar to when applications are done in person but there are some crucial aspects that need extra attention when applying online. The idea of applying online for a job may be daunting but using the following tips as a guide may clear up some worries or questions.

Top tips for applying for a job online

  • Know what you are applying for - One of the most common mistakes made when applying for a job online is not fully reading the job description or advertisement. Hiring managers that use online mediums to search for candidates often complain about receiving applications from job seekers that are under qualified, or do not have the necessary experience  to obtain the job. Make sure you read the whole job description and know what is expected of you, just because an application is online does not change the fact that job requirements are often not flexible.
  • Avoid errors in your application at all costs - Although this goes for all job applications it is even more important when you are applying online. Online applications are often stored even if the candidate was not selected, therefore if you provide content that includes errors this may reduce your chance of seeking another job with the same company in the future. Make sure to check all work before you press the submit button, also reading your text backwards often helps detect spelling errors.
  •  Create a job specific cover or motivation letter (if required) - Make sure to write a good cover letter if one is required. Instead of using a template or writing one that is not specific to the job you are applying to, use the guidelines in the link below to create a unique specific cover letter.

How to write a cover/motivation letter

  • Check your social media sites - If you are applying to a modern company that you know either uses a lot of social networking sites or even conducts checks of these sites as a part of the hiring process, be sure to check your account for any information you do not wish to share with your employer or anything that could deter them considering you as a candidate.
  • Be aware of applicant screening systems - Many employers will not send your details straight to the hiring manager. Often companies use an application screening system that allows for employers to cut down on the number of applications they receive. The system works by scanning for keywords relevant to the position or company, therefore remember to use include all skills and abilities even if they may seem obvious.

How to optimize your resume for applicant screening software

  • Use the STARR method when asked competency questions - Many firms like to ask competency questions on their online job application form. These are questions which allow the employer to learn more about you on their own terms. The STARR method is a great way to answer these questions, it consists of describing a Situation, Telling the employer what your task or role was, describing the Actions you took, discuss the Result and how you Reflected about it. It is always a good idea to use specific, concrete examples of past situations when applying for a job, when applying online competency questions provide you with the chance to do so.



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