Archive for the 'Career' Category


Moving Dilemma: Should I Move Even If I Don't Have a Job?


For many people, the prospect of moving to a city or town they’ve never been to may seem exciting and scary at the same time, and perhaps even terrifying if you’re moving somewhere without a job offer of some kind. However, many people today have no choice, especially if their specialties or interests are not in demands where they work or if the jobs are simply drying up in their area. Should you move somewhere without a job? People move all the time, and often without jobs. If you do decide to do this, make sure you make the necessary preparations before you start packing your bags.

Research the Market:
Make sure you do your due diligence before you even consider moving. Research the job market in the area you want to move to. Are your skills and experiences in demand in an area, or are jobs in your field plentiful? Another consideration is the types of jobs you’d be willing to take and of course, what is the minimum salary you need to be able to live in the area. You can find out the answer to these questions by browsing the local employment ads, calling up employment agencies or doing your own research as to the statistics in the local economy. Also, you may want to give your resume test. Send out your resume to local employers and see how they respond. Don’t forget to let them know when you’re moving into town or if you are available to travel to their city for an interview.

Compute Total Costs:
You’ll also have to figure out how much the long distance moving companies are going to cost you, as well as how much you need to live on while you’re looking for a job. A good rule of thumb is to budget around six months of living expenses (rent, food, utilities etc.), but this really depends on your background and what job or jobs you’d be willing to do. If you background is too specific, you may find a harder time finding a job, but if your skills are highly in demand or you’re willing to do different types of jobs, you might find a job within weeks. Either way, it’s better to be over prepared.

Finding an Apartment:
Most landlords will require potential tenants to provide employment information before letting you move in, which may be difficult if you don’t have a job yet. Try to explain the situation to your landlord and offer up the necessary paperwork for an apartment, like references or bank statements; you can even offer to pay a few months rent in advanced so they know you are serious about looking for a job.

You’ve heard the saying that sometimes the best jobs are never advertised – this is almost always true in many cases (or they will be advertised, but they will eventually pick someone within the company.) So, use networking to your advantage. Call up people you know or friends of friends (or even friends of friends of friends) and ask them if they know any company who is hiring people in your field. Also, use the Internet. LinkedIn, for example, is a great professional networking site and is rich in information and networking opportunities like joining groups or attending web events and seminars. Use the power of your connections or don’t be afraid to make connections yourself so you can land that dream job interview in your new city.


Moving: Why Change is a Good Thing

Moving can be positive - especially when you are moving into a bigger home.

By Dermound Becker
Special to

Just the thought of having to plan, organize, sort out, downsize and then pack everything into cartons and boxes can be daunting, but there are some positive aspects of moving that are both invigorating and exciting.

You can afford to buy a home. The most common reason for moving is when you can finally offer to transition from renting to buying. This is a huge step in the right direction to financial independence – and will most probably be the best financial move you will make in your lifetime. If one is able to purchase a property with a monthly mortgage repayment similar to the amount you are paying to rent, the net result is that you are basically paying yourself the rental amount and, one day in the future, when the mortgage is paid off you will have your own home and be able to live rent free for the rest of your days. This would clearly be a good change in your lifestyle.

You are moving for a new job. Another common reason why moving is exciting is when you have to relocate for a business or career. This might mean an increase in salary, a rise in one’s status, a chance to improve oneself and move up the corporate ladder. This would also mean a positive change in how you live and what you are able to afford.

You need to downsize. At the other end of the scale, people move when they find that they simply cannot afford to continue living where they are due to rising rents or mortgage repayments or the loss of a job. All is not lost though, as a move to a smaller residence or to a home of equal size in another, less expensive, neighborhood can also be a change for the good. There will be less keeping up with the Joneses and less overall expenses, thus freeing up money for things that you would like to do, such as being able to take a vacation, taking up a sport or hobby and having some spare cash to go to a restaurant or movie. Moving for these reason will encourage you to join clubs or volunteer for a good cause in your area in order to meet new people; and to spend time either alone or with your family while you explore and learn all about your new location – proof that change is good.


Home Office Deductions: How to Get the Most out of your Home Office

Learn more about how to deduct some expenses from your home office.


If you have a home office, you may be wondering if you can take the home office deductions from your income tax. If you are self-employed and you use some of your home as your office or primary work area, then you probably can take the deductions. It can be tricky to figure some of this out, but it is worth the time.

Does your space qualify as a home office?
The IRS uses two terms that determine whether or not a space is truly a home office or not: exclusively and regularly. ‘Exclusively’ means that some part of your home is used ONLY for your business. For instance, if you have set up space in your garage for your office but you are still using part of that garage for storage of winter clothes or toys, then it is not being used exclusively for your office. Thus, you can’t say your garage is your home office. The kitchen table doesn’t qualify either. But if you have cleaned out a bedroom and made it your office, then it would qualify.

‘Regularly’ means that you are using your office space on a regular basis. You can’t take the deduction if you only work there a couple of weeks a year, for example. You must have used this space on a consistent basis. If you use that space for, say, six months out of every year, then you can only calculate the deduction for one half of that year.

One exception is if you use part of your home to store inventory. You can take the deduction even if you used that space for some personal use when your inventory ran low.

What percentage of your home are you using?
In order to take the deduction, you have to determine just how much of your home is dedicated to your home office. This can be done in one of two ways. First, if you are using a bedroom in your home, and your home has six rooms, then you are using 1/6th or 16 percent of your home for your office. The other way is based on square footage. If your home is a 2,000 square foot home and your office is 200 square feet of that area, then you are using 10 percent.

What deductions can I take?
If you can qualify for the home office deductions, then you can take many deductions. Some are:

• Direct expenses: money you spend to maintain or repair the office area.

• Indirect expenses: Whatever percentage of your home is your office, you can take that percentage off things like your mortgage or rent, utilities and insurance.

• Interest and property taxes can be deducted by the percentage of your office area

• Depreciation: This can all be tricky, and if you don’t want to face an audit from the IRS you may need to have a tax professional figure it all out for you. You need to keep records of everything.


Moving to a New City: Tips to Getting a Fresh Start

Moving to a new city is a great way to get a fresh start. Follow our tips to make the most of this exciting transition.

By Stephen Davis
Special to

Moving to a new city is like pressing a reset button in your life. It is one of the rare opportunities that you have in life to make a fresh start. The first few days after your arrival are the most important as they will define your subsequent life in the city. The three most basic things that need attention are:

•    Accommodation: Finding a new home or apartment.
•    Finances: Arranging and maintaining your resources.
•    Social Life: Meeting neighbors, friends and discovering new activities.

Start by researching your new city. Visit the central areas, hotspots and recreation centers to get a feel of the city and know what it’s like to live there. Find out other vital information from the web. Things like crime and unemployment rates, major business activity, schools, libraries and emergency services are important to know. Ask friends and relatives who have lived there before or who have visited the area. Once you have some basic background information and a basic layout of the city in your mind, you’ll be in a better position to make the above three decisions.

Choose your new home. Not only the house itself, but also the location in terms of its neighborhood and its proximity to essential places is important. Ask yourself a few questions:

•    How many rooms do you need?
•    Do you need a yard if you have kids?
•    Will you use public transport or your own car? How much are you willing to spend on transport?
•    Do you prefer a busy city center or a quiet neighborhood?

Asking these and a few more similar questions will help you make the right choice. Remember that once you make a decision for your housing, it is hard to change it later. If you are not completely sure, try to get a few months lease before deciding on a mortgage.

Search for local amenities. Look for basic services like restaurants, dry cleaners, pharmacies, restaurants and post offices. You want to make sure that these amenities are nearby – especially if you are moving to a new city without a car.

Think about your income. If you have a new job know your salary details. Some employers give a decent loan to help you to settle properly in the new city. If such a loan would help you, ask your employer for details. If you don’t have a proper income source prepared, use your cash wisely until your cash flow is restored.

Discover your new social life. Without good friends and interesting activities, even the most beautiful and comfortable homes become boring. The first step is to organize a housewarming party and invite your neighbors. This is the best way to introduce yourself and have a chat with them. Ask them about the city and the opportunities there. Both career wise and recreation wise. Take their advice about clubs and societies that you may want to join. Ask about good cinemas and theaters, good restaurants and the best shopping places. Plan activities with them and make yourself at home.

Moving to a new city is an exciting time but requires some planning and organizing to ensure that your transition goes through successfully.

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Career Tips: How to Find Your First Job

Think outside of the box when looking for your first job.

By Maria Paulia Belgado

Congratulations — You’ve graduated college and are now about to enter the real world! All that hard work and study is about to pay off. Before you can say goodbye to dorm life and relocate to your first real apartment, you’ll need a new job to finance your new adult life. Finding your first job out of college can be a daunting task, but it’s not an impossible one.

Online classified sites and newspapers are a great place to start – but you can bet thousands of your fellow graduates are all at home, sitting in their pajamas, hitting “send” as you read this. So, for you to move ahead and get your life started, it may take more elbow grease and a bit more creativity. The trick is to find the best job openings from uncommon sources.

When looking for your first job, check out these tips from

Ask for referrals. The best jobs available at companies are often not advertised, as they try to select from their own pool of employees. Why not take a look at your connections (neighbors, friends, relatives, friends of friends) and see whom you can approach to check if there are any openings in their company. This is not the time to be shy! You’ll be surprised at who’s willing to help – it often doesn’t take much time for them to pick up the phone or send an email to the HR department and ask what’s available.

Work for free …or at least for a reduced salary with an internship. Hopefully, before you graduated, you were able stay away from bad debt and save some money to last you for a couple of months while you look for a job. While you’re sending out your resumes, why not offer your skills and services to a local business? You’ll not only get to buffer up your resume and secure a great recommendation, but, you may even get a job at the same company, once you’ve proven your worth.

Go back to school. We don’t mean to take classes, but rather, see if your college or university has job placement or hunting resources. They may have a database of job openings for alumni, or have counselors available to help you find a job.

Approach or join professional organizations. Depending on your field or interest, there are many professional organizations out there to serve the needs of professionals, such as marketers, copywriters, event planners, etc. Check out their websites, subscribe to their newsletters and trade publications and join their events. It’s a great way to network with respected members of the community and help you land a job in your chosen field.

Pound the pavement and knock on doors. It sounds a bit old school, but why not drop off your resume yourself? Try to talk to the hiring manager or just charm the receptionist into taking your resume and see where it goes – it doesn’t hurt to try. Looking for that first job can be intimidating and unnerving, and competition is fierce. The trick is to uncover those hidden gems and find a job that’s perfect for you.

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Celebrity U – Celebrities and Their Alma Maters

It's that time of year again...

By Joann Pan

As college kids across the country are moving back to school, we couldn’t help but think of all of the Hollywood’s finest actors, actresses and designers that also decided to go back, even though they were making $25 million with a hit movie over one weekend. It just goes to show you that, you can work hard over several years and get your undergraduate or graduate degree and, of course, still go back to have a successful (and well-rounded) career. Being that it is back to school season, we at were curious about some of our favorite celebs and where they went to school (perhaps we are even more curious if they actually had to write an admissions letter and what grades they received in school, but that’s a discussion for  another post). So, without further adieu we hope you enjoy’s list of our favorite celebrities and the schools they attended. You’ll be surprised where they went and what they majored in…

Betsey Johnson
Profession: Womenswear Designer
Alma Mater: Syracuse University

Betsey Johnson, renowned for her free-flowing dreadlock-ish locks and frilly party dresses bedazzled with huge bows and ruffles is certainly a maven in the fashion world. But before girls were wearing her designs across the globe, Johnson was attending Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY where she studied dance.  Syracuse is a pit stop along the college route of New York State between other college towns Buffalo, Rochester, Binghamton and Albany. She graduated college in 1964 with magna cum laude Latin honors.

Maggie Gyllenhaal
Profession: Actress
Alma Mater: Columbia University

Not only is Maggie Gyllenhaal a film gem appearing on screen in the indie gem “Secretary” (2002) and “The Dark Knight” (2006), she also seems to have a good head on her shoulders who was in pursuit of a higher education in 2003. She attended Columbia University in New York City, studying religion with Uma Thurman’s father, Professor Robert Thurman and later studied at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Natalie Portman
Profession: Actress
Alma Mater: Harvard University
Major: Psychology

A pronounced vegetarian and screen beauty Natalie Portman is as smart as she is talented. She has appeared in movies like “The Professional” (1994), “Heat” (1995), “Beautiful Girls” (1996), “Mars Attacks” (1996) and “Closer (2004)” for which she was nominated for an Oscar.  But, perhaps, the biggest career endeavor this wise-beyond-her-actress ever embarked on was attending Harvard University in 1999 to become a psychologist. She graduated in 2003 from the private Ivy League institute located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cambridge has directly grown and benefit with Harvard University’s growth and expansion that has made it one of the leading academic institutions in the world.

James Franco
Profession: Actor, director, screenwriter, film producer
Alma Mater/Current Schools: Columbia University, UCLA, NYU, Yale University
Major: English, Creative Writing and Filmmaking

It may seem as if James Franco wants to be the person in Hollywood with the most college degrees, and judging my his recent summer romping through NYC collegiate systems he may just accomplish this After starring in hit movies such as the Spider-Man Trilogy, “Pineapple Express” (2008) and “Milk” (2008), Franco decided to broaden his horizons by going back to school for a masters degrees in English, creative writing and filmmaking. His educational career started off in Los Angeles, California at UCLA with an undergraduate degree in English, he went to New York City to attend Columbia University where he studied filmmaking, and in March 2010, his manager announced he would be attending Yale University to get his Ph.D. in English. (Yale University would be one of the four schools we would attend to if we had the time and the tuition money. They have a picture-perfect campus in New Haven, Connecticut.) There’s nothing like a tall, dark handsome man with educational ambition. (And hobbies like appearing on “General Hospital” as a psycho killer in Port Charles, NY—if you were wondering it is a fictional city).

Jon Stewart
Profession: Actor, Funnyman, Host of “The Daily Show”
Alma Mater: College of William & Mary
Major: Psychology

Jon Stewart went back to the alma mater in 2004 to deliver a commencement address in which he said, “I came to William and Mary because as a Jewish person I wanted to explore the rich tapestry of Judaica that is southern Virginia.” [Yahoo! Education] William and Mary is one of the oldest colleges in America that offers a great education. Located in Williamsburg Virginia, they are dubbed a “Public Ivy” offering a superior education that is affordable, too. Jon Stewart was a native of the tri-state New York/New Jersey region studying psychology before he held the reigns of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” aka one of the funniest politicos making fun of politics (at least in our humble opinion).

Kristin Cavallari
Profession: Reality T.V. Star
Alma Mater: Loyola Marymount University at LA
Major: Journalism

Today her name may be synonymous with drugs, rehab or ‘boyfriend stealer’ to those who watch MTV’s popular discontinued drama series “The Hills.” But back in the day Cavallari was the cute blonde on campus who wanted to be a broadcast journalist before the hit “Laguna Beach” ever came out. She never finished her time at Loyola Marymount, but says “I read a lot of books, you know.” [the NY Post] Loyola Marymount University is located in the heart of West Los Angeles, California, and was ranked one of the “Best Colleges in 2009” by U.S. News & World Report.

Joann Pan is a freelance writer and photographer based in New York City. She has interned and contributed to Buffalo Spree Magazine and Racked NY.