What to Expect in an Entry-Level Job Interview

As you start the process of finding, interviewing for, and landing your first entry-level job, you might feel a bit apprehensive. I know I felt that way.
As a type-A personality, I like to be prepared. I want to know exactly what I should expect and when I should be expecting to expect this thing I’ve been expecting.

With this in mind, I set off to research as much as I could about landing my first job.

Click here to get my 5 interview tips for recent college graduates.

I found that I could expect a few of the same typical questions. These are the questions that I have laid out below along with suggested answers.
As a unique candidate, your suggested answer will be different than the answer of the next candidate simply because you have different life experiences.

Top 10 Entry-Level Interview Questions

1) Tell me about yourself.

This question presents an opportunity for you to give your elevator pitch. Don’t give your life story. I remember one time I started talking about my childhood and I got a weird look from the interviewer. Stick to personal and professional accomplishments that directly relate to the position for which you are applying.

2) What are your strengths?

This question is also an opportunity to emphasize your key selling points. But get ready for what is coming next…

3) What are your weaknesses?

Use this question as an opportunity to show personal growth. You can throw in an old weakness and how you’ve developed professionally. Or, you can use a strength disguised as a weakness. My favorite one goes something like this, “I have a hard time sharing responsibility. I always like to see a project to the end.” I have a few that I alternate but I always have at least one weakness prepared.

4) What motivates you?

This question helps the interviewer decide how well you will do in the company. If you are motivated by praise, for example, then they know how to squeeze that extra productivity out of you.

5) Tell me about a time you experienced ___. What did you do?

It may be a bit more difficult to prepare for this question. You’ll have to think on your feet. They may ask you for a time that you had to struggle, or a time that you had to deal with a lazy coworker. If you can’t think of something, use an experience from college. They will understand. Most importantly, you have to show that you have experience dealing with tough situations.

6) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

You should discuss that you see yourself growing with the company. Even if you think that you will likely leave in a few years for a higher salary, don’t say it. Make sure they know that you are willing to stay for the right opportunity.

7) Why did you leave your previous job?

You might think this is an opportunity to bash your previous employer but it’s not. That is in bad taste. Instead, discuss opportunity. You wanted to stretch yourself and reach for a better opportunity. Don’t discuss pay or conflict as a reason for leaving your previous job.

8 ) Why do you want to work for us?

“Um..because I want to get paid?” Sorry but the logical answer is not the proper answer. Demonstrate your desire to work for this company in particular. Maybe you appreciate how they do business. Talk about that. Keep it short but powerful.

9) Why should we hire you?

You are not the only candidate. You have to show that you are the best one for the job. Emphasize your skills and play down any concerns that the interviewer has brought up.

10) Do you have any questions for us?

Always. You should have at least 3 questions prepared. Ask about the interviewer, maybe why they like the company. Ask about the company and its goals. And finally ask about the position. When they expect to fill it, if they see you as a good fit. Leave on a high note and after the final questions, thank the interviewer for their time.

Starting with a phone interview? Watch this video with 3 tips for phone interviews.

Oddball Interview Questions That You Shouldn’t Expect

I found these questions very interesting and super odd. What would you do if you were asked one of these weird questions?

I wouldn’t expect that you would hear these questions but if you are interviewing for the employers below, you might want to go in prepared.

“How lucky are you and why?” – Asked at Airbnb.
“If you were a pizza deliveryman how would you benefit from scissors?” – Asked at Apple.
“If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why?” – Asked at Bed Bath & Beyond.
“How many square feet of pizza is eaten in the US each year?” – Asked at Goldman Sachs.
“What’s the color of money???….” – Asked at American Heart Association.

View answers to these questions and the remainder of the top 25 oddball interview questions at GlassDoor.

Preparing with questions is the first step in having a successful interview. When you know what to expect, you can avoid any awkward silences. Obviously, there is no way to know exactly how the interview will go but preparing with these top interview questions will help you get that much further in the interview process.

Are there any questions that you would add?

What question do you remember as being the hardest?

Originally posted 2015-05-29 10:00:21.


Simple Steps to Become a Millionaire

“I want to be a millionaire, so freaking bad.” You might have been thinking it, but Bruno Mars sang it first. Many people strive to become a millionaire. In fact, there is even a day dedicated to those people. This year Be a Millionaire Day is May 20th. On this day we answer the question, “Who wants to be a millionaire?” with a resounding shout, “Me! I do!” While it may seem difficult to save a million dollars, there are a few tips you can use today to make it to millionaire status sooner rather than later.

Steps to Become a Millionaire

Start a Savings Account

If you plan to reach the Millionaire’s Club by saving money, then you must first open a savings account. In order to accumulate one million dollars within 30 years, you will need to save around $750 per month at a 4% interest rate.

Use this calculator to determine your required savings rate.

Lately, interest rates have been pretty low on traditional savings accounts. Instead of simply shopping at your local bank, try an online bank. Then, look into a certificate of deposit. A certificate of deposit or CD is a way for your money to earn more. CD’s sometimes have higher rates than traditional savings accounts. A Discover Certificate of Deposit is great option with flexible terms from 3 months to 10 years and you can open your FDIC insured CD account with as little as $2,500.

Begin Investing

Let your money work for you. Investing your dollars gives each dollar a job and that job is to earn more money. When you invest, each dollar has the ability to earn a return. If you decide to invest by purchasing 100 shares of stock in a company, and those shares rise in value, your money just earned more money!

However, you have to be careful because if those shares drop in value, then so does your investment and you could lose money. Investing is not as safe as saving in an FDIC insured savings account. However, over the last ten years, investments in the broad market index, as measured by the S&P 500 have averaged 8.3% per year.

Mind the Gap

The gap separates a potential millionaire from a person that will never make it. What’s the gap? The gap is the difference between how much you earn and how much you spend. That unspent portion is available for saving and investing. Growing the gap will allow you to accelerate your millionaire status. How large should that gap be? Well that depends on how soon you want to become a millionaire. A larger gap means faster millionaire status.

“The amount of money you have has got nothing to do with what you earn… people earning a million dollars a year can have no money and… People earning $35,000 a year can be quite well off. It’s not what you earn, it’s what you spend.” -Paul Clitheroe

Here are a few examples.

Patrick and Jenny are 25 and both earn $50,000 per year. After taxes they each earn a take home pay of $3,000 per month.

Patrick keeps his expenses low and saves $1,500 per month or 50% of his take home pay.

Jenny enjoys shopping, dinners out, traveling, and attending concerts. She saves $300 per month or 10% of her take home pay.

In ten years, Patrick has saved a total of $220,876 with an interest rate of 4%. If he maintains the same saving rate he will become a millionaire by the time he is 55.

In the same ten years, Jenny has saved a $44,176 at a rate of 4%. If Jenny lives long enough, she will become a millionaire by the time she is 88.

Ultimately, becoming a millionaire is a simple process that requires diligence and persistence. Ready to become a millionaire? Open a savings account, begin investing, and create a budget that allows you to spend less and save more.

This post was created as part of the Discover partnership program.

Originally posted 2015-05-20 10:00:28.


How to Leverage Linkedin to Jumpstart Your Career

Your LinkedIn profile is one of the first places that a potential employer can see your digital footprint.

LinkedIn is a professional social networking site where you can really show off your talents and experience. However, if used incorrectly, your LinkedIn profile can push away potential employers and recruiters.

We’ll start with 6 important features that you should take advantage of on LinkedIn and finish with how to leverage LinkedIn so recruiters come to you.

LinkedIn Picture

Use a clear picture of yourself in professional dress. A blue or white button down top is common. A suit jacket is appropriate but not necessary depending on your industry. Snap one yourself using a stable surface and a timer or have a friend take one for you.
Use a non-distracting background so that the focus stays on you.

LinkedIn Title

Your LinkedIn title describes your job title or if you are unemployed, the title you are looking for. Don’t make the mistake of writing unemployed as a title.

If you are looking for a job as an investment analyst for example, an appropriate title could be ‘Investment Analyst seeking the right opportunity’ or ‘Recent graduate seeking Investment Analyst position’.

Your title could also include your strengths and read something like this, “Motivated, driven, results oriented analyst seeking the right opportunity.” That may be a bit too many strengths, but you get the idea.

LinkedIn Description

The description section is where you can really flex some muscle. Feel free to write in the first person. This section is similar to a cover letter. It should reiterate your strengths and elaborate on the, as well.

If you describe yourself as detail oriented, then give an example of when this strength helped a previous employer.

Only write in third person when your accomplishments speak for themselves. If you are considered a public figure, recognized speaker, or expert then writing in the third person is acceptable. However, the entire point of a social network is to be social and approachable. Writing in the first person certainly makes you more approachable.

How to Leverage Linkedin to Jumpstart Your Career | Young Finances
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LinkedIn Keywords

The world wide web is a vast place and searching for exactly what you need requires a bit of skill, that is, unless you know exactly what you are looking for. The same way that Google is a search engine, LinkedIn is a search engine.

LinkedIn allows a recruiter to quickly and easily find candidates for open positions. In order to maximize your chances of being found on LinkedIn via search, you have to use the appropriate keywords. Start searching for others that are in your field or that hold your dream job.

Start pulling together a list of keywords and phrases then use these in your profile. Include them in your description and title if possible. Now it is that much easier for a recruiter to find you.

LinkedIn Recommendations

Getting solid recommendations is one of the best ways to power pack your LinkedIn profile. Ask for recommendations from classmates if you worked on large projects together. Seek recommendations from mentors and current employers.

The key is to get at least three solid recommendations from trusted professionals. Your profile will really shine.

LinkedIn Endorsements

Endorsements go hand in hand with recommendations and they make it easy to find candidates based on keywords as well. When you include marketing as a keyword in your profile for example, LinkedIn will automatically ask tour connections if you know about marketing.

This is a one-click yes or no option.

The more connections that endorse you for marketing, the higher you will rank in the LinkedIn search for that keyword. To get endorsements, ask or simply endorse others.

They will likely reciprocate.

Connecting on LinkedIn


Now that your profile is complete, its time to connect. Start with your classmates. Add each classmate that you can find. As you both grow professionally, your connections will grow even stronger. For example, I added a classmate and friend from a student group and now he is a fund manager. We have both grown professionally and it makes our network stronger.


Add your professors as well, don’t forget department heads and connections from student group advisors. Your goal is to connect with as many professionals as possible.

Family friends

Once you’ve added your classmates and professors, add your family friends. While you’re at it, let them know you are looking for a job to start your career. I was able to secure a few interviews this way.

It never hurts to ask.


Bonus Tips from Millennial Talk:

LinkedIn can be your best friend if you use the social network properly. Start by cleaning up your profile and optimizing so you can jump start your career.

Originally posted 2015-05-11 08:00:00.


What You Don’t Know About Scottrade

You may think you know all about the online discount broker Scottrade from the plethora of Scottrade review posts that are out there, but there’s always something you don’t know.

Don’t believe me?

Well, you don’t know what you don’t know. 😛

Inexpensive Trades for Young Adults

You might already know that Scottrade offers $7 trades online and advertises that you can open an account with just as little as $2,500 dollars.

But did you know that you can maintain an account with $2,499 dollars? Yes, with Scottrade there is no minimum balance and no fee on balances below 2,500 dollars.

So open an account and start your automatic deposits.

You’ll build it up to 2,500 dollars in no time.

  • iPhone, Android and Blackberry mobile trading
  • No transaction fee IRAs
  • No account maintenance fees
  • No inactivity fees
  • Watch lists
  • Real Time Streaming Quotes
  • Local Branches so you can talk to a human in person
  • Over 3,000 no transaction fee mutual funds

Referral Program

Did you know that you can earn free trades when you refer your friends?

Once you have opened an account with Scottrade, click on the “Refer Someone You Know” link to automatically send an email to a friend.

When they open an account you and your friend get three free trades.

No Transaction Fee Mutual Funds

Are you looking for a broker where you can trade mutual funds without paying a fee?

Scottrade offers over 3,100 mutual funds with no transaction fee. Not sure which mutual fund to choose?

Use their mutual fund screener to explore your choices, including load funds, no-load funds, no transaction fee funds (NTF) and more.

Gain Loss Tax Center

The tax center was put into place to help you when it is time to file your taxes.

When you sell your stocks, you will have a gain or a loss. The tax center helps you figure out your tax basis for the trade so you can file your taxes easily.

The drawback

Everything is not all stars and roses. Here is the one drawback to having a Scottrade account. They do not offer dividend reinvestment. Dividend reinvestment is when your dividends are automatically put back in to the stock you own. There is no trading fee to purchase these incremental shares. But unfortunately, Scottrade does not offer this. In my opinion, all of the good outweighs this one negative.

Update: 6/30/2013

Scottrade recently announced a major improvement in their services.

They now offer a Flexible Reinvestment Program.

In this program, you can use dividends to buy other stocks and exchange-traded funds commission free!

A lot of brokerage firms have dividend reinvestment programs for their clients, but Scottrade’s program takes it one step further. In a typical DRIP, dividend-paying equities can only be reinvested back into that equity.

As mentioned earlier, with Scottrade’s Flexible Reinvestment Program, dividends flow into a program balance, or pool.

You can then tap that pool to buy up to five securities – none of which have to be the securities that contributed the dividends – commission free.

Most stocks and ETFs are eligible in the program.

From Scottrade..

The added element of flexibility is something our clients were looking for, and it gives clients the choice to reinvest their dividends however they want.


Ok, now we are down to the best part of becoming a Scottrade customer.

The knowledge base.

They have live local events so you can learn how to place a trade, how to get started with options and more. All of these events are taught by a licensed representative.

Here is what you can expect to see once you login to your account.

How to Open a Scottrade Account

  1. Open your Scottrade account online or by faxing in the paperwork.
  2. Fund your account via ACH, check, brokerage account or wire transfer.
  3. Print, sign, and mail the account agreement.
  4. Choose stocks, mutual funds, or other assets to purchase.

Originally posted 2015-05-05 10:00:26.

Budgeting & Saving

3 Financial Tools to Help Reduce Stress

I recently found an old letter that I wrote to myself when I was very broke and extremely stressed. I wrote the letter and saved it so that I could look back and laugh. I knew that I would make it through that stressful time eventually. I was stressed because I needed to take care of the brakes on my car but I had no money! I was so scared that my brakes were going to give out on me before I had the chance to pay for them to be fixed. If I had simply saved some money in an emergency savings account, I could have saved myself the stress.

Money and finances are the top stressors according to the American Psychological Association. They recently released the Stress in America survey. According to the survey, 72% of adults report feeling stressed about money at least some of the time. Millennials are feeling this even more; 75% consider money to be a significant source of stress. With April being National Stress Awareness month its time to find some ways to combat financial stress.

A Budget Can Reduce Stress

Organizing your finances can minimize the time you spend thinking about your finances. Once you have your bills in one place, your due dates scheduled, and as many payments automated as possible, you can relax a bit. A budget is simply a plan for your money, the income and expenses. Figure out where your money is going then automate the payments. Using an online banking account can help you manage your budget easily from anywhere at anytime. For example, Discover Online Banking offers an online savings account that includes a low $500 minimum opening deposit with no minimum balance or monthly maintenance fees. This flexibility can help you manage your financial stress.

A Rainy Day Fund Can Reduce Stress

If I had taken the time to save a solid emergency fund then I would have felt less stress in my situation. For some people, just thinking about saving for an emergency fund can be stressful, but making savings a priority can help reduce stress. Here’s a painless way to save a quick emergency fund. Set up an automatic withdrawal from your checking to your savings. You can do this very easily in an online savings account. Choose a small amount, maybe 20 or 50 dollars and create a recurring transfer each month or every two weeks. Within a month you will have 40 to 100 dollars saved. As long as you don’t need that money in the first year, you can save a solid chunk of funds for your emergency savings account.

An Accountability Partner Can Reduce Stress

Getting organized and setting up a plan is the easy part, keeping up with that plan can be difficult. However, an accountability partner can help. Talk to someone that can encourage you on your financial journey. Write about your journey if you would prefer or start a blog.

Don’t allow money and finances to stress you out. Set up a budget, build a rainy day fund, and find an accountability partner to keep your stress levels low.

This post was created as part of the Discover partnership program.

Originally posted 2015-04-16 10:00:46.

Budgeting & Saving

3 Tax Tips for Procrastination Prone Millennials

This post is part of the TaxACT #BeatTheDeadline blog tour which shares tips on how to make tax time a smooth and easy process before the April 15deadline. TaxACT provides the tools and guidance to help you confidently file taxes easy and fast. Do your own taxes today at TaxACT. You got this.

Are you a millennial do it yourself-er that has a hard time with deadlines? And by that I mean, were you planning to do your taxes early on and for some reason the date has crept up on you? I realize that life gets in the way sometimes. And tax season is no different. If you still have to file your taxes, here are 3 simple tips for you; the procrastination prone millennial.

Pull Together All Tax-Related Documents

Take a few hours to organize. Get your W-2, 1099, student loan interest forms, dividend and interest paperwork, and any other tax related document that came in over the last few months. With all of these documents in front of you, it will be easier to cover all of your bases.

Any employers should have placed your W-2 in the mail by January 31st. Student loan interest forms typically arrive shortly afterwards, around early to mid February. Dividend and interest forms may come at a later date; however you can estimate the expected dollar amount using your monthly bank statements. Some investment companies have agreements in place to allow you to import your information directly into your tax filing software. For example, if you have an automated investment account with Betterment, you can import all of your gain and loss data directly into the TaxAct software.

Get Your Education Perks

As a millennial, you are likely either in college or have started paying back any loans from college. If neither of these situations describes you, keep reading, because you may have some education perks coming to you anyway.

Some college students are eligible for Education Tax Credits, while others will be eligible for a tax deduction based on education spending.

American Opportunity Credit: This was set to expire at the end of 2010 but was extended for an additional seven years through December 2017 by the American Tax Payer Relief Act of 2012. The full credit is available to individuals whose modified adjusted gross income is $80,000 or less, or $160,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with incomes above these levels.

If you do not qualify for the American Opportunity Credit, you may qualify for the Lifetime Learning Credit. You cannot take the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit for the same student in the same year.
Lifetime Learning Credits: This credit can help pay for undergraduate, graduate and professional degree courses – including courses to improve job skills – regardless of the number of years in the program. Eligible taxpayers may qualify for up to $2,000 per tax return.

Use the Electronic Filing Option

Mailing tax forms is not the right strategy for a procrastinator. What if you make it to the post office too late or you forget a stamp? Instead, choose to electronically file your taxes, known as E-file. This will allow you to quickly and easily submit your taxes.

Not sure if you need to file taxes? Check out The Ultimate Tax Guide for Millennials for the answer.

Beating the tax deadline doesn’t have to be stressful. With TaxACT, everything you need to confidently prepare and e-file your taxes is right at your fingertips. You got this. File your simple or complex federal return FREE today with TaxACT Free Edition.

Originally posted 2015-04-09 02:00:13.