How to Shake Hands Like a Professional

For entry-level young professionals, there are a myriad of office-related rules to follow. These are rarely talked about so it’s hard to master them as a young professional. But this is YoungFinances! We talk about taboo topics. The purpose of this post is to show you how to shake hands like a professional. Few people discuss it but it’s important to know. After all, not knowing how to make a good handshake could ruin an interview. It sounds silly but it’s true. Many people hold a lot of stake in a handshake.
You must master the art of the handshake. And I’m not using ‘art’ lightly. It takes skill to do it properly. If you don’t think so, shake the hand of a child. They don’t know how to do it well. Furthermore, go to a networking event. Many people there don’t give confident handshakes. Heck, even go to church and shake hands with the people around you. It’s not something everyone has been trained on.
[Tweet “Learning how to do a proper handshake is important. No one likes to feel like they’re shaking a dead fish.”]
But men and women can both master this skill by following the rules outlined below:

Knowing When to Shake Hands

According to Psychology Today, the old rule that communication is broken down into 55% body language, 38% tone of voice, and 7% actual words spoken, is true in most cases. Of course, some people may cross their arms because they’re cold, not because they dislike you. In these cases, it’s necessary to take into account their personal environment.
All things equal, body language is incredibly important. The statistic that most language is nonverbal (55%) is true. This means you have to approach every encounter with professionalism and confidence.
There are certain definitive times you will need to shake hands. They include:
  • Job interviews
  • Initial meetings of coworkers and your supervisor
  • Greeting and saying goodbye to business partners or clients
  • When acting as a host for an event
  • When introduced as a guest at an event

How to Properly Shake Hands

The best handshake does not try to dominate the other person but it does display strength along with respect. The best way to shake hands is to follow this basic outline:
  1. Go in straight for the handshake, with your palm vertical to the ground. Don’t put your palm over the other person’s palm, as this signifies dominance. Dominance is not something a young professional wants to convey in most circumstances. It may come off as arrogance and disrespect for the status quo. Save the palm-over-palm technique for when you’re the boss.
  2. Clasp the entire hand, curling your index finger and thumb slightly in to each other.
  3. Squeeze their hand and release after approximately 2-5 seconds. During this time, the other person may pump your hand up and down from the elbow.
  4. Make eye contact while introducing yourself. In most cases, your superior will start the introduction and offer their hand to you first. Respond with a proper handshake while making eye contact and say your name.

If you’re uncertain of the importance of proper hand shaking, realize that a poor hand shake generally reflects negatively on you.

For better or worse, many people base their assumptions about you on how you shake hands. Do you approach a hand shake professionally and decisively, or do you shy away and offer a limp handshake? Do you try to overpower your client? Or do you respectfully grasp their hand and release?

How you handle these interactions can shape how others think of you. Learning how to properly shake hands is not an insurmountable task. I recommend practicing this technique with people which you are comfortable. It takes a little practice but it can be mastered fairly quickly.
Good luck and inspire confidence!

Originally posted 2015-07-29 10:00:26.


3 Ways to Find a Job By Networking Online

Just searching, applying, and attending interviews while looking for your first career position directly after college can be a full time job all by itself. I remember looking for my first job. I used to get frustrated when I saw former classmates getting hired by friends. It made me think that all of the work I did to earn good grades was for nothing.

But getting good grades is only half of the battle when it comes to finding a job. Who you know is the other half of the battle. And it can be the most important part of the battle. Networking in person can help you find jobs before they are listed online, but what if you see a job online and you don’t have the connections? You will need to begin networking online. Use these tips to make the process easier and leverage your networks.

Use Multiple Job Search Engines

Don’t be afraid to use more than one search engine to find a job. You may think that open positions will be listed on all of the large sites but that is just not how it works. Try AND Test out and look for positions directly on company websites. After you’ve checked these sources, try an industry specific job search engine. For example, in finance, you can search for entry-level and more advanced financial positions. The site also has a networking option so candidates can meet potential employers.

LinkedIn is a great place to look for a job because it already includes the element of professional networking. The job search feature is limited to jobs that might interest you. But if you perform a search using the right keywords, you may find other jobs. A major advantage to job searching on LinkedIn is the ability to connect with the recruiter directly.

Get Noticed for Your Skills

Before you start reaching out, it’s important that you update your resume and write a cover letter for your job search. You may receive an immediate request and you should be ready. Take the time to clean up your social networks and remove any potentially embarrassing material. You want to be noticed for your skills, not your ability to do a keg stand. Update your LinkedIn profile and ask your close connections and previous employers for recommendations and endorsements. Highlight relevant work history, skills and professional memberships.

You can also stand out by creating a blog or one page online resume. Create a blog to talk about your experience, your industry, and explore topics that interest you. A one page resume is similar to a LinkedIn profile but you can customize it more to match your specific skills. If you are in the design or creative field, you can create an online portfolio and stand out as a candidate.

Connect Online Via Professional Networking

Recruiters are always on the hunt for solid candidates. Take the time to find and connect with recruiters in your industry. Then, add all of your professional connections on LinkedIn. Start to share updates on interesting articles that you have read and stay active on a weekly basis. Join a group dedicated to your industry and chat with those members.

Once you start making meaningful connections, take it a step further. Ask for an in person meeting or Skype chat. Once the meeting is set up, prepare some questions that you can ask. This is not an interview but a conversation. Your goal is to simply create a deeper connection with an online friend.

Networking online is very similar to networking in person. You meet a new connection, find out how you can help them and discuss how they may be able to help you. Then you continue the conversation and look for ways to add value going forward.

Originally posted 2015-07-06 10:00:56.


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.


3 Ways to Ruin Your Career

If you want to succeed in your first job, there are a few key rules you should follow: be punctual, polite, and professional. However, the list of things you shouldn’t do is rarely written down, and it’s a fine line. Here are three rules you shouldn’t break when you start out in your first job. Think of them as the written rules of what not to do as you begin your professional career!

1) Dressing Too Casually

Sure, you’ve probably heard about artistic or tech jobs that don’t care if you wear jeans and a t-shirt to work every day. What they don’t mention is that almost every profession has times when you must dress to impress. Specifically, you should dress well when you are presenting at meeting or when you’re meeting with a director or someone important in your company. Not dressing to impress can be indicative of your attitude toward your job, whether or not that is true. Don’t let people assume you care about your job as little as you care about your attire.

The bottom line: Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have. If you would like to be in the director’s chair, watch how she or he dresses and mimic that style. Show him/her that you know the culture and style, and you’ll be noticed – in a good way.

2) Blaming Others

Sometimes you just won’t know how to do things, particularly if you are starting out in a new job. If you make a mistake, you might be tempted to blame a coworker for not giving better instructions, or your supervisor for not providing training. Instead of owning up to your mistakes and asking for constructive criticism, you blame others and cast them in a bad light. Do this often enough, and people will avoid helping you or, worse, resent you.

The bottom line: Own up to any mistakes you made, but ask for help. If you made an error on an assignment because your supervisor did not give clear instructions, instead of blaming his/her communication style, ask for ways to improve communication. Note that you’re an entry level employee who wants to provide good work, done right the first time. That positive and eager attitude will impress your supervisor – and keep you in good standing among your coworkers.

3) Resisting Change

You may have joined your new company based on your boss’ reputation as a stellar communicator and mentor, only to find she was on the retirement track and will retire in three months. Software you’ve been using for months and Excel at may be phased out and replaced with something more complicated. Either way, complaining and resisting these changes does nothing but make you miserable. There will be enough other people in your company who also loathe the changes, and misery loves company. Don’t let yourself be dragged into a complaining spiral – it will only make you less productive and less likely to be seen as a team player.

The bottom line: Change happens. You will deal without it throughout your entire career, so look at the changes happening early in your career as a time to learn and improve your skills. That new, complicated software? Embrace the change and learn a new system. You never know if your next job will require that skillset, and you may be one of the few employees who know how to use it. New manager? Be open-minded about what you can learn from him/her. If you’re seen as someone adaptable to change, you’re likely to be given more responsibility and projects – which will get you noticed by others in your organization for something positive.

Originally posted 2015-03-26 10:00:55.


How to Get Your First Salary Increase or Promotion This Year

Getting a raise at a new job is often seen as a complicated or uncomfortable task, especially for millennials. We tend to either be too scared to seek out a salary increase or promotion at our new job, or think we’re unworthy of deserving one.

I recently posted about how I found my first job out of college after majoring in an industry that was not in demand according to society. After being at my job for 6 months, I’ve already earned a 10% raise and promotion with the opportunity for even more growth as the year progresses.

I’m here to tell you that if you’re trying to earn a raise or a promotion, 2015 will be your year. These steps will help you determine your value within your company and how to communicate it to your superiors to score a much needed pay raise.

Step 1: Get a Job You Like With Room for Growth

If you want to advance at your workplace you have to actually like your job and the work that you do. Otherwise, it will be very hard to convince your boss of your work ethic and achievements if you’re not even passionate about the work you do.

When you first started your job you should have already talked to your boss or managers about growth within the company. This is crucial because you cannot earn more or advance your responsibilities if there is no room for growth at your workplace.

Unfortunately some companies cannot afford to pay their employees what they are worth, and I have seen this in my industry where writers are often under payed for their work and undervalued.

Make Yourself Irreplaceable

Once you’ve established that there is indeed room for growth at your company, then it’s time to start making yourself an irreplaceable entity of the company. Understand your role and optimize the results you bring in. Even if your department or job title is not a necessity in the company, make your superiors believe that it is.

Be a team player, but also be highly dependable and efficient with everything you do. This will make you stand out from others who are a hassle to work with and it will secure your position for a long time.

Step 2: Research Your Industry, Excel Over Your Coworkers

Research your industry and get an idea of how much people are expected to be paid. To do this try a site like which publishes salary and reviews for many companies. If you find that you are being underpaid according to industry standards, this is all the more reason to ask for a raise. If you are seeking a promotion, you will have a better idea of how much of a raise you will seek out.

Be Pleasant and Stay Out Of Workplace Drama

Workplace drama is unnecessary, distracting, and reminiscent of high school. Getting caught up in the drama will only annoy your superiors and lessen your chances of getting a raise. It’s important to keep work separate from your personal life and remain professional at all times.

Remember that your managers may be nice people, but they are observing you and how you react in certain situations more than you think. During my first few months of work there were definitely some things I could have complained about but I kept it to myself and remained focused on the task at hand.

No one likes whiners and complainers.

If you are trying to be promoted it’s also a good idea to avoid becoming ‘besties’ with your coworkers. While my coworkers are very nice and I enjoy working with them and chatting about nonsense from time to time, I made sure to keep the relationship with my coworkers strictly work-based and apart from my personal life.

I am the youngest person at my company and I’m sure that if my boss saw getting too close with all my coworkers or worse acting immature and stirring up workplace drama, he would have thought I did not have the discipline or maturity to supervise and train employees who were older than me or anyone for that matter.

Excelling Over Others

Don’t get me wrong, most jobs are heavily focused on teamwork and the finished product, as they should be. But you’ll have to admit that supervisors and managers are placed in a higher category because they excel over others in their work. You have to be willing to work hard, go above and beyond your job requirements, and even stay late some times to stand out from others at your place of work. Making a portfolio of tasks completed and ways that you’ve benefited the company through your performance is a great way to excel over others and eventually earn more.

Step 3: Leverage Your Annual Review and Ask for Your Raise

Your mid-year or annual review can be the perfect time to seek out a raise or promotion. You will be discussing your performance, most companies receive a new budget each year, and are often looking to make some changes. It’s important to ask your boss where they think you are headed in the company and express your interest in any open leadership positions if they apply.

If you are not offered a raise, be sure to ask for one that is at least a 10% increase from your current pay. If you put in the hard work and performed well you should not act entitled but yet, very humble and deserving of pay a raise. Break out your portfolio of work or simply discuss your assets and what you’ve been able to achieve and make sure your boss understands that you are here to stay and the value you bring to the company is irreplaceable. Stay persistent and remember, you’ve earned it.

Good luck!

Originally posted 2015-02-12 08:00:00.


Which Resume Format is Right for You?

When it comes to creating a resume, the possibilities are endless. You can have a chronological, skills-based, or a combination of resume formats, but how do you know which one is right for you?

There are three general resume format types, and there are several pros and cons to each of them. If you want, you may even format your resume in a few different ways, depending on which skills you want to highlight. You never know when someone will ask to see your resume, and by having one or two already created, you will be in a better position than someone who has to create a resume in a hurry.

Chronological Resume Format

The chronological resume format is one of the most widely used formats. It follows a logical, chronological progression that traces your employment from most recent at the top and on down.
This format is easy to prepare and showcases increased responsibility, skills, and growth, assuming you progressed into more difficult work over time.

The chronological format is best used by individuals with a steady work record. If you have employment gaps, or frequent job changes, the chronological format may not be right for you.

Skills-Based Resume Format

Also known as a functional resume, the skills-based format emphasizes your skills rather than employment. As opposed to focusing on dates when you worked, this focuses on the skills you currently have.
One benefit of the skills-based format is that it demonstrates the variety of experiences and skills you have. It also downplays gaps in work history or short-term employment, which many young people may have due to school commitments or short-term internships.

The skills-based format is best used by people with gaps in employment or frequent job changes. However, be aware that Human Resources may not like this type of resume as much because it does leave off dates worked.

Combination Resume Format

The combination format is a combination of the chronological and skills-based format. It de-emphasizes employment history in less relevant jobs, and highlights your most relevant skills and recent work history.
When creating a combination resume, you will tailor it specifically to the job you are applying for. This will take creativity and time to prepare, but if it is well organized, it will clearly show how your prior experience perfectly ties in with the job you are applying for.

This format is best used by people who are changing careers entirely, those who are transitioning to new positions, or those who are climbing the career ladder. If well organized, this format can be used for almost any job application. Just be sure to have someone you trust read over it well. If they are able to immediately see what skills and previous work experience you are trying to highlight, then you have succeeded!

If you’re unsure how many years to include in your resume, many employers recommend going back no more than ten years. Any longer, and you’re likely to be on a third sheet of paper, which employers don’t typically read. If you don’t have ten years of experience, that’s okay! One page resumes are excellent, and it’s perfectly fine to have a page. If you do need two pages but don’t quite fill up the second page, add some volunteer experience or additional skills you have. If you’ve taken classes outside of your college major, include those under a section titled Additional Resume Experience.
No matter which resume you choose, make sure you highlight all relevant skills and use action words. Your resume is one of your first introductions to your potential employer: make it shine!

Looking for more help on writing the perfect resume? Click here to purchase How to Write a Job-Getting Resume on Amazon.

Originally posted 2015-01-14 06:00:00.