4 Effective and Efficient Ways to Help Achieve Financial Freedom

4 Effective and Efficient Ways to Help Achieve Financial Freedom

The internet is swarming with money-saving tips aimed at helping you achieve financial freedom. With all these financial tools and advice available, sometimes it can be overwhelming to listen to the various voices telling you the do’s and don’ts in managing your finances and building your wealth.

But don’t fret, we are here to offer you the best financial tips that will surely help you be on your way to financial independence. From the most practical tips to manage your money, to finding ways to increase your earnings, we’ve rounded up four of the best financial tips below.

Learn and Understand the Basics

A good way to achieve your goal to become financially independent is to learn and understand the basics. Start by creating a financial calendar, paying attention to your debts, and tracking your net worth. Creating a financial calendar will help you manage your money efficiently and conveniently. Paying attention to your loans and its interest rates will help you understand which financial commitments you should focus and settle first. Learning about your net worth will also let you know where you stand financially. It will serve as your guide, which will warn you if you are falling short on your budget, or making strong, steady progress towards your financial goals.

Manage Your Finances Like a Pro

Learning the art of budgeting is the starting point to become financial independent. You can manage your finances like a pro by setting a budget for every purchase or investment that you’re planning to make. Always avoid overspending since this will accumulate over time and bury you in a pile of debt. Also, take one minute of your time to check on your daily finances. This will help you keep track of your expenses, budget, investments, and other financial commitments.

Spend Your Money Wisely

You deserve to enjoy the fruit of your hard work, but be sure to make smart purchases. Spend your money on things that will make you feel good, bring happiness and memorable experiences (e.g. traveling, going to concerts and watching movies) instead of spending it on material things that will depreciate in value over time.

Increase Your Earning Potential

Practicing frugality as a lifestyle is good to help you avoid debt in the future. Your savings will also help you in times of emergencies. However, don’t forget to focus your time and effort in increasing your earning potential as well. Getting a new job and negotiating a new salary is one way to increase your earning potential. Aside from this, you can also focus your energy on making more money through investments. Yes, your income doesn’t need to stop at your day job. You have the power to grow your money by investing in bonds, mutual funds, peer-to-peer lending, and even go to real estate business.

Old or young, rich or poor, no matter what you are, everyone has the same opportunity to acquire wealth and achieve financial freedom.

By learning and understanding these money-saving tips and financial advice, we hope that we can help you achieve the financial independence you’ve always dreamed of.

How to Use Social Media in Your Job Search

How to Use Social Media in Your Job Search

Social media is a global phenomenon happening in all markets regardless of wider economic, social and cultural development. If you are online you are using social media. - Universal Mc Cann

According to TechTarget, social media is the collective of online communication channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration.

How do you use social media? Do you use it for personal entertainment or do you use it for a more important cause? Actually there are many ways that you can use social media. Its most common usage nowadays are social networking, promotion, news updates, and building professional brands. But do you know that you can also find your next job using social media?

How to Use Social Media in Your Job Search

You will be surprised how social media can help you land your next job. To give you a head start, here are the top 3 social media websites where you can look for a job:

1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social networking website for professionals. It connects people, companies, same minded professionals, colleagues including alumni, industry and business related groups — to network, search jobs, hire and do research.

If you are already on LinkedIn, one of its most usable features is its online resume that can be viewed by your connections who are possibly looking for good hires. So make sure to make your profile as good as possible.

Receiving job offers in LinkedIn is possible only if you have many connections. But if you are just starting, you can manually look for jobs on LinkedIn yourself. Here is how to job search using LinkedIn:

This video is part of Justin Seeley’s course entitled Up and Running with LinkedIn on Lynda.com.

I cannot reiterate more how useful LinkedIn is — in today’s digital world. If you are not on LinkedIn, you are missing a lot.

Read: The Best Job Sites in the Philippines | Job Seeker’s Guide to Preventing Identity Theft | Why You Should Attend a Job Fair | Top 10 Things to Bring to Job Interview

2. Facebook

Facebook is not just a social networking website, it is the ultimate social networking website. If you are not in Facebook, you are probably living under a very huge rock. Here are few of the major features of Facebook:

  • Marketplace - allows members to post, read and respond to classified ads.
  • Groups - allows members who have common interests to find each other and interact.
  • Events - allows members to publicize an event, invite guests and track who plans to attend.
  • Pages - allows members to create and promote a public page built around a specific topic.
  • Presence technology - allows members to see which contacts are online and chat.

A. Facebook Job Groups and Pages. There are many Facebook job groups that post legitimate job openings. Most of these groups are created by regular citizens.

Note: Good Facebook job groups will vary on your location.

If you want to join a Facebook job group, log on to Facebook, input the word “job” in the search box, then head over to groups tab. Some factors that you should consider in joining a job group are the following: (1) administrators, (2) number of members and (3) how active the group is.

If you are in the Philippines, you can join the following groups:

Facebook pages for job seeking tips are the following:

B. Events. Also with Facebook, you can keep track of upcoming job fairs and career-related events in your local area.

C. Official company pages. You can follow the official Facebook pages of the company where you want to apply. Most companies share their latest job openings through their official social media accounts.

3. Twitter

Twitter is a free microblogging service that allows registered members to broadcast short posts called tweets. Here is how you can use Twitter in your job search:

A. Hashtags.
Popular hashtags on Twitter that you should check out are the following:
#Hiring or #NowHiring

Industry-specific hashtags:
#Graduate Jobs

B. Job Site’s Official Twitter Accounts. You can also check out official Twitter accounts of job sites like @Monster, @Glassdoor, and @indeed.

A sense of caution, social media is not immune from scams. Some social media accounts, groups and pages are made to gather personal information from people who are determined to get a job. So, before you apply for the job post, make sure to do the following:

  1. Verify that the recruiter is genuine.
  2. Google the employer or recruiter’s name. If all you can find are job postings, that is a bad sign.
  3. Track the employer’s phone number via Google or some other reputable web phone directory, or by simply calling Information.

If you cannot verify the availability of the job post or the legitimacy of the recruiter, do not bother to apply.

Final Take:
Don’t get me wrong, the traditional method of job search is still effective. But slowly, job search is going digital and you should keep up. If you want an easier job search method, use social media — just be cautious of scams and bogus job posts.

Wave 3 - Studies for Universal Mc Cann
What is Social Media?
Up and Running with LinkedIn
What is Facebook?
How to Use Twitter to Find a Job
How to Avoid 5 Major Types of Online Job Scams

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Social media icons designed by Freepik

Hire the Scrapper: Why the Best Hire Might Not Have the Perfect Resume

Hire the Scrapper: Why the Best Hire Might Not Have the Perfect Resume

“It’s not fair to compare one artist to another because they all come with their own sort of elements to the picnic, you know.” - Annie Lennox

Life is not fair, it’s a given. Some people were born poor while other people were born rich. But even if this is the case, why does some successful people rooted from humble beginnings? Why does some poor people built better careers than the ones who were born from a rich family?

In her TED Talk, Regina Hartley–the VP of Human Resources at UPS–named the two types of people (applicants) as “The Silver Spoon” and “The Scrapper”.

Regina Hartley’s TED Talk
According to her, the Silver Spoon is the one who clearly had advantages and was destined for success while the Scrapper is the applicant who had to fight against tremendous odds to get the qualifications and get to the same point.

In her TED Talk, she strengthened her point that those who don’t always look good on resume may be just the person best to hire.

What’s your key takeaway from her TED Talk

  1. Hiring Officer.
    If you are the hiring manager, who would you choose? Regina Hartley says — hire the scrapper — the underestimated contender, whose secret weapons are passion and purpose. Choose the one with the imperfect resume.
  2. Applicants.
    If you are an applicant, instead of complaining about your situation, believe in yourself. Believe that you can get the job. And how will you do that? Prove to the hiring officer that you are the best one for the job. Be proud to be a scrapper.

Who is Regina Hartley?
She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from the HRCI. Throughout her 25-year UPS career – working in talent acquisition, succession planning, learning and development, employee relations, and communications – Regina Hartley has seen how, given the opportunity, people with passion and purpose will astound you. Today, Hartley is a human resources director for UPS Information Services, and makes human connections with employees immersed in technology.

About TED Talk
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world


Why You Should Attend a Job Fair

Why You Should Attend a Job Fair

“I don’t always attend a job fair but when I do, I handshake everyone in the event.” - Anonymous

Have you ever attended a job fair? Wikipedia defined job fair (also referred to as career fair or career expo) as speed dating for companies and job seekers. It is an event in which employers, recruiters, and schools give information to potential employees.

Attending a job fair is both fun and exciting. You see many professionals and you find many job openings. There is also a possibility that you will be hired on the spot.

Who Should Attend a Job Fair?

All applicants are welcome to attend job fairs considering that the event open opportunities to all professionals in different industries; however, I think fresh graduates will mostly benefit from job fairs because they will gain experience and knowledge from the event.

Professionals who seek employment in call center industry should also attend job fairs because call center companies are mostly present during job fairs. Sometimes call center companies organize the event because they are looking for competent candidates who have flair for English language and those who have great interpersonal skills.

How I Benefited from the Job Fair I Attended

I had a great experience from the job fair I attended last June 2013 at Tacloban City Astrodome when I was just starting my career. In the event, I found many companies looking for potential candidates but GoAbroad was the company that intrigued me. Although it was the first time I encountered of GoAbroad, the jobs they have posted are the positions that I want— Graphic Designer, Blogger, and SEO Content Writer.

Because I have the basic skills in Photoshop and InDesign and I have an international-standard resume, I was interviewed by their hiring manager. GoAbroad’s hiring manager is a fast-talking 30 to 40-year-old Filipina with an intimidating fluency in English. I did not ask for her name because I was so shy. Well, a starter’s mistake. Before the interview began, I was so nervous because I do not know what questions will be asked.

The hiring manager asked me series of questions about my resume and my qualifications. She also asked me if I am a blogger, if I know Photoshop and if I know SEO. I cannot remember the exact answers I responded to the questions but as far as I know I have impressed her because she invited me to their second applicant screening—the pre-employment examination to be taken at their main office.

When I got home, I searched for their company online and I found out that GoAbroad is an international company. They partner with international schools and companies and advertise them in their site. Their employees create blog posts and create impressive graphics for their clients. They also plan, design and build websites.

The next day, I went to their office by following the direction given to me by the hiring manager. Their office is hidden from the busy streets and is like a residential office. At first I could not understand why, but when I went inside, I got the whole point. They have a very modern workplace—designed to make their employees feel like they are working at home. I was there together with other applicants—local bloggers and newly graduates—to take the pre-employment exam.

The hiring officer showed us their workplace first, to motivate us to do our best. They have a mini-gym and a mini-bar and their workplace is compartmentalized for the services that they do—graphic designing, web designing, blogging and other techie services that they do.

After the tour, we took the examination. The exam was composed of English language proficiency questions, grammar questions and an essay, a total of 110 points. After the examination, the hiring manager told us that the best applicants will be called for the next step. Unfortunately, I was not called but I learned a lot from that experience.

By the time of the examination, I was just a newbie, I didn’t know the meaning of SEO. It was only after the examination that I learned search engine optimization and I got the whole picture of what they do. I learned deeper about their industry and that was the time I kept learning about WordPress and the hidden gems in blogging.

If I did not went to that job fair, I would not have known anything about blogging and the different services that I can do to my clients today. It was a memorable and life-changing experience.

Why You Should Attend a Job Fair

Apart from getting the chance of being hired on the spot, here are other reasons why you should attend a job fair:

1. Same-minded professionals are present in job fairs. Professionals under your desired industry are there. During job fairs, you get the chance to meet them, introduce yourself and offer your business card to them. You can even take note of their name and add them to your professional network on LinkedIn.

2. You will find out if your resume is effective. Submitting your resume to hiring officers during job fairs will let you know if your resume is effective or not. If it does, good for you but if it doesn’t, you need to improve your resume. Here are some common resume mistakes that are hindering your chance in getting that job.

3. You will know what’s new in your industry. When you attend a job fair, you will discover new job leads and in-demand jobs under your industry. You will see new opportunities that you can only find when you attend a job fair.

4. You practice answering interview questions. Interview questions vary by industry and by attending a job fair, you will discover the common questions asked for your desired position. If you are not hired at first, you improve your chance by preparing for the interview the next time you apply.

5. You get to make friends. I am not a communication starter, but because applicants in the job fair I attended have the same goal as I do—to get a job—I made few friends in the event. I even enjoyed communicating with other applicants during the process of the job fair recruitment.

6. You get to see companies looking for employees. It is pretty obvious but apart from your personal need to be employed, if you have friends who need a job and you think are qualified for the position, you can inform them about the job opening.

7. You can exercise your communication and interpersonal skills. During job fairs, you get the chance to meet different people—people that could be a part of your professional network throughout your career. This is why you must communicate with other applicants and if possible, exchange business card with them.

8. You practice being an adult professional. You get the chance to manage your time and compete with other applicants. Being an employee demands your time-management skill and of course, every once in a while, you get to compete with other professionals.

9. You will face challenges. Other things that you will enjoy in attending a job fair are the challenges that you will face in the process. Challenges like your grooming or appearance, focus, social graces, traveling time, and handling tough interviewers are just few of the things that you will face during job fairs. At the end of the day, you will discover your weaknesses and you get to adapt and improve them as you go along.

10. You learn from your mistakes. Job search—especially during job fair is like a game and the more you try, the more you will learn. The more you practice, the better your chances in improving and getting your desired job.

As a final take, I will inform you that attending a job fair is exhausting. But at the same time, I guarantee that you will learn many things from the experience and the information that you will gain from job fairs. It might even change your life. Who knows? Are you ready? Go attend a job fair.

Top Skills Needed by Call Center Agents

Top Skills Needed by Call Center Agents

It was a day before Christmas in 2015 when Inforati Philippines suffered uptime interruption. This site has been down inconsiderately for almost 14 hours a day for 3 weeks until January 10, 2016. Within that week, different problems happened: our Jetpack plugin & WordPress.org was disconnected, the email server was directed to the CPanel, and I, as an administrator cannot log in to the dashboard. With problems like these, who am I going to call? Not Ghostbusters but the customer support team of Arvixe (Inforati’s previous web hosting provider).

I contacted Arvixe’s support team through email but there was no response after a day so I contacted their support team via Live Chat. I contained my anger at first but they told me that their account management tool is under maintenance and other representatives said that it was my fault which in fact I have not updated my site for a while. They do not even send an email to their customers about the interruption and maintenance that they do. That is how terrible Arvixe’s Webhosting Service is.

After receiving that response, I realized how bad my decision was to host Inforati’s website in Arvixe. However, this blog post is not about that, this is about the skills that customer support teams like Arvixe’s should know to solve customer issues effectively.

Apart from that, another reason why I wrote this blog post is the fact that the Philippines is the call-center capital of the world according to Los Angeles Times. Yes, the Philippines has overtaken India’s crown. Filipino college graduates and undergraduates now dominate most tasks known to business process outsourcing or BPO with 600,000 contact center workers. And based on the quick facts of the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP), the Philippines is number one in voice, customer care, tech, and financial service outsourcing.

Top Skills Needed by Call Center Agents

So, if you are seeking a career in the call center or BPO industry, maybe you need to master these skills first:

1. Communication Skill. Communication is a broad topic, but call center agents should focus on verbal and written communication skills. Call center agents should be good at communication. They should know how to read, write and speak English fluently. If you want, you can check my previous blog post on improving your communication skills.

2. Data-Entry Skill. Because one of the common tasks of a call center agent is entering data, typing skill is an important skill that a call center agent should master. If you can type faster, you can handle more customers since call center agents answer issues in bulk. Check out my previous blog post on increasing your typing speed.

3. Calmness & Patience. Patience is indeed a virtue. Have you heard about the Citibank (Phone) Scandal in the Philippines? Listen to this audio clip that became popular in 2009.

4. Listening Skill. Listening is an important skill for call center agents. Listening to customers’ concerns is critical not just hear what they are talking about.

5. Problem-solving skills. We are all paid to become problem-solver. Whatever we do in life, we earn a living by solving problems. In a call center, problem-solving is a special skill that every call center agent has to master.

In the case of Arvixe’s customer support team, I just wished that they solved the issue fast and effectively but unfortunately, they were not able to make me feel like they value my business at all so I transferred to a better web hosting service.

6. Technical Skill. A skill related to handling and troubleshooting computers is a must for call center agents. This skill is very important, especially for Technical Support Representatives.

7. Professionalism. Customers may say bad things to call center agents but still, they should maintain professionalism.

8. Coping with Stress. Being a call center agent is a stressful job. Although there is no easy and stress-free job, I really salute how call center agents wing out stress. As a sense of advice, if you want to become a successful call center agent, it takes practice, practice, and practice to be able to handle a rude caller and not give up to stress.

After mastering these skills, you can add them to the Key Competencies section of your resume.

Just a note, there may be some skills special in some contact center jobs that are not on this list. If you are passionate about customer service, I encourage you read the job post carefully.

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