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HR and payroll jobs bring opportunities and challenges. If you’re planning a career in the field, make sure you know what to expect – and what will be expected of you…

Although their work takes place behind the scenes, HR and payroll employees are crucial components of business success. Contrary to common belief, HR and payroll departments don’t just focus on hiring and firing, or calculating wages and salaries – their roles draw on a spectrum of educational disciplines, involve a wide range of challenges, and take place across the industrial spectrum in every corner of the world.

So what do you need to begin a career in HR or payroll – and where can you expect it to lead?

The HR Domain

While the HR department is responsible for recruiting, maintaining, and managing the company’s employees, on another level, they work to realize their employer’s vision for the organisation, and shape its future. Broadly speaking, the duties of HR employees involve:

  • Recruiting employees with skills that will enhance their organisation
  • Participating in salary and contract negotiations
  • Inducting new employees
  • Disseminating company policy and promoting employer philosophy
  • Addressing employee needs and enquiries
  • Organising and delivering employee training
  • Providing professional oversight and advice
  • Participating in and mediating the dispute resolution process between employees and employers

Beginning your career

HR positions normally have no specific academic requirements, but in a crowded job market, university-level qualifications are obviously an advantage. Certain subjects and disciplines are particularly useful for HR roles, including IT and communications, psychology, sociology, math, and anything business-related, such as management or economics.

It’s certainly possible to kick-start your HR career with an industry-recognized accreditation, and a number of industry bodies provide training courses specifically focused on the field. Explore your options at institutions like the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which offers training for both prospective HR employees and those already on the career path.

Beyond academic and professional qualifications, certain skills and talents are also relevant for prospective HR professionals. Strong interpersonal skills are advantageous since much of the role involves dealing with inquiries by other employees, while organisational, administrative, and communication skills are also useful in most contexts.

Choosing your path

HR careers could take place in any corner of the working world, and follow a number of paths. While HR careers are generally focused on serving client-employees, there’s plenty of scope for specialization within a certain industry or sector – or as a global HR specialist. HR roles include:

  • Assistant: Administrator positions are normally how most employees get their start on the career ladder. Basic duties involve procedural office administration and addressing client queries. Average Salary: $31,840
  • Administrator: With increased responsibilities, HR administrators play a part in recruitment, interviewing, and training for their employer organisations. Average Salary: $45,667
  • Manager/Supervisor: HR managers bear responsibility for their wider HR team, or or may lead their department. At this career stage, professional accreditation may become a necessity. Average salary: $98,818
  • Director: HR directors are high level personnel with an important role in shaping their employers’ decisions and policy regarding recruitment, training and employee management. Average salary: $137,274

The Payroll Domain

Payroll employees work not only to calculate and pay wages to an employee population but to ensure the pay process takes place accurately, on time, and in compliance with the rules and regulations of their territory. General payroll duties include:

  • Logging employee work hours and overtime
  • Calculating salary
  • Calculating tax and social security contributions and other relevant deductions
  • Reporting to relevant tax authorities
  • Issuing pay and payslips
  • Inducting employees into payroll system
  • Maintaining and updating payroll records
  • Addressing employee payroll queries
  • Augmenting the pay process to maintain compliance

Beginning your career

Payroll jobs are similar to those in HR in that they suit candidates from a range of academic backgrounds, however, thanks to the field’s focus on calculation and data, subjects like math and any other numeracy-based disciplines are especially useful to prospective employees. With that said, while math and accountancy graduates (at both high school and university-level) will likely stand out to payroll recruiters, achievement in IT, communications, management, and any business-centric subjects will also be valuable.

Ideally, payroll employees should be diligent and conscientious, and show strong attention to detail. Given the deadline-based challenges of the role (employees need to be paid on time), creative thinking and problem-solving skills are also vital – along with an ability to communicate clearly with clients and other team members regarding urgent pay queries.

Entry-level payroll positions will tend not to require industry accreditation, but this may become a necessity with progress up the career ladder. A number of internationally-recognized institutions offer payroll accreditation, including the American Payroll Association (APA), which trains employees in the Fundamental Payroll Certification, and the Certified Pay Professional certification.

Choosing your path

Given its importance and complexity, ambitious payroll employees can forge long, rewarding careers – and can expect to find exciting opportunities across professional landscapes. Typical payroll positions include:

  • Administrator: An entry-level position, payroll administrators will have processing and general administrative duties including inducting new starts onto the system. Average Salary: $25,000
  • Assistant: Payroll Assistants assume a higher-level of administrative responsibility and may be responsible for directing colleague activities and addressing queries. Average salary $31,000
  • Technician: Payroll technicians will facilitate the procedural aspects of the pay-cycle – maintaining software platforms and other technical components.
  • Manager/Supervisor: Payroll managers may be in charge of their team or department, and will communicate regularly with senior employees. Average salary $94,500
  • Director: An executive position, payroll directors will be responsible for guiding policy and advising senior employees. Average salary: $111,484

Many businesses choose to outsource their payroll process to third-party service providers. Outsourcing is particularly popular for businesses paying employees on a global scale, since it offers a chance to import compliance expertise for local tax laws. With this in mind, global payroll specialists are often in high demand.

This article was contributed by guest author Sandra Sommerville.



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Finishing college and getting a degree is essential for pursuing your future career but it will not completely prepare you for business life. While it is very important to have a college degree, in order to make it beneficial as well, it is crucial to take key courses and to take advantage of the opportunities around you to prepare yourself for life after school.

The first thing you have to realize is that attending every class won’t magically make you an expert in your line of work. That means that you should go out, get your hands dirty and try to learn as much as you can in practice, i.e. outside the classroom. Take advantage of the opportunities around you and available resources of your college. If you limit yourself, you will limit your career opportunities and slow your professional growth at the beginning of your business life.

Start planning on time

It is very important to start planning your future career on time. As soon as you start college, you should make a plan for your future business life; thinking about jobs related to your career interests and setting a list of goals. That way you will have a clear idea of what needs to be done in order to prepare yourself for the job you want. Ask for help from your parents and college professors because it is always good to hear both subjective and objective opinions on your skills and character that may help define your future career if you are not sure about the choice you made or don’t know what to choose. If you start planning on time you will be less stressed about it at the end of school.

Self-development is essential

Work on developing skills you will need while doing everyday tasks for school, for example. Start networking with professors and other members of the faculty. It will help you improve your communication skills and you will meet people and make connections that can lead to career opportunities later on. Enhancing your leadership skill development will help you become more confident work-wise while you are striving to reach your career goals. Improve your skills by taking additional courses to ensure you have good qualifications for your future job.

Take on an internship

Gaining work experience while you are still studying is a great way to prepare yourself for a career in business as well as increase employment opportunities. Use your summer break to take on an internship or a job related to your line of work. That way, when applying for a job requiring work experience, you will have a better chance of employment even though you are a recent graduate. Also, you will gain practical experience, earn course credits, and of course, improve and develop skills.

Prepare yourself for the job

Using internet tools is also a great way to become familiar with business terminology and programs used for various business areas. Find tools or software you will need to use for your future job and learn as much as you can about how to use them and how they function. It will help you add to your skills and be well prepared for the future. You can find all sorts of information online, so make sure you search official sites and find official software to work on while preparing for business life. If a certain company caught your eye and you are striving for a career with it, educate yourself on their line of work and find out exactly what they are looking for. Get in contact with people who work there and ask for volunteering options since business owners appreciate confident, talented individuals who are taking initiative.

Know your skills

Many graduates don’t really know what they’re good at or what their skills are. To solve this problem, do a skills assessment test that can direct you and even create a particular career path according to your personality and your abilities. You can find a lot of these tests online or you can consult with your college professors and ask for suggestions or recommendation for the best ones to take. Don’t push yourself on developing skills that are not compatible with your character; instead concentrate on what you know and what you’re good at.

Following these steps can help you prepare for the after-school life and getting ready for your future job. Keep in mind that it is crucial to start early and work on developing career-related skills. Taking on an internship will give you the necessary experience and advantage when applying for your first job, so be smart, and start planning your future on time!

This article was contributed by guest author Ian Pearson.

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At one time, it was common for workers in a wide range of industries to find a great job with a successful company and to spend most or all of their career working for the same company. However, things have changed, and job hopping is now far more common. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average time a worker remains employed with the same company is 4.6 years. This average is only 2.3 years for those who are between the ages of 20 to 34. As you might imagine, there are both benefits and drawbacks associated with changing jobs frequently. It is important to understand these pros and cons so that you can take steps to maximize the benefits strategically while detracting from the negative effects of frequent job changes.

Improve Job Skills

When you work in a single position or company for many years, you may not have the opportunity to use all of your knowledge and training. These skills become stale, and your understanding of certain concepts may become worthless over time when knowledge is not used. More than that, you may not be able to fully develop new skills that could help you to take your career to new heights more quickly when you only work in one position over the years. Each position you work in can introduce you to new skills and training opportunities, and having a more well-rounded resume could potentially help you to land a better job down the road or to reach the pinnacle of your career more quickly.

Increase Income Potential

Regardless of whether you are comparing the average salaries of engineers, pharmacists or other professionals, you may be aware that most employers offer only a nominal cost of living salary adjustment each year. Some companies unfortunately do not even offer this small increase in income, and it may be several years or more before you receive a single raise with some companies. On the other hand, the earning power of your education and skill set may increase at a much faster rate, and you may discover that you need to change jobs periodically in order to earn the income that you are truly capable of. Keep in mind that your improved skills learned by frequently changing jobs can also help boost your earning power more quickly over the years.

Get Comfortable With Different Work Environments and People

Another great benefit of changing jobs periodically is the ability to work in a wider range of work environments and with many different people. This includes exposure to different managerial styles, working with a wider range of co-workers and learning how to meet the needs of a greater range of customers or clients. Through these new and varied experiences in different workplaces, you may feel more natural and comfortable in various work situations over the years. This can help you to interview more successfully for new jobs, and it can also help you to thrive in new positions. In some cases, individuals use this benefit to become a successful consultant in their field.

Employers May View Frequent Job Hopping Negatively

Many employers and hiring managers are well-aware of the trend for individuals to switch jobs more frequently now than in the past. However, when individuals change jobs too frequently, this can be a red flag for employers. For example, there is a difference between how an employer views a job candidate who changes jobs every three to five years versus how an employer views a candidate who has not stayed with a company for more than a year. Employers typically invest time and money training their new hires, and they want to select candidates who they feel comfortable may stay with the company for at least a few years. Even if you are a more qualified candidate than other applicants, your tendency to change jobs frequently may dissuade employers from offering you a job.

Relationships Could Be Impaired

Another potential downside associated with changing jobs frequently relates to your professional relationships. Careers are often developed through the ability to network extensively and to establish excellent industry connections. Some individuals you meet in a professional setting may be loyal to a specific company, and if you only stay with that company for a very short period of time, it may not be long enough for you to develop a lasting relationship. In addition, you may not stay in a company long enough to develop great references for future positions.

Switching Jobs Without a Plan

If you plan to switch jobs often, it is important to do so strategically. You should search for jobs that offer you the ability to enhance your current skill set, and you should research future job opportunities before deciding to make a career move. Understand how many years of experience you need developing a skill or working in a certain position or at a specific level before you change jobs. Make plans to stay in a specific position for a defined period of time before you leave. You should never leave a job because you are bored or frustrated, and you should always keep your attention focused on increasing your skills and earning potential.

Job hopping can be beneficial when done strategically, but you can see that it also can damage your career and jeopardize your ability to get a great job in your field if it’s done haphazardly. While many employers understand that the average time a worker may stay in a position is approximately four to five years, you should plan to keep a job for a period of time that helps you to strategically advance your career and maximize your income. With the right strategy in mind, you can enjoy great benefits by changing jobs periodically over the years.

This article was contributed by guest author Cassidy Hennigan.

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Choosing to enter the medical field after high school is a wise decision. It is one of the most promising career fields in America, as it is constantly growing and advancing. It is also an excellent field where you can get your foot in the door without having prior experience or a degree. Below you will find the top 5 medical jobs to get you started in a medical career, right out of high school.

Medical Assistant

As a medical assistant you will help doctors take blood, administer certain medications, record vital signs and maybe even assist in some office procedures. In other environments you may have clerical duties such as scheduling appointments, answering phones and greeting incoming patients. In either situation, your job is to keep your doctor on time and up to date with vital information about patients. Many places will hire you right out of high school and provide educational assistance or on the job training. In order to further your career, consider getting your medical assisting degree, which can be done without quitting your current job.

Surgical Technologist

If you are interested in watching surgeries, you may want to consider becoming a Surgical Tech. In this profession, you will prepare the operating room for surgical procedures. This includes making sure all of the necessary tools, sponges, sutures and other equipment needed for the operation, are in place. In some settings you may also monitor patients during surgery. Many hospitals and surgical centers will hire you with a high school diploma. However, there are several programs that will provide you with education and a diploma after high school.

Occupational Therapy Aide

As an occupational therapy aide you will help a certified occupational therapist in various areas. You may be the person who transports patients to and from their appointment. You may also be asked to wash linens or clean treatment areas. You may also be the person who schedules patients for follow up appointments. The certified therapist may also rely on your eyes and ears by paying close attention to the patient. You may be able to pick up on certain things that the therapist may miss. In this career, you can provide very helpful insight as the therapist’s “second set of eyes.”

Emergency Medical Technician
An occupation as an EMT is a great way to help others in need and also have time to take online college courses, as you will have down time between calls. As an EMT you will be one of the first responders to accidents or homes to provide care for sick or injured people. As an EMT you may also assess patients, provide CPR, help victims out of dangerous situations and more. You have the opportunity to progress your EMT career into different levels such as Intermediate EMT and Advanced EMT. Additionally, you can choose to go to school to become a Paramedic.

Personal Care Aide
If you have a lot of compassion and enjoy helping others, you may want to begin your medical career as a personal care aide. In this occupation you will be helping elderly people, those with chronic or severe illnesses as well as those with diminished mental capacity to live their daily lives. The people you help will also have varying degrees of abilities. You may have one patient that can do most things of him or herself, while another patient may need your assistance with basic functions, such as eating. Many companies will hire you right out of high school and will provide you with any required training.

This article was contributed by guest author April Adams.

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There’s no denying it. College is expensive. For most students, it’s not feasible to put work on hold for four years just to earn a degree. Even if you could get by without extra income, working during your time at college is a great way to help shape your career trajectory, build a professional network, and even help you decide what classes will be most valuable for you.

But working while studying can also be risky. How do you balance the demands of the classes you’re paying for with the requirements of the job that’s paying you? What kind of jobs for students are available, and what should you be looking for in a student job? Here are some tips and tricks for striking just the right balance.

1. Know Your Limits

Earning a college degree is important, because it increases your chances of landing a high-paying job and building a successful career down the line. In order to pay for college, there is no doubt that you must take up a job as soon as possible. However, if you’ve just arrived on campus for the first time, now is probably not the best time to be looking for a job. Take some time to get acclimated to your new schedule and figure out the demands of your class load.

Not only will this keep your stress levels from getting too high—no one wants eight hours of homework to complete after a shift at work—but prospective employers will appreciate your forethought when you come to them knowing exactly when you aren’t available, and when you may need extra time for exams or other class obligations.

2. Make It Count

The transition from high school to college can be tricky. All of a sudden, you’ve gone from learning facts and figures to building the skills you’re going to need in the workplace…and you may not have any idea what kind of workplace you’re looking for yet! While there are probably plenty of jobs for students right on campus—great when you’re short on time or unable to commute—it’s also a good idea to use your student employment to examine different career paths.

Many highly successful professionals, from Anderson Cooper to Steve Jobs, explored a variety of career options through student jobs and internships. Some ended up pursuing those first jobs further, while others realized they were better suited to other paths. Use your own student job to explore!

3. Mentors Matter

One of the most valuable aspects of a student job is the opportunity for mentoring. Working professionals have so much to offer students just getting their feet wet, and many are eager for the opportunity to share.

Once you have an idea of what kind of field you want to work in and are pursuing related job opportunities and internships, be sure to ask questions about whether there’s an existing structure in place for mentorship, or whether you would have the opportunity to work closely with more senior professionals to get a sense of what the work is really like.

Meet with different potential mentors and try to determine who can support and challenge you as you learn and grow.

4. Be Upfront with Your Employer

It may be only a “college job,” but remember that your boss can either be a great reference or an awkward topic to discuss with your next employer. Always be honest with your employer. If you know you’re only going to be available during the school year and not during the summer, that should come up during your interview.

If your class schedule for the next semester changes and you’re unable to pick up as many hours, it’s better to let your boss know right away rather than have to revise the schedule later, or, even worse, missing shifts or turning up late.

Keep in mind that not all employers are flexible, especially if they don’t frequently hire students. Be sure to discuss issues like this during the hiring process. If an employer isn’t willing to occasionally work with you for things like exams or lab times, it might be best to keep looking.

5. Be Professional

All too often, students fall into the habit of thinking of their work as “just a student job,” something to kill time and make a little extra money while waiting to start their “real job.”

The truth is, however, that your student job is practice for the real world. The habits you develop now are the ones that will follow you throughout your professional career, so if you flout dress codes, turn up late, and forget to call in, not only will it result in a bad reference, but they’re habits that will be hard to break once you finally land that “real job.”


Ready to start submitting applications? Your first stop should be your school’s career counseling or professional development center. They’ll likely have extensive lists of jobs for students, as well as internships and career mentoring opportunities.

They can also help you hone your resume or curriculum vitae and practice your interviewing techniques. With a bit of searching and a little luck, you’ll find a student job that not only helps pay the bills, but also gives you a toehold in your career long before you graduate!

This article was contributed by guest author Amanda Wilks.


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While most people assume everyone who graduates from medical school automatically enters a private practice upon graduation, that’s not always the case. With more and more opportunities becoming available to graduates thanks to technology and other advances in the field, a variety of new and exciting opportunities now exist for new doctors and medical professionals. If you’re preparing to graduate from medical school and are wondering where to look for employment, here are some interesting options to consider.

Medical Writing

If you enjoy writing and want to share your medical knowledge with others, consider using your medical school education to become a medical writer. With jobs available at pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, textbook publishers, and various nonprofit organizations, graduates can use their medical knowledge to create posters, books, and websites for public education.

Health Administration

For medical students who have a head for business, a career in health administration may be the ticket to success. By aligning themselves with an online medical recruiting service, students can often find employment with hospitals and other healthcare facilities, where they can oversee the day-to-day operations while still interacting with patients or residents. A background in Human Resources is a big plus for this one and you might not need to have quite the same medical education to get the job. MedSource Consultants Recruiting says these positions are often attractive because of their benefits as well as connections forged at many different hospitals and clinics.

Public Health

By choosing a career in public health, medical students can use their skills in numerous ways. For those with an interest in international affairs, they can travel abroad with medical organizations to help impoverished nations, conduct educational programs about better health practices, and provide much-needed medical services to various populations. Or if they prefer, they can work with local health departments to study various diseases and help educate the public on preventive measures.

Government Services

With healthcare being such a complex issue in today’s society, many healthcare professionals have chosen to work in numerous types of government positions in an effort to make improvements. For some, that may involve becoming lobbyists, where they can work with elected representatives on various levels of government to help key legislation get passed. And in other instances, they may choose to work at colleges or universities, serving as heads of health services centers. In these positions, they work closely with the student population, educating them on various policies and procedures.

No matter which career path they choose, medical students should realize they have a world of possibilities ahead of them. Whether traveling abroad to help third-world nations rid themselves of disease, discussing the latest health concerns with politicians, or being the administrator of a state-of-the-art healthcare facility, medical students can take their knowledge and skills and help change the world.

This article was contributed by guest author Eileen O’Shanassy.

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You have so much to do. You probably don’t have time to get a regular 9 to 5 job with everything you’re currently juggling. At the same time, you’re probably sick of eating instant noodles and being stuck at home on the weekends. Why not make some extra cash in an unconventional way?

1. Contribute to the Things You Read

Most blogs and websites are always looking for guest contributors, and some of them even pay when they agree to publish your posts. If you already spend your mornings or late nights catching up on these blogs, you probably know their style inside and out. See if any of the sites you follow pay for submissions.

2. Jump Into the Sharing Economy

If you have a car, you can always sign up to drive for a ride sharing service. If you’re not too big on the idea of letting strangers into your car, you could try being a courier at Zoom2U and deliver the goods. If you have your own place and you live in an area that sees a lot of tourism, you can even rent out your extra rooms to travelers.

3. Join the Gig Economy

Can you write, code, program, build websites, or design graphics? People are always looking to pay other people to handle those tasks for them. If you have a skill that you can do with little more than a computer and an internet connection, you can always become a freelancer. You’ll get to set your own rates and hours, on top of being able to choose who you work with.

4. Buy and Sell Stuff

You probably know a lot of people who love things like vintage clothing. They’re often willing to spend an arm and a leg on sites like Etsy or eBay for great vintage pieces. Take a look at what people are buying and selling on those sites, and then hit up your local thrift stores. You’ll be able to find similar things for much cheaper, and then turn around to sell them at a profit.

5. Cash in On Your Hobby

Now is the time to try those things you’ve always wanted to do, but weren’t sure you’d be successful doing. Do you have a craft or a hobby you’re passionate about? Can you paint or sculpt or carve things out of wood? If you can, it doesn’t hurt to try to sell the things you were going to make anyway. If it doesn’t work out, you aren’t at a loss – you still got to do something you love doing.

6. Tutor Your Classmates

A lot of your peers would love some extra help. If you can provide it, provide it at a price. When you’re great at a particular subject, others who aren’t doing as well might appreciate your expertise on the subject. Charge your peers a modest rate for an hour or two of your help – they might even want ongoing assistance, and over time, things might become highly profitable.

7. Love Every Dog

You probably don’t have the time or money to get your own dog as a student. A lot of other people with dogs who might not be able to get home and walk them in the afternoon might be willing to pay you to do so on their behalf. If you’re a dog person, you’ll find yourself in heaven as a dog walker.

If you like doing any of these things, you might even be able to turn them into full time jobs. They could potentially carry you through a gap year if you choose to take one. If they don’t work out the way you’d planned, you can drop them just as quickly as you picked them up.

This article was contributed by guest author Amy Berry.

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The basic tenet of any successful business is to sell products and services for profit. However, in order to scale up a small business, one must possess a greater financial acumen which can help the individuals find additional ways of making money. Becoming a financial manager will expand your awareness level and increase your odds of being successful.

The importance of finance in successful businesses

Growing a business requires access to new financial resources. Expanding a business, launching a new product or performing mergers and acquisitions, all require core finance knowledge. Clients will trust your business and you with their money only if they have the confidence that your heart is in it.

Then again, if you think that you can go about nodding your head to whatever the accountant explains to you, you are doing yourself and your business a disservice. For concepts like profit margins, debt burdens, and asset management, your financial knowledge should be impeccable.

So what do you need to actually become a successful financial manager?

Become qualified

Becoming a financial manager is not an easy choice to make. The highly specialized nature of this field makes it imperative for serious aspirants to gain credibility and build a reputation, and until you gain some respect, money won’t come easily. Thus the first thing to do is earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business administration, economics or finance. These academic programs will acquaint you with financial analysis methods and technology, and help you develop the analytical skills required for career success. Soft skills are also taught as a part of the program as peer to peer communication is an important part of the job of financial manager.

Gain experience

Obtaining an entry level finance job isn’t the easiest thing in this world. Competition is tough, especially in fields like investment management. To make sure you do not waste your time looking for the perfect job, experienced professionals advise that you should accept any relevant opportunity that comes your way. This will help you gain a foothold in the industry, make new contacts and develop the relationships required to advance your career.

Get certified

Globally recognized certifications like Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Financial Planner (CFP) make you a good candidate for promotion or a salary hike at your workplace. These certifications have the best ROI and are therefore the most sought after. Employers also prefer candidates who have at least one professional certification highlighted in their resume. Needless to say, such professionals are paid exponentially higher than their counterparts who do not pursue these certifications.

Qualities of a good financial manager

Now, your decision to become a financial manager should actually be motivated by self-introspection of your qualities and traits. Performing well in a job is one thing, while being a great manager is another. So, besides all the technical knowledge and number crunching, what else sets a manager apart from a normal finance guy?

  • Ability to manage and motivate team members to do their best
  • High proficiency at formulating, implementing and evaluating sales policies
  • In-depth working knowledge of the whole financial industry
  • Sound investment acumen
  • Strong communication skills; clarity of thought and speech
  • Excellent time management and multi tasking skills

The rewards

Financial managers are some of the most handsomely paid professionals. With the right mix of experience, certifications and education credentials one can easily expect to earn a six figure salary. As per the USA Bureau of Labor & Statistics, the average median pay lies in the range of $109,740 annually.

This article was contributed by guest author Saurabh Tyagi.

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Young people looking for green energy jobs may be a bit disheartened about job prospects without applicable experience. Fortunately, this should not be a barrier to pursuing a dream of working in green energy.

4 Things to Learn About Pursuing Green Energy Jobs

In a recent interview, the 28-year-old founder of Alcen Renewable, Tao Kong, offered insights to young people looking for green energy jobs. Here are four lessons from his experience to help you break into the field.

1. A Broad-Based Renewable Energy Education Is Essential

Educational institutions are developing new renewable energy programs to help keep up with the transition to low-carbon systems. Fortunately, the renewable energy industry is helping to speed up the process. The larger this industry grows, the more workers it needs. This information may not seem incredibly helpful for recent college graduates; however, Kong didn’t leave college with any specialized skillset or a significant amount of knowledge about renewable energy.

This lack of experience was hardly a hurdle, though. Almost everything he learned to land his first job in the industry was the result of self-study. Everything else he learned while on the job. For young people, this approach can actually be a huge advantage, as Kong points out. Without a new family or other major commitments, job seekers can follow Kong’s footsteps in learning about this new and exciting market.

2. Age Doesn’t Matter

Of course, it’s worth pointing out that Kong’s age hasn’t always played to his advantage. In the interview, he mentions that the industry seems split regarding his success. One half scoffs at his innovations. At the same time, Kong notes that these people tend to be part of the “status quo.” They don’t want things to change because they built their business models on what has always worked.

There are also the independent developers who, Kong points out, don’t really care about age. They’ll hear him out because they’re excited about what he may bring to the table. Anyone who is able to introduce improvements to the industry can succeed, regardless of age or background.

3. Ask Lots of Questions

Kong’s first real experience with the renewable energy industry was attending a conference. By this point, he had begun doing some preliminary planning for a family friend who was working on renewable energy projects in China.

To prepare for the conference, Kong committed to rigorously learning about renewable energy (he originally knew nothing). By the time the conference rolled around, Kong didn’t have all the answers, but he did know all the questions he had to ask. While many of the attendees wondered why he was there to begin with (due to his age), Kong was happy to explain himself because he got the answers he needed to help his employer.

Reinventing the wheel is not necessary. Kong probably could have come up with many of the answers he needed on his own, but it was far more efficient to simply find the people who had the information he needed and ask them.

4. Look for Green Energy Jobs with Startups

Kong cited a couple of important reasons why young people should look to startups for their green energy jobs. The first one is that startups are more likely to get excited about fresh ideas. An innovative idea can often beat years of experience in terms of getting a foot in the door.

Startups can also offer the opportunity to wear as many different hats as possible. This provides a broad-based education about the industry along with a better understanding of what roles might be good fits. Startups can usually offer this type of opportunity because of their lean structures; they need every employee to wear several hats at once.

Countless Green Energy Jobs Are Out There Waiting

Green energy jobs are growing. Solar, alone, is growing 12 times faster than the rest of the economy. A lot goes into finding the perfect job, especially for new job seekers. By utilizing Kong’s tips, including asking questions and providing fresh insights, the chances of finding the right opportunity are improved significantly.

This article was contributed by guest author Susy Bento.

Image by annemcdon, pixabay.com

When you’re studying abroad or exploring on your gap year, you’re going to need some money to take care of yourself. It’s hard to work a traditional job while bouncing from place to place, but there are a few jobs you can count on to be there wherever you land. There are even some jobs you can take with you wherever you go – and keep doing once you settle down at your last destination.

English Tutoring

English is the most popular second language in many countries. There are plenty of families that would be willing to pay a native English speaker to tutor their children. Some university students might be willing to pay you for English lessons as well. Advertise your services as a private tutor. You’d be surprised how many people would be willing to take you up on your offer – you might even run into businesses that want your services for their employees.

Remote Team Work

If you had a job back home, you might be able to take it with you. Ask your company if they’ll allow you to do remote work. If you already work with computers a lot, like in social media marketing or customer service, you might be able to do it wherever you go. Your company might have other positions that are open for remote work – you can simply switch over while you’re traveling.

If you don’t already have those options, you can always find a new company hiring virtual team members. A lot of startups or companies with large internet presences are always looking. You might even be able to keep the job if you find that you like it.

Become a Freelancer

Freelancers can work from anywhere. Think about special skills you have. Writing, editing, translating, and social media jobs often fall into the laps of freelancers. You can create your own profile, market your skills, and have people from all over the world hire you to do what you do best. Since freelancing is mostly internet based work, you might want to consider using a VPN. It may not be wise to use public WiFi to supply your freelancing platform with your bank information – anyone can intercept it without an encrypted connection.

Be a Tour Guide

If you’re ready for a long term stay in a country that sees a lot of tourism, you might be able to become a tour guide. English speaking people prefer English speaking guides, because they’ll be able to learn about the monuments and locations they’re seeing on the tour. Offer up your services to popular tour companies. You’ll get to enjoy all of the sights and sounds of your new location while explaining them to others.

Work in Tourism Hot Spots

Hostels, hotels, restaurants, and bars near international airports require a lot of language diversity among their staff. You’ll know what visitors from your home country will be looking for, and you’ll be able to communicate with them. Even if you only take a temp job, these businesses may be grateful to have you for as long as they can get you. You can bridge the gaps and help them serve more visitors.

Variety is the spice of life. If you don’t like a position, you won’t have to deal with it for very long. Travel to a new place, find a new job, and keep going until you find something that works. You’re at a time in your life that’s all about experimentation – find out what makes you happy.

This article was contributed by guest author Sophia Beirne.