Networking Tips to Boost Earning Potential

networking_tips_boost_earningAre you looking for ways to boost your earning power in addition to going back to school? There are a number of options that could make you a more valuable candidate in the eyes of employers. In addition to upgrading your skills with technical courses, use the power of networking to increase your paycheque.

Always have a business card on hand.

Never leave the house without your business card. Opportunities for network abound, and you never know when you’ll meet a hiring manager while making idle chitchat during your daily coffee run. Passing along your card is low-pressure, low-commitment, and easy even for introverts. To make the most of your card’s impact, choose a creative design and be sure that your contact info or website is clearly displayed.

Keep social networking profiles current.

Recruiters often spend time browsing through LinkedIn profiles in search of qualified candidates. Keep this and other social networking profiles up-to-date. You can maximize the impact of your online presence by joining like-minded groups and industry forums. Networking through online channels could lead you to learn valuable information that could allow you to perform more efficiently in your current position, or alert you to a more lucrative opportunity.

Sign up for industry organizations.

Although online networking is de rigueur for professionals these days, don’t forget about the more old-fashioned forms of networking as well! Sign up for professional organizations in your field, or join an alumni group for your university. Attend meetings or conferences that allow you to learn new skills and improve your CV, while building a network of peers.

Volunteer at networking events.

An even better way to get involved with networking events is to work from the inside. This is particularly helpful if you find events awkward. Working at one gives you a reason to be there, and lets you talk to everyone from the attendees to the speakers. You’ll meet a lot of people along the way, and make potentially more valuable connections.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate salary.

If you do leverage your new skills and contacts to find a better job, don’t forget to speak up for yourself during negotiations. Use your connections to find out what you can expect to earn in your geographic region, and use this as a guide to getting a better wage.

Follow up with new leads.

Finally, one of the primary rules of Networking 101 is following up with new contacts. It’s all well and good to pass your business card along or meet with a mentor, but if you don’t follow up with a short email or even a text within the next 48 hours you could lose that lead – and the boost to your income it could have provided. A simple follow-up question or thank you goes a long way.

By taking the time to put yourself out there in your current position through networking channels, you could put yourself in the position to stride right into a new one!

Image Source: Townsville Chamber/Wikimedia Commons

Role of Gold in Global Economy of Today

Although it may seem a tad medieval, gold still plays quite a role on the modern economy. In fact after the market crash of a few years ago gold has started to have more of an impact than ever before.

This is all down to the gold standard system which uses a country’s gold value to directly assess the relative net-worth of their paper-based currency. In fact anyone who has a paper-based currency can exchange it for an agreed amount of real gold.

The benefit of this system is that it creates a fixed asset which in turn self-regulates, so basically a government can only print out as much paper-based money as it has in gold.

This discourages inflation and government-created budget deficits because they can’t exceed their supply of gold. Although this may seem ideal a lot of countries have actually moved away from this and use solely paper-based financing.

But after the recession and the ensuing credit crunch, a few governments and outside investors have started to move back towards gold.

Although gold is considered by many in the economic world to be a commodity and not a currency, the idea is starting to spread that gold might be a more stable currency than paper money.

After the decline in various stock prices because of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, plus the recent news that Sterling has started to dip with the Scottish Referendum, you would think gold would have taken quite the economic hit. But it turns out that the value of gold has barely been affected at all. In fact gold has started to climb up a few points in worth. It currently stands at £1,256.88, a huge mark-up from £1,188 in 2013.

But what has caused such an increase in the value of gold?

The increase in the value of gold is arguable down to a number of factors. First off there’s the fact that gold is considered by many investors to be a stable currency since it rarely changes in value regardless of how the rest of the market is acting.

This stability has led to an increasing de-dollarization of the stock market as investors have started to move away from the dollar as the markets preferred currency. This in itself was also brought about by the $400 billion natural gas contract that was agreed by Russia and China. Investors saw the inevitable increase of gold with Russia looking to become the biggest oil provider and so jumped ship.

Another factor boosting gold values is the fact that there’s on-going concerns about the US government’s usage of liquidity injections into their economy to try and keep it afloat.

This in turn only helps to encourage the move away from the dollar and dollar based items as their economic stability and plans for the future are coming under question by investors.

So you may be wondering, why bother investing in gold stocks?

There are a few reasons you should invest in gold. First of all it’s not called the ‘crisis commodity’ for nothing. Gold is always popular to investors and is generally a safe place to invest your money. Just as graveyards need corpses, we will always need gold so its worth will rarely decrease.

Gold is also a pretty low maintenance investment too, as unlike other stock options where you have to regularly check the flow of the market you rarely have to worry about gold as it usually just sits and accrues stock value since it’s a great bet against inflation.

The gold market will never crash unlike other investments, so you can buy stocks in gold safe in the knowledge that your money will never be affected since gold is a universal commodity that’s always popular all over the world. Gold also adds a touch of diversification to your stock market portfolio so if any of your other stocks slip in value you’ll always have your gold to fall back on.

Gold investments can come in many forms, you could have stocks, bullion or coins or even an IRA Gold account. The IRA investment option is a retirement account that many choose to use as a nest egg for the future.

Investments into this account can take the form of coins, bullion and stocks or if you prefer you can use a 401K and combine it with a trust company that knows how to invest in gold. You can even use specialist websites like for example to find the best information and deals for setting up an IRA Gold account.

Overall gold will continue to be a viable and trusted source of investment and future financing. Although its value may change in the coming years, it will always be of a relatively high value unless something cataclysmic happens. So if you’ve ever thought about starting out with stocks, why not give gold a go first.

How to Set Up Video Conferencing for Businesses

If you think video conferencing would be of benefit to use in your business, here is a guide to help you get set up. Find the answers to all of your questions.

Whether you think your business would benefit from video conferencing or if you’ve already had a client request to set up a video conference with you, this type of communication is the way of the future. If you haven’t prepared yourself to support video conferencing yet, you risk letting your business slip behind your competitors by losing the cutting edge in communication and efficient service.  For example, even in the medical field telemedicine has supporters who embrace new technologies.  Whatever the case, maybe you’re wasting valuable dollars from your budget by funding expensive traveling costs to meet face to face with clients in other cities when you could get sign up with a video conferencing service.

Deciding which product is best for you 

One of the most important things that you can take into account when you’re making any decision about new technology integration is to make sure you’re getting the right product that best serves the specific needs of a company in your industry and specific services offered.

What features do you need?

The features involved with video conferencing can vary quite a bit from service to service. Depending on what industry you work in, your needs will be a better fit for services offering specific features. For instance, someone involved in a sales capacity might want to find a service that allows him or her to share slides with prospective clients and customers. Services like Blue Jeans incorporate that file sharing while you are in the conference so you can seamlessly go through each slide with prospective clients as you both observe the content on screen.

If you’re discussing any information that needs to be kept private, you’ll want to look for services that prioritize the security of your video conferences so that none of that information leaks and becomes publicly accessible. If you’re involved with a significant amount of client facing interactions, you will need a service that is able to support video interface between differing platforms. A client company might not operate on the same conferencing software like Cisco versus Polycom, and you could run into significant barriers trying to communicate.

How often will you be conferencing?

Some of the things you should consider is the amount that you will be using your video conferencing platform. Are you looking to set up daily meetings with colleagues in different offices or are you just planning to set up weekly check-ins with clients to give an updated progress report on how things are going. The pricing of your data plan and information storage is going to hinge significantly on the amount of time that you’ll be spending in your video conferences from month to month.

How many people will you be conferencing with?

Depending on the size of your business and whether or not you’ll be conferencing with colleagues in many different locations, you’ll need to consider the number of participants that can attend each video conference. For a company like Blue Jeans, you can set up a conference with up to 25 different endpoints in standard meetings and with an extra feature, you can conference with up to 100 participants.

What is your budget like?

If you don’t have a large operating budget but aren’t overly concerned about the quality and consistency of the video conferencing service, you can look into free options that operate on open source software. For larger organizations and those with a need for high definition, high speed conferencing capabilities, you might need to pay a bit extra to support the video infrastructure. Thankfully none of the main options for business conferencing are very expensive to operate anymore. Now that much of the equipment has moved onto the cloud, operating expenses are rapidly lowering and becoming more easily accessible.

Signing up for an account

When you find a service that has all of the features you need and the pricing that fits your budget, you can sign up for an account and download any related software or equipment that it needs to operate. Depending on the size of your business, you’ll want to consider whether a personal account or an enterprise package would make more fiscal sense.

Familiarize yourself with the technology

If you haven’t spent much time in the past working with video conferencing software, you don’t need to worry that you won’t be able to figure it out. Video conferencing is generally pretty user friendly and easy to adopt. That being said, you’ll want to try out the conferencing with your coworkers before you start using it in external facing operations to make sure you know what you’re doing.

Getting participants involved

For clients and colleagues that have not being using video conferencing technology to keep in touch with your business before, you’ll need to get them involved and you might need to guide them through the process of installation and operation. Try a service like Blue Jeans that will allow you to just send an email invitation to join the conference so you don’t need to weigh down your participants with long installation periods and unfamiliar technology.

Tips for Job Hunting While Still Employed

Looking for a job requires a huge amount of time and energy, and it isn’t something you should take too lightly. But in case you are looking for a job while you are still employed is even harder, as you have to balance your current job, your family and job search is exhaustive, though the candidates currently employed are more attractive.

There are countless reasons for you to look though the job openings available in San Francisco – it may be the lack of job perspectives in the current position, or you can’t stand someone you have to work with every day. You should think about the reasons you want the new job, and continue your search only when you are sure that nothing can be changed in your current working place.

Who can you tell

It is never good to lie to your boss, but sometimes, especially when looking for another job, you have to do this. Some companies have the policy for workers who are actively searching for another job, and you most likely will not be happy about is. That is why you better keep your job hunt on need-to-know basis, and not to share this with anyone you are working with.

Don’t conduct the search on company dime

When you are at your current job, it should be the main thing you focus on, as conducting the job search on the hours of the company is not the best idea. If you underperform, your boss will surely think something is going on with you, plus it is unethical.

Recruiters understand that discretion is often the part of the process, and as it is important for them to get you in (if you are a good professional). That is why they are sympathetic to a point for getting candidates to meet, and they often agree to talk to applicants during lunch or off-hours.

Don’t use company emails and addresses

No matter if it is your résumé or just a profile at LinkedIn – opt for using your personal email and phone number rather than the company ones. Some even suggest you restrict your job search to personal PC only. Remember that one inopportune phone call or email can ruin your discreetness and alert your manager that you consider leaving.

What is boss asks directly?

In case the boss asks you about the job search, you better not lie.   You might be at risk of being let go, depending on your performance and your position in the company. You might say that you don’t want to leave, but the happenings in the company make you nervous, and you think about Plan B.  Being straightforward and upholding your integrity is the best policy.

What to Check When You Find Cheap Auto Insurance Policies

It would be great if you can find a cheaper price for exactly the same item. Then, you can truly say that you are getting a better deal. However, it is not always as simple and straightforward because similar products are offered by different manufacturers and suppliers. Price isn’t everything when you are buying goods and services. You need to balance the quality of the product, customer service and brand reliability with low prices. This is no different when you are buying automobile insurance.

You can lower your premium, still have great coverage and be insured by one of the top insurers. However, you need to proceed with caution in the process and find out what is on offer before rushing into it. There are ways to make sure that you get either similar or better coverage when you find a lower quote for your policies. We will discuss below what you need to check to make sure you get all aspects of buying a policy right.

Are You Getting Good Coverage?

When you find cheap auto insurance policies one of the first thing you need to check is to make sure you are not losing out on coverage. First thing you need to check is to see if you are getting similar levels of liabilities covers for injuries and damages you may cause to third parties. The next step is to check if you are getting all the other covers you asked for like collision, comprehensive, uninsured motorist and rental reimbursement coverage.

That is why it is important to compare quotes side by side to make sure you are at least getting what you want. Also, you should check the exclusions and special conditions of any policies you are considering purchasing. Sometimes the devil may be in the details. It may be a good idea to run it by with the company and ask if there is anything else you need to know.

Actually, you are advised to provide exactly the same details and ask for a quote based on the same level of coverage when you are shopping around. This will make it easier to compare them at a later stage. You may want to get your old policy out and use the same information. If you want to make changes to your policy remember to get another quote from your current insurer as well.

Do You Have the Same or Lower Deductibles?

Deductibles can be used as a leverage to bring down your costs. This is the amount you need to pay out of your pocket for each and every claim before your insurer settles the rest of the damages. Some cheaper polies may come with higher deductibles that raise questions about their real value. If you go back to other companies and ask them to give you quotes based on higher deductibles they may be able to offer you the same or cheaper prices.

In a recent survey, forty percent of motorists indicated that deductibles are very important factors in their decisions. This can be even more important when you don’t have good driving records. If you have one or more accidents and your deductibles are higher you may end up spending more than the savings you got because deductibles were kept high.

What Level of Customer Service Do You Get?

Some companies can offer you the cheapest car insurance rates but they may expect you to buy and manage your policy online. This may not be a problem for many people and some people may actually like it more. You can make changes to your policy, renew it or submit a claim when you have an online account.

On the contrary, some motorists would take extra comfort from the knowledge that their insurers have local agents. They may like the idea that they can drop into agents’ offices and talk to someone face to face. 24 telephone helpline can be another facility you value. In that case, you may want to go with a company that can offer all these services even though they may be slightly more expensive.

Is Everyone Who May Drive Your Car Covered?

One other way of offering great insurance quotes is to limit who could drive the insured automobiles. Policies with lower premiums may only cover the listed drivers and specifically exclude others. If there is no chance of someone else driving your car this may not be a problem and you may enjoy the savings.

However, you may be a nice guy/gal and happy to hand over your keys to anyone who asks. In that case, you have to make sure that your friends and any occasional drivers are insured in your policy. This may cost you a little bit more but you will have a peace of mind. Most standard policies should insure occasional drivers. However, it is best that you check this is the case.

Make Sure You Are Buying from a Reputable Source

Every company that issues or sells policies has to be licensed by your state and display their license number in their premises, websites and other business documents. Every now and then we hear stories about crooks opening shops, collecting premiums and disappearing. You need to check that you buy your policies from an official website, licensed broker or reliable phone line.

You should particularly be careful with cold callers. They may be legitimate and you can easily find out. One way of checking is to get their phone number, search it online to make sure it belongs to the company and call them back if you are interested. You can get their license number and check with state insurance department if you suspect any foul play. Good luck.

How Important Is Your Will for the Future of Your Family

will_importantWhen you have a family, you simply cannot leave your estate in the hands of the government to divvy up. If you don’t have an idea of how the state handles this, you should take a look at an intestacy calendar to see how your assets will be divided. You will be shocked about where your money is going and the reasoning behind not giving money to the people you feel should receive it. The only way to protect your family and assure they’re going to receive the benefits they deserve from your estate is to draft a will. There’s no reason to put this off, because you simply don’t know what the future will bring.

Protect Your Family from Making Health Decisions for You

When you draft a will, keep in mind you need to have a living will as well as a last will and testament. This is because if you should happen to suffer from a debilitating illness or accident, your family will still need to go on without you. Important decisions you would normally make will now need to be made by someone else, according to Livestrong. Filling out a living will using one of the top rated companies for wills online can help to establish who these people are. A look at the Legal Zoom reviews can help you to choose a website to help you create your living will. Make sure you include in your living will any instructions for your health care team. This can put the decision making process in the hands of one person rather than landing it on your family to decide. This is different from a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. It is more a power of attorney for the person who can make the health decisions for you if needed.

The Government Does Not Agree with You

As mentioned above, the government just does not agree with you when it comes to distributing your wealth. If you make a will, you’re going to retain the ability to dole out your estate as you see fit, according to Forbes. If you pay attention to the state laws, you might uncover some rather odd laws on the books. For instance, in some states they will make provisions to divide the estate for yet unborn children. In others, the estate will go solely to the spouse and others still, the entire family gets an equal share of the estate. If you disagree that your eight year old should receive just as much of your estate as your wife, you should have a will to dictate how much money every member of your family should receive. If you’re of the mindset you want your spouse to receive everything, keep in mind that only 16 states have adopted laws in which the spouse gets everything. There are situations where siblings have to divide assets clearly spelled out.  It’s better to not leave anything to chance and draft a will.

Make Sure Guardianship of Minors is Transferred Properly

If you happen to be a single parent, it’s highly important to draft a will, according to CNN. This is because without drafting a will, there’s no way to be sure of who will receive legal guardianship of your children. Children might become wards of the state, or the court will decide who among your blood relatives can take custody of the children. This could mean the children going to live with a member of the family who may treat the children poorly. You cannot afford the chance your children will go to the right people. It needs to be spelled out in your will. Even if you’re in a marriage, you may want to have a will indicating your wife will retain legal guardianship of the children lest by some twist of fate the courts decide to send the children away.

Provide for the Special Needs of Your Children or Grandchildren

Your children and grandchildren should have the right to receive a portion of your estate if you desire. This is especially important if you feel strongly about these children and grandchildren going to specific schools, according to CBS News. Make sure you spell out in your will which children are getting the money you’re passing along and what they’re getting the money for. If the children have special needs, you can dictate that the money is going to be used to satisfy these special needs. Your will even can dictate when the children will receive the money. To be assured they will receive everything, you may want to consider using a living trust in addition to your will. This way, the state cannot touch the money you’re setting aside for the children. Talk with a law professional to make sure is accomplishing all of your goals effectively.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Mortgage

If you are considering buying a property, there is a good chance that you will need a mortgage. Buying a house is likely the biggest purchase you will ever make and for most people, it is also the biggest financial commitment you make. Mortgages are designed to last for several years, so before you commit to one, you want to make sure that you are well-informed. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are looking to buy a house and negotiate a mortgage.

Save up the best down payment you can. One of the best things that you can do before buying a house and committing to a mortgage, is to make sure that you have saved up enough of a down payment. The amount of money you are able to put down can influence your credit rating and the length of your mortgage. Putting more money down at the beginning will likely save you money in the long-term. A lot of brokers will tell you that 10% is the suggested minimum down payment, but if you can it is better to put 25% down. Every lender will have different guidelines and there are no hard rules, but it is better to put down the biggest down payment that you can.

Decide on the type of lender you want to work with. You might associate mortgages with banks, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You can go through a bank or you can find a firm that specializes in mortgages. You can also get a private mortgage, which are often negotiated by neutral third-parties. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of mortgage and a lot of it depends on your personal financial decision. Your specific situation may limit your options, such as contractors who would need to find a lender that can provide contractor mortgages

Choose the right person. Just like you want to choose the type of lender that best works for you, you also want to choose the right individual. You will be working with an actual person, not just an anonymous institution and it’s important that you feel comfortable. Whether you are going with a bank or a private mortgage, you still want to choose the person representing you very carefully. After all, buying a house is a major purchase and you want to make sure that you are working with someone whom you can trust and feel comfortable with.

Be informed. Buying a house and committing to a mortgage are big decisions and you want to make sure that you are prepared for them. It is important that you are well-informed and that you know what kind of terms you will be looking at ahead of time. It is also important to choose your mortgage broker carefully and to make sure that you have chosen the right type of mortgage for your needs. It might seem overwhelming, but if you do a little bit of work ahead of time, it doesn’t have to be.

Tips for Choosing a New Career

There are many reasons why you may be considering finding a new career. Maybe you have lost your job due down-sizing and need to start over and there are not a lot of prospects in your field. Perhaps you have been injured and your previous career is too physically demanding. You could just need a change. Whatever the reason, many find themselves in a position of wanting to start over with a new career, which can be both exciting and terrifying. Here are some tips on how to make the process a little easier for yourself.

  1. Know your strengths. The first thing to do before deciding on a new career path is decide what kind of career would be a good fit for you. If you are terrible with math, then it is unlikely that going into finance would be a good fit, for example. There are career counselors who can help you by suggesting exercises that will show you your strengths and let you know which careers are a good fit for you.
  2. Make sure there are available jobs. If you are ready to change fields, you want to make sure that you are changing to a field that has good growth prospects. It is important to do your research and check out what kind of jobs are currently available and what the prospectus is for the next few years. This kind of data could be very helpful when it comes to helping you narrow down which field to pursue.
  3. Find out what qualifications are needed. If you are changing career paths, there is a good chance that you may need to do some sort of upgrading. Once you have narrowed down your list of careers that you think you would do well in and that have good financial prospects, you want to check out what kind of education or certificates are needed. Once you have that information, you need to decide how much upgrading you are willing to do for your new career. Are you willing to go back to school for four years or would you rather something that requires minimal upgrading? That is something that only you can answer, but it needs to be weighed carefully before deciding on a new career path.
  4. Talk to people in the field. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of choices, it is a good idea to try and talk to people who are currently in the field. A lot of time career resource centers can help you with this and can arrange meetings for you. These meetings aren’t interviews, instead they are information sessions. It is a good way to be able to ask questions and to learn some of the day-to-day tasks associated with your new field.

Changing careers can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. As long as you do your research and make your decision carefully, there is no reason to be scared. It doesn’t matter whether you want to become a teacher or take on something like heavy goods vehicles training program.  There are a lot of resources out there to help you find the right career for you and soon you will be on your way to an exciting new future.

5 Tips to Buying Property in Istanbul

Istanbul is a beautiful city with a booming real estate market. If you have dreamed of owning a second home in a glamorous locale, why not consider joining the list of foreigners who are snapping up property in Istanbul? It is completely doable and there is a large variety of price ranges available, depending on your specific needs. Before you make the decision to purchase, there are a few things you should consider.

  1. Make sure you are eligible to purchase property in Turkey. Before you buy any foreign property, you need to check out your country’s laws regarding foreign ownership. You also need to check and make sure that your country is on Turkey’s list of approved countries. If you meet the criteria in both countries, you can move onto the next step.
  2. Make sure you know all the tax implications. In addition to making sure that you are eligible to purchase property in Turkey, you also want to be familiar with what it means to own foreign property. It is a good idea to check your country’s law and consult with an accountant or a real estate attorney and make sure you have all your bases covered.
  3. Make sure the property fits the criteria. Turkey has strict rules about what kind of property foreigners can buy. It is much easier to buy a pre-built home than to buy land and build your own property. There are also rules about how property a foreigner can hold, how much of an area can be owned by foreigners and there are areas that are restricted from foreign purchase. Before you put down on a property, you want to make sure that it fits all the required criteria.
  4. Have a trusted representative. Unless you have the freedom to be in Turkey for the entire time that your real estate transaction is taking place, you will need someone local to act on your behalf. Your real estate agent should be able to recommend someone you can trust. You will have to give this person the right to speak for you and make decisions on your behalf, though you will want to be consulted about any important decisions. It is important to choose your advocate very carefully, since buying property is a significant financial decision.
  5. Keep careful records. Like with any real estate purchase, it is important to keep copies of all important documents. Because you will be doing a lot of your business remotely, it is even more important that you have copies of everything. If you do any business over e-mail, you want to keep copies of those too. You want to make sure that you are well informed and well protected.

As long as you are careful and do your research well, there is no reason not to buy property in Istanbul. It is a booming city with a romantic, old world feel but with all the conveniences you can expect from a major city. Do your research and in a few months, you will be enjoying vacations at your new property.