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  • Kari Yu

POW - What You Don’t Learn in College: How to Prepare for Interviews & Personal Finance 101

Even though we learn a great deal in school, some of the most important things we need to learn as adults aren’t formally taught. Former WIB President Anum Afzaal (2014-2015) enlightened us with real life skills that she’s had to learn outside in the workplace--from interviewing to finance. For those of you who missed the first POW workshop, here is what Anum crammed in 30 minutes:

4 Key things you need to know for an easy way to get down preparing for interviews:

  • Know Yourself & Your Role: Before going out to do an interview, you must know about yourself very well and be able to communicate your stories. The stories also have to align to the qualities that the interviewer is looking for so that it can relate to the responsibilities for the role that you are applying for.

  • Know the Firm: In this day and age, there is no excuse to not do your homework on knowing about the relevant facts and history about the firm you are applying for! This is something that can differentiate you from those applicants who brush over the history. Knowing the ins and outs of the firm and how the firm operates can show that you’re ambitious.

  • Know what Questions to Ask: Don’t ask typical questions that might not spark an interest for you! (ie: What is the culture of the firm) A special tip for when the interviewer asks you for any questions, he/she is giving you an option on balancing the floor! If they have asked you questions about yourself, you can make yourself stand out by asking questions about the interviewer! You can make a personal connection by just asking the interviewer why they chose to work for the firm, or the group that they are in! Choose unique questions that can differentiate you from the rest of the application pool.

  • Interview Techniques:

  • Past, Present, Future Method: is applicable to when researching the firm, or a way to frame your story. When researching, you are reading on the company’s past, how they have evolved to their practices into the present, and what analysts are discussing about the company’s future. You can also apply the Past Present, Future Method to yourself. Remember your past experiences so that you can integrate them into your response about what you can do in a present situation. This method is self-explanatory and a great way of self-understanding both you and the firm you are applying for.

  • STAR Method: stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This is a great way to frame your story and use the experience as a way to answer in your interview. Think of a situation you were put in, what task you were assigned, what action you took, and the result that happened because of the way that you reacted. Make sure to mention the result part, because incorporating that will leave a stronger impact.

  • Body Language: Body Language is a great way of expressing yourself as an active listener. More details can be found in our WIB Body Language event.

  • Personal Finance 101: A lot of us millennials are always thinking about working, focusing only on jobs and internships! But we don’t think much of what comes after that. How will we effectively use our money? Can what I do now have an impact on what I can do later? Personal Finance is something that is never too early to be thinking about.

  • What to save for: In order to have a motive, find something to save for. Do you want to buy a car, or rent an apartment during/after you graduate? What about a vacation? When you are working for your first job, it is always smart to put aside part of the money for emergency savings. A good tip about personal finance is to try to save up to at least 3 months’ worth of living expenses. Emergency funds aside, savings can come up handy, because you never know what can happen to you! In times of need, the savings fund that you put aside can easily take care of an unexpected burden that can happen to you

  • When to save: Always save now! Saving early gives your money more time to grow. Even if you are living with your parents, and don’t have to address too many responsibilities, trust me when you will begin to do so soon enough! As time flows by, more responsibilities will roll in, and you won’t have the luxury of recklessly spending. Try limiting yourself, because the more money you save earlier, the better!

  • Where to save: For day to day needs, checking accounts are recommended. In addition, use a savings account, or a money market fund to cover your emergencies and big ticket items. A money market fund is a mutual fund that you can invest in. Due to its low risk, low yield, and high liquidity, you can easily utilize a money market fund for short term investments. In a savings account, extra money is added on as a percentage of what you have put in. The longer your money sits in the savings account, the more money you can accrue.

  • A lot of us youngsters aren’t thinking about retirement, but it is easy to keep in mind what you are putting into it. There are a few selected retirement options that a firm offers when you work for it.

  • Tax deferred account happens when you invest money that hasn’t been taxed yet, from your salary. The money will not be taxed until you take the money outside the account, hence tax deferred.

  • Tax exempt accounts are already taxed from your salary. When you take out the money later in your old age, that money will not be re-taxed, giving you financial freedom.

  • 401Ks are retirement plans offered by firms as opposed to IRAs that are individual retirement accounts.

  • Why to save: You need to save money in order to attain professional & financial freedom! Utilizing your money properly through effective savings can help you live the lifestyle you want.

  • How to save money: You’ve heard the reasons why you need to save, how do you save money? You already know that you should set aside a part of your salary to savings. If it is hard for you to do so, start saving small increments of 1-5%, and make your way up to even 20%. You will get used to it over time. Creating a budget, and appointing a realistic divisible amount between savings and expenses can help you to analyze your inflow and outflow of your money. If you are not fully accomplished in analyzing your money, apps like Mintk or Quicken track your monthly earnings and expenditures to compare where your money is being used towards.

  • Credit Card Crash Course

  • 101: For those of you who don’t know credit cards are not free money. It is a debt that you owe to the credit card company. If you don’t pay in full for that month, interests accrue to the amount not paid. There are different features between each credit card, but when a credit card is offered to you, lower APR is always a better option. Make sure you know what the credit card is offering, and swipe to only the realistic amounts you can actually pay for.

  • Use Credit Cards to Your Advantage: by always charge what you know you can pay off in full. You can maintain a high credit score if you manage to pay off your bills in full. Besides loaning money, certain credit cards are unique in that they have their own perks. Find one that can give back to you more than the rest of them.

Investments into your Future:

  • Is Investing Right for you? You must be comfortable in investing your savings into something that can unravel profits or you. Before investing, make sure that you have gotten a handle of saving your money. It has the utmost priority.

  • Why Should You Invest? Investing causes your money to compound over time. By investing, money will continue to grow at a certain percentage, making the outflow more than the inflow you’ve inserted.

  • If you are certain that you are investing, Here is some terminology that you need to know:

All in all, 3 key takeaways that you can take from this workshop are:

  1. Start Today. It’s never too late to start now!

  2. Knowledge is Power: Now that you are exposed to basic terminology, use the power of the internet to understand what you don’t know and what you want to know. Knowledge is key!

  3. Professional & Financial Freedom: First, you learned how to interview to get a job. Once you get the job, use the money that you earn to work for you. Start out with savings, see if you can park some of it into investment funds, and watch the results unravel! Don’t get tied to the paycheck your job provides. Utilize the money in an effective manner so that you fall prey to unexpected financial burdens!

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