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What Your Next Road Trip Can Teach You About Leadership

Whether you already hold a leadership role or are working toward one, you’re likely looking for opportunities to improve your leadership skills. Believe it or not, such opportunities don’t always take the form of professional development or workplace training.

In fact, becoming a more effective leader can be as simple as taking a road trip. Here’s how:

Managing Time and Setting Milestones

Most road trips mean starting at one point and arriving at a final destination in a set period of time. If you have accommodations booked along the way or are shooting to do specific things throughout your journey, creating and executive an effective plan becomes crucial. The goal-setting and planning skills you learn on the road trip can be easily transferred to the workplace.

Effective Communication

Good leadership requires good communication, and what better way to hone your communication skills than by taking a road trip with family or friends? You’ll need to negotiate a variety of issues that come up on the road, from when to stop for a bathroom break to communicating with the people you meet on your journey.

Quick Problem-Solving

On any road trip, things aren’t going to go exactly as you planned. The unpredicted snowstorm, a lost credit card, a wrong turn: Obstacles like these can and will arise, and you’ll have to meet them head on and stay calm. The same is true of leadership: You’ll have to guide your team through plenty of rocky situations while staying calm and confident.

For more information on how to turn your next road trip into a leadership training opportunity, check out this infographic from CarRentals.com:

Single-Mom CEO? 8 Tips for Navigating the Challenges

I started my New York City staffing agency six years ago, when my daughters were 2, 4, and 6 years old. It made sense to me: Parenting had taught me valuable skills that I felt prepared me to run a business — notably, multitasking, budgeting, organizing, and scheduling. Sure, I’d need to find a way to build strong relationships with clients while continuing to nurture the precious relationships I had at home. No problem, I thought. I’m prepared.

I wasn’t. I didn’t recognize the magnitude of time and energy required to get a business off the ground. It was very much like having another baby — a labor of love, most certainly, but also a monumental responsibility. Somehow, though, I found my way, my balance, even when divorce reared its ugly head. I kept my cool, put policies and processes into place, and turned time management into an art form.

If you’re in a similar place — thinking of starting a company or already in the midst of it — here are some tips that may help you build a thriving business while being a spectacular mom:

1. Be Kind to Yourself

Yes, this is No. 1. Think of it as putting your oxygen mask on first. You need to be whole and strong to nurture your children and your business. This means being understanding about your own human limits rather than feeling guilty when you’re away from your kids, but then also feeling guilty about “neglecting” your business when you’re with them. Don’t let that guilt pattern take hold. Give yourself permission to spend time on your business (it needs a lot in its early days) in addition to caring for and enjoying time with your kids. Remember to get plenty of sleep, eat right, and schedule some me time every day.

2. Come to Grips With the Reality That You Can’t Always Be There for Everyone

Trying to be all things to all people at all times is an exercise in futility. What’s a smarter strategy? Prioritizing and keeping a well-thought-out calendar. Which school or extracurricular events are most important? Which meetings require you, rather than another company representative, to be at the table? Planning ahead can help you avoid most conflicts. When conflicts do happen, just make the best decision you can.

3. Focus!

When you’re at work, focus on work. When you’re with your family, focus on family. Each needs your undivided attention and care. How do you explain to your children that sometimes work has to take priority? I tell mine that it doesn’t mean I love them any less; it just means it’s work time. They need to learn the importance of a strong work ethic. When you demonstrate that work is to be taken seriously, you become a role model for their own future professionalism.

For more professional success tips, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

4. Stick to a Routine

Structure is good for children and parents alike. Everyone knows what the expectations are, where they need to be, and how they need to behave to fulfill their role in the family dynamic.

5. Be Creative About Time Management

Maintaining my sanity requires regular workouts, but since workouts can eat up time, I looked into starting an exercise program for moms and kids to work out together at my gym. I get my workout while also spending time with my daughters. Bonus: The kids learn to love working out and make it part of their daily routine.

6. Build a Support Network

This can be professional mentors, other moms, family members, a nanny or babysitter, neighbors, friends — you name it. Just make sure you have a community to lend a hand or sympathetic ear when you need one.

When might you need support? When you get held up in a meeting and can’t make it to pick your child up from school. When you need advice for making your company operations more efficient. When you think your head might explode because you’re being pulled in a hundred directions. A kind voice, a grounding conversation, professional advice, and an extra pair of hands are all part of a healthy single-mom CEO ecosystem.

7. Understand That Your Company Will Experience Ups and Downs

Just like your kids, your business will fall and scrape its knees once in a while. But guess what? Just like your kids, it has the potential to grow stronger from that experience. Don’t let the normal roller coaster of running a business dampen your spirits or conviction.

8. Reflect on the Good Stuff

When you’re under the pressure of being CEO of your business and your home, it’s easy to forget why you wanted to build the company in the first place. Celebrate your achievements, large and small, and remind yourself how great it feels to be your own boss, to build something that is yours (and yours to hand down to your children). You have taken on the challenge of not only supporting your kids but also showing them by example that they can do anything they set their minds to.

Once you’ve mastered these strategies, your life can become calmer and easier. Of course, they’re not foolproof — sometimes I still have to lock myself in the bathroom to talk with clients — but for the most part, they strengthen your potential for building a successful business while raising some pretty incredible kids.

Ariel Schur, LCSW, is CEO and Founder of ABS Staffing Solutions.

12 Career Fair Tips to Help You Land the Job in 2019

Career fairs offer an unparalleled opportunity to network with a variety of businesses and can help you get your foot in the doors of top companies in your industry.

Employers take career fairs seriously. In fact, according to Glassdoor, “Career fairs and on-campus recruiting account for almost 75 percent of employers’ recruiting budgets. … Add on travel, hotel, and food expenses, and the budget adds up quickly. And, employers average four career fairs each academic year.”

If employers take these events seriously, candidates should, too. With so many other students and professionals working the fair, however, it is not always easy to stand out and make a lasting impression. So, we’ve compiled the top 12 career fair tips to help anyone attending one of these networking events be successful.

12 Career Fair Tips to Help You Land the Job in 2019

1. Dress for Success

Proper career fair attire varies according to your industry. If you’re looking for a job in finance or a law firm, for example, you may want to dress more conservatively than someone seeking a career in bringing innovation to market. Attire can’t really help you, but it can hurt you, so keep it neat, clean, and appropriate. A good rule of thumb is to stand out for your abilities, not for your sense of style.

2. Do Your Research

Find out which companies will have a presence at the career fair. Scan their websites and identify the ones you find most interesting, and then go back and read their sites more carefully. Jot down the most important information, such as their missions, key products and services, and maybe one or two things the companies say about their cultures.

“The more you know about an organization and the types of positions they hire for,” reports Business Insider, “the better you will come across to the employer.”

3. Have Business Cards Made

Business cards may seem old-fashioned when professionals interact on LinkedIn, but these little pieces of paper provide a quick and easy way for recruiters to remember you and reach out to you again. It might feel pretentious, but make sure your cards have your picture on them. That way, if the recruiter remembers your face but not your name, it’s an easy match. You can also put a QR code on the back to take scanners directly to your LinkedIn account.

4. Create a Solid, Modern Resume

Many professionals talk about the death of the resume, and in some circumstances, they may be right. At a career fair, though, you’ll want to have that piece of paper in hand in case a recruiter wants to do a quick interview. Your resume doesn’t have to list every job you’ve worked since your teens, but it does need to tell a complete, comprehensive, and focused story about your professional life. Ask your career services office for help drafting your resume, or at the very least, get a friend to proofread it before you make copies.

5. Draft an Elevator Speech

Express who you are, what you do, and what you are looking for in 75 words or 30 seconds — the time it takes to ride an elevator a couple of floors. Don’t punt this one. Write it down and learn it cold before you go in. A well-crafted, skillfully delivered elevator speech is key to securing an interview with your target companies. Find out how to draft an elevator pitch from a career-focused site such as Indeed.

6. Prepare Answers to Likely Questions About Yourself

Interested recruiters will likely want to know a little about you. This is your chance to shine, so don’t be shy. Talk about your education, internships, previous jobs, professional philosophy, and goals. You probably won’t get a one-hour grilling, but you could get 2-5 minutes to share about yourself. Take full advantage of it by preparing in advance.

7. Talk to as Many Recruiters as Possible

Much of job searching consists of a numbers game. The more recruiters you talk to, the better your chance of getting a solid lead. While you want to stay focused on your list of priority companies, don’t be afraid to approach others. An in-person meeting might reveal a great match with an employer you didn’t know about.

8. Ask Thoughtful Questions

Recruiters don’t want to do all the talking. They expect you to speak up, too. Questions to ask at a career fair include: What’s your office culture like? What career paths are available in your company? What kind of mentoring and training opportunities do you offer?

9. Keep Hydrated and Healthy

Bring along a water bottle. You may also want to tuck a packet of nuts, a small piece of fruit, or a baggie of carrot sticks in beside it. Searching for a job is hungry, thirsty work. You’ll be walking, standing, talking, and working on high alert all day, and you’ll need refreshment.

10. Stay Energized and Upbeat Throughout the Day

Your attitude constitutes one of the most powerful elements of the job search. Recruiters are looking for cheerful, positive, energetic people. You don’t want to be fake, but you do want to present your best self. If you feel your smile slipping or you’re having trouble concentrating, take a quick break. A discreet snack, a 10-minute timeout, and a trip to the bathroom can have you feeling chipper again in no time.

11. Send a Follow-Up Email

You landed a good conversation, handed over your resume, and snagged a business card in return. Give yourself a quick pat on the back, and then send a follow-up email within 48 hours. Simply remind the recruiter where you met, say thank you, and offer to answer any additional questions. After two or three sentences, sign off. Being short shows you respect the recruiter’s time.

12. Cultivate Your ‘Wow’ Factor

The career fair will likely be full of people whose resumes, backgrounds, and interests are similar to yours. You can’t rely on the facts alone to make you stand out as a candidate. You’ll also need to cultivate those often-discussed soft skills. Knowing how to start a conversation at a career fair (or even better, how to end one) can make the difference between getting a call back and getting your resume dumped in the slush pile. Carefully consider the unique image you want to convey, and then make sure your word choices, clothes, and manners convey that image.

In an era that puts a premium on soft skills and personal touches, engaging with potential employers at career fairs can be the key to landing a valuable position. Most employers expect professionals seeking a new career to have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher or to be enrolled in a university program. St. Ambrose University offers an online business administration degree that allows you to earn your degree through a student-centered approach.

Our curriculum is grounded in the liberal arts and taught by experienced faculty with real-world business experience. You’ll learn relevant skills through a dynamic curriculum that is designed with your success in mind. And because our program is fully online, you can study on a flexible schedule and balance your coursework with your life.

Recruiter.com regularly features reviews, articles, and press releases from leading businesses. This featured article may include paid promotion or affiliate links. Please make every effort to perform due diligence when selecting products and services for your business or investment needs and compare information from a variety of sources. Use this article for general and informational purposes only.

Why a Casual Dress Code Might Be the Best Work Perk of All

Office dress code policies are changing with the times, and it’s not just Silicon Valley tech startups getting in on the trend. Goldman Sachs made waves recently when it announced it was ditching the mandatory suits and ties in favor of a more flexible dress code.

More and more companies are moving away from formal business attire and embracing casual dress in the office. In fact, 50 percent of the respondents to SHRM’s “2018 Employee Benefits” survey said their companies allow workers to dress down whenever they want.

While everyone likes to be comfortable at work, many don’t realize that a casual dress code has perks far beyond convenience. From serious financial savings to happier employees, here are some of the biggest benefits of working for a company that doesn’t have a strict dress code:

1. You’ll Save Money

“The most obvious benefit is avoiding the cost of an elaborate wardrobe,” says workplace expert and author Lynn Taylor. “Also, the dry-cleaning costs can add up to the point where you’re paying more in dry cleaning than you are for the actual clothing.”

Buying work clothes isn’t a one-and-done deal. Yes, you’ll feel the upfront investment most, but maintaining a professional wardrobe requires sprucing up your closet as you move through your career. That’s on top of having to buy everyday clothes to wear outside of work. The average American household already spends a whopping $1,833 annually on apparel and clothing services, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When you take away the need for a whole separate workplace wardrobe, you can cut that bill significantly.

Moreover, female employees are often hit harder than their male colleagues by strict dress codes. A now famous 2015 New York Department of Consumer Affairs report found that adult women’s clothing costs, on average, 8 percent more than adult men’s clothing. In a sense, then, a casual dress code can also be perceived as a step toward workplace equality.

2. It’ll Make You Happier at Work

Research suggests clothing has a direct impact on our mood, our thoughts, and our behavior. A study from Northwestern University found that people perform better on attention-related tasks when wearing a doctor’s white lab coat. When participants were given the same coat but told it was a painter’s coat instead, they did not get the same performance boost.

The suggestion here is that the clothes we wear appear to influence how we think and act. If you were to don an outfit that made you feel more confident, you just might begin to act more confidently. Not all of us feel that confidence in traditional business attire, so a casual dress code gives more people the chance to wear clothes that do improve their moods.

“People just want to be comfortable, and it’s just a more empowering feeling going to work and knowing that you can be yourself and not feel uptight in restrictive clothing,” Taylor says.

Taylor also notes that feeling physically unrestricted can potentially improve how we relate to others in the workplace: “About 10 or 15 years ago, most men and women had to wear blazers to work. That kind of physically restrictive feeling can sort of stretch into feeling restricted interpersonally.”

For more professional success tips, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

3. You’ll Feel More Connected to Your Company

Dress codes reflect company cultures. A more relaxed dress code implies a more relaxed office culture — which is no small thing, according to Taylor.

“When you apply to a company and it has a more casual and relaxed dress code, that tells [employees] right away it has a more open, friendly work environment,” Taylor says. “It sort of sends an underlying message that as an employer, you might care about your employees. It’s a good feeling.”

It’s little wonder that dressing down appears to go hand in hand with employee retention. A 2017 survey from staffing firm OfficeTeam found that 56 percent of employees prefer to wear more relaxed clothing at work. What’s more, when it comes to accepting a job offer, more than 50 percent of job seekers see a company’s dress code as either “very important” or “moderately important,” according to Salary.com.

Dress Code No-Nos

A company may be super relaxed with its dress code policy, but that doesn’t mean there are no standards. Opting for beachwear, cut-offs, or ripped denim is never a good idea, according to Taylor. The same goes for T-shirts with offensive language or religious undertones.

One other thing to keep in mind is client relations. Just because your company embraces casual attire doesn’t mean everyone else does.

“It’s always good if you’re in an office situation to have a blazer and pants handy, just in case you’re called into a client meeting last-minute,” Taylor says. “At first, err on the side of conservatism with clients. If a client makes a wisecrack or says, ‘Boy, you’re dressed up today,’ and they’re always in jeans, then you can start shifting.”

Marianne Hayes is a longtime freelance writer and content marketing specialist.

Too Many Passions? 9 Ways to Determine Which One Should Be Your Career

Article by YEC

It can be difficult to find your way when you have a million interests tugging at your soul. They all seem like waiting opportunities, but which one is the right path for you?

When you try to single out just one passion to build a career around, you may feel like you are giving up other key interests. You may also struggle with whether to chose the best possible option of all the ones available or something less fulfilling but more likely to work out.

So, how do you make a decision? To figure that out, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) for some advice on how to find your calling when you have a wide range of interests competing for your attention. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Focus on What Keeps Coming Back

“Take notice of the interest that keeps coming back most often. For instance, if you’re really interested in painting and playing the guitar but you find yourself reaching for the paintbrush more often, that might be a sign it’s your true calling.” — John Turner, SeedProd LLC

2. Jump In

“The only way to know which passion you should pursue is to try them all. Pick one and go for it. If you don’t enjoy it, move on to the next one. If you find one you like, do the others as side hustles or hobbies. In today’s world, there are plenty of opportunities to dabble in multiple activities.” — Zach Binder, Bell + Ivy

3. Try Month-Long Experiments

“There is no need to find your ‘one true calling’ if you enjoy learning about multiple topics. But if you really want to explore your passions, schedule a month of deep focus on one topic. Meet with people in the industry or role. Read every relevant newsletter and book. Wake up early and work on the topic. After 20 or 30 days of intense study, give yourself permission to double down or drop it.” — Aaron Schwartz, Passport

4. Stay Patient

“Passion isn’t something you can just learn one day. When someone is passionate about something, it happens naturally. If you’re not passionate about any of your interests, you should consider just relaxing and learning more about yourself over time while discovering new interests. Let passion find you.” — David Henzel, LTVPlus

5. Ask Others

“Ask others in your circle what they think you are best at and most enthusiastic about. What do they consider your biggest strengths? Which interest causes your eyes to light up when you talk to them about it? This feedback is valuable when you are not sure yourself.” — Serenity Gibbons, NAACP

6. Do Nothing

“If you’re unsure of your true calling, there’s one surefire way to find it: Take some time to do absolutely nothing — no work, no hobbies, just complete, aimless freedom. Whatever activities or interests seem the most appealing to you in this period of time are probably things you’re passionate about, and it would be smart for you to pursue that path in your professional and/or personal life.” — Bryce Welker, Beat The CPA

7. Stay Agile

“If you have not yet discovered your particular niche, focus your career on a wide range of interests. By exploring multiple interests, you will gain more experience and could possibly find your calling during the process. If not, at least you will have a wide range of experiences and be better positioned to remain agile until you find your true passion.” — Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.

8. Do Your Research

“If you have many interests but no clear passion, maybe it’s time to dive a little deeper. Take your time to research and experience the full range of your interests. If at any point you think to yourself, ‘I’d rather not do this,’ then it’s probably not your calling. If you’re finding the information fascinating, then focus on that and see how passionate you really feel.” — Anthony Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings

9. Look Elsewhere

“Sometimes your general interests are simply not meant to be your passion. If you’re not devoted enough to invest full time in one of your interests, perhaps it’s time you start researching other topics and niches in order to find something you are truly passionate about. Some people spend their entire lives looking for something that inspires passion. Don’t give up.” — Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

A version of this article originally appeared on SUCCESS.com.

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

8 Tips to Help You Make a Career Change at Any Age

Starting fresh in a new industry is a challenge for many people for a variety of reasons — including, of course, the fact that switching careers often involves at least a temporary reduction in income. After all, you don’t have as much experience in your new field as you did in your previous one, so you can’t expect to command the same salary.

Before making any kind of career change, it’s a good idea to do some financial planning. Start by creating an emergency fund containing roughly 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses. Your emergency fund may need to contain an even larger sum if you anticipate a significant income reduction during your transition. Revisit your budget and identify areas where you can cut expenses to save extra money.

That said, financial adjustments are not the only challenge you’ll face as you navigate a new profession. You also need to convince prospective employers that you’ll thrive in the field even though your experience is limited. Toward that end, thoroughly research your target field. Not only will doing so help you identify any new skills or education you’ll need, but it will also help you acquaint yourself with the terminology of the industry. You’ll need to be able to speak the language to sell yourself to recruiters.

You may also consider starting a side hustle before you make the leap into a new career. A side hustle can be a good way to build up that emergency fund. If your hustle is related to your target field, it can also be a great way to gain experience you can leverage in your job hunt.

Those are all good place to start, but as we all know, career changes are complicated situations. For more advice on preparing for this major shift, check out this infographic from Credit.com:

The 12 Best Side Gigs for People Who Love Pets

Those of us who wish we could spend more of our days with animals are in luck: Today, there are plenty of viable pet-related occupations in which you could actually make a decent income.

The best part? You can start many of these gigs on your own without having to quit your day job. For instance, becoming a dog walker may just be a matter of meeting the right dog owners in your neighborhood.

Of course, there are also some pet-related gigs that require a lot more time and a much more refined skill set. For this reason, it’s crucial to determine what kind of work best suits you before diving in. Here are some basic questions to start with:

  1. Do I need formal education or certification for this line of work?
  2. Is there a need for this service in my immediate area?
  3. How steep are the startup costs?
  4. Is there competition? If so, how much?
  5. Would I be a good fit for the role?
  6. How much money can I earn doing this?
  7. How much time can I devote each week to this job?

To get a better idea of what types of jobs are out there, how much money you can earn, and what you need to get started, check out this infographic from Wikibuy, which covers 12 side hustles for pet lovers in more detail:

6 Things Every Side Hustler Should Invest In

According to a 2017 survey from Bankrate, more than 44 million US adults have a side hustle. If you’re one of them, you’ve probably put some thought into what it would require to take your gig to the next level.

Then again, perhaps you feel hesitant to turn around and spend that money you’ve worked so hard to earn. That’s completely understandable. You’re working more than one job precisely because you want to generate extra income, so the idea of putting that money back into your job may seem counterintuitive, especially if you had a particular savings goal in mind when you started your side hustle.

However, investing in certain side hustle accessories now has the potential to save you time and further boost your income down the line. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to ramp up an established operation, putting down some cash to ensure your business is running as efficiently as possible can be a worthwhile investment.

Here are six things in particular a serious side hustler may want to consider investing in for the good of their business:

1. Invoice and Accounting Services

You can probably manage your side hustle’s accounting in the early days with Excel, but as your business expands, this method will become too time-consuming. You may want to keep your overhead expenses low, especially if you’re running a lean business, but investing in invoice and accounting services can make a world of difference as your side hustle grows.

Tools like QuickBooks Online can take care of much of the work of invoicing and tracking expenses for you. These tools often offer multiple levels of service as well, depending on your needs and budget. For example, you can get started with basic QuickBooks services for just $10 per month. The more you pay, the more tools you’ll get, but even the basic plan offers income and expense tracking, receipt organization, invoicing, and payment acceptance.

2. An Accountant or the Right Tax Prep Software 

Free tax preparation programs such as Credit Karma can do a good job with simple tax returns, but things may get more complicated as your side hustle grows. Investing in some tax prep help is a great way to ensure you’re filing appropriately and getting every tax break for which you qualify.

Services like TurboTax’s Self-Employed option are specifically designed for both personal and business income and expenses, and some of these services offer one-on-one assistance in addition to an online tax preparation platform. Of course, you also have the option to hire an accountant to handle everything for you, if you’d prefer.

Also of note: Tax preparation expenses are deductible for self-employed businesses, so taking advantage of tax prep services offers low risk and high reward.

3. A Premium Business Credit Card

Business credit cards typically offer specific perks that can deliver even the smallest small-business owner a ton of value. These cards may come with a higher annual fee than personal credit cards might, but the benefits they provide may offset the cost.

For example, the American Express Business Gold Card gives you the option to earn additional rewards points on the two categories of purchase where your business spends the most each month (e.g., advertising, software, shipping, etc.) Additional perks, like a free year of G Suite Basic, can also make the higher annual fee more palatable.

Not using a business credit card for business-related transactions could mean you’re leaving money on the table, and that’s something you want to avoid as you grow your side hustle.

For more expert career advice, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

4. Relevant Education and Certifications

You may be pretty darn good at your side hustle already, but is there really nothing left to learn? While you don’t always need to spend money to gain valuable knowledge, paying a little to further your education can positively impact your side hustle.

David Hastings, side hustler and owner of the family products company SoFlo Baby, felt that way after realizing how much he could save by learning digital marketing himself. “Instead of paying $500-1,500 per month, I paid $1,500 for three courses on digital marketing and learned how to do it myself,” he says. “I just didn’t have a budget to hire a digital marketer.”

While the cost of education or training may seem like a lot now, consider what you can earn down the road by expanding your skill set today.

5. Time Management Tools

In today’s hyperconnected world, it’s easy to get distracted, but as a side hustler, you only have so much time outside of your day job. Seizing every free second throughout the day may be the difference between growth and stagnation.

In addition to utilizing free time during commutes, between appointments, or while waiting for the bus or train, you can invest in certain tools to optimize the time you spend in work mode. These can run the gamut from a simple paper planner to G Suite or project management tools like Trello and Harvest — or a combination of all of the above.

Managing your time effectively is one of the best investments you can make. Otherwise, you’ll never feel like you have enough of it.

6. You Financial Future (Even If You Don’t Plan on Retiring)

Regardless of why you started your side hustle, investing today’s earnings for your future self is a no-brainer. A high-yield savings account is a great place to park some cash for the short term, but you need to consider some long-term investments as well. Individual retirement accounts (IRAs), simplified employee pension (SEP) IRAs, and solo 401(k)s all allow side hustlers to save for the future while getting tax breaks in the here and now. Spend some time researching these options to see which ones may be right for you.

Your side hustle may be secondary to your day job, but it still deserves the attention, time, and tools it needs to grow and become more profitable. You work hard for your cash, and investing it in the right tools and services now can help you earn even more of it later on.

Matt Miczulski is an associate writer at FinanceBuzz.

Whose Opinion Matters Most in the Interview? Yours.

You’ve clearly identified the type of company you’d love to work for, the kinds of projects you’d like to be involved with, and the impact you’d like to make. You’ve tweaked your resume, networked your heart out, and sent your strategically crafted cover letters to the right people.

And now you have the interview!

Gulp. For most people, interviewing is nerve-wracking. We so badly want to say and do the right things to secure the results we want. It’s crucial we appear confident, professional, present, and able to articulate our experiences and visions.

However, becoming consumed by fears of what others may think of us is not helpful or fun. So, during the interview process, whose opinion matters most? Is it your potential boss’s? Your prospective coworkers’? The HR person’s?

The truth is, it’s yours.

Yes, your opinions about yourself, your skills, your problem-solving abilities, your work, and your life experiences are of immense importance. These beliefs impact your presence, body language, and tone. Whether you are simply walking into the lobby or sitting in a conference room chatting about your previous jobs, your physicality and mindset are key to presenting the most dynamic and confident version of yourself.

How do you become your own biggest fan? Here are some strategies for your body, mind, and heart.

Body Language — Go Big!

When something important is at stake, we tend to respond by either expanding or contracting. We can rise to the challenge physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, or we can shrink back in all of those ways.

Let’s play with contracting and expanding physically. Wherever you are right now, make yourself physically smaller. Take up less space. It’s harder to breathe, right? Next, become aware of the thoughts that arise when you make this choice to be small. Does your confidence increase or decrease?

Now, take up more space. Keep your body and arms open. Notice how much easier it is to breathe? Become aware of your thoughts and feelings. I’ll bet you are feeling more positive and confident.

Taking up more space not only builds inner confidence, but it also results in more confident body language. The words you say certainly matter — and please invest time in practicing what you would like to share during the interview — but make no mistake. Your body language also communicates volumes.

Just as you choose an outfit that makes sense for the job you are interviewing for, you must also choose a physicality that serves you. This way, when you share a story about how you solved a marketing dilemma, led a team to victory, or rescued a project from disaster, your physicality will be consistent with your message. Being able to take deeper breaths as a result of your posture will also enable you to calm yourself more easily and better support your vocal quality.

For more expert career advice, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

Mindset Affects Body

Let’s shift from physical choices to matters of mindset. Notice how your body reacts as you read the following statements that may reflect your thoughts before an interview:

“What if they ask me a question I don’t know the answer to? I have to know everything. I have to be perfect. I have to say all of the right things. What do I possibly have to offer? OH NO!”

Was your body leaping for joy in excited anticipation? I doubt it. More likely, you tightened up and got smaller. These types of statements lead to tension and constriction, which make it harder for you to breathe deeply, to be your full size, to be fully seen, to be fully heard, or to be fully present.

Now, let’s try a thought that I love:

“I GOT THIS!”

Think this to yourself or say it out loud. Notice how this makes you feel in your body. How does it make you feel emotionally? How is your breathing? Now, compare this to how you feel when you think or say:

“I’m not ready for this.”

Notice how this makes you feel in your body. How do you feel emotionally? How is your breathing?

No matter which statement you focus on, your resume, skills, and experience won’t change — but your framework and attitude will.

Facing the Unknown

When you interview for a new role in a different work environment or enter a new industry, you come face to face with the unknown. This may not be an appealing idea, but it’s certainly nothing you haven’t encountered before. I promise that if you are reading this article, you have faced the unknown before and found your way through it.

Have you fallen in love and/or gotten married? Broken up or gotten divorced? Moved to a new neighborhood or school? Graduated? Had a child? Faced challenges regarding an aging parent in ill health? Then yes, you have faced and successfully navigated through the unknown. And you are still standing. You figured it out. You Googled. You asked trusted friends, family, and experts for their insights. You thought it through. You tried new things.

To navigate the unknown, you needed to be flexible and adaptable. You needed to prioritize and reprioritize. There’s no reason you can’t bring those same skills to new challenges. So, here’s what you can say to any fearful questions and thoughts fueled by your doubts: “I’ll figure it out. I’ve faced other complex situations, and I can face this one.”

On a related note, if you were on the other side of the interview table, whom would you rather hire: a person who thinks they know everything, or a person who is open, curious, and eager to learn new things?

Be a Go-Giver

Let’s stop to contemplate why you are going to that interview in the first place. Think of all you hope to get out of it: a job, money, benefits, security, experience, knowledge, respect, opportunity, and/or the chance to be part of a team. How does it feel in your body to focus on all you hope to get?

Those are all wonderful things to strive for, but let’s experiment with a subtle shift. Instead of focusing on what you hope to get, try thinking about what you want to share while in the interview: your knowledge, your wisdom, your insights, your skills, your passion, your heart, your enthusiasm, your desire to collaborate and make an impact, etc.

If this change in focus helps you to feel more empowered, more expansive, and like a potential collaborator looking for the right fit, great! Make your own list of what you would like to share and look for ways to weave it into your interview answers and questions.

Here are some other positive thoughts to contemplate. See which ones resonate with you, make your body happy, and increase your confidence:

  1. I have faced the unknown many times.
  2. I have had many experiences, and I have a lot to offer.
  3. I am here to see if this opportunity or this environment is a good fit for me.
  4. I am here to give and share my skills, passion, and knowledge.
  5. I am excited to be curious.
  6. I am excited to be present.

The next time you are preparing for an interview, be your own biggest fan. Choose body language that is open and expansive. Commit to a mindset that brings excitement and curiosity to the interview adventure, rather than fear and dread. While you prepare, focus on what you are able to give to the experience. You got this!

Amanda Hennessey is the founder of Boston Public SpeakingSan Diego Public Speaking, and Boston Acting Classes and the author of Your Guide to Public Speaking: Build Your Confidence, Find Your Voice, and Inspire Your Audience.

How to Address a Past Drug- or Alcohol-Related Conviction in a Job Interview

Preparing for a job interview can be even more stressful than it normally is when you have a conviction on your record, a reality that disproportionately affects people with addiction histories. As illustration, statistics from the National Institutes of Health reveal the surprisingly high extent to which addiction is entangled with the criminal justice system:

– 45 percent of inmates in local jails and state prisons have co-occurring substance abuse and a mental disorder.
– The number of adults involved in the criminal justice system rose 1.8 million in 1980 to 7.3 million in 2007, mainly because of increased prosecutions of drug-related crimes (many nonviolent) and drug-addicted persons.

Other research has established a clear link between having an alcohol use disorder and higher rates of drunk driving and DUI convictions.

Whether your past includes a DUI or another drug or alcohol-related conviction, you need to know that you are as entitled to the opportunity to land a new job as any other candidate in the running. On that note, what follow are some tips on how to prepare for a job interview that could entail questions about past drug- or alcohol-related troubles with the law.

How Rehab Can Prepare You for a Job Interview

If you’re still in active addiction, you need to get treated for your disease. Talking about a past addiction with a prospective employer will not be as convincing if you are not successfully sober and in recovery. Often, getting to that point requires going to rehab and completing a treatment plan.

As a safe, supportive, and therapeutic environment, rehab can also be one of the best environments in which to conduct a job search, get connected with potential employers, and prepare for the interview process. Some treatment providers actually allocate staff and resources for the very purpose of helping you find a job.

By way of example, I recently asked Molly Lauroesch, director of alumni and resources at FHE Health, how she helps rehab alumni prepare for interviews when they have convictions on their records. Molly said she regularly gives the following pep talk when helping people prepare for interviews that involve uncomfortable questions:

Be honest on your applications when you have a conviction record. It is better to be up front about past circumstances than to get caught up in a lie. The truth always comes out.

Share only what you’re comfortable sharing — and briefly. Remember that everyone makes mistakes. When asked about a past conviction, be honest but don’t overshare by divulging what’s outside your comfort zone.

Consider sharing how you turned your life around. It can sometimes be beneficial when dealing with a past conviction to share with an employer how you turned your life around and are moving forward. Ultimately, though, this choice — and the degree to which you share about a past conviction — is a personal decision.

“At the end of the day, we always make sure to encourage our alumni to put their best feet forward and try to build a new way of life,” Lauroesch told me. “Regardless of issues in their past, if they continue to work on themselves and push through any hardships, the right opportunity will eventually materialize.”

For more professional success tips, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

Navigating Questions About Your Past When You’re Successfully in Recovery

Say you’ve completed rehab and are now successfully in recovery and trying to move forward with a career. Here are some considerations to bear in mind if or when you get that fateful question about a past drug possession charge, public disorder offense, or DUI:

1. It’s Possible the Employer Already Knows About Your Conviction

Employers sometimes conduct independent background checks when candidates reach the final stages of the hiring process. If you’ve made it to the final interview stage, it is therefore possible you’ll get questions about a past conviction — but it’s also possible the issue won’t come up. After all, if the employer already knows about the conviction and chose you as a finalist nonetheless, they may not be too concerned about it.

2. Emphasize How You Successfully Dealt With the Issue

This is your opportunity to control the facts and limit a prospective employer’s imagination by drawing attention to how you responded to and resolved the matter. Be as concise as possible about the incident. Focus mainly on what you learned from the incident and how you chose to redress the problem.

3. Be Quick to Mention You Went to Rehab

Your time in rehab is an important point to emphasize early on in answering a question about past troubles with the law. If you submitted yourself to rehab, whether voluntarily or at the direction of the courts, mention this fact immediately. It may also help to refer to your addiction as one of the medical conditions that qualify as disabilities under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

4. Emphasize the Skills and Lessons You Learned in Therapy and Rehab

For example, maybe you learned interpersonal and communication skills, how to cope with stress, and the keys to a healthy lifestyle — all of which would be assets to any employer.

5. Talk About How You Continue to Maintain a Healthy Sober Lifestyle

Give some details about the self-care measures you are taking to maintain your sobriety — e.g., seeing a licensed clinical social worker, participating in a recovery program such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, etc.

Lastly, bear in mind that in the context of today’s opiate and overdose epidemics, employers, unions, families, and communities are becoming increasingly educated about behavioral health issues such as addiction. You may be surprised just how empathetic a prospective employer can be during a job interview. You may also be shocked to see how many options you now have with respect to recovery-friendly employers.

Janet B. Gerhard is director of public affairs for FHE Health.