Feet on the Street

Career Resources, Information and News

Student Loan SOS

Posted by Lori on February 11, 2010

Spring is the time of year when college bound students should be seeking ways to fund their education. Nearly all colleges, universities, and technical schools require students to complete a FAFSA form before being admitted to a program of study. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), is used to verify financial information with regard to the student to determine if he or she is eligible for grants, which do not need to be repaid, or loans which are repaid after graduation.

Many times, you will hear the name Sallie Mae uttered while you are standing in line in the Financial Aid Office awaiting information on your FAFSA. Just who is the elusive Sallie Mae, and what does she have to do with your college education? To answer this question, I consulted the online brain trust, wikipedia and discovered the following information:

SLM Corporation (NYSE: SLM), commonly known as Sallie Mae, is a publicly-traded U.S.[1] corporation whose operations are originating, servicing and collecting on student loans. Managing more than $180.4 billion in debt for more than 10 million borrowers, the company primarily provides federally guaranteed student loans originated under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).[2] Sallie Mae employs 8,000 individuals at offices nationwide.

Whether you will need a loan from Sallie Mae or not, you should check out their website, http://www.salliemae.com/FAFSA. There are short videos to help you complete your form, as well as a handy tip sheet that you can download. You can also chat with a FAFSA advisor on Thursday, February 11 from 8:00pm – 9:00pm cst. The information is free, as is the completion of the FAFSA form.

There are many companies who claim they will complete the form for you and charge you a pretty penny for the service. Will a little patience, a diet Coke, and last year’s tax return, you can complete the process in the privacy of your own home at not cost.

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Posted in College, Student Loan | Tagged: , , , | 10 Comments »

10 Most Expensive Colleges in the United States

Posted by Lori on February 10, 2010

Having been a college student the last couple of years, I am keenly aware of the rising cost of tuition, books, and the ever popular student privilege fee. As I review my student loan information, I wonder just how in the world I’ll ever get good ol’ Sallie Mae repaid. However, I feel better after seeing the list of the 10 Most Expensive Colleges and Universities in the United States that I found on  cnnmoney.com. By the way, this is their annual tuition!

  1. Sarah Lawrence College – $55,788
  2. Georgetown University – $52,161
  3. New York University – $51,993
  4. George Washington University – $51,775
  5. John Hopkins University – $51,690
  6. Columbia University – $51,544
  7. Wesleyan University – $51,432
  8. Trinity College – $51,400
  9. Washington University of St. Louis – $51,329
  10. Bates College – $51,300

I could attend my alma mater, Kansas State University, for a long time before racking up the equivalent tuition at Bates College!

Posted in College | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

10 Deadliest Jobs in the U.S.

Posted by Lori on February 9, 2010

Think about the most dangerous part of your job. While you are pondering that, also think about the number of times you are in personal danger while you are performing the tasks working at the job. Nearly everyone who has spent time traversing the highways has happened upon a drop-out from the Mario Andretti School of Driving. But, how many of us risk our lives day in and and day out to feed the family? Earnmydegree.com compiled a list of the top 10 Deadliest Jobs in the US along with their average annual salary. Take a look at the list and see how your job stacks up:

  1. Fisher – $28,460
  2. Logger – $32,900
  3. Pilot – $119,750
  4. Steel Worker – $47,170
  5. Rancher – $49,140
  6. Roofer – $37,430
  7. Power Line Worker – $54,300
  8. Truck Driver – $38,720
  9. Refuse Collector – $32,790
  10. Police – $52,810

I think it is interesting the deadliest job pays the least amount of money per year. Another amazing factoid is that each occupation requires some sort of training, whether it is an apprenticeship, vocational school, college, or on-the-job.

Posted in A Day in the Life..., Career, On the Job, Salary | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

A Few More Jobs that are Still Worse Than Yours

Posted by Lori on February 5, 2010

As promised, we are revisiting Justin Racz’ book, 50 Jobs Worse Than Yours. (2004) Take a great big stretch, settle back in your easy chair, and take a look at a few more jobs that are worse than yours. Remember, while you might be tempted to scrap traditional college, or your adult education plan, please take a look at the list of jobs where you could end up working:

  1. Office Plant Watering Dude – Do you really want to be the person sloshing around to 50 companies sprinkling the plants, dusting the leaves, and rearranging the soil? Actually, some days that sounds like a pretty good gig!
  2. Walking Menu – This person wears a life-size menu and walks about the restaurant so customers can see the special of the day. Probably not that bad of a job, especially if you get discounts. Personally, I would get tired of people staring and pointing at me.
  3. Rat Catcher –  According to Racz, the job ranks right below gravedigger. To land this job in Bombay, India all you need to be able to do is swing a baseball bat. Rat-tatouille for two, anyone??
  4. Cheesecake Tin Quality Controller – This job involves a tactile inspection of 8,000 cheese cake tins an hour to make sure they are hermetically sealed. The drawback of the job is a numb thumb, but the benefits include free cake.
  5. New York City Taxi Driver – It’s sort of a mundane job; pick up fares, drive, honk, pick up fares, drive, honk. The job pays about $75.00 day and is considered the most dangerous job in NYC. Not only that, there is no social security, no disability, and no health insurance. They only thing you get is the right-of-way.

Seriously, I think there are times when we do whatever we need to do when the chips are down. We have to make a choice on either working in misery and being able to pay a few bills, or hang it up and wander aimlessly about the streets in search of food scraps for dinner.

Our topic for discussion next Friday will be, 50 Bosses Worse than Yours. I think everyone has a horror story or two about working for a boss-zilla, so we’ll take a look at the book and compare some notes. Have a great weekend!

Posted in A Day in the Life..., Career, Education | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

10 Questions You Should Ask Every Job Candidate

Posted by Lori on February 4, 2010

We spend lots of time discussing how to portray ourselves in the best possible light when we are on the job hunt, but we do not give much attention to what is happening on the other side of the desk. I came across a great article by Russell Rindeau from East Wing Search Group that gives hiring managers a whole new list of questions to spring on unsuspecting job seekers. If you do not think that this article applies to you, please reconsider your stance. We must first understand the question, as well as the rationale behind it, to give a definitive answer. College students could be asked similar questions by professors, potential mentors, or companies in search of interns. It is always a good idea to be ready by formulating the answers before sitting in the hot seat at an interview. Here’s the article in its entirety:

10 Clever Questions You Should Ask Every Job Candidate

by Russell Riendeau Tuesday Jan 26, 2010

Traditional interview questions oriented around performance, duties and responsibility are important, but the answers often obscure a person’s commitment or emotional intelligence required for the job. By asking new questions, you’ll be amazed at what you can find out. The findings can help you make better hiring decisions, lower turnover and significantly reduce your hiring costs.

Here are behavioral-based, legal-friendly questions designed to flush out deeper and more complex behaviors and thinking patterns of a candidate for hire.

What would really surprise me about you? What else?

This question allows candidates to reveal a different side of themselves. Look for confidence, willingness and candor. The second question (“What else?”) gives the candidate another chance to reveal more if they gave a conservative first response.

What’s your real motivation to change jobs? No, the real reason?

Look for motives other than money — money is rarely the real reason. See if the candidate places blame, is “seeking asylum” elsewhere, or can’t handle the pressure, the boss or the pace. These are signs of immaturity, poor-decision making skills or lack of true selling ability. Ask the question to see if you’re hearing the whole story.

What’s your philosophy on goal setting?

The more detailed answer you get, the more you’ll see if the candidate values setting and achieving goals. Ask for examples of goals they have set and how they measured them. A blend of intrinsic and extrinsic goals will show emotional balance and another sign of maturity in prioritizing ability.

What reading material would I find on your coffee table, nightstand or kitchen table

The answer to this question will show intellect, curiosity, variety of interests, breath of life experience, dedication to learning, or lack of these traits. The candidate’s response will give insights as to how well he or she follows your industry and field of work.

Tell me a story about when you were placed in an ethical dilemma and what happened?

This question reveals morals, ethics, integrity and problem-solving skills. If the candidate places blame on others, it may indicate tendencies towards poor judgment, unrealistic attitudes, non-genuine or secretive personality.

How did you earn money while in college?

This question offers a good indicator of the candidate’s entrepreneurial skills. If they ran a formal or informal business in college, they are most likely resourceful, driven, have strong social skills and street smarts. These candidates tend to be good at sales, marketing, customer service or other roles that require proactive behaviors.

Draw me a pie chart showing how you spend an eight-hour day.

Watch for organization, clear communications and accurate calculations. Their response shows you their presentation and communication skills. Are those skills in line with what you need?

What’s your favorite success story and failure story?

A person willing to share failures tends to be self-confident, mature and has a sense of true self and place in the world. In success stories, look for credit given to team effort and personal drive in relation to goal setting. Bragging of solo efforts may suggest arrogance, inflated sense of self, lack of self-confidence or lack of interest in being a team player.

Do you want to be a millionaire? Why? What are you doing to prepare for it?

Look for an overall balanced approach to wealth and lifestyle choice and for consistency relative to other questions around goal setting. Does the candidate have a valid, compelling motive for a yes or no to wealth accumulation?

Have you ever created a 30, 60, 90-day strategic plan?

If the candidate has created strategic plans, how many months were they required to plan out into the future? Is this commensurate with the requirements of position you’re offering? Ask about a specific plan and watch for ability to articulate and define time frames and goals. Many people can speak about planning, so ask candidate to illustrate the plan using visual aids, graphs, charts, etc.

Dennis Kleper, an executive coach and chairman of TKO/BIG, contributed to this article. Russell Riendeau is senior partner of East Wing Search Group, an executive search firm.

Posted in College, Hiring, Interviews | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »