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The Beginner’s Guide to Filing Taxes

tax guide

Doing taxes might be one of the most procrastinated tasks we have to do each year.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

With all the tax services available today you can get your taxes filed away with just a few clicks of a button. Some tax service places will even let you file your taxes early so you can get it done asap and cross that item off your to-do list right now. However you choose to do your taxes, there are a few things everyone should know about filing taxes.

How Do I File My Taxes?

It’s a common misconception that filing taxes is confusing and difficult to do. It really isn’t! Just follow these steps:

Step 1: Gather necessary documents

W-2 form.

You’ll get this from your place of work and it will have all the information you need on it—how much you got paid and how much you paid in taxes through your paychecks.

1099 form.

If you’re self-employed, a contracted employee, or a freelancer, then you’ll get a 1099 form from each of your employers instead. Since you aren’t receiving a taxed paycheck from an employer you may have to pay your taxes after filing since your taxes weren’t automatically paid throughout the year via taxed paychecks.

Step 2: Use these documents to file taxes

Give documents to a professional tax service.

The easiest way to get your taxes done is to simply submit these documents to a professional tax service. You can visit a financial store, like Check City, that offers tax services in person. Check City even offers Tax Advance Loans so you can get your refund sooner.

You can also use an online tax service to do it online. You may have to use your W-2 or 1099 forms to fill out some of the information. Using a tax professional or service will often come with some service fees.

File your taxes manually with the IRS.

You can also do it yourself by filling out a form called a 1040. Then you simply mail this form to the IRS. This route doesn’t have any service fees, besides postage, but it’s more effort on your part and takes more of your time.

Once you’ve finished filing taxes you’ll be able to see how much you owe or are owed. If you owe money you can mail it in to the IRS. If you are owed money then you can expect a check in the mail after the IRS is done processing your filed taxes.

When Do I File Taxes?

January.

You can file your taxes as soon as you receive the documents you need. These documents are your W-2 form from your employer or any 1099 forms you get from employers and contractors. You’ll usually receive these documents in January or you’ll need to request them.

This year the IRS will start accepting filed taxes on January 27th, 2020. Ideally, you’ll want to have everything ready to file by this date. That way if you are getting a tax refund, you can get your money as soon as possible.

When are Taxes Due?

April.

“National Tax Day” is usually on April 15th every year. But if the 15th of April falls on a weekend, then they’ll push it back to the 16th or 17th. This is when your taxes for the previous year are officially due to the federal government.

For example, taxes for 2019 need to be filed by Wednesday, April 15th, 2020.

When Do I Get My Tax Return?

up to 3 weeks.

When you get your tax return will depend on when and how you file your taxes. Since the IRS doesn’t start processing filed taxes until January 27th this year, you won’t receive your refund until after this date. You can check your refund status on the IRS’s website if you’re curious.

But generally, your tax refund can take up to 3 weeks to get to you after January 27th and after you’ve filed your taxes. It’s also always a good idea to keep a copy of your tax return for your own personal files.

If you want to get your tax refund quicker, you can do so by e-filing your tax return at Check City rather than mailing it in.

Why Do I Have to File Taxes?

To make sure you paid the correct amount in taxes the year before.

The main reason you have to file taxes at the beginning of each year is to make sure you paid the correct amount in taxes the previous year and didn’t over or underpay.

Income tax gets taken out of each paycheck throughout the year, but this amount isn’t always the amount you end up owing in taxes by the end of the year. By filing taxes at the start of the new year, you and the government will both know for certain whether you owe more in taxes or are owed the extra you ended up giving in taxes.

How much you pay in taxes is determined by your total income over the course of the year. How much you make will then place you in a certain tax bracket, and that percentage is how much you should have paid in taxes. But this percentage can’t be known for certain until after the year is done, that’s why taxes are always filed at the beginning of the following year.

Benefits to Filing Taxes
  • You can get a tax return if you ended up paying more in taxes then you needed to based on how much you ended up making over the year.
  • You can also end up getting tax deductions for certain things like giving to charity, nonprofits, medical expenses, or if you spend personal money on your job or business.
  • You can also get tax credits for things like education or paying for childcare so you can work.

And that’s all you need to know! See? Taxes can be a dream, not a nightmare. You can also check out the IRS’s website for any other information you may need.


How to Make and Keep New Year Resolutions this Year

Explore this Article

new year wishes

The New Year is a significant time for a lot of people. A whole new year is beginning with a whole new you waiting ahead!

The new year is a time of new beginnings and fresh starts for us all. Many of us will attempt to make new year resolutions to better ourselves and our lives this coming year. We see the new year holiday as an opportunity to celebrate the past year and look hopefully toward the year to come. New Years Eve may be one of the most hopeful nights of the year as we start over with the dawn of a whole new beginning.

New Year Resolution Ideas

Have you decided what your new year resolutions are going to be? If not, here are some common new year resolution ideas that you could choose from.

  1. Work on physical health
  2. Work on mental health
  3. Get more organized
  4. Save money
  5. Get out of debt
  6. Quit bad habits
  7. Stick to a budget
  8. Travel
  9. Read more
  10. Find a better job

new year goals

1. Work on physical health
Every body needs to learn good, healthy habits to keep their bodies fit and strong. This goal works for everyone since we can all do a little more to take care of our physical health, whether that means eating better, working out more, or both.

2. Work on mental health
This goal also works for everyone since we can all always do a little more to take care of our mental and emotional wellbeing. Self-care is important and can make accomplishing other goals a lot easier. Mental wellness goals can be anything from resolving to visit a therapist to doing morning yoga for a happier morning routine.

3. Get more organized
Organizing and decluttering your life is another goal that can make keeping other goals easier. Maybe you want to focus on planning more productive days. Or maybe your office space, bedroom, or garage could use a major cleaning and organizing overhaul. This can be a great goal to make as a family to rearrange and reorganize your home and your lives together.

keep new year resolutions guide

4. Save money
We’d all like to save more money, but making this an actual new year resolution might be the focus you need to really make it happen. You can save money in many ways: 1) reduce spending by getting rid of some monthly payments, 2) get a better paying job or a second job, or 3) learn to stick to a budget that allows you to save more money.

5. Get out of debt
Debt can bog down all aspects of our lives. It can keep us from getting the things we need and moving forward with important life steps. Resolve to get rid of debts this year and make an airtight financial plan for how you’ll do it. Maybe this year you can decide to go without certain things so you can afford the bigger payments to bring down your debts faster.

6. Quit bad habits
Bad habits come in all shapes and sizes. You might want to quit smoking this year, or maybe you just want to quit eating junk food. One key trick to quitting bad habits is figuring out how to replace bad habits with better habits to fill the void the bad habit was filling.

7. Stick to a budget
Creating a budget and sticking to it can be a really difficult goal to accomplish. To finally learn to stick to your budget, try focusing on one aspect of your budget at a time in order to more slowly learn how to live according to that budget. This way you’ll take things slower and not fail due to being overwhelmed.

8. Travel more
Traveling can be a great way to expand your views, learn about the world, and learn about yourself. Make sure that in your goal planning you remember to account for time and costs. You might need to use PTO days at work and plan accordingly. There will also be travel costs like gas, tickets, hotels, or whatever else you’ll need to make your traveling plans actually happen. You can also make use of a Check City Installment Loan in your travel budget to help with costs. Plan to prepare before you plan to travel.

9. Read more
Reading is an important hobby we often forget about in our busy lives. To remind yourself to read this coming year create your own reading list. Keep in mind your own reading pace and schedule out your planned reading for the year on a calendar. You can even form a book club and read together with friends.

10. Find a better job
Money might not buy happiness but a good job can make all the difference in your personal and financial life. Finding a better job might be an important goal this year if you’re struggling to not live paycheck to paycheck. It might also be an important goal if the environment at your current job is less than ideal, or if your commute is too long.

How to Set Goals

set goals
Making goals for yourself this new year is a worthy endeavor, but many of us start to fail in our goals around February and give up by March. Why is this? Generally, we fail in our goals because we lack the proper motivation and planning to keep our goals.

1. Don’t set too many goals
One of the main things that keep people from accomplishing their goals is setting too many goals at one time. Instead, stick to only one or two major goals for the year. You may have up to 50 goals you’d really like to accomplish this coming year, but if you want to be successful at keeping your goals, you’ll need to prioritize and focus on the most important ones first.

2. Make a step-by-step plan for your goals
Once you have your resolution in mind, break the goal up into manageable steps. For example, you may want to save up to buy a new car, but you know you can’t just put thousands of dollars aside. However, you do know you can put aside $10 this month, and $20 the next month. Make big goals more manageable by organizing them into small, easy to accomplish steps.

3. Expect and accept setbacks
When trying to accomplish great things you are going to experience setbacks. Don’t let them destroy all your efforts by recognizing that failure is a normal part of any process. But failure doesn’t have to mean absolute failure. You can fall off the horse and get right back on, and at the end of the day, it’s this kind of effort and resolve that gives you the most out of your goals.

How to Stay Motivated

new year resolutions
One way to keep yourself feeling excited about your goals is to make use of new year quotes. You can print out motivational quotes and hang them around your house or bedroom as a reminder of your goals. It’s also a great idea to have a motto of the year that you look to each morning to stay focused, positive, and motivated. Here are just a few of the many quotes you could use as your quote of the year:

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

—C. S. Lewis

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”

—Karen Kaiser Clark

“Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.”

—Germany Kent

“Life’s not about expecting, hoping and wishing, it’s about doing, being and becoming.”

—Mike Dooley

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
—E.E. Cummings

You can also help yourself stay motivated and achieve your goals by helping others stay motivated and keep their goals. On new years we like to make resolutions for ourselves and give out new year wishes for others. Support your friends and family in their goals by reaching out to them in your new year wishes this year and offer your help and encouragement in their own endeavors.

The Best Books by Dave Ramsey

dave ramsey books

Table of Contents:

Dave Ramsey is a New York Times bestselling author, and a radio show host on the The Dave Ramsey Show. You can find his books wherever you buy books and you can listen to his radio show wherever you listen to podcasts or the radio. All of his books are also on Amazon, where you can find the kindle versions for your e-reader, or audiobook versions so you can learn all about finances on the go.

When getting into Dave Ramsey’s books people often wonder which book they should start with? If you want to read Dave Ramsey’s books in order there are a couple routes you can go. You can read them in the order he wrote them, or read them in order of the things you learn in each book.

Dave Ramsey’s Books in Chronological Order:

If you want to read all of Dave Ramsey’s books in order, you can follow this master list of all his books so far.

1992 – Financial Peace

1993 – Dumping Debt: Breaking the Chains of Debt

1998 – The Financial Peace Planner

1998 – More Than Enough

1999 – More Than Enough: The Ten Keys to Changing Your Financial Destiny

2000 – How to Have More Than Enough: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Abundance

2002 – Cash Flow Planning: The Nuts and Bolts of Budgeting

2002 – Financial Peace for the Next Generation

2003 – The Total Money Makeover

2003 – The Great Misunderstanding: Unleashing the Power of Generous Giving

2004 – The Money Answer Book

2008 – Relating with Money: Nerds and Free Spirits Unite!

2011 – Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money

2011 – Dave Ramsey’s High Performance Achievement: Accomplishing the Extraordinary

2011 – EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches

2014 – Smart Money Smart Kids

2014 – The Legacy Journey: A Radical View of Biblical Wealth and Generosity

Dave Ramsey Kid Books: Life Lessons with Junior

kid books

4.38 stars on Goodreads

Life Lessons with Junior is a series of children’s books written by Dave Ramsey. In them he goes over all the most basic concepts of money management. Following Junior’s adventures can teach your kids all about monetary responsibility in clear simpler terms they’ll understand. He goes over everything from spending, debt, saving, work, giving, contentment, and integrity. Don’t miss out on gracing your household shelves with these great childhood reads with life lessons your kids will keep with them all their lives.

Smart Money Smart Kids

smart money smart kids

4.26 stars on Goodreads

Smart Money Smart Kids is a book that Dave Ramsey wrote with his daughter, Rachel Cruze. It is a book that teaches parents all about how to teach their kids about money. Part of good parenting is preparing your kids to be responsible, independent adults someday and a big part of being an adult is knowing how to manage your money. In this book Dave Ramsey and his daughter will tell you all about how to raise kids who are smart about their money.

If you’re looking for something from Dave Ramsey that can specifically help your teens, check out his article, “A Teenager’s Guide to Building Wealth.”

Dave Ramsey also has a great recommendation for a college 101 bundle that includes Debt-Free Degree by Anthony O’Neal and The Graduate Survival Guide by Anthony O’Neal and Rachel Cruze.

Financial Peace

financial peace

4.31 on Goodreads

Financial Peace is one of Dave Ramsey’s first books, but he has since revisted the book, renaming it, Financial Peace Revisited: New Chapters on Marriage, Singles, Kids, and Families. This newer edition of his first book now includes more information for married couples, singles, children, and families. This book is also where he introduces the KISS rule, which stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” It’s about getting out of debt and staying out of debt and the idea that you should use contentment to make your financial decisions. It also goes over how to manage money flow and investing.

One of the primary keys to understanding your finances and being able to take control of them is to manage the flow of your money. A lot of people just let money flow as it does, not really thinking too much about where it’s coming from and where it disappears. But if you learn to take full control of where all your funds are going then the problem of disappearing funds won’t happen to you and you can find financial peace.

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

total money makeover

4.28 stars on Goodreads

A large part of what makes makeovers so fun is the joy of reaching your goals and having a different life and a different you at the end of your journey. But have you ever thought about going on a similar makeover journey with your finances? Dave Ramsey will show you how.

The Total Money Makeover may be one of Dave Ramsey’s most popular books. He talks about some of his most famous money tips all while debunking myths about money. He brings a simpler, more straight forward approach to money management that anyone can understand and utilize in their life, no matter their financial situation. Dave Ramsey says that this book can work every time, all you have to do is follow his steps.

Complete Guide to Money

complete guide to money

4.44 stars on Goodreads

In this comprehensive guide Dave Ramsey goes over all his basic financial tips and lessons—How to Budget with Dave Ramsey, how to save, how to get out of debt, how to invest, mortgages, insurance, marketing, bargain hunting, and giving. Anything you want to know when it comes to money, you can find in this master guidebook.

The Money Answer Book

money answer book

3.82 stars on Goodreads

The Money Answer Book is a quick read with questions and answers to more than 100 common money questions! It’s a fast guide that goes over budget planning, retirement planning, shopping tips, saving for college, giving to charity, and so much more. If you need something you can quickly leaf through to find the answers you’re looking for.

How to Have More than Enough: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Abundance

more than enough

4.11 stars on Goodreads

How to Have More than Enough is the newest version of Dave Ramsey’s earlier book, More than Enough. Once you have gotten out of debt, he has more down to earth advice about building wealth. Dave Ramsey’s perspective is unique because he doesn’t just talk about monetary wealth, he talks about having a wealth of happiness. He takes it a step further by talking about finding wealth in relationships and in your family. In this book he goes through 10 traits you need to be prosperous in life beyond your financial situations.

EntreLeardership

entreleadership

4.21 stars on Goodreads

In EntreLeadership Dave Ramsey talks about how he built his company, and how to be a strong leader. He talks about how to grow as a leader and the questions you should ask yourself in order to develop yourself. This book has doable, step-by-step guidance to follow to become a better leader and watch your business grow as you do.

He talks about inspiring and unifying your team, handling your business finances, and reaching your business goals. If you are making your own business and you need some pro tips about leadership, this book is what you want. But you can find great insights in this book no matter what you are doing with your life right now. If you are a parent you can use it with your family or at work you can use it with your coworkers! This is because leadership is really all about functioning efficiently as a team and reaching your goals together.

What Books Does Dave Ramsey Recommend?

We’ve talked all about books that were written by Dave Ramsey, but what about books that Dave Ramsey recommends? There are many other great financial reads you can find on Dave Ramsey’s website. You can also read more about Dave Ramsey’s steps to reach financial steps by reading, “Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps.” Here are just a few book suggestions from Dave Ramsey:

Dave Ramsey’s Book Club

If you’re interested in really tackling your finances with Dave Ramsey’s sage wisdom you can actually join Dave Ramsey’s official book club! All you have to do is create an account on his website and then join the book club (fees may apply). Then, at the beginning of each month you’ll receive Dave Ramsey’s book club book of the month in the mail. You’ll also get an email with details about when the live book discussion will happen on the private book club Facebook page along with a study guide to use as you read.

For more answers to any questions you may have about the Dave Ramsey book club, just visit the book club’s FAQs Page.

 
Dave Ramsey along with his many inspiring books have helped a lot of people get back on their feet financially. You can take on his financial fitness challenge too and manage your money like never before.

Another way you can get some needed financial help is to take out an Installment Loan at Check City! Installment loans can help you stay on top of your bill payments and avoid late fees, which can really hurt your long-term financial goals.


How to Succeed at NANOWRIMO

nanowrimo

NANOWRIMO is a writing challenge that goes on every November where lovers of literature everywhere take on the same goal—to write an entire novel in one month. See how you can successfully achieve this goal by following these great tips!

Table of Contents:

What is NANOWRIMO?

NANOWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing Month. It occurs every November and refers to a writing challenge to finish the first draft of a novel by the end of the month. So if you’ve always wanted to write a book now is your chance!

The Logistics

So the logistics of NANOWRIMO is to get a full, first draft done by the end of the month. The official final wordcount goal is 50,000 words. If you divide that into the 30 days of November, then you’ll need to write about 1,667 words every day for the whole month of November to get to the final word count and end up with a full first draft.

Final Word Count Goal: 50,000 words

Daily Word Count Goal: 1,667 words

But ultimately NANOWRIMO is about you, your writing goals, and what works best for you. Some people only have time to write on the weekends and that’s ok! If you’re a weekend writer then can write 3,571 words for each day of the weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), instead of writing 1,667 words each day of the week. Over the course of the weekend your new word count goal would be:

Weekend Word Count Goal: 10,000 words each weekend

How to Write a Novel

how to write a book

1. Pick a genre

The very first thing you should decide when going into NANOWRIMO is the genre you’d like to work with. If you’re going to write a book it’s good to first know what kind of book you want to write. The kinds of stories you could write are an endless list of categories and subcategories, so if you want to see a more detailed list check out Literary Genres.

But here are some of the more basic literary genres:

  • Fantasy
  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Historical fiction
  • Science fiction
  • Memoir
  • Mystery
  • Tragedy
  • Romance
  • Horror
  • Self-help

It also might be important to decide who your audience is before writing because that can decide a lot about how you write your novel. Thinking about what age group you are writing for is a great way to start so your reading level and content cater appropriately to your readers.

2. Pick a perspective

First Person: This perspective is written in the main character’s point of view. The narrating character tells their own personal story with their own words. When writing in first person you’ll use words like I, me, us, my, and we.

Second Person: This perspective is written to address the reader directly. It’s as if the narrating character is telling a story to the reader directly. When writing in second person you’ll use words like you, referring to the reader who the narrator is speaking to.

Third Person: This perspective is not written from the point of view of the character or the writer. Instead, a third party narrator is telling a story that they are not themselves in any way apart of. This can also be referred to as omniscient point of view, because the narrator is like the all-knowing god of this story. When writing in third person you’ll use words like he, she, they, and it.

Multiple Perspectives: You can also write your book using multiple points of view. This is especially common when writing in first person because then you can switch between the firsthand perspectives of different characters throughout the story.

Present Tense: You can also write your story in the present tense. In this case you would write as if the character is telling their story as it is happening. For example you would write, “I walk toward the closet door and open it.”

Past Tense: It is much more common, and even recommended, to write your story in the past tense. This means you would write the story more naturally, as if it had already happened and someone is narrating a detailed, perfectly remembered account. For example you would write, “I walked toward the closet door and opened it.

Ultimately, if this is your first novel, it’s recommended you write in third person, in the past tense. If you feel a little more confident in your writing abilities then you can try out writing in first person, or even switching between multiple points of view throughout the story. If you really want to be different, you can write in the present tense, but most books are written in the past tense.

3. Create the world

All stories need a setting. Maybe your story will occur in a small town or the big city. Maybe it’ll take place in an alternate universe, or a completely different fantasy world of your creation. Get a clear vision of what your world is like, and all the important aspects of the world that will affect your story and characters.

4. Create the characters

There are many ways to create really great characters. You can make a vision board for each characters to keep tabs of all your inspiration for who they are. You’ll also want to find names for them and keep notes on all the things you know about each person appearing in your novel.

5. Make a story outline

Now that you have the materials and initial ideas you need to make a story, it’s time to start outlining! One thing that can really help you storyboard your book is to first think about your beginning and your ending.
There are many templates and guidelines out there for how to format a story outline that can help you with all of this.

story outlining

  • Freytag’s Pyramid
  • Imagine the rise and fall of a pyramid. The story starts with exposition, rising action, peaks with the story’s climax, falling action, and ends with the resolution. To see the story outline in even more detail check out the 7-Step “Freytag’s Pyramid” from the Writing Itch.

  • Snowflake Method
  • This method involves starting with a small story summary and expanding it to have more and more details until you have a larger story.

  • 8 Point Arc
  • The 8 point arc includes 8 key story points that you can write about in order to have an 8 step plot outline for your novel.

  • 3 Acts
  • The first act is the setup, act two is when the confrontation occurs, and act three is the resolution. This outline is great for writers who just need a really simple idea of the basic flow of their story.

  • The Hero’s Journey
  • The hero’s journey is a classic story outline you see in popular books like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. It’s similar to the 8 point arc in that it has a detailed 10 step plan for your story outline.

  • Notecards
  • Write out your key scenes on different notecards. Then you can use a wall or bulletin board to place your notecards in order. This outline technique is great for writers who often rearrange events.

  • Plots
  • This outline is for when you have multiple plots happening simultaneously. You can have a main plot and sub plots, or have equally important A, B, and C plots.

Story Beginnings:

  • Mid-Action
  • Also known as in medias res, starting in the middle of the action can be a great way to get your audience hooked right away and keep impatient readers from putting the book down after the first page.

  • Ask a question
  • By starting with a question you can immediately give your book an inquisitive tone.

  • Introduce us
  • You can also start your novel by introducing the reader to something or someone important. You can describe the setting, the world they live in, or a key character.

  • Origin story
  • If your story has important background information then you can start with the origin story of your kingdom, or main character.

  • Flashes, dreams, and memories
  • You can also start your book out with an important flashback into the past, a foreshadowing flash into the future, in the lucid landscape of a telling dream, or with key memories.

Create Conflict:

Every story needs some riveting conflict. It’s what keeps the story going and keeps your readers interested in what’s going to happen next. For more help in brainstorming your main and sub-conflicts read, “Decoding the Six Conflicts in Literature (With Examples).”

Story Endings:

Some people really struggle with how to end their book. There are many things to consider in order to create a good ending. You’ll need to ask some important question like, what goal or goals you want accomplished or unaccomplished by the end, how your characters change, and what do they learn or fail to learn.

  • The Happy ending
  • The goal is accomplished and things are better now.

  • The Tragic ending
  • The goal fails and things are worse now.

  • The Twist ending
  • The goal is accomplished, but for some reason things still end up worse.
    The goal fails, but for some reason things still end up better.

  • The Cliffhanger
  • The goal remains unaccomplished, leaving readers in suspense, or in the middle of events.

Writing Resources

Every writer has their go-to resources for writing. Eventually you might find blogs, forums, or books about writing that you like.

Name Generators:

Websites:

Books:

How to Cultivate Yourself as a Writer

Like with any hobby you should look into bettering yourself as a writer, just as you would if your hobby was hiking or drawing. Here are some things you can do to really enter into the writing world:

  • Join writing groups
  • Write with others
  • Get feedback
  • Read books you love
  • Read books on writing

How to Stay Inspired Throughout November

When you’re on a writing deadline it can be really hard to stay inspired. Everyone has their own tricks to beating writer’s block and as you write more frequently you’ll gain a list of your own. Here are some things you can try to get you started:

  • Explore Pinterest
  • Make vision and mood boards
  • Get in nature
  • Take care of your physical and mental health
  • Keep reading things you love
  • Watch things you love
  • Listen to things you love
  • Set up your workspace so it’s decluttered and free of distractions

NANOWRIMO is like a community event on a larger scale. By joining the groups and forums you can accomplish your goals along with your fellow writers and who knows?! Maybe you’ll make some friends or publish something great! What’s more, writing novels can potentially become a lucrative at home job to get your household some extra income.

If you’re going to do NANOWRIMO this month, you may need a little help preparing. If you do need some financial help visit a Check City store or our website to take out an easy to use Personal Loan.

 

READ MORE

Learn some other tips about making more money, “Making More Money.”

Thinking about writing as a career? “How to Choose a Career” can help you decide if a career in writing is write for you.


What is Business Communication?

communication in business

Knowing how you communicate helps you understand yourself and others better while making you a more effective and productive interactor in the world.

What is Business Communication?

Business communication refers to any communication that goes on within a professional setting. This includes presenting information in meetings, brainstorming in a team, or problem solving with your coworkers.

Why is Communication in Business Important?

Whether you are a large or small business owner, good communication is always good for business. Effective business communication can also help with employee engagement.

A survey was done with 400 different companies and 100,000 total employees, and they found that each company lost an average of $62.4 million in profits because of poor communication. That’s a lot of lost profits all because of bad communication. But these losses can be easily prevented by taking the time to learn about how you and those around you communicate.

Types of Business Communication

types of business communication
 

By understanding the different types of communication you can know better how to utilize the different communication forms to your advantage. There are 2 primary forms of communication, verbal and nonverbal. Verbal is going to include talking out loud to each other, whether in person, on the phone, or over a video call. Nonverbal includes body language and writing.

Verbal

Verbal communication is the standard face to face type of communication. It can also be communicating through things like conference calls or a phone call. Choose your words and tone of voice wisely and appropriately for the person and the situation. Don’t use terminology they won’t understand, and don’t overload them with lots of verbal information all at once. We tend to only remember the last parts of what we hear, so either make that the most important thing, or include note taking.

The trick to verbal communication is taking the other person’s perspective into account so that they will understand your words as you intend them. This is why reading articles like this one, to understand others better, is paramount to becoming an effective communicator.

Nonverbal

Body language is all about how you physically present yourself, and what others can observe or assume from your outer appearance and demeanor. Our facial expressions can also offer subtle cues to an observer of what we’re thinking or feeling. If you want to seem open and confident, don’t cross your arms over the front of your body, practice good back posture, make eye contact, and dress appropriately for how you wish to be received.

Technical Communication

One form of communication you may need to be familiar with in your job is technical communication.

Technical communication can be when you need to talk about technology or other specialized subjects in your field.

It can also be when you use technology, like slides, to communicate effectively.

And finally, technical communication can also be when you need to communicate instructions. Giving instructions comes with it’s own set of rules and guidelines so that you can be clear when offering a step by step process.

In many professional fields employers and employees alike will need to have a measure of skill utilizing technical communication in order to effectively share information in their area of expertise.

Communication Styles

communication styles
 

Many people have researched and studied the different styles of communication we all use. They have found differences in communication styles between genders, generations, and cultures.

Multiple researchers have attempted to categorize communication types into 4 or 5 main groups, but the truth is, communication is such a vast and complicated aspect of human interaction that truly defining it into a handful of categories is near impossible. For the sake of simplicity we will divide communication styles into 2 sections that can often overlap.

Logic-Based

People who base their communications in logic can get a bad rap from other people for being heartless or cold. But details and figures are just the way they best understand the world around them, just as an emotion-based communicator make sense of the world through their intuition. Logical communicators are a major asset to your business as they will keep your projects focused.

  • Focus on facts, numbers, data
  • They make their decisions based on figures rather than how they feel about the choices
  • They are great researchers
  • Detail oriented
  • They like the process of things and breaking large tasks into small ones
Emotion-Based

Emotional communicators like to rely on their intuition to make decisions. They make sense of the world around them through their instincts and emotions. Emotional communicators can be a great asset in connecting your business to your customers and creating the kind of environment that welcomes consumers and coworkers alike.

  • Rely on intuition, instinct, gut feelings
  • Focus on the big picture goal or main idea of what you want to accomplish
  • They are often creative and good at brainstorming
  • Social
  • They care about human connection and thus have strong interpersonal skills
  • They are often the diplomatic peacekeepers in their group
Passive

Passive communicators don’t communicate very well. They are the people who go with the flow. If you have a peacekeeper personality you might be guilty of being a passive communicator. They have trouble expressing themselves, or voicing their own opinions and feelings.

This kind of communication is a problem because it can lead to a build up in stress and it keeps you from offering your insights. It can also lead to misunderstandings in communication because others are forced to assume your thoughts or stance on things rather than hearing it from yourself.

The benefit of a passive communicator though, is that they are great listeners and can be great confidants and peacekeepers in the office.

Aggressive

Aggressive communicators are the opposite of passive communicators. They are on the other side of the spectrum, where they always say what’s on their mind. They are often described as demanding, authoritarian, and dominate and control the conversation.

The problem with aggressive communicators is they can be seen as rude, have a hard time listening or letting others get a word in edge-wise.

But the benefit of aggressive communicators is that they can make great leaders and get things done. They aren’t afraid to delegate.

Passive-Aggressive

Passive aggressive communicators are inwardly aggressive communicators, and outwardly passive. They have so much they want to say, but never do, whether out of fear or a lack of control. But their aggressive communicator side breaks free in subtle ways, but the communication is never completely clear or direct.

Assertive

The most ideal form of communication is assertive. When you are an assertive, you communicate openly without dominating the conversation too much. Assertive communicators have found the balance between passive and aggressive communicating.

They know when to listen, and when to speak up.
If you are interested in finding out what type of communication style you naturally favor, you can take this communication style quiz from glassdoor.

Business Communication Skills

skills and techniques
 

Now that you have a better understanding of the types and styles, we can move on to the techniques you can use to better your communication practices.

Don’t be afraid of silence

You can learn a lot from silence. Silence gives the other person in the conversation full opportunity to finish their thoughts, or add important details. This way you don’t miss any important contributions the other person might have.

Being comfortable with silence will also help people feel more comfortable and at ease conversing with you because it teaches you to be a less nervous conversationalist if you’re not worried about filling silence.

Ask questions

Learning to ask the right questions can be the key to really effective communication. Asking questions also shows you have personal interest in the topic or people a part of the conversation.

Stay current

Being learned will help you to have more meaningful conversations, and it will make you a more helpful asset in general in your workplace.

Manage your stress

Nothing leaves you more muddled in the head than when you’re stressed out. When you manage your stress properly, your mind will be clear, focused, and you’ll be better able to make decisions and think clearly.

Avoid filler words

Filler words are any words, phrases, or sounds that get used too often in speech. Many times filler words are subconsciously used to fill pauses in between thoughts. Becoming comfortable with silence will also help you with this communication technique.

Some examples of filler words include: um, like, uh, ah, ok, you know, yeah.

Learn and use people’s names

People really appreciate it when their names get used and remembered. By putting forth an effort to learn and use names you’ll make a friendly and amiable impression on anyone you meet. Showing that you can remember names also shows those around you that you have a good memory.

Use “I” statements

Using “I” statements instead of “you” statements is a great communication tactic. Using “you” in your speech can sometimes come off as demanding, or accusatory, which will cause others to clam up or get on the defensive when talking to you. So rephrase your speech to avoid using “you” too much so that you don’t come across as accusing.

For some other tips and tricks to communicating effectively, check out a business communication PDF:

Communication is a giant part of good business. At your job you’ll need to brainstorm, work in groups, and solve problems by communicating effectively with your coworkers, subordinates, and superiors.


READ MORE

If you need help finding a career first read, “How to Choose a Career.”

If you need even more tips for great communication read, “What is Communication?

Read a book all about technical communication, Technical Communication: a reader-centered approach

Check out this business communication book, Speak with No Fear


How to Have a Successful YouTube Channel

Explore this Article

  1. Pick a Niche
  2. Know Your Audience
  3. Make Goals
  4. Create an Online Presence
  5. Create Your Brand
  6. Start Creating!

how to have a successful youtube channel

For those with the dream to create their own video content, these are the steps you can follow to give your YouTube channel the best chance:

One of the major keys to success in any endeavor is planning. The same principle applies when creating your own YouTube channel. The most successful YouTube channels do well because they have a level of consistency, planning, and marketing to help them do as well as they can.

You may already be a creative guru, ready to add some great video content to the vlogging universe, but if you don’t go through the process correctly, you’ll miss the key elements of a good YouTube channel.

Follow these tips to make your YouTube channel as professional as it can be.

Step 1: Pick a Niche

You should start by knowing what kind of content you want to create. Being a part of a clearly defined and understood genre or niche will help your audience understand you and what your channel is all about. This will also help you find examples of other channels in your genre that are doing well and learn from their success.

youtube video genres

YouTube Genres

Here is a list of some of the most common YouTube channel genres:

  • Gaming
  • Lifehacks
  • Gossip
  • News
  • Top # lists
  • Fail compilations
  • Food
  • Art
  • Product unwrapping and opening
  • How-to demonstrations
  • Animals
  • Spoofs
  • Online education course
  • Hauls

Step 2: Know Your Audience

Just as you need to understand your niche and subject matter, you also need to understand your audience. In order to make successful videos, you need to know who you are reaching and what they are all about. A thorough understanding of who you want watching your videos will help you better know how to cater your videos to their wants and interests.

Learning about the demographics that use YouTube can also be helpful in shaping the content you create. For example, here’s some statistics about YouTube users:

  • 90% are 18 to 44 years old
  • 80% are 45 to 64 years old
  • Over 50% are 65 years or older
  • YouTube is equally popular among males and females

 
youtube demographics
 

Step 3: Make Goals

You need to make long and short term goals, not only for your channel but for you and your brand. One benefit of making goals for your channel is that they will give your channel purpose. Having a clear sense of purpose will be felt by your audience and foster your long-term success.

So make goals about how often you want to post, or how many followers you want to get in 3 months. The goals you can make are endless, and they will help you form better plans on how to grow your audience.

Step 4: Create an Online Presence

Your fans will want to find and follow you everywhere online so create accounts across all the major social media platforms. Then you can also post your videos on social media! Having an Instagram connected with your channel can also help you snag viewers from other platforms, not just people browsing YouTube.

You will also want to make sure that each of your profile pages has links to all your other accounts so that your followers can find you easily. You can also utilize social media automation tools that will post your content across all your platforms for you.

Which platforms you want will depend on the nature and purpose of your content and brand, but here are some of the key platforms you will want to look into having along with your YouTube channel:

online presence

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Your own official website
Do Some Online Spring Cleaning

When creating an online presence you’ll want to first clean up the online presence you already have. You don’t want anything you already have online to conflict with the brand you are trying to represent and the audience trust you are trying to gain.

Make sure you don’t have anything out on the web that you wouldn’t want members of your audience to find or that doesn’t align with the image and reputation you want your brand to foster.

Interact With Your Audience

Engage on social media! Respond to comments when appropriate and stay connected to your audience. You want to keep in the loop about what your audience does and doesn’t like, and about what’s popular and trending.

But don’t just interact with your audience, interact with other creators in your niche as well. Network with your fellow creators, because you never know what kind of opportunities may arise from supporting a fellow YouTuber. You can even collaborate with other YouTubers and make videos together to combine audiences!

Step 4: Create Your Brand

Branding is an important aspect of marketing. It is your symbol and how your audience recognizes you across mediums. It also sets you apart from the rest of the crowd.

When creating your brand you will want to brainstorm about what makes you unique, how you want to be perceived, and what kinds of things you want your audience to think of and feel when they see your brand. Below are some of the key aspects of creating your brand you will want to do for your channel:

logo design

Make a Logo

There are many tools out there now to help you create your own logo. Here are a few you can try out:

Make a Video Intro

Successful YouTubers usually start their video with a short 8-12 second long intro that often features your logo.

If you’re planning on having a video channel then you probably know what video editors and creators you like the most, but here are some sites you can use to create your video intro:

Step 5: Start Creating!

create videos
 

Make Your Content and Marketing Plans

Make a schedule for when you post so that you post on a regular, consistent schedule that your audience can expect. Many platforms will have ways for you to schedule when your posts go out.

Create, Edit, Optimize

You’ll want to create good, high-quality content that will be successful with your viewers. It may also be helpful to create 2 weeks’ worth of content before your first post so that you can stay a week ahead of your posting schedule.

Analyze and Improve

Keep an eye on your analytics to see how you are doing, what might be getting more or less likes, and improve your content accordingly.

Remember Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

Make use of keywords and hashtags so that your content does well on search engines and reaches those who are looking for content like yours.

 

YouTubers can make money from their channels, but those who are actually successful at this are often branching out and making money in other ways as well. Their YouTube channel is often just one part of their larger brand.

But regardless, it is amazing to live in a world where personal branding and creativity can allow so many a livelihood doing what they love. And if you need help starting your YouTube channel business, you can always take out a Check City personal loan to help get you started.


READ MORE

Figure out how much you can expect to make as a YouTuber, “How Much Do YouTubers Make?.”

Learn some of the basics about making a new channel, “Create a New Channel.”

Find some more helpful tips, “How to Start a Successful YouTube Channel for Your Business.”


How Much Do Flight Attendant’s Make?

flight attendants salary

Flight attendants fill a lot of hats—from janitor to EMT, they take care of everything related to the passenger. In fact, flight attendants are more like aerial experts than they are servers. Below is a brief overview of the flight attendant profession and its salary.
 

 
The career path you choose is important because you will spend a large part of your life at your job. So deciding on which career to pursue is no small matter. The career of a flight attendant provides a very unique form of work life and can pay extremely well. If you want your job to include free travel and frequent travel opportunities then this career option might be the perfect choice for you. Keep reading to find out more about this career, the work-life it provides, and how much flight attendants earn.

The Life of a Flight Attendant

Anyone who has flown before has probably seen their flight attendant walking around the cabin, ushering people in and out of the plane, serving food and beverages to the passengers, and collecting trash. These tasks may not seem very glamorous, but flight attendants are actually much more than just servers and ushers. They are also highly trained professionals, taught to handle a variety of scenarios from medical emergencies to aerial ones.

Common Flight Attendant Duties
  • Greet and usher passengers to their seats
  • Process passenger tickets
  • Assist with passenger’s carry-on luggage
  • Keep the cabin clean
  • Make announcements
  • Serve passengers food, snacks, and beverages
  • Train passengers about basic plane safety and protocol
  • Train the exit rows on their specific duties in case of an emergency
  • Make sure passengers adhere to the safety protocol and regulations of the plane
  • Take part in preflight meetings with the pilots
  • Do preflight inspections and checks
  • Administer emergency medical care


As you can see flight attendants fill a lot of hats. They are trained professionals, hired to take care of everything related to the passenger, and trained to be ready for almost anything that could happen while they’re in the air. In fact, much of what flight attendants are trained for actually has more to do with safety and the mechanics of the plane than serving passengers. They even need to have separate qualifications for each of the different kinds of aircrafts they work in. Short from maybe the pilot, your flight attendant knows a lot about planes.

So what is it like to be a flight attendant and how satisfied are they in their jobs? The Bureau of Labor Statistics and Payscale both have some promising numbers for the profession.

Payscale found that 4 out of 5 flight attendants reported feeling highly satisfied with their job. They also found that 71.7% of flight attendants are female and 28.3% are male.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the job outlook for aspiring flight attendants is very good, reaching a growth rate of 10 percent. They predict that this healthy job growth rate is due to the promising future that air travel has, which will mean an increase in plane passengers, and thus cause an increase in demand for flight attendants. Overall, the future looks bright for anyone thinking about entering the flight attendant profession.

How Do You Become a Flight Attendant?

First,

you have to complete training and certifications. There are places you can go to get certificates and then when you are applying to get hired by an actual airline they will put you through what is called ground school. If you pass ground school you are hired.

Second,

you go through training with your airline, and receive any specific training for the aircrafts you’ll be working on.

Third,

you progress through the ranks! Seniority matters a lot in the flight attendant world, so generally those who are just starting out will have to be on call for a while and work lots of holidays. But eventually you can work your way up, get better hours, maybe get off on some holidays, and get more pay.

How Much Do Flight Attendants Actually Make?

Flight attendants can really make good money. Some stereotypes about flight attendants may lead some to believe that their jobs primarily entail customer service work, like being a waiter or working in the gig economy. But the numbers show that this is far from true. Flight attendants are actually more like airline experts than they are servers, though they do provide those services as well. Their pay also reflects the amount of training they require, and most flight attendants make much more than the average waiter.

Pay Depends On:

How many years of flight attendant experience you have. Like many jobs, the longer you work as a flight attendant, the more experience you have and the more employers will pay for your expertise. Generally employers are willing to pay more for experience because it means they will have to train you less.

What airport you work from. A flight attendant usually works from a specific airport. Just like other workers who go to the same office building each day for work, flight attendants also go to the same airport each day to begin their shift. Bigger airports are going to have higher salaries available than smaller ones.

What airline you work for. Flight attendants may work from the same airport, but the airport is not their boss, the airline is. Flight attendants are primarily employed by airlines, like Delta or United, who all offer different kinds of pay and benefits to their employees.

How Much Do Flight Attendants Make a Year

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median annual wage for flight attendants was $56,000 a year. The lowest 10% earned less than $28,950, and the highest 10% earned more than $80,870.

How Much Do Flight Attendants Make an Hour

PayScale also did a study that found some interesting information about the flight attendant profession. They found that the average flight attendant’s hourly pay is $20.73 an hour. The lowest 10% earned $12.73 an hour and the highest 10% earned $50.97 an hour. As of August 2019, the national average for hourly wage was $28.11, so a flight attendant’s average hourly wage is not far behind the national average.
 
When deciding any career path it is important to do your research and understand not just the kind of financial life it can provide for you, but the work life it comes with as well. If you want to see the world you don’t have to quit your job. You can become a flight attendant and keep earning while you follow your traveling dreams!

Meanwhile, if you’re in between jobs and need some financial help, feel free to check out Check City’s Payday Loans.


READ MORE
Visit the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s website for more details on their May 2018 survey about the flight attendant profession.

See more details about PayScale’s very own study on the flight attendant profession.

Plan more ways to follow your traveling dreams on a budget, “Cheap Ways to Travel on a Budget.”

How to Write a Cover Letter

write cover letter

A cover letter sent in along with your resume, is a key tool for eager job seekers who want to stand out amidst their competitors. Having a cover letter in your job application can be just what an employer needs to really get to know you and see what you have to offer.

When you effectively include the key sections listed below, you can create an effective cover letter that ensures the employer has everything they need to see how qualified you are:

What is a Cover Letter?
Cover Letter Format
Elements of a Cover Letter

  1. Your Name and Contact Information
  2. The Date
  3. Professional Greeting
  4. Introduction
  5. Key Experiences
  6. Conclusion
  7. Professional Closing

Cover Letter Examples

What NOT to Do in a Cover Letter
 

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is like the front page of your resume, but in letter form. You write it just like a regular letter, but include certain things related to your resume and the particular job you are applying for.

Cover letters are often used because your resume is only a page long so you might not have room on your resume to explain a lot of things. A cover letter summarizes the most important aspects of your resume, or the most important qualifications you’d like to highlight.

A cover letter also gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself a little more, and explain important aspects of your resume and why you want this job.

Cover Letter Format

Though not every job ad requests it, it is always a good idea to include a cover letter when you send an employer your resume. Like your resume, a cover letter is a single page and consists of 3 to 5 paragraphs.

When writing a cover letter it is also wise to research the company because just going off the job ad isn’t enough. Look up the company and try and learn a bit about them. This can help you make the letter specific since employers prefer it when an applicant seems to specifically want this job, not just any job.

Make a master cover letter where you store all the brief paragraphs you write to outline certain skills, so that when you go to write a letter for a specific job, you can pull from there. Sometimes certain experiences will relate to more than one job application, so these paragraphs can be reused.

Still, always read through your cover letter before sending it to make sure there aren’t any references that don’t apply to that specific job application. Each letter should be written for that job in mind, and shouldn’t sound like a reused template.

Elements of a Cover Letter

Just like a resume, a cover letter has key sections that are always included.

Your Name and Contact Information

Put your first and last name at the top of the cover letter, on center stage, in a similar way to how you put your name at the top of your resume. This way, if the two papers should get separated they’ll still be distinguishable as a unit because of this similarity. It will also leave the readers with no confusion about who they are reading about.

Then you’ll want to place your contact information below your name, just like how you did on your resume. You can think of your name and contact information as the header of your job application documents, present on each page for optimal clarity.

Contact information to include:

  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Your website or online portfolio
  • Your LinkedIn account

 
name and contact info
 

The Date

Include the date you submitted or sent the letter right below your name and contact information—right before the rest of your letter.

 
date cover letter
 

Professional Greeting

There are several ways you can address your letter. If you are able to find out the name of who would be receiving your letter or who the hiring manager would be, then you can address them by name.

But more often than not, we aren’t able to know such specific information in the application process. When this happens, you can simply address your letter by the name of the corporation with whom you are applying.

You can also use a general term like, “to whom it may concern,” but this might be seen as too impersonal or like you didn’t research the company enough.

 
professional greeting
 

Introduction

First, introduce yourself. Write a brief paragraph about yourself, introducing some key information they’ll want to know—like who you are and what you’ve been doing with your career so far.

For instance, you can tell them if you’re a student, if you’re looking for a career change, or if you’re looking for a new job in a new area after moving.

Second, tell them how you came across the job opening. Maybe you found it on indeed, or knew someone who referred you to the job opening.

Third, tell them why you want this job. Briefly explain why you are interested in this particular job and what caused you to apply for it.

This section should only be a small paragraph—just a couple sentences to briefly outline the three items mentioned above.

 
cover letter intro
 

Key Experiences

In the main body of your letter you’re going to talk about two or three key experiences that prove your skills. This may be the most important section of your cover letter. If a cover letter is the written form of your resume, then this would be the experience and skills section combined into one.

Here is where you’re going to outline choice experiences that illustrate important skills and abilities. Give real life examples that prove your qualifications. Be careful about which experiences you decide to write about, and make sure they are relevant to what the employer would be looking for.

Below is a sample template of how you could format these paragraphs:

 
key experiences
 

Conclusion

The closing paragraph should be as brief as your introduction, if not shorter. It is where you place your call to action. But since this is a job application you have to be careful how you frame this call to action. If you’re too pushy or seem arrogant, you could give a negative impression to the employer before they even meet you.

Simply let them know that you would be happy and willing to come in for an interview, or be contacted for any additional information they may need.

Framing your call to action this way invites them to act on your cover letter, without making demands or assumptions about your acceptance.

 

 

Professional Closing

Now it’s time to wrap up your letter with a professional closing. Here are some examples of professional letter closing phrases you can use in a cover letter for a resume:

  • Sincerely,
  • Regards,
  • Best,
  • Thank you for your consideration,

 
professional closing
 

Cover Letter Examples

Unlike a resume, there aren’t any websites that will let you simply plug in information while their template arranges your cover letter for you. You have to write it yourself. But here’s an example of a basic cover letter template you can use to help you write:

 
cover letter template
 

People also often wonder how to write a cover letter if they’re still in high school, or if they’re applying for an internship instead of a job. Either way the main principles of your cover letter will be the same. The only main difference will be in the key experiences section.

Cover Letters for High School

If you are a high school student, or lack work experience, get creative and use other experiences you have. Maybe you don’t have stories from a past job, but you were in the marching band where you learned about hard work and dedication. You can talk about these kinds of experiences instead.

Cover Letters for an Internship

If you are applying for an internship instead of a job, make sure you understand what the internship is all about, and the kind of tasks they’ll want you to do. Showing you understand what the internship entails will help them take you more seriously as a candidate.

Then you can talk about the things you are learning in your college classes that make you a good candidate for the program.

You should also talk about how you plan to use this internship to further your professional career, so that they can see all you plan to gain from this program.

What NOT to Do in a Cover Letter

Here’s a list of some things you should never do in a cover letter:

  • Don’t send the same exact cover letter in every job application. This can make you look detached and sloppy if there’s ever something on it that relates to a different job you previously applied for.
  • Don’t use a casual voice, or any slang.
  • Proofread! Make sure you thoroughly edit your cover letter before sending it so there are no spelling mistakes, run on sentences, or any other mistakes or oversights.
  • Don’t be pushy. You want to sell yourself in your cover letter, but if you do so in a demanding way you could make a bad impression.



If you’re worried about how you come across in your cover letter, it’s always a good idea to have some other people read it too. They can give their impression of you through the letter and make sure you’re portraying yourself in the correct light and clearly getting your points across.

Having a second or third set of eyes look over your cover letter is also a great way to make sure you don’t miss any spelling or grammar mistakes.

Meanwhile, if you’re still in between jobs, you can always take out a Check City Personal Loan to tide you over while you write your killer resume and cover letter to land that great new job!



READ MORE
Don’t forget to check out Check City’s other article on how to write your resume, “How to Make a Resume.”

Take a look at GlassDoor’s article about cover letters, “How to Write A Cover Letter.”

Learn some other cover letter tactics, “How to Write a Cover Letter.”

How to Make a Good Resume

make a resume

Resumes are a very important part of the job application process. A resume is often the first impression you’ll make on an employer and can be what gets your foot in the door and gets you that interview!

 
What is a Resume?
Create a Master Resume
Resume Sections

Design a Resume
How to Make a Resume for a First Job
How to Make a Resume for College
How to Make a Cover Letter for a Resume
 

Job seekers everywhere are panicking about how to make an effective resume so they can start seeing success from their job searching. Even if you’re just starting out in your field you still want a professional resume that will clearly show any hiring manager what you can bring to the table.

What is a Resume?

A resume comes from the French word, résumé, meaning outline. Now we spell it without the accents and use it to refer to an outline of our work history, expertise, and skills.

Resume is pronounced re-zeh-may, or “re-zə-mā” if you understand the phonetic alphabet. Either way you can easily listen to the pronunciation of the word at Merriam-Webster.com.

Resume Objective

The objective of a resume is to show a potential employer, an easy-to-read, brief outline of why you qualify for the job. They want to see a quick glance at your career, accomplishments, and what skills and qualifications you’ve gained so far.

It is a formal document showing your professional life thus far, that a potential employer uses to make an educated decision about whether you merit an in-person interview or not. When creating a resume you’ll want to make sure it includes all the information an employer would need to make this decision.

Create a Master Resume

It’s a good idea to create a master resume where you simply write everything you could ever put on a resume. This can also be considered a curriculum vitae (CV)—a lengthier version of a resume that isn’t meant to be an overview, but instead a thorough outline of all your experience, certifications, awards, achievements, projects, and publications. A CV or master resume, is meant to be a complete history of your academic and professional career, endeavors, and accomplishments. You want to keep a copy of your master resume, or CV, because different jobs are going to necessitate you include different information, depending on the job.

For instance, if you’re applying for a job where you’ll be designing someone’s website, you won’t need to include the cashier job you had as a teenager. But if you’re applying for a job in customer service, then the employer will want to know that you have that customer service experience as a cashier.

You also only want your resume to be a page long, but a resume with absolutely all the experience you’ve ever had in your life is going to eventually be longer than a page, so keeping all this information in one place on your master resume is a good idea to have as a reference.

resume example

Resume Sections

There are a few key sections that go into every professional resume. Once you have a master resume to work from you can start putting everything into these main sections.

Personal Info

Somewhere near the top of your resume, you want to put your name on the center stage of your resume so the employer can easily know right away who they are looking at. Then you can kind of introduce yourself briefly by including a personal bio section that may list your personal interests and hobbies. If you’re including a cover letter on the front of your resume, you can also put this personal introduction there instead.

Contact Info

You’ll also want to include your preferred contact information on your resume. This information is usually so that they can contact you in case they want to offer you a job interview, so make sure you put down the best way for them to contact you for this. Usually this includes your phone number and email address.

Your email address on a resume should be simple and professional. If you don’t already have an email username with your name instead of a TV reference, then it’s time to make one for professional purposes like this.

You can also include other ways for them to get to know you and see your qualifications if those apply for you. If you have a personal website, or an online portfolio you can include that here too. You can also include any professional accounts you have, like your LinkedIn profile.

Experience

Here is where you outline your job history. You don’t necessarily need to include every job you’ve ever had, sometimes it makes more sense to show the work experience that most applies to the job you’re applying for now.

You also want to list your work experience in reverse chronological order, meaning that the job you had most recently goes first, and the oldest job experience goes last. This way you are putting the most relevant information, the most recent and therefore most applicable information up front.
When listing each job you’ll want to include the following information:

  • Job title (the title you had at this job)
  • Company name
  • Location
  • Job description (what were your main duties at this job, and what did you accomplish there)
Education

This section is where you outline your education. Many people have questions about what to include and not include in the education section, like when do you stop putting your high school education on your resume? Once you have a bachelors or associates degree you are usually ok to stop including your high school education on your resume.

Your high school education is a basic education that everyone receives, so there really isn’t anything specific about it that applies to your future job. And once you’ve officially gained some form of higher education an employer can easily assume you also have a high school education, but it’s what you did in your higher education, what you studied and learned specifically there, that interests them now.

  • When listing your education you want to include the following:
  • The name of the school
  • The years you were there
  • What degree you have (associates, bachelors, masters) and in what

If you haven’t finished college yet you can include your estimated future graduation date and what you are studying, meaning your majors and minors.

Achievements

You don’t have to just put down jobs that you’ve had though, also put down any other achievements, accomplishments, awards, or community involvement that might be important for employers to know. If you’ve published anything before here is the place to list that. Any volunteer work you’ve done. Any licenses, certificates, or other special training you may have, including if you speak another language.

Skills

When making your skills section the first thing you want to do is look into what skills are involved in the job you’re looking for. Job ads usually list the kinds of skills they are looking for in an applicant. If any of these skills apply to you be sure to include them.
The skills section should include both hard and soft skills.

Hard skills are specific abilities and knowledge that you have, like knowing how to use Photoshop.

Soft skills are useful attributes, like being organized or friendly.

Then, if you have room, don’t just list these skills, but provide examples to show how you do indeed have these skills. These examples can also be included on your cover letter instead, where you’ll have more room to tell key experiences that prove you have these skills.

For example, if one of your skills is that you know how to use Photoshop, you can also say that you used Photoshop to design a poster in your most recent job. Or if you list that you are organized, you can briefly talk about how you created a new filing system at your last job.

Design a Resume

You can make your resume on Microsoft Word, on Google Docs, or even online. Both Microsoft Word and Google Docs have free-to-use resume templates that can also work as good examples of how to professionally format your resume.

Resume Template Websites

How you design your resume is how you’re going to make your resume stand out. But this doesn’t mean you should make your resume flashy, in fact you should do the opposite. Your resume’s audience doesn’t want to be distracted by too many colors or graphics, they want to focus first on the information that is most important, so center your design around the information itself.

Create a Path for the Eye to Follow

You want your resume to be easy to read. One way to accomplish this is to create a path for your reader to follow. We read left to right, so this path tends to make a kind of Z shape on the page.

Make it Organized

Use bullet points to help organize your lists. Use headings with a clear heading hierarchy so the sections and subsections are clear.

Use a 10–12 Point Font Size

This way your font size won’t be too small to read, but it also won’t be silly looking by being too large.

How to Make a Resume for a First Job

If you are making a resume for a first job then you may not have a lot of experience yet to fill out your work history. A resume for someone just entering the job arena is often called an entry-level resume or a student resume if you are still going through school.

But the experience section of your resume isn’t just for your work history. You can put all kinds of other useful experiences there as well. You can list programs, clubs, and organizations you’ve been a part of, or volunteer work you’ve done. For example, you may not a previous job to list in the experience section, but maybe you were the president of the horticultural club, or the lead flutist in the concert band. You can replace your work experience with these types of high school experiences instead.

Another approach you can take to fill out your resume as an inexperienced student is to make your resume more skill focused than experience focused. If you can’t list any jobs than you can list different skills you have and describe how you gained those skills.

You can list your high school experiences in the same way you would list a job, including the following information:

  • Your Title (Volunteer, Club Secretary)
  • Company/Organization Name (National Honors Society)
  • Location
  • Description (what were your main duties, what did you accomplish)

How to Make a Resume for College

If you’re in college, or freshly out of college, you may also run into a unique problem when creating a resume. Your experience section is also going to look different because you may not have a lot of jobs to list. But college provides tons of exceptional experiences that you can include in a resume instead of jobs. You can list internships you’ve done, or apprenticeships. You can talk about capstone classes and the major projects and research you did for these key courses, and show how these classes have prepared and trained you for a job. You can also talk about any programs, clubs, and organizations you were apart of during your college career.

In the accomplishments section, be sure to include all the certifications you’ve received while in school. Today, successfully obtaining degrees and certificates from your college classes can mean a lot to a potential employer. If you received any awards, special honors, or published your work in a student journal you can include these kinds of accomplishments as well. You can even include your GPA in your college resume if you have a particularly high GPA to boast about.

How to Make a Cover Letter for a Resume

It is always a good idea to include a cover letter when you send an employer your resume. A cover letter is formatted like a formal letter consists of these main points,

  • Your name
  • Your contact information
  • The date
  • Professional greeting
  • A brief paragraph about yourself
  • A paragraph or two for key experiences where you prove your skills
  • Conclusion
  • Professional closing



To create a winning resume all you have to do is follow the advice in this article and remember the whole point of a resume—to show what you have to offer in a brief, clear, straightforward way. Meanwhile, if you’re in between jobs and need some financial help, feel free to check out Check City’s Personal Loans.



READ MORE
Check out another great article about writing a resume, “How to Make a Resume for a Job.”

Read another Check City article about getting a new job, “New Year, New Job.”

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