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4 Ways to Be a Better Employee

by South University
May 30, 2013

The adjectives one manager uses to describe a perfect employee might be slightly different from those another manager chooses, but there’s no denying that some characteristics are seen as desirable in the workplace. People who display these traits seem to have an easier time finding jobs, move up quicker in organizations, and earn more than their counterparts.

So, pay close attention to the traits that count in your company, and do what you can to improve in those areas. Here are four things you can start doing today that can help to bring positive attention your way.

1. Take initiative.

Employers appreciate employees who aren’t afraid to get the job done. In order to solve problems, these employees are willing to risk failure and mistakes; often, that’s exactly what happens. However, in the quest for solutions, they also stumble onto methods and developments that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

Start by looking for ways to solve problems before you’re asked. You don’t need special skills to be the first person to offer to put your ordinary ones to work.

healthcare or nursing student at work

2. Be confident.

Employers like confidence because it’s a tell-tale sign of former success. It means you’ve learned to trust yourself through proving you can handle your responsibilities. Confident employees tackle their responsibilities without needing someone to hold their hands. It speaks to reliability, determination and work ethic--all qualities that bosses find invaluable.

There’s a distinct difference however between believing in your abilities and believing you are better than other people because of them. Arrogance holds you back at work, and doesn’t impress many people during interviews. 

3. Pay attention to details.

Double-checking to make sure that you have your facts and methods right is an easy way to get a reputation for being reliable. Employers care whether they’re wasting time dealing with problems an employee could have easily prevented the first time around. When it comes to employees who repeatedly overlook details, employers are less enthusiastic in their recommendations and look elsewhere when new opportunities to advance come around.

Most workers get into the habit of assuming they’ve done things correctly. Do the opposite. Double-check your work assuming you might have made a mistake.

4. Eliminate the negativity.

Staying positive and being willing to work when you’re on the clock will make you an immediate resource. If you help the people around you feel motivated, they’ll enjoy being around you. If you’re dragging your feet and holding others back, they’ll hate having to rely on your help.

It can be hard to snap out of a negative attitude, especially if you're dealing with stress in your life outside of your career. Half of the work, however, is just keeping a smile on your face. Studies on facial feedback have suggested that while we often smile because we feel happy, we can also feel happy because we smile.

Related Posts: Dressing for the Workplace | Avoid These Job Application Mishaps

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8 Tricks to Writing Stand-Out Scholarship Essays

by South University
May 28, 2013

As you know, financing your education requires planning and effort, and we encourage our student to use national and local scholarships to help offset educational costs. Many scholarships have essay components, but don't let this deter you from applying. Let your essay be the place where your story and your personality shine. Read on for tips that will help you rise above the competition.

1. Consider Your Audience. Before you put pencil to paper (or fingers to keyboard), think about the organization sponsoring the scholarship. What purpose does the organization serve? What characteristics do most members share? The group you're writing for should determine your word choice, tone and theme. If you select a tone inappropriate for your audience, you might be unfairly disqualified—even if you're a great candidate for the scholarship itself.

Essay Drafts

2. Create an Outline. Before you start your essay, create an outline that includes all of the points you want to make and that takes the word limit into account. Listing your main points will help you stay organized and ensure that you don't accidentally omit any of your central arguments.

3. Craft a Compelling Introduction. The people reviewing scholarship applications will read dozens (or hundreds, or thousands) of essays; after a while, those essays can blend together. How can you ensure that your piece is memorable? By writing a compelling introduction. Start with something interesting and intriguing, and then introduce the main topic of your essay by the end of the first paragraph. Give your readers a reason to keep reading: Hook them with your introduction.

4. Be Concise. Concise writing is often the best writing. Many students believe that longer sentences are better, but this isn't the case. Communicate your point using only as many words as you need.

5. Avoid the Thesaurus. This is a good rule for now and the future: If you don't already know the definition of that word, don't use it. Your readers will sense your discomfort, and you'll seem less trustworthy as an author.

6. Edit, Edit, Edit. Before you submit your essays, edit them thoroughly. Don't run spellcheck and think you're finished. Re-read your essay (possibly even aloud) to identify awkward sentences, subject/verb disagreements, sections that require clarification and other trouble spots. Don't let a misspelling or a grammar error prevent you from getting funding.

7. Enlist Help. If you're unsure of your editorial skills, ask a friend, parent or teacher to help you look over your essays. When others review your work, they can point out passages that may have seemed logical to you but might need additional clarification.

8. Be Persistent. The best way to ensure that you won't be awarded a scholarship is not to apply. Apply to as many scholarships and grants as you're eligible for, and if you don't succeed at first, keep trying!

Related Post: New $1000 Scholarship Opportunity (Deadline May 31)

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What You Need to Know About Loan Limits

by South University
May 23, 2013

If you use a credit card, you are probably familiar with credit limits. When you reach your credit card limit (commonly called maxing out your card), you must pay down your principle before you put anything else on the card. Many people don’t realize that federal student loans also have limits, and, unless students are aware of these limits and practice responsible borrowing, there's the possibility that you could max out your student loans.

Piggy bank

When students rely too heavily on federal loans, they may reach their loan limits, leaving them unable to afford their education and stuck with unmanageable amounts of debt. Read on to learn about loan limits and how to avoid them through responsible borrowing.

Annual and Total Loan Limits

The federal government limits the total amount of subsidized and unsubsidized loans a student can borrow at one time – this is known as a total or aggregate loan limit. If you previously attended college and took out federal loans that you have not yet repaid, those loans will count toward your total loan limit. To check your prior federal student aid history and previous loans, visit the National Student Loan Data System at www.nslds.ed.gov.

There is also an annual loan limit on the amount of loans you can borrow in one academic year. Total and annual loan limits depend on your year in school and whether you are dependent or independent student. You can see the annual and total loan limits that apply to you at http://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/subsidized-unsubsidized#how-much-can-i-borrow. If you're a current student, you can also contact your Student Finance Counselor to learn more.

How to Avoid These Limits

When you discuss your financial aid package with your Student Finance Counselor, make sure you understand your loan limits and try not to rely solely on federal loans. Here are just a few tips that can help you avoid reaching these limits.

• Find alternative ways to finance your education, such as scholarships and grants. There are many scholarships and grants out there, so don’t be afraid to apply. They can make a big difference in your financial plan!

• If you are currently employed and your desired degree relates to your job, ask your employer if they are willing to help sponsor your education.

• By making regular cash payments, even as small as $20 per month, you can reduce the amount you need to borrow and the interest you’ll pay in the future.

• Remember, you do not have to take the full amount of federal aid for which you are eligible. Only accept the aid that you truly need and do not use the loans for expenses outside of your education.

• Stay committed to completing your education in a timely manner. Having to re-take a class will end up costing you extra.

When you create a plan for paying for your degree, think about your long-term financial future. Remember, having to make large monthly payments on your student loan debt will limit what you can spend in the future on large purchases, such as your house or your car, and even daily expenses. Making the right choices today will help you tomorrow.

Related Post:  4 Ways to Finance Your Education Outside Federal Aid

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Is Public Relations Meant for You?

by South University
May 20, 2013

The basic role of a public relations specialist is to communicate with the public about an organization and their policies, goals, community activities and business decisions. Public relations specialists assist clients in building and maintaining positive relationships with the public; preparing press releases, speeches and other informative materials for the media; and monitoring media coverage and public opinion.

public relations

If this sounds appealing to you, here are a few things you should know about working in public relations.

Employment Options

Some companies have in-house public relations departments or specialists, while other companies rely on a public relations firm. Each one has its benefits. When you work for an agency, you have the ability to work with many companies and personalities, and your messaging and goals will be varied, so you probably won't get bored. When you work for one company, you work mostly with a steady group of people and you may become very knowledgeable about the company's stakeholders, goals, positions and activities.

Importance across Industries

You may think that only large corporations or celebrities need public relations specialists, but that’s not true. Government agencies, from local to federal, use public relations specialists to inform the public of current and upcoming activities. Nonprofit organizations also rely heavily on public relations specialists, and schools, health or social welfare groups, churches, and hospitals often have at least one public relations specialist in their organization.

Key Skills

People who are good communicators can excel in this career. In public relations, you'll interact with many people, so this might be a good choice for a social butterfly. Depending on your position, you may talk with the media, represent your company at public events, give speeches and work with high-level executives. You'll also need to enjoy problem-solving and be up for a challenge, because public relations specialists often must address sensitive or critical issues.

Job Growth

The employment of public relations specialists and managers is expected to grow at an above average rate from 2010 to 2020. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 21 percent increase in the number of public relations jobs, estimating that by 2020, an additional 68,300 jobs in the field will become available. In 2010, the median pay for a public relations manager or specialist was $57,550, and experienced public relations specialist may earn over $90,000 per year, according to the BLS. (Learn more here: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers-and-specialists.htm#.)

If a career in public relations sounds right for you, learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Public Relations at South University!

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3 Ways We Recognize Our Military Students

by South University
May 17, 2013

With Armed Forces Day this Saturday, May 18, 2013, we are proud to present three ways in which we honor our military students. Created in 1949 and first observed in 1950, Armed Forces Day is celebrated annually on the third Saturday of every May and recognizes and honors the five military branches: the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.

1. Graduation Teams Experienced in Working with Military Students

At South University, all military students, veterans and spouses of service members will have a team of dedicated admissions, financial aid and advising representatives trained in and focused on meeting your needs as a military student.

2. University Credit for Your Military Experience

We want to recognize your extensive military training and experience. Once you submit the paperwork, we’ll review your experience and training to determine your eligibility for credit toward your academic program. This transfer of credit could help you to cut expenses and graduate in less time.

For more information, visit http://online.southuniversity.edu/military/military-transfer-of-credit.aspx.

3. Military Aid & Benefits

Complete information on our military aid and benefit programs can be found at http://online.southuniversity.edu/military/, and you can speak with a Military Admissions Representative by calling 1-888-313-7209. Before you do, here’s a quick overview!

For Military Personnel: We are pleased to offer an Active Duty Scholarship to eligible service members. For undergraduate programs the cost of tuition is $166 per credit hour after the scholarship is applied. For graduate level programs, South University offers an Active Duty Scholarship of 10%.

For Veterans: For undergraduate and graduate programs, South University offers eligible veterans the Veteran Scholarship of 10%. We also participate in the Post 9/11 GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program. Furthermore, veterans using the educational benefits provided under the Montgomery GI Bill will find that a significant portion of their tuition expenses will be covered or reimbursed.

The Application Fee is also waived for active duty, reserve, National Guard and veteran personnel who qualify.

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