Best Colleges for B Students

One of the biggest myths about college is you have to have straight A’s to get into a good one. True, straight A’s can be come in handy when competing for the most competitive academic scholarships, but many college admission boards understand that some of the best students don’t always perform to their full potential in high school. In fact, they feel that less than perfect grades don’t represent who you are as a person or how well you will do in college. This means, if you’re a B student, don’t worry. All you have to do is create a list of colleges you might be interested in—many are probably on our list of best colleges for b students, and create an excellent application package to get your foot in the door. If you follow the advice below, you will be well on your way to being accepted into one of America’s best colleges for B students.

Getting In: Moving Past the Application Form

Once you have filled in all of the basic information on your application form, its time to begin adding test scores, essays, awards, and other credentials to your application packet. While it is important to include copies of your ACT and SAT scores as well as your high school transcripts, it is even more important to highlight your accomplishments and write an excellent essay. Many of the colleges on our list welcome (and encourage) resumes, which is a great place to organize and convey your biggest accomplishments. On your resume you should include:

  • -Your full name
  • -Current address
  • -Telephone number
  • -Email address
  • -All awards and honors you have earned
  • -All forms of community service
  • -All part or full-time jobs
  • -References
  • -Sports and extracurricular involvement, whether inside or outside of school
  • -Volunteer service

When it comes to writing essays, the most heartfelt and honest essays usually score big points over essays that “whine” and “place blame.” So here are some common dos and don’t’s to keep in mind when writing your essay and/or attending an entrance interview. You should explain any circumstances that could have affected your academic performance and/or test scores. Admissions staff members do understand that frequent moves, learning disabilities, part-time jobs, test anxiety or health issues, and extenuating personal or family circumstances can distract from learning. It’s best not to complain or whine, or blame teachers, parents, and others for your performance. Avoid being too emotional and try not adopt a “poor me” attitude. Admissions boards are much more receptive to those who take responsibility than those that seem to have one too many excuses.

Once you have all of your application materials in order, proofread the materials at least three times. Grammatical errors and careless mistakes won’t help matters at all. Once you feel that your application packet is in order, make a copy for your records and mail the original. That’s it!

Before we move onto the list of best schools for B students, keep in mind that that the colleges on our list are not looking for slackers. The entry requirements a bit more open-minded than some institutions, but they are not as relaxed as you think they are. These colleges still hold students to the highest standards from the time your application is submitted to graduation day.

Best Colleges for B Students

The following list represents just a small number of some of the best colleges for B students. Visit Petersons.com for a full directory of college and university websites.

  • Adelphi University, Garden City, NY
  • Ana Maria College, Paxton, MA
  • Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
  • Augusta State University, Augusta, GA
  • Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH
  • Bradley University, Peoria, IL
  • University of California-Riverside, Riverside, CA
  • Champlain College, Burlington, VT
  • University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
  • Cornell College, Mount Vernon IA
  • DePaul University, Chicago, IL
  • Elmira College, Elmira, NY
  • Fisk University, Nashville, TN
  • Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
  • Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO
  • Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, AZ
  • Hampton University, Hampton, VA
  • High Point University, High Point NC
  • University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI
  • University of Houston, Houston, TX
  • Howard University, Washington, DC
  • University of Idaho, Moscow, ID
  • Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN
  • University of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA
  • University of Maine, Orono, ME
  • University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
  • Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA
  • College of Notre Dame, Baltimore MD
  • Ohio University, Athens, OH
  • University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
  • University of Portland, Portland OR
  • University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
  • University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
  • Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN
  • University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
  • Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA
  • Washington State University, Pullman WA
  • West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV

National Guard launches ‘Adventures’ app

You just received a call, there’s massive flooding in your region and a state of emergency has been declared. The destruction of the flood is spreading and people are scrambling to safety. The President has made the decision to send units to the scene. Your commanding officer has just informed you that you will lead your unit to the front line to help make critical decisions needed to bring structure to a chaotic situation. Are you ready to serve your country when needed?

This is one example of a relief mission that can be found in the newly created application from the Army National Guard. The brand new application has an interactive game environment that was designed to highlight the many decision making and leadership tasks that lie within the service. The program, titled Adventures, integrates with Facebook Connect and puts the user in a personal decision based mission like the one in the story above. Men who play action style war video games will have their mental sharpness tested as they make important decisions which will directly impact the mission.

Adventures is based on the popular Choose Your Own Adventure style of books and will allow users to make real-time decisions that control the outcome of various missions. This interactive experience exposes users to the many different jobs and roles available. It also showcases the pride developed as a Soldier in the National Guard.

10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Succession Planning

When building and maintaining a business, not many owners have the time (or feel like they have the time) to think about what will happen to their business once they have retired or sold it.

However, business succession planning is crucial to where your business is headed. Putting a proper succession plan in place ahead of time will not only help of your company’s health now, but down the line too.

But before making a succession plan, let’s start with the first step. You need to reflect on your ultimate goals, personally and professionally.

Here is a list of 10 important questions to ask yourself before and during the succession planning process:

1. What would make you leave the business?

With the retirement age rising, many people are choosing careers that they enjoy and can see themselves doing for a long time. So what would make you leave your business?

Retirement, family, travel, new business opportunities? List out some of the main reasons you can see yourself leaving the company. Perhaps, you were interested in making a quick buck by building up the business over a few years then selling it, like so many of today’s e-based businesses are doing. Even at that, you want to go out with a “Bang” and ensure you get the right buyers. For this, you need a good succession plan in order.

2. Is this business your life’s goal or accomplishment?

Starting your own business demands constant hard work and effort. Think back to when you first decided to take this giant leap. Did you expect to see your company where it is now? Are you proud of where you are today? How much is this business a part of you?
These are again some deep and important questions to ask yourself as your response to them will help you determine which potential successor could really share your vision and fill your dedicated shoes.

3. What is your business worth? 

Your company has a dollar value, but is this enough for you? If your company has intrinsic value than you may need a higher price tag to make the sale worth it for you. It’s key to start by speaking to finance advisors who have experience in your industry to help you determine a price that would be suitable to you and the buyer.

4. Who can handle your business?

Assuming you want your business to prosper after you have handed it off, who has the skills and knowledge that you have to run it like you do? Is there anyone internally who could fill your shoes?

Then again, you have to be prepared for the fact that a successor may not run the show your way. But this doesn’t mean they don’t have something else to offer. One of the prime keys to success in business is the ability to adapt, evolve and handle change.
Don’t just look for another you, think about important qualities you want in a successor. Vision, imagination, loyalty, dedication… Look at the big picture.

5. Will you have regrets?

It’s hard to know what our future selves will be like, but when it comes to questions of regret, you need to think really hard and examine all the possibilities. The last thing you want to do is regret a decision as important as leaving the business. Again, assess your professional and personal goals and ensure they are being met when you make this big decision in your career.

6. How long will you stay involved with the company after the sale? Will you stay involved?

Maybe you can’t completely detach from your business and that is more than okay. But planning your involvement post-sale is an important factor that needs to be discussed throughout the proceedings and carried out accordingly to prevent any issues in the future.

7. What kind of training will you offer?

There are many ways to train your successor, but the way to get the best results from the person is to train them over a longer period of time rather than throw them into it last minute. This is a major aspect of succession planning. Being prepared.

Keeping documentation of processes and anything involving how your company works will help your successor understand how you operate the business. But reading about policies and procedures is only one part of it. Perhaps consider them training in many positions at different levels at the company so they really understand the inner workings of the business.

8. Will you be comfortable with radical changes?

As mentioned, your successor may attempt to make some significant reformations to your business model. Can you stomach this, even if it differs from your original view of the business? If not, your hunt for the right successor will have to continue.

9. Will you want to retain minority ownership as an investment?

If so how much control will you attempt to exert? Remember that it can be hard to control yourself if you have run this business for years.

10. Will you start another business like this or are you looking for another path?
After the sale of your business, you might feel at a loss after such an important and consuming part of your life is gone. However, a new business or career may give you stronger direction and purpose.

Ask yourself these important questions. They will not only help you in planning your succession, but with your career aspirations overall.

Career Spotlight: Healthcare Practitioners

 

Jobs in the healthcare industry are on the rise thanks to increased interest in preventative care, advances in medicine and technology, and the nation’s rapidly growing elderly population. Despite reports that hospitals and clinics have cut budgets, the healthcare industry is still expected to increase its workforce by 22 percent through 2018. This means, individuals searching for healthcare positions will find roughly 4,000-5,000 new job openings each year. Healthcare jobs are expected to be plentiful in the following industries:

  • -Utilities
  • -Federal, State, and Local Government (this includes hospitals)
  • -Management of Companies and Enterprises
  • -Chemical Manufacturing
  • -Insurance Carriers and Related Activities
  • -Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods
  • -Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
  • -Social Assistance
  • -Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers
  • -Miscellaneous Manufacturing

Healthcare practitioners have a wide range of specific titles. Each title requires special training and most require a college education. “Healthcare practitioners” is a major healthcare group consisting of more than 14 million professionals. These include chiropractors, dentists, physicians, emergency medical technicians, medical assistants, dental service providers, dietitian/nutritionist, nurses and advanced practice nurses, nurses aides and home health aides, podiatric service provider, psychologist (clinical), eye and vision service provider, pharmacy service provider, physician assistants, physical therapists, physical therapists assistants, social workers, speech, language, and hearing service provider, and technologist.

Depending on the job title, healthcare practitioners will have to enroll in a postsecondary vocational training program, associate degree program, bachelor’s degree, or advanced degree program. The educational attainment for professionals in this field is as follows:

  • -Master’s Degree: 23.8 percent
  • -Bachelor’s Degree: 33.8 percent
  • -Certificate: 15 percent

Although a certificate or a bachelor’s degree are acceptable for entry into many positions in this field, positions such as physician and psychologist require a doctoral or first professional degree. In addition to a variety of education levels, healthcare practitioners and technical workers will find themselves in a number of different salary ranges. Entry level workers with less than a bachelor’s degree will likely start at $21,720 annually, while 25th percentile workers will average $27,040 annually. Median wages are $37,200 annually, and mean wages are $45,090. Positions that require a master’s degree or higher, experience, and/or more responsibility typically average $56,890-$81,910 per year. If a position as a healthcare practitioner sounds like it’s for you, training always begins with education.

When you’re ready to begin your search for a degree program in a health science or related area, visit the Princeton Review website. Here, you will find listings for the nation’s top schools, enrollment figures, tuition costs, and even reviews.

Tip: The alternative healthcare industry is growing fast. If you prefer to work with non-traditional prevention and treatment methods, there are several growing fields that may appeal to you such as acupuncture, athletic training, homeopathic, naturopath, orthotic/prosthetic fitting, perfusionist, and psychiatric technician. Once you have located a college that interests you, inquire within.

Early Childhood Education Career Guide

Teaching is one of the most well respected careers in the world. It’s also one of most stable—even in a recession. The education industry has grown between three and six percent during past recession years and America’s latest recession seems to have had little impact on employment growth as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers is expected to grow by 13 to 16 percent between 2008 and 2018, depending on the specialization. Salary growth is promising as well. In 2004, the average yearly salary for teachers ranged from $41,400 to $45,920. By 2008, this range increased to $47,100 to $51,180. Educators may make more or less depending on the specialization.

Career Specializations in Early Childhood Education

Career specializations in early  include childcare workers, preschool teachers, kindergarten and elementary school teachers, education administrators, and postsecondary teachers.

Childcare Workers
According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, childcare workers held around 1.4 million jobs in 2006. Childcare workers help children learn basic concepts through play. Jobs are usually full or part-time and unlike teachers who typically have summers off, childcare workers will work year around as most childcare centers are open throughout the year. Although requirements vary from state to state, in general, childcare workers must have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Preschool Teachers
Preschool teachers must have an associate’s degree at the minimum in order to secure a position. If advancement is a priority, a bachelor’s degree will help you to advance much faster than an associate’s degree alone. Preschool teachers introduce basic skills and concepts through play. Preschool teachers typically work ten months out of the year with two months off in the summer.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers
Kindergarten teachers and elementary school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree and a state teacher’s license. Teaching assistants may secure a position with an associate’s degree. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers teach language, math, science, and social studies through a wide variety of instructional methods. Teaching assistants may secure a position with an associate’s degree.

Education Administrators
Education Administrators typically have an advanced degree – a master’s or PhD. They are responsible for the day-to-day operations of child care centers, preschools, and schools. Education administrators manage budgets, oversee staff and curriculum, and they also make sure that the school meets state standards. Staff members in these positions typically work year around (sometimes in the evenings as well), without summer breaks. This is one of the most high profile positions in the early childhood education sector as the position requires appearances at fundraisers and other similar events.

Salaries for Early Childhood Education Careers

Childcare Workers
According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, childcare workers average $17,630-$20,770 per year.

Preschool Teachers
Preschool teachers earn an average annual salary of around $22,680 per year.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers
Kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers average around $43,580-$48,690 per year with the lowest 10 percent earning $28,590-$33,070 and the top 10 percent earning $67,490-$76,100.

Education Administrators
Median annual earnings for education administrators range from $67,735-$87,866.

Early Childhood Education License and Certification

To teach in the public school system, you must earn a bachelor’s degree from a teacher education training program. Although the program does not have to be accredited, an accredited program will make fulfilling licensure requirements easier. Many teacher training programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.

For information about any additional state specific education and licensing requirements, visit the U.S. Department of Education website at www.ed.gov.

How to Find the Best Career Websites

Whether you’re looking for contract work or a full-time position, there are a number of different websites that can be useful in your search. If you’re looking for a full-time, permanent position, you can search through career clearinghouses to find useful links to career and job information on the web or you can search job banks and reliable government sources for job openings.

If you’re interested in careers in the military, you want start your own home-based business, or you would like work as a freelancer or independent contractor, there are a number of resources you can tap into as well. Try My Future (military website), U.S. Small Business Administration, and HomeworkersNet.com. For regular full-time job seekers, the next section is for you.

Searching Job Banks and Government Sources for Job Openings

There are so many job banks and government websites that it would be tough to list them all here. What we can do is list ten of the most popular sites, which also happen to be the most user friendly and hassle-free of the bunch. For example, some websites have easy search functions that allow the user to enter only a few criteria to get relevant results. In many cases, these sites do not have a lengthy registration process. All that’s needed in these cases is a name and email address.

Other sites may ask for more information than you are willing to give in order to search their database. These sites typically require a large amount of information to compile demographic information and to attract more business from advertisers and employers. In these cases, it’s best to study the sites privacy policy before going through the lengthy registration process.

Besides the usual suspects such as CareerBuilder.com (23 million visitors per month) and Monster.com (75 million visitors), there are a number of lesser-known job banks that offer:

  • -A respectable amount of job listings
  • -Posts for people from all walks of life, age groups and skill levels
  • -Much less traffic than the most popular banks

Less traffic is actually a plus if you prefer not to waste your time competing with thousands of applicants for a single position. Just a few alternative job banks that are well worth the effort are:

  1. 1. NationJob.com
  2. 2. Vault.com
  3. 3. NowHiring.com
  4. 4. AfterCollege.com
  5. 5. TrueCareers.com
  6. 6. CollegeGrad.com
  7. 7. CoolWorks.com
  8. 8. Dice.com
  9. 9. MarketingJobs.com
  10. 10. SeniorJobBank

NationJob.com allows users to either search for a job on your own or sign up to have P.J. Scout, your personal online job search assistant, search for you. Whenever scout finds a job that matches your background, he will email it to you.

Not only does Vault.com allow users to search through jobs in more than 70 different industries, it offers “insider” information on more than 3,000 companies. The site features the Internet’s first collection of company-specific message boards for employees. Here, anyone can network, find out what its like to work for any given company, and ask for job advice.

NowHiring.com is a unique job search engine that caters to teens, students, and young adults. The site features seasonal opportunities, hourly positions, and entry-level job opportunities as well as a wide variety of job articles, tips, and advice.

AfterCollege.com caters to recent college graduates or those looking to get their foot in the door through entry-level positions. The  site lists more than 200,000 jobs and an abundance of job related articles and information about everything from the top 50 popular jobs to the top businesses.

Sponsored by Sallie Mae, TrueCareers.com is targeted towards degreed professionals in search of higher pay and jobs that are more satisfying. The site has a number of job and resume posting features as well as career articles, company profiles, a diversity center, and an “ask the expert” discussion forum.

CollegeGrad.com is devoted to entry-level job information only. The site offers job listings from top entry-level employers as well as internships. Job seekers can also browse through a number of sections on interviewing, job planning, resumes, salaries, and more.

CoolWorks understands that not everyone wants to wear a suit and tie everyday. There are a number of job seekers out there that would prefer to saddle up and hop on a horse to patrol a gorgeous national park for the day or slather on some sunscreen for sunny day serving Mai Tai’s on the deck of a cruise ship. CoolWorks features job listings for jobs in great places from cruse ships and ski resorts to parks and Buddhist retreat centers.

If you’re an IT professional, Dice.com is the place to search for a position. Dice.com features a number of regular full-time positions, as well as a large number of contract positions. Users can search telecommuting positions only, or they can search by the amount of travel required. Job seekers can also create a profile and resume or use a personal search agent.

In today’s economic climate, a move into marketing or to the marketing department of your company wouldn’t be a bad idea. As companies continue to struggle to stay afloat, they are also beefing up their marketing efforts. This is where MarketingJobs.com comes into play. MarketingJobs.com focuses on jobs in sales, marketing, and advertising. Job seekers can search state, job function, or keyword and they can also create an anonymous career profile, which will allow employers to find you.

SeniorJobBank.org caters to the seasoned and talented 50 and over set. The job bank allows job seekers to search for jobs by industry, location, job category, and type of employment (short-term, contract, full-time). Users can also create up to three resumes and choose an option to let potential employers view your resume or have a personal job agent send job openings to your email.

If you’re looking for jobs through government sources, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s America Job Bank site at www.ajb.dni.us or America’s Service locator at www.servicelocator.com. America’s job bank has more than 2 million job listings and America’s Service Locator features state by job openings as well as information on unemployment insurance, job training programs, education opportunities, and career services.

Using Career Clearinghouses to Find Links

One of the quickest and easiest ways to find career and job information is to check out career clearinghouses for links to the most relevant websites. A career clearinghouse is an index, directory or listing of other Internet sites. Career clearinghouses are much better than Googling (which can return more than 760 million results for “careers”) mainly because they allow you to narrow down your topic. An added benefit is that career clearinghouses are usually maintained by one individual or just a few so the results are more focused and the lists are  usually in alphabetical order.

Some of the best clearing houses for career and job information are:

For more career websites, read “30 best Web sites for job hunters,” by CNN Money.

Can’t Find a Job? Consulting Might Be Your Calling

The nation’s economy has sent seasoned workers back to school, stay-at-home moms back to work, and those with an entrepreneurial spirit into their own businesses. In fact, independent contractors and freelance workers seem to be enjoying unlimited amounts of work now, while others are waiting in line with hundreds of applicants for a single, halfway decent job. Why? Independent contractors and freelance employees are an attractive option for employers today because they cost company’s less and they are usually more flexible to employer’s needs. Freelance workers and independent contractors handle their own health insurance, taxes, retirement, and other benefits, so employers don’t have to. As more and more companies downsize, limit or eliminate hiring altogether, and hire one person to do the work of three, they will call on independent contractors and freelance workers more and more to fill the gaps.

So, what does this have to do with consulting? Plenty. While consulting firms are not immune to the effects of the economy, they still rake in billions of dollars each year. Not only this, but many ambitious consultants have found that they can take home a bigger piece of the billion if they branch out on their own. What this means is, freelance consultants and independent contractors will have plenty of opportunities to compete for thousands of jobs in an industry that’s expected to expand by 82.8 percent by 2018.

Before you take the plunge, take inventory. There are certain skills, experience, and education that you’ll need in order to be successful in the consulting industry. Let’s start with education. Whether you’re looking for short-term projects or a long-term position with a consulting firm, you will have to provide some impressive credentials to and the account or get the job. Most companies prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree or higher in business management consulting, marketing, accounting, engineering, economics, computer and information sciences, or business.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, some companies hire MBA (Master of Business Administration) students right out of college and place them in a rigorous on-site training program. The same goes for students with a master’s in a related field. For individuals interested in working freelance, as an independent contractor, or starting their own consulting business, spending a few years in the industry with a top firm is probably a good idea. This way, when its time to marketing yourself, you will have the education and experience needed to impress your potential clients.

Besides education and experience, you will need certain skills that you cannot acquire in school and others you can. For starters, advanced computer skills are a must, so during your graduate and undergraduate career, take as many computer course as you can. Next, you have to have a certain type of personality to be a successful consultant. You must be a people person, friendly and outgoing as well as service-oriented and idea-driven. Most employers look for these qualities. They have to be able to work with you and depend on you to come up with ideas that will benefit their company or organization. Now that you have an idea of what it takes to become a consultant, take a look at the following list to find out which careers are ripe for consultants. 

  • -Accounting
  • -Advertising
  • -Auditing
  • -Business
  • -Business Writing
  • -Career Counseling
  • -Communications
  • -Computer Consulting
  • -Editorial Services
  • -Executive Search/Headhunter Firms
  • -Gardening
  • -Granstmanship
  • -Human Resources
  • -Insurance
  • -Marketing
  • -Payroll Management
  • -Public Relations
  • -Publishing
  • -Taxes
  • -Writing Services

For more information about consulting careers, visit the Association of Professional Consultants at Consultapc.org.

Do You Need a Retirement Coach?

More than 77 million Baby Boomers will retire over the next two decades, but not all of them need a retirement coach. Many individuals approaching retirement age know exactly when they want to make the move, how they want to make it, and just how much money they have (or need) to have socked away to make their golden years special. This is great for individuals that know how to plan, but for those that haven’t even begun planning, a retirement coach might be the answer.

A retirement coach helps individuals make a smooth transition from the working full-time to retirement. They help soon-to-be retirees deal with the financial and non-financial aspects of retirement. A good retirement coach typically has business skills, experience with financial planning, counseling skills, and even experience with health and physical fitness. These are just a few areas that clients need help with as they transition.

Retirement coaches may be licensed and/or certified in any number of areas, but the most important certification is “certified retirement coach.” This means that the coach has been trained to handle all aspects of retirement. A certified retirement coach has completed a training program that consists of a minimum of 10 weeks of lectures, several classes/teleclasses or a 12-week program that may be completed online. Other types of training programs are available. Just a few certifying organizations include Purposeful Entrepreneur Institute, Retirement Options, and 2 Young 2 Retire.

If you’re unsure about whether or not you need a retirement coach, all you have to do is ask yourself a few questions. The following questions were provided by Feroce Coaching:

  • -Do I want to work or do volunteer work? If so, how much do I want to work?
  • -How will I develop a new sense of identity and my feeling of status in the community without my job and my business card?
  • -How will I recreate the sense of purpose and meaning that my job gave me?
  • -How will I spend my time when I’m no longer working full time?
  •  -How will my relationships change? How will I replace the sense of connectedness and develop new relationships that my former work colleagues provided?
  • -What is my vision for my retirement?
  • -Will a retirement of full-time leisure satisfy me? And if not, what will?

If you aren’t too sure about the answers, you might need a retirement coach. To find the right retirement coach, stick to referrals. If you have trouble finding a referral, check with the International Coaching Federation. You can also use your favorite search engine to look for coaches, but always check the coaches’ record, qualifications (including certification), the number of years in business, and check with the Better Business Bureau.

If you decide to hire a retirement coach, keep in mind that sessions can cost as much as $100 an hour.

4 Ways to Make a Good Impression at Your Company’s Theme Party

There are standards to approaching your traditional Company Theme Party, but first, recognize how awesome it is for your corporation to even have one. Typically, parties are of the holiday variety — a Christmas shindig or 4th of July get-together, and that’s it. If you’re lucky enough to have a type of party celebrating either the New Year, or maybe the anniversary of the company, by wearing ‘costumes,’ by all means, get creative with it.
 
We’re not talking about Halloween, though —  although that is an idea. Rather, skip the candy giving and make it a private party with your company by focusing on movie costumes. Nice theme, right? So, that’s what you get to work with — here’s a list of some of the best ways to make a good impression, using movie costumes.
 
 
• Dress Like James Bond
 
Being that Agent 007 has a certain flair for the dramatic and can also party respectfully, it matches well with some of the most important tips to good office partying. For one, he’s not going to drink himself to death and plaster himself to the wall (remember, this is an “office party”). All he needs is his dry martini — shaken, not stirred.
 
• Twin Costumes Are True Enjoyment
 
Typically, spouses are often ignored at the office party. Let’s change that. This is supposed to be about fun. If you’re going to a theme party handled by your business, go with your spouse in a dual costume getup. Hansel and Gretel, Neo and Trinity from “The Matrix,” Smokey and the Bandit, Rocky and Bullwinkle, or Tom and Jerry. You’ll involve your spouse more with your own office doing that.
 
• Don’t Go Overboard
 
This is still your office, so make sure you don’t make your costume such that everyone has to ask who you are. This means no dressing up as King Kong, Godzilla, the Predator, an Alien, or even Optimus Prime. Keep it simple — no masks, lay off the makeup, and go for clever and quaint such as Dirty Harry, Blondie from “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” or even Batman would suffice (letting the mask slide, of course).
 
• Pop Culture Works Well — Like John Dillinger
 
In other words, don a simple modern fedora and a black suit and tie, and you’re basically a historical gangster like Dillinger, or Lucky Luciano, or Bugsy Siegel. There’s a certain flair to this look, and it presents a quality style your whole office would probably enjoy. Not to mention, it’s attractive. However, keep it professional! A themed office party, while a lot more fun than most office parties, needs to avoid the personal as well as the alcohol (hence trying out a James Bond outfit).

Have fun with it! It’s about cinema. It’s about style. It’s about making a statement to your colleagues that you know how to have fun in a classy way, supporting your office environment and being the life of the party. Just remember — shaken, not stirred.

Are There Any Recession-Proof Jobs Out There?

Although the unemployment rate is still considered high—8.7 percent of the labor force was unemployed as of May 2011, and many occupations have become unpopular or died. Many occupations and industries are still thriving. Research and development, homeland security, aerospace, and defense are still going strong, while the advertising industry has been the hardest hit by the recession. Not everyone has what it takes to land a job in homeland security or aerospace, and that’s ok. Fortunately, there are a number of other occupations and industries that seem to be recession proof as well. They are:

1. Registered Nurse
2. Retail (manager, assistant manager, sales associate)
3. UPS Driver
4. Financial Advisor
5. Occupational Therapist

Registered Nurse

This is the number one recession-proof career on the list of top recession-proof careers and among the fastest growing. Registered nurses work in hospitals where they assess patient problems ad needs, and provide support to patients’ family members. Registered nurses can earn anywhere from $40,250 a year (entry level) up to $83,440 a year. Job Growth: 30%.

Retail (manager, assistant manager, sales associate)

Retail managers manage sales staff, coordinate promotions and schedules, manage inventory, and perform some accounting duties. Sales associates sell merchandise, and ring sales. Retail workers earn anywhere from $14,120-$38,430 a year. Depending on the size of the store and responsibilities, some store managers can earn as much as $75,000-$80,000 a year. Job Growth: 20%. 

UPS Driver

UPS drivers hold the number three spot on the list for several reasons. For starters there will always be a need for UPS delivery personnel because a computer cannot deliver a package to someone’s home or to a business. This occupation offers some of the most flexible schedules, so there’s room for thousands of full or part-time workers, which allows the business to continue to grow. UPS drivers, whether full-time or part-time, receive excellent benefits. This attracts workers as well. UPS drivers may earn anywhere from $55,000 a year up to $70,000 a year, depending on location and overtime. Job Growth: 27%

Financial Advisor

Financial advisors are in high demand, thanks to a lagging economy and companies (and individuals) that need to re-evaluate their business and personal budgets. They also help individuals and businesses make sound investments. Financial advisors may earn anywhere from $32,340 a year (entry level) up to $145,600+ per year. Private financial advisors that work for banks can easily earn seven figures. Job Growth: 26%

Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that help to restore daily living skills and general independence. Occupational therapists may earn anywhere from $40,840 a year (entry level) up to $90,000 a year. Job Growth: 35%

Other top recession-proof jobs include:

Accountant
Job Growth: 23%
Salary: $34,470-$94,050

Customer Service Representative
Job Growth: 23%
Salary: $18,110-$45,990

Sales Representative, Sales and Marketing Representative
Job Growth: 20%
Salary: $24,340-$98,960

Financial Analyst
Job Growth: 17.3%
Salary: $40,340-$130,130

Controller
Job Growth: 15%
Salary: $50,290-$145,600+

For more information about top recession proof jobs for 2010-2011, visit Forbes.com.

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