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Nominate Someone Deserving on LI to Receive $1,500!
July 25, 2014
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k98.3What do George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates have in common? They support their communities – and now you can, too! Simply nominate someone on Long Island ‘in need’ (e.g. due to job loss, illness, home damage) as part of NEFCU’s goodwill “Pay It Forward Fridays” campaign, and they may be selected to receive $1,500! Nominate someone today at: https://www.mynefcu.org/payitforward.cfm .

Every Friday this summer between July 11th and September 19th, NEFCU will be going into the towns and villages in which we serve, looking to Pay It Forward. Maybe it’s a cup of coffee we purchase for a harried mom, a train ticket for a forgetful commuter, or gas for a cash-strapped driver. We hope to touch the lives of Long Islanders by turning a few dollars into an unexpected surprise. Watch for us in your community and follow us on Facebook!

For more information on NEFCU’s Pay It Forward campaign, check out this article from Yahoo!

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Invest in Short-Term Goals for Big Time Success
July 17, 2014
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455615313[1]Do you keep a daily planner with a list of goals for the day? Do you ever experience anxiety over the amount of things you have to complete before the day is out? Do you have a hard time completing all of your goals?

If you answered yes to any of the following questions, these goal setting strategies will help you establish goals effectively and achieve them like a champion!

Know Your Why: Having a clearly defined vision is essential to effective goal planning. In many cases, our daily goal serves as a mini-goal to a larger one. When you establish your daily to-do lists, build goals that support a clearly defined vision. If your vision is to achieve an ‘A’ on your next test, then your clearly defined goals for the day may include: read and take notes on the first 10 pages of chapter one, set up an appointment at the tutoring center to review chapter two and complete the last 15 questions on tomorrow’s homework assignment. Knowing your why matters. When we establish a clear vision, whether it is short- or long-term, it gives us a foundation from which to create. To-do lists aren’t simply for achieving any kind of goal but are there to move us steps closer towards our vision.

Keep It Short and Simple: Goal setters commit the largest crime when they establish goals that are entirely too long! The K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short and Simple) method emerges out of the idea that a daily to-do list should be realistic and achievable. That’s why it’s a daily to-do list, instead of a weekly or monthly to-do list. Establish goals that can be done within your day. Keep in mind – what you can achieve on one day may not be achievable on another day – which means that task moves to a priority position. Tailor your goals around what you’re capable of completing and what makes sense.  The problem with setting too many goals for one day is that 1) you’re just not going to achieve them all and 2) you’re not going to feel like you made a great impact with several goals incomplete. If you set 5 solid goals on your to-do list and achieve all of them, you will most likely feel accomplished and inspired to achieve more the next day. If you set 15 goals on your to-do list and achieve only 5, you will most likely feel unaccomplished and uninspired to achieve more the next day. In each case, your ability to accomplish your goals has nothing to do with your competency and everything to do with the list you crafted.
When we are passionate about our goal and feel like we’re making great strides toward it, we plow forward with unwavering determination – consequently, we achieve more. Therefore, when it comes to creating goals—keep it realistic, keep it achievable and K.I.S.S.!

Roadmap Larger, Ongoing Visions: In the case of larger, ongoing projects, effective planning comes into play. In coordinating daily to-do lists, establish goals on specific pieces of the project that should be completed that day. Doing so will ensure that you are staying on track. Larger projects tend to require more work. Therefore, don’t be afraid to carry goals over on a daily basis until the project is completed!

Selection Makes the Difference: Think about what kind of goals you’re placing in your daily planner. Do your goals look more like “Watch Game of Thrones tonight” or “Complete two beginning paragraphs on the Making a Difference scholarship essay”? Now I know what you’re thinking – of course the Game of Thrones goal isn’t the better goal. Believe it or not, it has nothing to do with the show and everything to do with the goal itself. When you’re establishing goals for the day, don’t include no-brainers that come naturally. There’s a reason why you don’t put brush your teeth in the morning and go to sleep at night in your to-do list! Most likely, reminder or not, you’re going to catch the latest episode of your favorite show.
Be specific in the goals that you select. They should be rooted and aligned with a vision. In selecting the most important goals of the day, you’ll be accomplishing key tasks while keeping your plan short, simple and achievable.
 
Enjoy the Victory: Here’s a little piece of advice – enjoy the victory! Don’t be afraid to cross things off your to-do list as they’re accomplished. Achieving goals isn’t just about having a vision or K.I.S.S.’ing, it’s about physiology as well. Each time we accomplish a goal, our brain releases a chemical called dopamine. When dopamine flows into the brain’s reward pathway (the part responsible for pleasure, learning and motivation), we not only experience a greater capacity for concentration but also are inspired to experience activities that induce the release of dopamine again. Therefore, investing in small short term goals can lead to big time success!

Created by: Brittany Spell/St John’s University – Major: Psychology

 

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5 Strategies For Managing An All-Virtual Team
July 3, 2014
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470761319A growing number of companies are finding that central real estate is no longer a necessity. Allowing employees to work from home or other alternate spaces is making it possible to save on costly work space. But managing remotely brings with it a new set of challenges.  What are some tips for success?

Read this interesting article by Laura Vanderkam on her strategies for managing an all-virtual team: No Office, No Problem.

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Why Your Small Business Has an Advantage Over Competitors
June 26, 2014
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200451597-001“Sure, big numbers are impressive at first. But what people really want is to be able to scratch the surface and see a brand with a personality. They want to know that you care about their specific needs.”

As the owner of a small business, you may actually have an advantage over a larger company in that you are often the one addressing customer questions and concerns directly, providing you with the opportunity to build stronger, deeper relationships. Read more on the advantage of small business over competitors here.

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5 Start-Up Tips to Keep Your Business Afloat
June 19, 2014
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108681998By Pat Owings (Business2Community)
 
While there are many things that go into a startup, there are a few things that always get overlooked by entrepreneurs.  In their zealousness to be in business for themselves, many people always do the things that they love and are comfortable with while missing some key steps to running a well-tuned organization.

Cash Flow
This is the most overlooked issue with new businesses.  I think that everyone realizes that there is some fiscal investment necessary in a new venture.  The challenge is that it is quite possible to have a business that shows profitable on paper but could come up well short financially if the cash flow is not properly managed. As with everything else, it is challenging in the startup phase where you have no credit established and are being asked to extend credit to your customers.  Your vendors expect to be paid in 7 to 10 days and yet if you have extended even 30 day terms you can find yourself cash strapped without a way out without a short term loan at a substantial interest rate from your bank.

Marketing
Generally startups go and get the office building and the supplies and even start to engage with their close in customers.  However, they never think far enough out to think about the marketing that will keep their business growing.  This is why so many businesses stall and even fail in the first few years.  I am by no means recommending that you spend all your time marketing but it clearly is a much better problem to be working on solutions to solve operational issues to increase capacity than it is to lose sleep over where you are going to find your next sales lead.  Nothing is worse than having a company that is perfectly structured, processes in place and a staff with no work coming in the front door.  Needless to say this will exacerbate your cash flow problems.

Procrastination
According to Webster’s, procrastination is defined as “to put off intentionally and habitually”.  This can kill your organization. If even one member of your team procrastinates instead of jumping in and getting the work done, it can have a ripple effect on the rest of your staff.  As your teams work to meet deadlines, everyone is working to a mutual schedule and even one individual who repeatedly misses deadlines can cause your entire organization to fall behind.  Over a short period of time, your team will start to compensate for this individual, either building time in to the plan to help this individual out or by doing the work for this individual.  The problem with this is that it enables the procrastinator and the problem starts to snow ball.  This is one case where your team is only as strong as the weakest link.  In a startup you don’t have a lot of runway to get the business off the ground.  These individuals need to be quickly identified and then the situation needs to be addressed and they need to be trained to avoid these pitfalls.  If they cannot adapt then change will become necessary.  As painful as the change may be it will ultimately make the team stronger.

Customers
As in any startup, there will be a lot of naysayers.  Everyone from your family to friends to your business associates will be quick to point out all the flaws in your business plan.   While it is all with good intentions, most entrepreneurs compensate by being overly positive and many times missing the basics.  While it seems obvious to everyone that you need to take care of your customers, as they are the ones paying the bills, you need to listen to your customers.  Not just hear them.  Your customers will tell you what you are doing right and wrong.  And it is important that you not group them with the naysayers.  They are different as they are coming to the table with the money that funds your business.  Your goal is simple, how do you get more of their money.  A word of caution though, customers tend to ask for the world, you just need to ensure that what you commit to is in line with your business plan and it is profitable.

Employee Happiness
If your employees are not happy, the rest doesn’t matter.  Whether you realize it or not, your employees are the face of your company even if they never interface directly with the customer.  Customers can tell when employees take pride in their work and it is very reflective of your company.  Companies that have the best employee happiness tend to be highly sought after by both customers and applicants.  This will generally allow you to increase your talent pool and strengthen you company overall.
If you and your company keep these things in the forefront of your mind, and revisit them on a regular basis, you will avoid many of the pitfalls that have taken down some great organizations.

Read more from Business2Community.

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4 Easy Job Interview Tips
June 12, 2014
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141914450The good news is that employers are finally picking up the pace for new hires!  The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) identified the top attributes employers are seeking in applicants, which include (but are not limited to):
- Communication skills (written)
- Analytical/quantitative skills
- Strong work ethic
- Ability to work in a team
- Problem-solving skills
- Communication skills (verbal)
- Initiative
- Detail-oriented
- Computer skills
- Leadership

These attributes should be stressed in both your resume and during the all-important interview. About that interview…there are concrete ways to improve your interviewing skills. You will find that the more you do it, the better you will get, but read these tips from the JillonMoney blog to make the process a smoother one: 
http://www.jillonmoney.com/4-easy-job-interview-tips/

 

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Affordable Options for Studying Abroad
June 5, 2014
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stk162061rkeCollege students today have to face the competitive global job market, something their parents never had to do. I am constantly reminded of this as I look around my campus and see my peers from all over the world.

Many students trying to bolster their resume and gain a more worldly perspective commonly look at studying abroad.  The motivation to go abroad can be high – but the cost association is often a deterrent.  Here are some things to consider when looking into programs abroad.

Planning your trip
There are tons of programs and funding avenues to planning a trip aboard.  Make sure you not only find a program that fits within your budget, but one that meets your needs. It also helps if you have a general interest in the culture of the host country. With this in mind you will have a much more valuable experience.

Look at Less Expensive Locations
Travel destinations like Europe, Austria and Japan are expensive and can really inflate your costs. Less expensive opportunities exist in countries such as Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Philippines, Guatemala, Thailand and China. Developing countries offer a lot more for your American dollar and can provide a great safe experience if planned correctly.

Volunteer Programs
Many developing countries offer incredible volunteer programs that can greatly cut the cost of your trip. Many times these programs offer academic credit and provide inexpensive housing with a host family.  There are also many project based activities that allow you to get involved in specialized programs, like music entertainment.

Internships 
Keep in mind that many businesses are global. Next time you apply at a massive corporation ask them if they have internships abroad. Companies can provide free or subsidized housing and discounts on locally run food stores all while helping you get further integrated into the business.
 
There are tons of programs out there. If you really want to go abroad put in the time and find the right program for you. The opportunities are there waiting.

Created by:
Zachary Caputo/HOFSTRA; Major – Marketing; Minor – Psychology
Career Goal: To make a mark in the field of marketing and be surrounded by people who share my passion.

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Tips on How to Pay for College on Your Own
May 29, 2014
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154271153Having your parents pay for your entire college education is quite the blessing but one that many are unable to experience. I am personally responsible to pay for both undergraduate and graduate school. I’ve learned and am still learning little tips that have helped me to save money while trying to tackle these giant expenses. Everything from meal plans, room selection, and where to get your loans can help in the long run even if it is simply saving you a few thousand – which could mean another month of rent paid.

If you know that you will need a loan in order to go to college, consider your best options. For example, do you have any family members, such as a grandparent or an Aunt, who no longer has children at home or is in a stable financial state? You could offer them an interest rate lower than what the bank charges but higher than what their savings account provides. You could suggest a rate from 1% to 5% and still pay less than you would on a bank student loan.

Don’t forget to check into scholarship opportunities, as they can save you a lot of money. When it comes to loans, remember to check out credit unions, since they tend to offer much lower rates than banks. Also, many people don’t realize that there are many dominations, religions, and churches that offer loans. I personally receive the United Methodist loan each year with an interest rate of 5%, which is better than most. It might make sense to look into getting several smaller loans with lower interest rates than one large loan with a high rate which will cost you more.
 
When it comes to saving money, there are some quick and easy ways to save a substantial amount of money. For example, room selection can provide you with a great saving opportunity. While most single rooms cost upwards of $5,525 a year (based off Hofstra costs) a double is $4,225. This is $1,000 saved simply by choosing to live with a roommate. This will save you $2,000 a year and a total of $8,000 by the time you graduate. If you choose to live in a triple, as I am this year, you will find yourself paying $3,700 which saves you an additional $525 per semester compared to a double. This combined with picking the smallest meal plan (adding more as needed or cooking for yourself) can save you upwards of $4,000 a year!

These are the type of savings opportunities that can reduce the need for multiple loans. Remember – the lower the interest rate, the less the stress which comes with having to pay off the loan.

Created by: Sophia Strawser/HOFSTRA; Major – English/Vocal Performance
Career Goal – Columnist/Vocal Performer

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Finding the Right Internship for You
May 22, 2014
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86510094As a college student you know that competition in the job market has increased greatly. Therefore, nearly all jobs are looking for students to have interned while in school. How do you go about finding an internship? How do you know it is right for you?

First thing to note is that most internships are unpaid and you will be required to get college credit for the internship. If you happen to land a paid internship then consider yourself lucky. However, paid or unpaid is not the only thing to consider when searching for an internship.

Something very important to consider is the location you wish to work. If you live at home, most likely you will want to find an internship close by. Also if the internship is during the school year it will need to be near your school. If it is over the summer however, you should not rule out internships in various locations. A better opportunity may be available to you if you go away from home or school. It may not be an ideal situation but you should at least consider it.

Another thing to think about is what kind of internship you would find most beneficial, e.g. a section of your major (marketing major – marketing research, sales, advertising, etc.) or the type of work you want to do. You could intern and file papers and get coffee. However, most people do not want to do this. Instead, you would most likely want to find an internship where you would work hands on in a real working environment. Both types of internships can be added to your resume but you will learn different things at each, and you will probably enjoy the hands on internship better.

When beginning your search, start with your school career center. They will be able to point you in the right direction. Also you should look on the website of companies that do things you are interested in. A lot of companies offer internship programs for which you can apply.

Apply for multiple opportunities because the more options from which to choose, the better.

Created by: Phillip Levy/HOFSTRA; Major – Marketing
Career Goal – Sports GM

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The Importance of Being Informed
May 15, 2014
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168711273Our society, and in effect, our world, is an exciting and ever changing atmosphere. Day to day, events happen that directly and indirectly influence our country. The beauty of modern technology is that with the advent of the Internet and the smartphone, a virtually infinite amount of information is at your fingertips. In addition, the truth is, employers want well-rounded, and therefore, well-informed individuals to work for them. With so much happening around the world, it’s important to be in the “know” at all times. Here are a couple tips to stay up to date on what’s going on, when it’s going on.

• Check out news websites frequently. There’s a lot of information already compiled for your convenience at sites such as Google/Yahoo News. These websites serve as a hub for key topics of interest, pulling content from all over the World Wide Web. In addition, they self-update frequently, so check often so that you don’t miss something important!

• Social media spreads news quickly. Many people already comb the web frequently for events and information. When they find something interesting or important, they post it on their Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. By checking your accounts regularly, you can stay relatively informed. However, be aware of the biases and inconsistencies that some people have and don’t let their beliefs or opinions sway your own.

• Be proactive. Don’t let somebody tell you that something’s happening – be the one who starts the conversation. Search topics that you enjoy or are interested in, information that you would like to read about. This is a way to stay informed and educated in a particular subject.

• Don’t make it a chore, make it a habit. Humans are naturally inquisitive – you should want to discover more about the world around you and how it works. Don’t make it something that you dread, because that’s not the point of staying informed. Let your curiosities drive your informational search throughout the Internet, and you’ll find a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips.

• Be wary of untrusted/unreliable sources. There is so much content out on the Internet that false information could be spread easily, so make sure that the pages you visit and gather information from are certified, trusted, and well-reputed.

• Have fun!  You never know what you interests you may develop. In addition, in regards to being informed regarding world events, the possibilities as to what you could do with the information are unlimited.

Created by: Leland Chen/HOFSTRA – Major: Marketing
Career Goal: To create an advertisement that makes millions of people smile.

 

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