How to Land a Job in a Recession

I’m writing this article for all the college graduates out there.  2010 was quite possibly the worst time to graduate from college.  The tech, retail, pharmaceutical, financial and construction markets were slammed and dried up.  There was a real sense of depression during those times.  If was as-if not a single person was going to land a job.  It was not a fun time to say the last haha.

I remember feeling the pressure and anxiety about finding a job after college.  But let me tell you, don’t lose hope!  It’s all about perseverance.  I remember the people who still don’t have jobs six months after graduating.  They were also some of the most passive people I know.  While these passive friends were sitting on their butts, the ambitious friends around me were landing multiple job offers.  How does that work?

It comes down to how much effort and how hard you try.  Early on, I received some golden job-hunting tips from family members and professors, here they are!

It’s never too early to start looking. I remember senior year and looking for a job.  I didn’t wait until my senior year to start looking for jobs.  I started my career search 6 months prior to graduating.  Did this add stress to my study life? Probably.  But, was it worth the job I have now?  MOST DEFINITELY! It is never too early to start looking for a job.  Go to every job fair you can find and land as many interviews as possible.  The sooner you start, the greater exposure you will have with companies.  Also, the sooner you start, the less competition you have.

When denied, try again. Look, you WILL get denied.  Don’t look at it as a failure because it never is.  Even if you don’t land a job after interviewing, you now have a life-long industry contact.  Keep in touch with every interviewer and ALWAYS ask for their business cards.  This is a growing experience.  Remember, what matters in life is what you do when you’re down.  Do you stay down or get back up?  I interviewed with over a dozen companies before landing my current job.  Where would I be if I gave up after the first dead-end interview?  Keep striving for that job, you will eventually get it.

Network, network and network some more. Networking is the quickest way to landing a job during a recession.  I have my own take on successful networking.  I don’t see anything wrong with asking a potential employer out to lunch and just getting to know each other.  Developing relationships is key here.  If you don’t do this, you’re just another number to them.  You need to make an effort to network with “relationship development” in mind.  I still call past employers and industry contacts just to say hello.  It’s always good to catch up.  This way, it’s hard for them to forget your name.  it’s all about making a lasting impression.

Don’t be fake in your interviews. Being yourself in interviews is quite possibly the most important thing you can do to land a job.  The worst thing you can do is fake your personality and suck up to the interviewer.  These guys are trained to smell this from a mile away, just don’t do it.  My friends used to ask me how I could be so relaxed in interviews?  My explanation was that I treated the interviewer as a friend. When I did that, I was much more relaxed and even cracked jokes during my interviews.  From my experience, this worked well.  They know if you’re relaxed.  Also, being relaxed shows them your level of confidence.

Focus on thriving companies during a recession, not all are hurting. This is all about doing your research.  Google the companies you’re interviewing with. Look at their balance sheets.  Ask employees of the company how they’re doing.  The most you ask around, the better understanding of the company’s financial status you’ll get.  I remember interviewing for commercial construction contractors in 2010. They were hit hard and jobs were dried up.  I had to think outside of the box and ask myself, “where is the money?” That’s when I switched gears and started interviewing with heavy civil (bridges/roads) contractors.  With the billions of stimulus money coming from the federal government, a job in the infrastructure industry was a good choice.  I still work for the same contractor today and we’re having a record year during one of the worst recessions in U.S history.  The key was research, and it paid off!

Be willing to move. I don’t have compassion for people who are not willing to move.  If there is a job in another state, and it requires you to move, do it!  Moving away from what you know as comfortable can be a growing experience.  You will meet new people, make new friends, and will prepare you for when you have to move again.  I moved away from everything in Seattle and relocated down to San Diego for my job.  I can safely say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  If you are someone who is struggling with the idea of moving, feel free to email me with questions or doubts you might be having.  I’d love to share my story with you!

It is critical to have a job during the recession, even if it’s a hit to your pride.  When this economy picks up again, the last thing a potential employer will want to see is that you’ve been sitting at home for the last couple years.  Get out there and do something!

How to Help Japan With Your Money

I’m sure most of you know by now that Japan has been hit hard by an earthquake and tsunami. This truly is a crisis that needs all the countries of the world to unite and help out. My prayer goes out to the families affected by this crisis. I thought it would be appropriate to name some charities that are active in helping out the victims in Japan. Here are ten foundations that have a long standing reputation. You can be assured that your money is going to a good cause with any of the following charities.

American Red Cross: Your gift to the American Red Cross will support our disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific. On those rare occasions when donations exceed American Red Cross expenses for a specific disaster, contributions are used to prepare for and serve victims of other disasters.

World Vision: World Vision plans to distribute relief supplies to meet the daily needs of quake and tsunami survivors. We will also focus our efforts on responding to the emotional needs of children, who are the most impacted after such a traumatic event.

The Salvation Army: The Salvation Army in Japan immediately dispersed teams following the disaster to the most severely affected areas where they are distributing basic necessities to survivors. These teams will also assess the damage to discern the next steps in their relief efforts.

Global Giving: This project will disburse funds to organizations providing relief and emergency services to victims of the earthquake and tsunami. GlobalGiving is working with International Medical Corps, Save the Children, and other organizations on the ground.

Save the Children: Save the Children is mobilizing its global resources to respond to the needs of children and families affected by the earthquake and its aftermath, and an international emergency team has been dispatched to assist staff in Japan.

Convoy of Hope: Convoy of Hope’s Disaster Response team is in contact with partners in Japan and identifying areas in the greatest need of assistance. You can donate by  texting TSUNAMI to 50555 to donate $10 toward the relief efforts.

AmeriCares: AmeriCares is asking for donations so they can provide medicine and medical supplies to victims of the disaster.

MercyCorps: Mercy Corps is accepting donations to help survivors of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami through their longstanding partner, Peace Winds Japan. Donations will go to meeting the immediate and longer-term needs of the survivors. You can text MERCY to 25283 to donate $10.

Direct Relief International: Direct Relief International is reaching out to medical teams and emergency responders to offer assistance.

International Medical Corps: International Medical Corps is sending medical supplies and relief teams to Japan. Help by donating $10 by texting MED to 80888.



A Touching Story of Generosity

Happy Sunday everyone! I wanted to share a touching story with all of you today. This video brought tears to my eyes, and that’s hard to do!  I love stories like this, God working through simple, ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

God is always working in people’s lives, this is yet another example of that. I worship such a loving, awesome God!

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”   Isaiah 41:10

FMW Has Joined the Yakezie Challenge!

yakezie challenge

Free Money Wisdom has joined the elite group of financial bloggers of the Yakezie challenge.  I am thrilled and so excited to be part of such a great community!

For those who don’t know what Yakezie is, it’s a community of personal finance bloggers with the goal of helping each other achieve an Alexa rank of 200,000 or less.  The Yakezie network is the upper echelon of personal finance bloggers. Joining this group of bloggers just made sense for me.  It’s going to be a great way to meet fellow bloggers and help others at the same time.

Since I’m new to the personal finance community, I wanted to surround myself with other well known bloggers.  You know what they say right?  “If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people.”  Like-minded individuals helping each other achieve success, how great is that?!

You will also notice a new badge on the bottom right sidebar.  This isa badge that I proudly link to on my blog.  It resembles my  commitment  to selflessly promote other blogs and contribute to the Yakezie community.  I’m excited about where Free Money Wisdom is going.  Above all else, I cannot wait to write more articles and hopefully help you, my readers, make better financial decisions for your life and personal future.

So, come with me on this challenge!  Tell all your friends, family and neighbors about this momentous occasion, because the Yakezie challenge has officially begun!

I’m a Boglehead, Are You?

Does it feel like you’re constantly bombarded by ads trying to sell you the next great stock?  Or how about the CNBC hosts ranting about their “best guess” where the price of IBM will go tomorrow?  If you’re like me, I can’t stand the constant bantering of those talk shows.  Even worse is Jim Cramer.  If you want to see AD on steroids, watch his show, you’re sure to get a headache.  All of these so-called “experts” have sold Americans the lie that says that anyone can be successful at stock picking and timing the market.  As sad as it is, most Americans buy into this philosophy.  I’m not saying that everyone will lose if they try their hand at stock picking.  If you happen to have a lot of time on your hands, your chances are higher.  But for people who work full time, active investing is not a wise choice.

In comes the Boglehead investing strategy!  The Boglehead mentality throws everything you learned from the media out the door.  Let’s go over a little background first.  Bogleheads is a term coined by investors in honor of John Bogle, the revolutionary behind the Vanguard Group and the rejection of stock picking and mutual funds.  I could go into depth on this investing philosophy, but I’ll keep it short and sweet.

As a Boglehead, I look at my investments from a  holistic  approach and reject the notion that I can beat the market by picking my own stocks.  Instead, I diversify my money across multiple asset classes through index funds and ETFs.  Assets classes include US stocks, international stocks, bonds, and market sector specific funds. Allocation percentages is easy to calculate.  I like to use a rule of thumb of your age for bond percentage.  Take me as an example.  I’m 23 years old, so I have roughly 20% of my assets in bonds currently.  As I get older, this percentage will increase. The reason for this is to shield my money as I get older.  Placing all your eggs in one basket is a risky way to invest.  I hold money in US stocks, international stocks, emerging markets, and of course bonds.

Another beauty of being a Boglehead, is  a stress free financial life.  My investments are broad and diversified, therefore simple to track.  I only invest in a couple index funds, so I never need to worry about tracking the ups and downs of the market.  To be honest, I rarely check the stock market!  Since I invest a portion of my income every week, my money is dollar cost averaged over the highs and lows.  I don’t believe in the buy and sell philosophy.  I believe you should ALWAYS be buying no matter where the market is headed, BUY BUY BUY.

I’m so glad I learned this investing philosophy at a young age.  Thinking long-term is a winning strategy and performance chasing is a losing strategy.  Diversify your money, avoid high costs, and ignore the market swings.

In conclusion, I’ll leave you with some wisdom from the mouth of John Bogle himself, “stay the course!”

Comment below if you’re a fellow Boglehead or just totally disagree with this investing strategy!

Rick Ferri and Passive Investing

Say hello to one of my heroes, Rick Ferri.  He is known for advocating passive investing and ignoring the ups and downs of the markets.  He speaks truth, 2/3 of mutual funds pale in comparison by a well diversified, passive portfolio of index and ETF funds.  Actively managed mutual funds are bunk.  It amazes me how many people still buy mutual funds.  Not only are they more expensive to own, but they also have a high turnover rate.

Check out this wisdom!

Happy Investing fellow readers!