Life Lesson Number N: Never Swear At Strangers On The Train

We couldn’t help laughing at this story out of the UK. In a nutshell, Person A, who was running late to an interview was extremely rude to Person B on the London Underground, and found out that Person B was his interviewer. Needless to say, there was some awkwardness when both parties arrived at the interview.

The story resonates with us at Advanse for several reasons:


Crowded metro platform in DC - via Brownpau/Flicrk

Yeah, this happens a lot on DC’s Metro. (via Brownpau/Flickr)

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Your Summer To-Do List

to-do list pad, image courtesy of courtney dirks on flickr

(image via Courtney Dirks)

The summer is when students finally get to slow down, especially if you’ve just finished your first year of college or are a sophomore. Finals are over, even summer school may be over. All you have is part of July and August, and gloriously lazy days at the beach until school starts back up. And you aren’t nearly as stressed as rising juniors or seniors who are closer to graduation, and more pressed to find jobs. You actually get to kick back!

However now is also the time you should add the following four things to your to-do list. And they won’t wreck your beach schedule, in fact at least one thing in this listicle will take all of five minutes. But the results can be long lasting and in your favor. [Read more…]

Job Searches And Digital Footprints – What If You’re Not Online?

“What if I’m not on Facebook?”

It’s an interesting question that emerged out of a presentation we gave at the Spring 2014 AMERIGO session. The presentation, entitled “Who Are You, Again?” was an overview of how to comport ourselves online, now that the digital world intersects with almost all aspects of real life, especially our professional lives and job searches.

The fact is, most of us now have an online presence and a digital footprint. Whether it’s intentional or not, on social media, through online comments, a personal website, or just through apps, we’re all online. We find one another and stay in touch online. College admissions staff, professional recruiters, potential employers, and colleagues certainly know how to find us and do their due diligence on us online. And after 15 years of using social media, we’re all aware of certain basics. Namely the lack of privacy and the imperative to keep things clean.

But there are still a few among us who eschew social media. And for them, the question arises – what if you’re not on FaceTweetGooglePlus at a time that everyone else is? What if people simply can’t find you? What does it say about you if a hiring manager is wondering whether you’re a good fit for the company and everyone else has a bit more information about them but you do not? Should you worry?

Our short answer—no.

The longer answer is a bit more complicated.

First of all, if you are not on social media by choice—congratulations on bucking a trend that many of us do not enjoy but have grudgingly come to consider a necessary evil in today’s business environment. That said …

one yellow peep among blue peeps

Which One Are You? (image via Kate Ter Haar)

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American Manners : Informal, Not Absent

Mike Tigas/The Maneater Officers and members of the Missouri International Student Council eat together at the Council's inaugural dinner, Saturday night.  New officers were announced and founding officers were recognized at the event.

image via Mike Tigas

Some of the biggest educational moments for our interns do not happen in class or during work. They happen in cultural exchanges during lunch, after work, outside the classroom, or between work assignments. In other words, in daily life.

We’ve already covered some of these educational differences – like the shock of the two-week summer vacation, or the difference between vacations, a holiday, and “the holidays.” But there are many cultural things that do not appear or get fully explained in guide or text books. And they are worth pointing out to newcomers, because they truly make a huge difference in how our interns enjoy their stay in the US. Two of them are about the perceived informality in the US. [Read more…]

What We Wish We’d Known Before The First Job

Are you one of the millions of new grads heading off to your first full-time job this summer? Then this post is for you. Because the millions who have been where you are have many things to share about what they wish they’d known when they were in your shoes. So here goes, starting first with basics before you even step foot into the office:

Figure out what you owe, so you the things you have don't own you.

Figure out what you owe, so you the things you have don’t own you. (image by steadfastfinances)

Budget And Save
If you haven’t actually made a budget, now’s the time to do so. Find out what your take home salary is going to be. And by that we mean, figure out the final dollar amount on your paycheck after taxes and deductions.  [Read more…]

Graduation Advice You Should Hear More Often

It’s graduation season, with many an esteemed speaker sharing words of timeless wisdom with you about your place in the world. Well, we’re not them. So we’ll stick to unsexy basics that every graduate should know, but that you’re never going to hear about at commencement. (Probably because they’re even more timeless bits of wisdom that your loving parents—many of whom may have helped pay for your expensive education—have been sending your way from the day you were born.)

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Why An Internship?

intern on floor while others stand around her

image by Travis Isaac


Why an internship? The question arises frequently. Here is why we think they’re still a useful, and frequently indispensable part of a college student’s journey from college to career:

A college education and basic work skills aren’t the same thing.

It is probably a massive understatement to say that college educations and the way we learn to work vary greatly around the world. But the fact is many educational systems emphasize “book learning” even more than we do here in the US. Furthermore, many of the small unprofessional jobs open to students in the US from middle school onwards simply do not exist elsewhere—the paper route, babysitting, bagging groceries—unless perhaps your family owns the business in question. It is not uncommon for our interns to frequently arrive in the US with no real experience whatsoever. They’ve never answered a phone, had a boss, taken orders, been part of a staff or a staff meeting. An internship, particularly in a foreign country, offers real life experience so that an education becomes useful and marketable in the global business world[Read more…]

Work-Life Balance

Tough choices

Does it have to be an either/or? (via Mat)

Marketplace aired a really interesting segment last week about the effects of the Chinese New Year on American businesses. The festivities for Chinese New Year last a couple of weeks on the mainland. But the fallout for American businesses, who outsource a lot of production and manufacturing to China, can last months. Supply pipelines get backed up for up to two months and employee turnover is high, with some employees simply never coming back. The segment – which we highly encourage you to listen to – ends with Marketplace’s Lizzie O’Leary and American CEO Scott Ellyson of East West Manufacturing wondering if the situation will:

  • remain unchanged, with American companies working with Chinese tradition even though it makes a significant financial dent in bottom lines
  • going the American way where we may go slow or work through the holidays but certainly never shut down completely
  • or some combination in between.

Happy medium? (via Dan4th Nicholas)

Ellyson seems to think the answer is a combination in between. And we support that. Here’s why. [Read more…]

Snowday! Yay! Sorta….

Did you wonder why people were so grumpy on the metro last week? Why people kept refreshing their screens to see the latest operating status update from OPM? Or what the Capital Weather Gang’s forecasts say? Maybe some people brought their kids to work and left early cursing “snowdays” and fretting about “make up days” and you can’t completely understand why? Or they began obsessively following someone named Ryan McElveen on twitter? Let’s explain, beginning with “Welcome to the DC-metro region’s winter-related woes.”

A Random DC Street

Kinda hard to get around DC for a bit when this happens…. (via Jim Kelly)

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Mid-Term Elections, Coming To A Conversation Near You

Hello KItty for President 2012

It’s a political town in election season, right down to the cupcakes. (via Christian Lau)

Ah Washington DC, where democracy works. Regularly. Even though the citizens of the District of Columbia can’t vote for Congress. But that’s an irony better suited for another blog. Instead, what we’d like to point out to you in this post is that there is nearly always an election in play in the US. And soon there will be an election coming to a conversation near you.

2014 is an important year, because this year we’ll see mid-term elections. [Read more…]