Monthly Archives: April 2016

Benefits for Beginners Breakdown: 3 Options for Millennials

benefits for beginners

Not having insurance is not an option in today’s world. In fact, for 2016 there is a substantial fee increase totaling $695 for people without health insurance. So if you want to avoid being hit with yet another bill, it’d be wise to know the top 3 options for Millennials.

#1 Subsidized coverage

Benefits that are subsidized is by far the best option, especially if you’re a Millennial fresh out of college up to your eyeballs in student loans. Subsidized insurance is when you don’t pay a dime out of pocket, nada, zip, zilch. You will still have a copay, but what’s $25 every 6 months? #NBD

This is a rare offering, but it does exist and it wouldn’t hurt to be on the lookout because this could ultimately add $5,000 to your salary. Before signing up however, I’d ask for a second, third, and even fourth opinion. It’s possible the company you’re working for offers subsidized insurance with a not-so-reputable health care provider, in which case you may end up spending more money in the long run. Most companies offer partially subsidized insurance with a reputable health care provider like Blue Cross Blue Shield or Aetna.

#2 The Health Insurance Marketplace

The Marketplace is rather brilliant. It analyzes your current salary and creates 2-3 options for health care plans that fall within your affordability bracket. From Medicaid to ObamaCare, The Marketplace has it all. This option is best for people who are self-employed, freelancers, or working for a small business that doesn’t offer benefits at all. Another nice bonus The Marketplace offers is its extensive search index ranging from tax info. to tips on how to lower your monthly insurance costs.

#3 Blue Cross Blue Shield

I was formerly associated with BCBS and let me tell you I was covered for everything under the sun, literally. I only paid a copay for a full body scan and biopsy from my dermatologist! With BCBS, your monthly premium is contingent upon which plan you choose: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum. (Here’s a breakdown of the Bronze plan for reference.)

If you’re paying independently (i.e. are self-employed) you will have a higher premium than if you were working for a company who offers BCBS because you’re a one man show and covering all the costs. However, if you’re at a point in your career where the cost doesn’t matter 1. pat yourself on the back, and 2. pick a realistic and cost effective option so you can maintain your monetary achievements. Sure it’s nice to only pay $100 for an ER visit, but that means your monthly costs will be higher. You should strongly consider the amount of times you actually seek medical attention each year. Taking your age and medical history into account is a crucial part of the decision-making process.

 

As we’ve learned by now, getting your benefits in check is serious business so be sure to consult a parent, professional, or someone in your HR department before making any decisions. Disclaimer: This information is a brief beginner’s overview, I’m by no means a health care expert.

Who is your health care provider and how do you like them? 

Written by: Brittany Johnston (24 Seven Marketing Assistant)

Why Having a Social Media Presence Could Land You the Job

social media presence

Since the recent emerging of “influencer”, a term formerly referred to as “blogger”, more companies are recognizing a candidate’s social media presence as job validation? And it’s all thanks to advertising.

The days of infomercials and traditional TV advertisements are gone. Even Google Adsense is losing its luster, which is why companies are switching to a more subtle, “pull method” of marketing.

Marketing is changing & so is the way companies hire

“Content marketing”, “brand ambassadors”, and “blogger outreach” are just a few terms being thrown around in the world of business today and that’s great news for you!

Instead of companies marketing their brand, product, or service in a “hey look at me, here I am, I’m so great!” kind of way, they’re turning to candidates with a social media presence to do the work for them in a less invasive way.

Companies don’t just look at your college major and professional experience now, they look at what kind of an impact you’re making outside of your job.

If you have a blog or have been thinking about starting one, it could be the best decision for your career because companies are now using employees as brand ambassadors. If you have a moderate to large social media following with no traditional work experience, you may just rule out the competing candidate who has a ton of experience but no social presence.

The more people who take to social to share where they work and what they’re doing while at work, the larger the reach is for potential customers and clients. And if you’re posting about how fun your job is, everyone will want to be a part of the movement. It’s a domino effect of free advertising.

Think about it, have you ever seen one of your friends post about a company outing on social media? It looked like so much fun it inspired you to do some cyber stalking about the company. Now you’re telling all your friends about Kathy’s work adventures, which is the best type of PR a company could ask for, (word of mouth).

Beware, social media can be dangerous…

On the other hand, if used inappropriately, social media could cost you the job. Posting pictures of yourself doing kegstands and car bombs definitely won’t land you the job. Incessant complaining and politically incorrect Facebook statuses won’t help either.

As long as you use social media as a professional outlet, there’s no harm done. Professional doesn’t mean posting a motivational quote every day, but it does mean keeping an appropriate and consistent aesthetic on your social media feeds.

For example, if you’re an aspiring Creative Director, your social media platforms should reflect that to increase your chances of landing the job. Depending on the industry you’re aiming toward, you could have a blog with creative projects you oversaw and advice for emerging Creative Directors. Your Instagram feed could consist of pictures of your projects and your Snapchat could be filled with Snaps of the creative process for the projects you’re working on. As you can see, keeping a professional social media presence is far from boring.

Do you have a blog or professional social media platform we should check out? Show off your talent in the comments!

Written by: Brittany Johnston (24 Seven Marketing Assistant)

Cheers, Sincerely, Best… How to Sign Off On A Professional Email

how to sign off on a professional email

At around 3rd grade we learn the proper way to write a letter. You have the recipient, body, and signature. College comes and goes and before you know it you’re working at your first job, wrapping up an email, and then it hits you: how should you say bye? Well, you’re not the only one who feels this way because no one actually taught us how to sign off on a professional email in the first place.

Eeny meeny miny moe…

Typically when you sign off on any letter you would say “sincerely”. And sincerely is acceptable for an email sign off, but it’s unoriginal and overused. Next, we have cheers, best, yours truly, fondly, regards, and take care.

Unless you’re sending an email to a traditional business professional, fondly and yours truly fall into the same category as sincerely, as in they’re more formal and monotonous.

Cheers, best, and take care seem to be the front-runners in the new age of email professionalism. What was once a British phrase for saying good-bye, cheers has now been adopted by Americans as a suitable form of email sign off. It’s pleasant and unique and will make you stand out. So far I’ve only encountered one company that uses cheers to end its emails and my experience has always been… cheery.

Regards comes in last as the underdog for our professional email sign off. It has somewhat of a negative connotation to it so it may be wise to steer clear unless the matter in which it is used is fitting, (i.e. you’re delivering undesirable news).

What NOT to write

Unless your email is going to a family member who also happens to be your boss, please, please don’t use love, hugs, or xo. 

Though they are endearing sign-offs, they’re also unprofessional and juvenile. A professional will not take you seriously if you use hugs at the end of your email.

Like a work of art, practice makes perfect and if you stick with 24 Seven your boss will be coming to you for workplace etiquette!

How do you sign off on professional emails? Tell us in the comments!

Written by: Brittany Johnston (24 Seven Marketing Assistant)

8 Company Benefits That Will Actually Benefit You

best company benefitsRemember how we talked about soft perks? Well in case you missed it, soft perks are unconventional ways your company can supplement your salary to better meet your financial needs, (read more about that here). It’s extremely important to weigh your options and become educated on benefits that will actually benefit you.

Commuter discounts/Parking pass

These are great benefits for those of us who live in metropolis areas like NYC, Philly, Chicago, or LA where transportation and parking aren’t cheap. If you live in NYC some companies go through the ADP FlexDirect program that can save people 40% on transportation costs. A Monthly parking pass is also a great benefit because as we all know that $30 a day will empty your wallet fast!

Gym memberships

Regardless if you’re someone who has a gym membership to begin with, has always wanted one, or should get one, (let’s be honest we could all use some exercise in our lives) this is one benefit that benefits everyone. A free gym membership this could save you $40-$100/month and that adds up!

Investment options

Having investment options are your biggest benefit, (as previously mentioned in this post). Whether it is a 401K or stock options, the sooner you sign up the faster you’ll watch your retirement savings grow, with the magic of compound interest. Keep in mind that the earning potential of company stock is tied to how well the company is going to do, so your best bet is to stick with a matched 401K.

End of year bonuses

End of year bonuses are unparalleled if you’re fortunate enough to get them. This could be an additional 5-10K (pre-tax) in your wallet. Some companies hand out holiday gift cards which can be a nice little extra, too.

Paid time off

Paid time off is a fancier name for “vacation days” such as summer Fridays or random days off throughout the year. With more and more companies shying away from the traditional 1-2 week paid vacation period, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to investigate potential employers who offer unlimited vacation/paid time off. Yes, unlimited vacation exists and yes this could be your life!

The more paid time off a company offers, the better because it allows you the time to do those things you’ve always wanted to do while getting paid to do so. This is a great benefit especially while you’re young and have virtually no responsibilities like a family, pet, mortgage, etc.

Company car/Mileage reimbursements

Wear and tear on a car and racking up miles, can cause major issues if you’re driving a far distance for work. But these are no longer your worries when you’re driving someone else’s vehicle – like your company’s. Not to mention the car payment! But if a company car is not a benefit that applies to you, you might still be able to get reimbursed for mileage you incur on company business. Some companies take it a step further and reimburse your commute completely. Think of the gas and routine check-up money you could save with that!

Paid holidays

Believe it or not there are some places where your holidays are not paid days off. There are about 9 national holidays which you could be compensated for.

Remote work location

Through telecommuting, you’re not only cutting out transportation costs but you can decrease any daycare, pet care, and company costs as well, (your company doesn’t have to pay for an office). Plus it’s super convenient and flexible to a variety of productivity styles. Some people work better at night, early morning, from the couch, desk, bed, etc.

What other benefits can you add to the list? Comment below!

Written by: Brittany Johnston (24 Seven Marketing Assistant)

10 Motivational Podcasts For Your Morning Commute

motivational podcastsPodcasts are in, they’re out, and now they’re in again. Not only that, but some of 2016’s podcasts have very valuable information for the aspiring CEO. We briefly touched on podcasts you need to know about in this post, but now we want to share a list of the top 10 motivational podcasts for your morning commute that are guaranteed to jump-start your day and increase your productivity at work.

1. The #AskGaryVee Show

Gary Vaynerchuk is a social media maven, obsessed with the hustle, who went from poverty level to a $10 million net worth. He won’t take your excuses and holds nothing back in his #AskGaryVee Show podcastWarning: You’ll want to wear headphones for his uncensored episodes and YouTube channel as he expresses his passionate personality with lots of expletives. 

2. #GIRLBOSS Radio

Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso went from selling vintage clothing on eBay to running her own multi-million dollar business and she shares all her business secrets on #GIRLBOSS Radio.

3. TED Radio Hour

TED Radio Hour draws inspiration from legendary TEDTalks and opens your mind to innovation and creation at your highest potential.

4. Happen to Your Career

The Happen to Your Career podcast is for people who dread going to work or who are looking to transition to their dream career. Host Scott Barlow helps you escape the mundane work in a job you hate and instead focus on negotiating a 5-figure salary, doing what you love, and turning failure into success.

5. Accidental Creative

The Accidental Creative podcast topics vary from finding happiness to creating the best work and everything in between. In fact in this episode you’ll hear about Gary Vaynerchuk’s experience. The best part? All the episodes are around 15 minutes long.

6. The Daily Boost

This podcast is just what it implies: a daily boost in your day. The Daily Boost’s podcasts are around 10 minutes and give you that quick inspirational fix you need if you’re crunched for time.

7. The Tim Ferriss Show

Author of The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss is an entrepreneurial author, public speaker, and businessman. Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, the topics on The Time Ferriss Show are 100% applicable to someone in a traditional work environment. I’ve personally applied his principles to my job and personal life. His work is outstanding and his podcast is definitely worth listening to.

8. Smart Passive Income

Pat Flynn is completely transparent in the Smart Passive Income podcast with how he runs his online business and the strategies he uses to make money. His insight is invaluable and can be applied to whatever field you’re in, but is especially useful for freelancers and aspiring entrepreneurs.

9. HBR Ideacast

Harvard Business Review hits the nail on the head for job seekers, employees, and leaders alike in this podcast. You’ll learn about topics ranging from how to gracefully say no to your boss, to creating a great work environment. The HBR Ideacast is packed with insider info. that will make you the best version of yourself.

10. The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes

There isn’t an obstacle you can’t overcome with Lewis Howes in The School of Greatness podcast. Lewis sets you up to live your best life by interviewing experts and sharing his own experiences of how he attained the life of his dreams.

What are some of your favorite podcasts? Tell us in the comments below!

Written by: Brittany Johnston (24 Seven Marketing Assistant)

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