How to land that coveted job

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1. Before you even begin the search, clean up your social media accounts

Yes, that is right fellow Broke-Ass Students. We strongly suggest you trawl through all your old tweets, Facebook photos and even Google your name a few times to see what comes up. We suggest using the rule ‘What would Grandma think’. Unless Granny is a party animal herself, you can probably untag yourself from those sweaty club photos from last week at 3AM.  The company will look you up, so make sure your pages and accounts are all squeaky clean and professional.

2. Do some thorough research on your company

Not only will this help you write your cover letter and the first interview, but it will help you gain a better understanding of what the company values are – and whether you would be a good fit. It will also help you to answer questions such as ‘why do you want to work for us’. Additionally, you will be able to use your research into how to present yourself. You should look up the company pages, as well as the executives and employees in your desired team. LinkedIn and Twitter are great places to start for this.

3. Make sure your resume and cover letter are error-free

Nothing screams ‘Do not hire me’ more than a resume full of spelling mistakes! Although this seems painfully obvious, recruiters say that nothing will make them throw a resume in the bin faster than one with errors. If you need help, get a friend that is highly attentive to detail and spelling to look over it for you.

4. Reply to all communication promptly

If the recruiter e-mails you saying you have an interview (hooray – congratulations to you!) reply as quickly and efficiently as you can to set up a date. Make sure that you confirm the place and time of the interview a few days prior to the date, just so you don’t get caught out at the wrong place.

5. Be immaculately (and appropriately) presented for the interview!

Make sure that for whichever industry you are applying for, that you are dressed appropriately. Don’t wear a suit to a barista interview (unless it is a specifically tuxedo-only exclusive coffee shop – but we doubt it) and don’t wear a t-shirt and jeans to a paralegal interview. Make sure that your hair is well groomed, that your clothes are ironed and you are wearing your best smile.

6. Ask lots of questions!

Asking questions demonstrates that you are interested in the company. Questions we suggest asking are:

  • What is the company culture like?
  • What is a challenge I may face in this situation, and what is the best way to overcome it?
  • What do you enjoy about working for this company?
  • What are you looking for in the ideal candidate?
  • What does an average day in this position look like?
  • What are the opportunities for growth in the company?
  • Where is the company headed?
  • Are there any weaknesses in my application? How could I overcome these?
  • When should I expect to hear from you?

Don’t forget to ask some industry-specific questions. Remember to thank the interviewer for their time.

6. Follow up

Ensure that you follow up directly after your interview. Remind the interviewer (or HR recruiter) of your main points, and state that you look forward to hearing from them shortly.

7. What’s next?

If you do get the job (Or have a second interview)- CONGRATULATIONS! You have moved past Broke-Ass Student status and are now into the real world!

If you don’t – Don’t feel disappointed, you tried your best. There will be other opportunities. Make sure to e-mail the company, thank them for their time and notify them that you would definitely be open to any future career opportunities with them. You are awesome and an opportunity is sure to arise soon!

-GL

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Broke and Beautiful: Beauty Tips

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Just because you’re broke doesn’t mean you have to skimp out on treating your skin, hair or generally just looking awesome! Here are our favourite products to keep you beautiful on a budget.

Vaseline: Perfect for skin softening on dry problem areas such as the elbows, knees and back of the legs. It can also help for dry lips, nappy rash, chaffing and insect bites. If you have short, thin lashes try applying a small amount 10 minutes before curling your lashes and you’ll see a noticeable difference, plus it keeps them from breaking!

Bonus: Top make-up artists use Vaseline to give models that desirable dewy glow. Use it sparingly on the face though as it is quite thick and gluggy. Because it’s so thick you only need to use a small amount at a time meaning it’ll last you longer.

Aspirin: Have a red and swollen breakout? The acetylsalicylic acid in aspirin is great for oily, acne-prone skin. If you dissolve three to five uncoated aspirin in water and apply to red areas and blemishes for 20 minutes the aspirin can penetrate the pores reducing redness and promoting healing.

Apple Cider Vinegar: The liquid of the gods. Dandruff? Digestion problems? Dry skin or eczema? ACV can help them all. Mix 1:1 parts ACV and water into a spray bottle and spray I areas where the skin feels dry or irritated. It not only sooths the skin it even outs skin tone, kills bacteria and balances out the skins PH levels. For dandruff add ACV to your bath and gently massage your scalp for a few minutes, a few times a week and the bacteria and yeast causing your flaky scalp will be gone in no time. 

Bonus: Mix a tablespoon with warm water before breakfast each morning to help stimulate your digestion and purify your blood!

Egg: This staple protein is a cheap and easy way to mend that dry brittle hair AND give you an instant face lift. Create a hair mask from one egg, a teaspoon of honey and a tablespoon of olive oil and apply to clean wet hair. Cover with a shower cap and leave for an hour before washing out and styling as normal. If you’re feeling a little dull from your late night study sessions and those bags underneath your eyes are starting to become a suitcases try whipping up some egg whites until they become a white froth. Apply the froth generously to the face and neck and let it set for twenty minutes. Moments after applying it you’ll start feeling the ‘tightening’ effects. Rinse with water when finished and head on out with your new bright and tight complexion.

Olive Oil & Sugar: Need to exfoliate fast? Open a sugar packet and add a few drops of olive oil, gently apply to your face and rinse with tepid water.

Bonus: Mix instant oatmeal and water for another wonderful homemade exfoliating mask with the added moisturising benefit of oats.

We chose our favourite tips from: http://www.brokeass-student.com/beauty-on-a-budget-some-of-my-favorite-beauty-secrets/ head there for more helpful beauty tips on a budget.

-KL

Why it benefits to be a HEALTHY Broke-Ass Student

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Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 2.07.09 PM Can having a healthy diet actually save you money?

According to researchers the answer is YES (Flynn et al. 2013 – thought we’d throw that one in there to show how science-y and smart our tips are.)

Ways in which having a healthy lifestyle can save you money include:

– Eliminate your expensive vices

The number one expensive vice that drains your bank account and damages your health is smoking. If you kick your 10-a-day smoking habit you could save yourself over $2500 a year! If you’re not a smoker cutting out other vices like soft drinks or chocolate can have an impact on your wallet and your waistline. If you are a daily drinker of Coca-Cola you may be spending around $1200 over the course of a year, or if you cave into your daily 3 o’clock chocolate bar craving you could be spending around $500 a year. Think of all the $3 schooners (or rent, whatever) you could spend that money on.

– Cut down on transport costs

Car maintenance, petrol, parking, and public transport fees are all daily expenses that can be drastically cut with a changes in your lifestyle. – Try riding your bike places – Not only is it good for your overall fitness but you can usual lock your bike up right out the front. Talk about convenience. – Park further away from your destination (to avoid paid parking) and walk. – Get off a few stops earlier – With Opal cards being introduced getting off a few steps earlier may save you money in the long run. When you’re fit and healthy these suggestions do not seem like the worst idea ever because not are you saving money but you are getting your daily dose of exercise which you love.

– Reduce medical costs

By being healthy you may reap the benefits of looking and feeling better but losing a few kg’s and incorporating exercise into your daily routine could also help your sleep improve, reduce the regularity of headaches and boost your immune system. This will, in turn, save you the money you may normally spend on over the counter medicines. With a healthy immune system you a less likely to get sick, therefore saving both time and money avoiding a visit to the doctor.

– Reduce monthly food bills

Switching pre-packaged, processed foods for homemade meals can have a huge impact on your monthly food spending. For the price of a pre-packaged soup that would last you two days, you can buy the ingredients to make a portion of soup that would last you five. Not mention the savings you’d gain from giving up or cutting down on expensive takeout. A takeaway meal can cost anywhere from two to five times the amount a home made meal, and packs on almost double the amount of calories.

What’s more, switching to fresh, homemade meals can also significantly improve your body’s processing of the food. It has been scientifically demonstrated that your body prepares for the intake of foods during the cooking phase and can thus digest them a lot better.

While a healthy diet is thought to be expensive, if certain food are cut out (unhealthy snacks, desserts, soft drinks, and some meat) a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables can help you save money and help your waistline all while preventing chronic disease!

References: Flynn MM, Reinert S, Schiff AR. A Six-Week Cooking Program of Plant-Based Recipes Improves Food Security, Body Weight, and Food Purchases for Food Pantry Clients. Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, 2013; 8 (1): 73 DOI: 10.1080/19320248.2012.758066

-KL

Cheap things to consider when you’re a Broke-Ass Student travelling on a budget

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When you’re travelling and you’re a poor broke-ass student, finding accommodation and food to suit your needs is difficult! We have compiled a list of our favourite tips to help you get through this difficult period.

Airbnb

Sometimes finding accommodation is just too difficult, where the best locations are too pricey and you aren’t looking for a hotel. Airbnb, a revolutionary of technology, allows you to rent someone else’s home or apartment for a certain amount of days. Not only is this a sure-fire way to get you one of the coolest apartments in the best locations, but also it’s proven to be safe.

Travel Card

Don’t just assume that your own bank will give you the best deal on a travel card, it is advisable to shop around. A friend’s experience when looking for a travel card allowed her to get the best deal possible, instead of just going with her normal bank card which would have ended up costing her more! Just as you would research a cool location, make sure you also research your finances.

 

Book in advance!

You are definitely more likely to get a cheaper deal when you plan in advance. But not to fear if you haven’t – student flights can also get you amazingly good deals. Be sure to subscribe to different airlines direct marketing (e-mail) so that you can also ensure that you are the first to know about cheap flights!

Budget budget budget

There is quite honestly nothing worse than getting to your holiday destination and realising that you haven’t quite saved enough cash to get you through it. A couple of weeks before you leave, write out a list of how much each tourist attraction/activity is going to cost you, and how much you’re aiming to spend on food and drink daily. It’s also important for you to factor in other things such as nights out and clothes shopping. It is also a good idea for you to keep a track of these things as the holiday progresses. Keep some extra emergency cash just in case you need it!

Pack your meals as much as you can

Food and drink adds up, and when you’re visiting tourist attractions you are bound to feel the weight of the extra dollars for food and drink. Where you can, pack your lunch for the day by visiting the supermarket before you leave. (Obviously if you are trekking through the Amazon, you won’t be able to do this but we’d like to hope that you planned your food and drink beforehand.) This is bound to save you up to $20 a day, and if you’re going on a 7 day trip – that is $140 extra for you to party with!

Make sure that you stay safe and vigilant during your holiday travels, and we can’t wait to hear about your experiences when you return!

How to make other Broke-Ass Student friends

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One of the most common complaints we hear as students (particularly local ones that don’t move out of home) are ‘I’m not making any friends at uni!’

Well well well lonely little student – aren’t you in a pickle! Not to worry, because we have the best tips for you to make the most of your uni days in a flash.

Talk to people in your tutorials

There is no better way to make friends at university than by socialising with people in tutorials. We (the founders of Broke-Ass Students) met this way! One day we were put into a group together and we just clicked.

Talk to people before, after and during your tutorial. There is nothing that bonds people more than the mutual hate (or love) of a subject! Obviously no one will talk to you if you are being the negative one in the corner, so get yourself out there and start chatting. What do you have to lose? 

Join a society

You are bound to make solid connections with other students if you already have a common interest! Societies are great because they connect you with other students through a mix of events and social gatherings. Societies like the Media Society and Business Society have balls so when this event comes up, get super dressed up and make some cool new friends!

Join a sports club

Not only are you bound to make friends this way, you’re also learning crucial teamwork skills that future potential employers are looking for. This is a fun and cool way to meet people, and you’re definitely going to bond when you go for celebratory drinks at the local pub after your game!

These are our three top tips for making friends at uni. Use them wisely Broke-Ass Students, and you’re bound to make friends in no time!

Why Poor Students Struggle – A reflection

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On a slightly more serious note: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/22/opinion/why-poor-students-struggle.html?smid=tw-nytimes&_r=0

All Broke-Ass Students should have a read of this Vicki Madden opinion piece in the New York Times. Although the piece references the American higher education system, many low-income Australian students also struggle to finish university, whether it be due to work commitments affecting their ability to study, academic reasons or feeling a sense of alienation or loneliness.

Madden mentions the inadequate student aid system where a slight increase in the parents income can lead to a reduction in the financial aid given to the students. While many might not think an extra $20 per week would make a substantial difference, when you are trying to buy groceries for $50 a week – it make the struggle much harder.

She speaks of the obstacles faced by students from low socio-ecomonic backgrounds to students feeling alienated from their hometowns when relocating and starting university.

If you feel alienated, depressed or just need someone to speak to, Headspace provides a range of counselling services for people between the ages of 12 – 25 at http://www.headspace.com OR we encourage you to call Youth Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 OR go to your university counselling service.

If you are struggling with academically with your studies speak to a tutor or lecturer as they can often help or point you in the right direction.

-KL

Cheap eating – Recipes for Broke-Ass Students

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Sometimes it can be difficult to think of recipes each night of the week! It can be even harder to think of something delicious, nutritious but still cheap! Jump onto http://studentrecipes.com/ to find a range of cheap recipes for students.  Founded in 2004 by first year university student, James Bailey, it has many quick, easy and most importantly CHEAP recipes. Some are healthy, some are not so healthy. You can search for recipes via meat choice, for snacks, for parties and there are vegetarian options (eating vegetarian was one of our 10 Money Saving Life Hacks)! Here’s to delicious and cheap food.

Some of our favourites include:

Spicy Chicken Enchiladas:

http://studentrecipes.com/recipes/chicken/spicy-chicken-enchiladas/

Banana & Dried Fruit Breakfast Loaf:

http://studentrecipes.com/recipes/healthy/banana-amp-dried-fruit-breakfast-loaf/

Healthy Moroccan Stew:

http://studentrecipes.com/recipes/healthy/healthy-moroccan-stew-1/

– KL

10 Money-Saving Life Hacks Every Broke-Ass Student Should Know

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1. PAY WITH CASH – that thing called “science” has shown that people are more likely to buy something when using a credit or debit card instead of cash. Try taking out a (reasonable) lump sum of cash at the beginning of each week and only using that for the whole week instead of your card.

2. Before you go shopping consult a coupon website – yes we get that even though your broke as shit you do not want to look like a stingy hobo but WHO CARES? The stores put out these coupons for a reason, for YOU the consumer, to go to their store and use them. Our recommendations – Groupon, Scroupon, The Living Social.

3. Spotify – If you don’t have an account get one NOW. Spotify is possibly the greatest digital music service you could ever download. Imagine having a music library that has pretty much every single song you could ever want. You can get the free version on your computer and mobile (but listen to a couple of ads every so often) or you can get the paid version. You can also create collaborative playlists with friends. Did someone say Mexican Dance Party Remix?

4. Buy a coffee machine – Okay so this may seem like a huge amount of money to fork out but think of it as a long term investment, you can buy a semi-decent coffee machine for just $150. Buy a reusable cup and you’ll also be saving the environment while saving your wallet.

5. Eat like a vegetarian at least once a week – Already I can hear some of you saying “pffft as ifff” BUT I promise you that you can have a cheap, tasty-ass meal without meat. Do it twice a week and you’ll notice the difference in your grocery bill. Head to the FOOD section of the blog to find cheap and easy recipes (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian for those who insist on eating meat daily).

6. GUMTREE, GUMTREE, GUMTREE- Whatever you need check Gumtree first. White goods (washers, dryers & fridges) are well priced and usually still in pretty good knick.

7. Use generic prescriptions – So many prescriptions come in generic form now. You can save HEAPS by using them—just check with your doctor first.

8. Learn to say NO – do you really need that extra large jar of Nutella to get you through the week? Enough said.

9. Buy neutral clothing – Wearing black, white, and grey clothes means that you can mix and match easier without having too many different outfits.

10. Daily deals – Research to see where does cheap steaks on Monday, $3 beers on Thursday, 2 for one Tacos on Friday, and student discounts… Well, I guess that’s what we’re here for. Check here regularly fellow Broke-Ass Students.

-KL