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Career Services at the Bagley House. Career Search in a Tough Economy. Intro to Workshop series. Designed to instill some seriousness about what you will be facing as you move closer to graduation.

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Career services at the bagley house l.jpg

Career Services at the Bagley House

Career Search in a Tough Economy

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Intro to Workshop series

Designed to instill some seriousness about what you will be facing as you move closer to graduation.

To answer questions about salary needs, job search strategies, networking and technology, and waiting out the tough economy.

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1st in a series of 3 workshops

This is the first in a series of 3 workshops ----and for those who will be attending these workshops you are going to hear similar content in the beginning and then a focus on the workshop which is



Realistic Income/Realistic Expenses

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Workshop Schedule

Sept. 30 Realistic Income/Realistic Expenses

Oct. 21The Practical Job Search

Nov. 18Networking & Technology…and othersensible options.

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  • Core Preparation: the resume & cover letter before the research—then…..

  • Learn HOW to create a realistic budget that honestly reflects your salary needs and cost of living by geographic area

  • Examine starting salaries

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Core preparation: the connection

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Resume & Cover letter

  • Both documents MUST be perfect

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Cover Letter

  • Your cover letter must set you apart from others

  • The cover letter reflects

    • your voice

    • your defense

    • your support

    • the direction you are taking in the field in relation to the positions you are seeking

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  • MUST be perfect

  • Prepare a perfect resume

  • Relate your resume to the skills in the job posting/description

  • what separates you from others

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Major vs. Skills

  • It is not your major as much as it is the skills the employer is seeking

  • complete a self-assessment on your skills and interests (CHOICES)

  • Determine the skills learned through courses taken at PSU vs. skills the market is seeking (course descriptions)

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The Interview

  • What works-what does not work

  • Conversation is key to your success

  • Employers seek a well-round background

  • Employers seek experience and activities that build leadership, communication, customer service, and related skills

  • Show ability to transfer experience through examples during the interview

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Career Services at the Bagley House

  • We are right here on campus – bring your resume and cover letter to our office for a critique

  • Walk-in advising is

    • Tuesday: 1-3 pm

    • Wednesday 10am to 12 noon

      -an advisor is available to work with you on your resume and cover letter as well as your job search strategy

      See our resume clinic hours:

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Workshop #1: Salaries: Realistic Income/Realistic Expenses

In order for you to be able to talk to the employer about your salary needs, you need to:

  • Develop a realistic budget

  • Examine starting salaries

  • Use the cost of living index

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Develop a Realistic Budget

What are the expenses?

  • Tax Deductions

  • Fixed Expenses

  • Variable Expenses

  • SAVINGS: pay yourself first/ Ideally 5% - 10% of your gross pay

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Net Income - taxes

--Deductions from your gross income:

  • Income Taxes (Know your tax bracket)

  • State and local taxes

  • Social Security tax

  • Contributions to savings/retirement

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Income tax brackets

2009 Tax Brackets

  • Tax RateSingleMarried Filing Jointly

  • 10%Not over $8,350Not over $16,700

  • 15%$8,350 - $33,950$16,700 - $67,900

  • 25%$ 33,950 - $82,250$67,900 - $137,050

  • 28%$ 82,250 - $171,550$137,050 - $208,850

  • 33%$171,550 - $372,950$208,850 - $372,950

  • 35%Over $ 372,950 Over $372,950

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2009 Deduction, Exemption & Limit Changes

Federal Income tax exemptions and limits:

Oct. 16, 2008--WASHINGTON — For 2009, personal exemptions and standard deductions will rise and tax brackets will widen because of inflation adjustments announced today by the Internal Revenue Service.

By law, the dollar amounts for a variety of tax provisions must be revised each year to keep pace with inflation. As a result, more than three dozen tax benefits, affecting virtually every taxpayer, are being adjusted for 2009. Key changes affecting 2009 returns, filed by most taxpayers in early 2010, include the following:,,id=187825,00.html

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State and local tax

To locate your state and local tax schedules research this link:

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Social Security Tax


  • Employee 7.65% 

  • Self-Employed15.30%

  • The 7.65% tax rate is the combined rate for Social Security and Medicare. 

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Fixed Expenses

  • Rent/Mortgage

  • Property taxes

  • Telephone, Electric, Heat, Cable

  • Loans: car payment, credit cards

  • student loan payment

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Variable Expenses

  • Food

  • Transportation

  • Clothing

  • Education

  • Entertainment

  • Medication

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Transition expenses: College to Career

  • Renting an apartment may require a month’s rent as a deposit

  • Furnishing your new place

  • Buying a new wardrobe for work

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Hidden Costs of Employment

  • Hidden costs:

    • Using your own car for business

    • Clothing

    • Meals not reimbursed

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  • pay yourself first

  • Ideally 5% - 10% of your gross pay

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Reducing the expenses

  • Employer Benefits beyond the paycheck

    • Educational benefits

    • Discounts (health clubs etc)

    • Employer vehicle

    • Professional development

    • Student loan forgiveness

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Strategies for reducing expenses

  • Look at cost of living – think about moving– NYC versus the beltway around Boston

  • Share an apartment

  • Telecommuting

  • Share a ride

  • Personal car vs. public transportation?

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PSU as a resource

Financial Aid website: Financial Wellness

Managing your finances can be overwhelming - and if you're like most undergraduates, you may never have done this for yourself before.

The Financial Aid Team is providing this Financial Wellness Web site to help you understand how to manage your student loans, personal finances, and how to create and maintain good credit.

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Let’s look at the handout:

“Personal Budget Form”

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Budget Form - review

Handout --“Personal Budget”

Handout --“Compensation/Relocation”

Handout – “Expense Considerations”

  • Data entry: income and expenses

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Sample Budget

Just an example: Using an annual Salary of $35,000: Monthly expenses

  • Rent: $650/mo

  • Utilities: $150/mo

  • Insurance: $100/mo

  • Cable: $100/mo

  • Car payment: $500/mo

  • School Loan: $500/mo

  • Food: $400/mo

  • Clothes $100/mo

  • Other: magazines, entertainment: $100/mo


    Total: 2600 x 12 months: $31,200 annual expenses

    Add income taxes @25% 8,750

    Add 7.5% social sec. tax 2,660

    total salary needs: 42,610

    Can you survive? ************* You are in the red -7610

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Rental estimates's powerful apartment search tool and detailed rental listings make it easy to find your new apartment.

See handout: Compensation/Relocation

See handout: Relocation Links

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Salary Search

Where can I find out about salaries?

Google “salary search” – several very good websites to research.

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Examine Starting Salaries

What are the salary projections for my occupational area? What are the regional salaries?



    On this site:

    select Pay and Benefits from the tool bar at the top

    select Wages by area & occupation from the drop down

    select --State Wage Data

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Use of Cost of Living Index

  • Calculating salary to determine if it will meet or exceed your ability to live in a different location.

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Salary needs vs. Cost of Living

How does the cost of living for the geographic area affect my salary needs?

As an example, let’s use the $35,000 annual cost of living and now apply it to the geographic location: moving from Manchester, NH to Burlington, MA.

Here is just one site that will make that calculation for you and also give you the definitions of the budgetary items you should consider such as food, housing, utilities, transportation, health, miscellaneous which are categories on your Personal Budget form:

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Relocation/cost of living

Sample search for cost of living

Cost of Living Comparison:Manchester, New Hampshire - Burlington, Massachusetts

Change cities Burlington is 26% more expensive than Manchester.

Housing is the biggest factor in the cost of living difference.

Housing is 83% more expensive in Burlington.

A salary of $50,000 in Manchester, New Hampshire should increase to $63,192 in Burlington, Massachusetts

Manchester U.S. Avg. Burlington

Cost of Living» Compare these cities in over 100 categories

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Thoughts to walk away with….

This is not a to do list – it is meant to cultivate some thoughts about

--your own approach to your cost of living

--and how that relates to your occupational area and the salaries that are projected for your occupation.

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How am I going to begin?

Possibly treat this workshop as an assignment

  • when am I going to begin

  • where am I going to be living

  • what will I need for a salary

  • how do I stack up against the market

  • Create a realistic job search budget

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    What next?

    • Devote time each week to your job search and start by attending the next workshop “Job Search Strategies

    • followed by networking and technology and then if you still are thinking of going on to graduate school or other sensible options

    • mark your calendar for October 21 for your next job search in a tough economy assignment!

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    Please mark your calendar…

    Sept. 30 Realistic Income/Realistic Expenses

    Oct. 21The Practical Job Search

    Nov. 18Networking & Technology…and othersensible options.

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    Services to students

    • We are right here on campus – bring your resume and cover letter to our office for a critique

    • Walk-in advising is

      • Tuesday: 1-3 pm

      • Wednesday 10am to 12 noon

        -an advisor is available to work with you on your resume and over letter as well as your job search strategy

        See our resume clinic hours:

    • Located between Blair and Hall

    • No appointment necessary

    • Meet on a first-come first served, drop-in basis. Advisors do not counsel by email.

    • Open during Spring Break & Summers

    • Services offered to graduate students and alumni of PSU.

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    Do I have the answers?

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