Gunning Daily News

For Your College Student: Ways to Stay Ahead of Fellow College Graduates in the Job Search

September 16, 2011 5:09 pm

As college students dive into the fall semester, they are met with conflicting news about the future job market upon graduation. Given the uncertainty of job availability facing college graduates in years to come, Aerotek, a leading staffing provider, conducted a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults ages 25 – 54 to uncover ways to better position college graduates in a competitive job market.

Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed responded they would encourage college students to participate in internship programs to make getting a job easier. The survey found that those who participated in an internship benefit from the value of networking and its affect on finding a job.

"Although the job market seems to be slightly improving for college graduates, there are still a lot of obstacles making it more difficult to secure a job offer after graduation," says Todd Gardner, VP of Marketing & Communications, Aerotek. "Based on our survey results, we believe college students can get a leg up in the job search process by taking advantage of the networking opportunities that exist in internships and through the use of social sites."

Aerotek offers the following tips for college students:

• Choosing your degree – For students entering college, take note of jobs and skill sets in high demand. Engineering, business/finance, health and computer science appear to offer the most opportunities for future job growth.
• Internships – Securing an internship can help a resume stand out and provide the ability to gain important professional and job-related skills. Interns also have a head start on developing a professional network. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, paid internships may give a job seeker a slight advantage over those who took unpaid internships, because of the type of work a paid intern might do versus the unpaid intern.
• Networking – Fifty-five percent of those who held internships found their current job through networking, according to the Aerotek survey. If you don't have current contacts in your desired industry consider joining local professional groups and industry associations.
• Partner with a staffing firm – The job market is always changing and can be very difficult to navigate alone. Working with a staffing firm can offer job seekers an opportunity to engage with a recruiter who specializes in locating jobs that match a person's skills and expertise.

It is never too early to set yourself up for success after graduating from college. The decisions you make now can greatly impact your long-term commitment to enhancing your career—in whatever field you choose.

For more information, visit

Word of the Day

September 16, 2011 5:09 pm

Historic structures. Buildings of historical or architectural significance, perhaps landmarks, that are designated by federal, state, or local historical commissions.

Question of the Day

September 16, 2011 5:09 pm

Q: Do builders provide financing?
A: Many builders offer financing incentives to help move more buyers into a project. In fact, major building companies often have their own mortgage brokerage subsidiaries, while many other builders routinely refer buyers to "preferred" local lenders. If it is a buyer's market in your area, you can be sure developers will offer incentives such as low-down-payment financing or interest rate subsidies.

Lacking Space? Try These Smart Storage Tips

September 16, 2011 4:39 pm

For renters or homeowners with limited space, packing all of your belongings to fit can be a daunting task. When space is limited, creativity is necessary to make sure you can comfortably and properly store your things in your house or apartment. If you think you're running out of room, try these smart storage tips:

The first step toward being creative is to think vertically. Ceiling-tall book cases are great ideas to store all sorts of knick-knacks, books, CDs and DVDs. Photo albums or framed photos can also be placed on it. There really is no limitation as to what can be stored. If space allows for it, get two or three bookcases, one for each room. By doing so you'll eliminate any sort of clutter and be well on your way toward organization.

Use underneath storage space. Always use the space below coffee tables, end tables or even your bed as possible locations for some of your things. Large plastic containers can be used to protect from dirt or dust. These are stackable and will help you keep your belongings organized and clean.

Always utilize the insides of doors. Cabinet or closet doors can be a great place to hang items. Shoe-holders can be placed on every door in the residence and you don't have to store only shoes in them. Utensils, toiletries and more can be stuffed into these door-hanging pockets, clearing up your drawers, floors and counter-spaces. (Another similar idea for bathrooms: store towels and linens in a small wine rack).

Never underestimate the value of a few good old-fashioned hooks. Place them on the walls to hang pots and pans, utensils, or any other hanging artifact in your home. Not only will you save some space, but these hanging items will also double as decoration in your dining or kitchen area.

Most importantly, items that double as storage should always be incorporated. The best items: ottomans, stools or chests that can store items inside while also being used as seating or a footrest. Keys, umbrellas, footwear, magazines and more can be stored in these types of spaces, further de-cluttering your home or apartment.

For those with cramped quarters, deciding where to put things makes all the difference. With a little planning and clever placement, you can store all of your belongings and make the most of the space you have. 

Source: Blog

Word of the Day

September 16, 2011 4:39 pm

Highest and best use. Use of land that is most logical and productive. Refers to the greatest income it can bring the owner, as well as factors such aesthetics and benefits to the surrounding community.

Question of the Day

September 16, 2011 4:39 pm

Q: What is Freddie Mac?

A: Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae's counterpart, also offers low or no-down-payment home loans through partnerships it forms with various state governments to expand homeownership opportunities across the country, particularly for those persons with low or moderate incomes.

Coming up with a down payment has traditionally been one of the biggest obstacles to buying a home. Freddie Mac also works with lenders through its Alt 97 program to make mortgages that require only a 3 percent down payment available to borrowers. The program is not restricted to low or moderate income buyers.

35% of Telecommuters Spend 8 Hours or More Working

September 16, 2011 4:09 pm

Is working from home an efficient alternative to the traditional office job or a productivity killer? The results of a new CareerBuilder survey on telecommuting may bolster the arguments for both sides. While nearly one-in-five (17 percent) Americans who telecommute at least part of the time spend one hour or less per day on work, 35 percent work eight or more hours—a major increase from a 2007 CareerBuilder study in which only 18 percent of telecommuters said they worked eight or more hours. Forty percent of telecommuters work between four and seven hours per day.

The national survey—conducted May 19 to June 8, 2011, with nearly 5,300 employees—reveals that Americans are able to work from home on a more regular basis post-recession. Ten percent telecommute at least once a week—up from eight percent in 2007.

"With mass adoption of smart phones and advanced network technologies, telecommuters are connected to their offices like never before. As a result, we're seeing more companies embrace the work-from-home option and more workers putting in full-time hours while at home," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "However, to avoid situations where telecommuters aren't putting in the necessary time, managers need to be clear about expectations and establish daily objectives. The autonomy of working from home can be very rewarding so long as it doesn't diminish productivity."

Telecommuters are largely split as to whether time spent at home or at the office is more conducive to high-quality work. Thirty-seven percent say they are more productive at the office, while 29 percent report they are more productive at home. Thirty-four percent do not see a difference, stating they are equally productive at home and the office.

While most offices have their fair share of productivity roadblocks, home is hardly a disturbance-free zone. Telecommuters say the following are the biggest distractions:

• Household chores – 31 percent
• TV – 26 percent
• Pets – 23 percent
• Errands – 19 percent
• Internet – 18 percent
• Children – 15 percent

Haefner recommends the following tips to help telecommuters work as efficiently as possible:

• Keep a normal morning routine. The survey found that 30 percent of telecommuters tend to work in pajamas—41 percent of females and 22 percent of males. The truth is you'll probably work better if you treat your mornings as if you were going to the office. If there's one good thing about a commute, it's that you get a mental transition between home and work life. Get out of bed, dress up, grab breakfast—do anything that will get your mind in the right place.
• Find the best spot to work. Even if you don't have a dedicated home office, it's important that you find the least distracting place in your home. Don't be tempted by the entertainment system or the recliner.
• Stay connected to colleagues. It's easier to slack off when you know your colleagues or managers aren't watching. If you're struggling to stay motivated at home, schedule an update meeting or call and talk shop with an office peer to get your mind back on work.
• Plan your breaks. You should never feel like a prisoner in your own home. Plan short breaks to take care of chores, play with pets, exercise, or run a brief errand. You'll be less likely to succumb to quitting work early if you structure the perks of being at home appropriately into your schedule.
• Take your work to a coffee shop. A lot of workers don't like telecommuting because they're accustomed to working around others. Working at home can be lonely. If your job allows it, try spending an afternoon in a coffee shop or library. At many spots, you'll likely find contract workers or other telecommuters toiling away, as well.

For more information, visit

Little Things Mean a Lot - Before You Buy, Consider the Practical Fit

September 16, 2011 4:09 pm

Short of deciding who you will marry, few decisions are more exciting than choosing your first home. Enough bedrooms? Check. Room for a pool? Check. Presumably, you have answered the large questions before submitting your bid. But before you get caught up in the buying process, here are some small practicalities to consider: 

How will your furniture fit? Get the measurements of every room in the home and measure your larger pieces of furniture; the sofa, the bed, the computer desk or entertainment center. Sketch out the new room dimensions on graph paper so you can see at a glance how and where your furnishings will fit. 

What about wiring? As we depend more and more on broadband, fiber optics and high speed access, check out what connections are already in place-especially if you are looking at an older home. Is it ready for digital cable, satellite, etc? If such services are not already connected, are they available to neighborhood residents? 

What's the noise level after dark? The neighborhood may seem quiet during the day, but is it near a freeway or an airport? Is there a fire station or a railroad crossing nearby? If quiet is important to you, you may want to visit at night or during rush hour and check out the noise factor as those planes, trains, and automobiles-and busy fire trucks-whiz on by. 

How far to the nearest cup of sugar? If your dream home is in a new development, or in a rural section of town, how far will you need to go for a quart of milk at midnight? Is the local store open late? Are new shopping centers planned-and when will they be completed? 

Do you know how HOA rules will affect you? If there is a homeowners association in place, will it approve your plans to put in a deck or spa? Read the binding homeowner documents and become familiar with rules and restrictions before you buy into the community.

Want to Save Money This Winter? Preparation now is the Key

September 16, 2011 4:09 pm

Last winter hit hard across much of the United States, blanketing the country with snow and sending temperatures plummeting. If early weather prognosticators are correct, this winter could see even colder temperatures thanks to resurging La Nina weather conditions. Colder than normal weather often means greater energy usage and higher utility bills.

MXenergy, a Constellation company, is encouraging homeowners to act now to help protect their homes and wallets when winter approaches.

"Just as in so many other areas in life, when it comes to energy savings preparation is the key," says Marjorie Kass, MXenergy managing director of marketing. "The time to make your home more efficient for winter and lower your energy costs is not when brutal temperatures are here but rather now in order to maximize savings."

Winter Efficiency Tips
Seal It Up:
Proper insulation is one of the most effective efficiency improvements homeowners can make. Check doors and windows for drafts and install weather-stripping where needed. Check to make sure your attic has adequate insulation and that the attic hatch is properly sealed. Don't forget to examine air ducts and electrical outlets for drafts and seal leaks.

Take Care of Your Furnace: A properly maintained furnace is a much more efficient one. Have your furnace serviced annually by a licensed professional. Change filters at least once a month and should your furnace need replacing make sure to look for a high efficiency Energy Star model.

Simple Steps: Cutting energy costs doesn't have to cost you money. Simple actions such as closing off empty rooms, closing your fireplace flue, and opening blinds in the morning to let in the sun and closing them at night can all help decrease costs. In order to prevent trapped ceiling heat, run ceiling fans during the day in a clockwise direction to properly disperse heat throughout the room. Consider landscaping on the northern and windward sides of your home for added protection.

Maximize Your Savings: Many parts of the country have restructured energy markets that enable consumers to shop for energy. If you have a choice in energy providers, now is a great time to research available rates and lock in savings for the coming winter.

"Locking in a low fixed rate now with a reputable energy provider ensures price stability and protects against potential price increases when cold temperatures do arrive," says Kass.

For more information, visit

Question of the Day

September 15, 2011 5:39 pm

Q: Should I buy a vacation home?

A: The second home market has more ebbs and flows than the primary home market. Sales are iffy in a bad economy except, perhaps, on the high-end. That said, there is a growing trend toward the purchase of vacation homes. They are being bought for investment purposes, enjoyment, as well as retirement. In the latter instance, some people are buying with the idea of turning a vacation home into a permanent retirement haven down the road, a move that puts them ahead of the game now.

Some of the tax benefits mirror those for a primary residence. Mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible, which helps to offset the cost of the home payment. And if you treat your second home as a rental property, you can fully depreciate it as well. But you are only allowed to occupy it for two weeks a year, or 10 percent of the total rented time, whichever is less.

Before taking the leap, ask yourself if you can afford to carry two mortgages, maintain two households, and pay the extra utilities and maintenance costs. Also, learn about financing requirements and options, which can differ slightly from those on a primary residence.