Biz Bits: Tips to help grads get the edge on competition

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

As the recession continues to take its toll, college grads have to work harder to stand out. Businesses expect to hire 22 percent fewer recent grads in 2009, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. If you're one of the millions of graduates looking for a job this year, there are some basic things you can do to stay ahead of the competition.

- Use your networking skills: You probably already know that social networking sites are a great way to meet new people, but they can also help you stay ahead academically and begin job networking before you graduate. Be sure to use a network that matches your interest and objectives -- and there will probably be more than one that fits your needs. Networking and resume sites that allow you to post virtual resumes are a great way to get your information in front of a large group of potential employers.

- Create a calendar: If you're already having nightmares about oversleeping on the day of the big exam or forgetting an internship interview with a Fortune 500 company, it's time to create an online calendar. An online calendar allows you to share access with other important people in your lives, so you can remember that important interview as quickly as you remember to call Grandma on her birthday.

- Find a job that relates to your major or your interests: Working and going to school isn't easy, and you'll be even less inclined to enjoy your job if it bores you. While you may not find your dream job right now, any opportunity to see if you enjoy working in your ideal industry is a good learning experience.

- Look for internships: Now is a prime opportunity to get experience that can build into a full-time job after graduation, and it's also the one time in your life when you can live very cheaply. Internships don't often pay well or anything at all, but they often count for course credit and always build your resume, so take advantage of them while you can.

-- ARA

BBB Watch

There's much confusion about the status of automobile warranties because major manufacturers, such as Chrysler and General Motors, are either contending with bankruptcy or fighting off the threat of bankruptcy. These conditions invite scammers. The Better Business Bureau warns consumers to be particularly alert for deceptive telemarketing phone calls and other solicitations. These masquerade as coming from their vehicle manufacturer regarding warranty status. The BBB has received complaints from people who have purchased a service contract from these extended warranty providers. Car owners found there were so many caveats and exemptions that when repairs were needed, the warranty didn't cover the required work.

For more information on this scam and others, go to

Vote for your favorite farmers market

American Farmland Trust is holding America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest this summer. The contest is a nationwide challenge to see which of America’s farmers markets can rally the most support from its customers. The goal is to promote the connection between fresh local food and the local farms and farmland that supply it.

Farmers market managers can register to join the contest by visiting

Market shoppers will vote to support their favorite farmers’ market at starting in June. Results will be announced during Farmers’ Market Week, Aug. 2 to 8.

The List

Here are America's most affordable places to retire, according to Forbes:

1. Columbus, Ohio

2. Dallas

3. Minneapolis

4. Houston

5. Salt Lake City

6. Indianapolis

7. Denver

8. St. Louis

9. Atlanta

10. Nashville, Tenn.

For more details, go

Number to Know

11,000: Number of jobs cut at American Express Co. since October. The company cut 7,000 jobs in 2008 and 4,000 this month.

GateHouse News Service