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May is the Month to Find a Summer Job!

 

Now is the time to start looking for that summer job. The earlier you start, the more likely it is that you will find a job that you like and one that is a good match for your skills. A recent study showed that 70 percent of all summer jobs are usually filled by the end of May because employers want to have their hires in place by the time summer begins. So let’s do this!

 

1) First things first: create a resume

Even if you do not have any formal job experience, you can still impress employers with a professional-looking resume. You can list unpaid internships, extracurricular activities, volunteer stints, and classwork related to the prospective job. If you are unsure what your resume should look like, you can visit the career office on your college campus, meet with a Life Skills Coach, or ask a supportive adult.     

 

2) Have your list of references ready to go

Prepare a list of three references ready to give to interviewers. Teachers, professors or academic advisors, volunteer leaders, and coaches, can provide a personal reference. Babysitting and volunteer references are fine if you are looking for your first formal job. Make sure to ask your reference giver ahead of time, if you can use them as a reference.

 

3) Practice and prepare for your job interview

Career counselors say that interviewers make up their mind about hiring in the first 30 seconds of meeting a candidate. Therefore, to make a good first impression, summer job seekers should practice doing mock job interviews with life skills coaches, family, friends, and teachers, to get feedback. Also, because nothing is more important than making a good first impression, applicants should show up at an interview dressed in a professional manner. This means a suit, or pants (not jeans) and a button-down shirt, a dress, or skirt and blouse.

On the day of your interview, arrive early, bring your resume, turn off your cell phone, have a strong handshake, and make direct eye contact when meeting the employer. Also, be confident and enthusiastic about the position. Then after the interview, be sure to send a thank-you note in the regular mail or by e-mail.

 

4) Show that you are flexible by being available to work

Research shows that employers ranked “being available for all shifts” as the most important thing they are looking for in new employees. Employers expect employees to work evenings and weekends. Applicants who state that they are willing to work hard-to-fill shifts have a better chance at getting hired.

 

5) Make sure your social media can pass inspection!

It is now a common practice for employers to look at a candidate’s social media presence. Applicants should take a look at their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts and make sure that there isn’t anything inappropriate. One rule of thumb is, “If you wouldn’t want to your parents or your professors to see it, don’t put it up!”

 

6) How to find a summer job

There are basically three ways to find a summer job: networking, using online job sites, and “pounding the pavement.”

Networking is a great way to find a summer job. Talk to teachers, family members, coaches, friends, and parents of friends and ask if they can help you with your job search. You will be pleasantly surprised by how much people will want to help you!

Online job sites like indeed.com are also really helpful. Use the site’s search engine by typing in a keyword like “summer job” and the city where you want to work. Most job sites require applicants to upload a resume and a cover letter.

“Pounding the pavement” is also an effective method for finding a summer job. This means walking into a business and asking the manager if he or she is hiring. This shows confidence, motivation, and maturity. Make sure you have your resume and list of references ready to go!

 

7) And last but not least, stay positive!

A positive attitude is the most important thing in a summer hire, even more so than experience. So during the interview, and in your follow up thank you note, convey that you are passionate and enthusiastic about the open position. Good luck job hunting – you got this!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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Spring Cleaning Strategies

 

Spring is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts. At this time of year, we begin to feel more open to inviting changes – both big and small – into our lives.

One type of change that can bring about a sense of optimism and enthusiasm is to undertake a spring cleaning for your home. Psychologists suggest that spring cleaning has a very valuable function: as we remove our home’s clutter of all the things we needed for comfort during the winter months, we make room for spring items that symbolize new beginnings.

Before you start, choose a reward for yourself for when you are finished – maybe a mani/pedi, a splurge on a restaurant that you have been wanting to try, or going to a movie the IMAX theatre. Then make a to-do list of what you want to clean. Once you are finished, you can check off the items on your list that you accomplished, and say, “I got a lot done today and now I am going to treat myself for a job well done!”

Spring Cleaning Strategies:

1-Get Rid Of The Clutter

Professional organizers suggest the “4 step method.” This means sorting your stuff into four categories: (1) trash, (2) giveaway, (3) store neatly, or (4) keep out on display.  Arm yourself with large trash bags before you begin. The items you put in the trash category may cause you to feel a pang of loss so experts suggest that you take a photo of the item so you can keep the good memories that are attached to the item. The items that you give away can be donated to Goodwill. Put away neatly the items you plan to store and wipe down or clean the items you plan to display.

Cleaning will be so much easier when the clutter is gone. And you will feel energized once all of the clutter that is weighing you down – literally and figuratively – is gone!

2-No need to buy lots of cleaning products

There are an overwhelming number of cleaning supplies. The problem of buying lots of different products is that you now have all the cleaning supply bottles cluttering up your cabinets! You really just need a vacuum, dishwashing soap, a good all-purpose cleaner and paper towels or microfiber cloths.

3-Time to Clean!

Gather cleaning products, a sponge, a bucket with sudsy water, and a few towels.

You’re going to start with the “top zone” of the top floor of your home. The top zone is any area above your head. Start here:

  • Dust above cabinets
  • Clean air vents
  • Dust or clean ceiling fans
  • Dust or wash light fixtures
  • Clean high windows
  • Change light bulbs and replace air filters

Next, move to the “mid-to-low-zone,” otherwise known as waist-level. These are the surfaces you probably clean weekly, but for today, give them a little more attention and an extra deep cleaning:

  • Dust surfaces
  • Polish wood furniture
  • Clean leather furniture
  • Vacuum and spot clean upholstered furniture
  • Wash sheets and change bed linens
  • Clean and wipe down bathroom sinks and counters
  • Scrub showers and bathtubs
  • Clean toilets

Finally, move to the “bottom zone” or floor-level surfaces. It’s time to pick up ALL that dirt and dust that’s shifted down toward the floor. Now it’s time to:

  • Sweep hard floors
  • Spot clean and mop tile or linoleum floors
  • Vacuum rugs and carpets
  • Wash small area rugs
  • Dust baseboards
  • Sweep front and back steps and/or porch

4-Create New Cleaning Habits

Now that your home is clean, you will want to keep it that way! A simple, daily clean up in the bathroom (wipe down shower, wipe off counters), a nightly clean-up of the kitchen (wash and put away dishes, clean stove top, sweep floor, throw out old food), and a weekly bedroom tidying (put clothes away, wash bed linens, straighten up) will keep your home neat and clean all year.

Congratulations – your home is now clean, organized and ready for spring! Now give yourself that reward because you deserve it!

If the thought of spring cleaning overwhelms you, Advance LA Life Skills Coaches can help! Our coaches help their clients to use executive functioning skills to create their to-do cleaning lists, their shopping list for cleaning supplies, and then they assist, support and encourage their clients as they clean. It’s more fun, and less daunting, to clean with a supportive coach!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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March Madness, Inspiration to Exercise!

 

Its March Madness month! For college basketball fans, this is the highpoint of the year. But for all of us, March is a great month to focus on exercise, health and wellness. Let’s call it March Motivation!

First, we need to put away the excuses. You don’t have the time? You don’t have the money to join a gym? You say you are too busy to exercise? Well, the good news is there are plenty of easy, no-cost ways to exercise and you don’t have to do it all at once. In fact, the research says that it is beneficial to spread your physical activity throughout the week which means that you should do a small amount of exercise every day.

So, let’s do this! Here are some suggestions:

1)Walk and talk: grab a friend, a co-worker or your life-skills coach, and go outside for a walk. It makes the time go by faster when you are talking to someone. And if an exercise pal isn’t available, try listening to an interesting podcast or music while you walk.

2) Walk your dog: Your dog is always delighted to take a walk with you. 

3) Go to a new neighborhood and explore it by foot; browse the shops, have a bite to eat, get a cup of coffee – you never know what you might find!

4) Take a walk at the mall: If it is too hot or too cold outside, take a fast walk around the mall. You can window shop and people watch while getting in a good workout.

5) Shop for produce at your local farmers market: It’s a great way to get outside and walk around and the gorgeous produce may even inspire you to try a new healthy recipe!

6) Park farther away from your destination than you normally would: park in a safe spot and then walk to your destination. You might find you enjoy not having the stress of finding a place to park close to where you are going.

7) Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator: Even if it’s just for a floor or two or take the stairs two at a time.

If you make exercise a priority, you will find lots of opportunities to be more active every day. A great tip is to not think of exercise as something you have to get dressed in exercise gear in order to do or something that you have to pay for. Try to incorporate a little exercise into every day. Remember, every step counts!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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Dating for Young Adults with Diverse Challenges

 

Oh, February – the month where the focus is on romance and dating. For all of us, dating can be nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing. For neurodiverse young adults, dating can be particularly challenging due to a lack of self-confidence and insecurities.

A lot of people get nervous about dating and end up staying home and thinking, “I really want to date.” So it is important to get yourself to informal social situations that will allow you to meet other young people. You can try going to a club l.a event, or joining a bowling league, going to a church or temple event, or trying a new hobby like an art or cooking class.

So what to do if you are at a social event and you find yourself wanting to meet another person? Here are some tips to help you get into the swing of dating:

1.) Some people need to know someone as a friend for a while before they are comfortable enough to go on a date. So how do you get more comfortable with each other? You have to talk to the other person. This is the beginning stage of dating when two people see if they have common interests; what are their favorite activities, what are their favorite foods, and what do they want in the future. If you find out you both love pizza, then going out for pizza is a great date!

2.) It can be tricky finding out if the person that you like feels the way about you. One sign is the person wants to talk to you and wants to find out more about you as a person. Remember, a lot of people get nervous talking to someone they like so the conversation may be a bit awkward at first. But if they ask you for your number or ask if you want to go to a movie or out to lunch, that can be a sign that they are interested in you. Or you can invite them to do something with you and if they say “yes,” then that may be the sign you are looking for!

3.) Try to be open to trying something new. Often times a person will want to share their favorite activity with someone they want to get to know better. For example, a person who loves their bowling league may invite the person they like to go bowling. You might be surprised how much you like doing something just because you like the person you are doing it with!

4.) It might take the pressure off if you don’t think about your activity as a “date” and instead just think about it as two people sharing an activity. And it’s ok if you find out that you like each other but don’t always like the same activities. For example, some people like to cook and some people don’t like to cook but they love to try new foods. This could still work out really well!

5.) If you meet someone online, get to know the person really well before you first meet in person. If you decide to meet them, then meet in a public place where there are lots of people around. Let a family member, good friend or coach know that you’re going to be on a date so that they’re aware of it, and even check in with that person during the date to make sure everything is going okay. Don’t get into your date’s car or go to their home or apartment the first time you meet. It’s a good idea to have your date meet your family member, good friend or coach so that the people you know can get to know your date as well.

6.) Preparing for your date might reduce your nervousness. Make arrangements for how you will get to the date and bring money to pay for the activity. Think about what you might talk about. You might try role-playing with a friend, coach or parent to practice having a conversation. Make sure to share the conversation so you both get to talk.

7.) Be honest with the person you like. And be sure you are both comfortable and happy doing the things you decide to do together.

And after being with the person you liked for a while, you might find that you have changed your mind and you no longer like them romantically. That is fine! It might be best if you both just stay friends.

And keep in mind that you do not have to go out with a person just because that person wants to go out with you.

And what happens if the person you like decides that they prefer to just be friends with you? That is okay too. Your feelings may be hurt for a bit which is absolutely normal. It happens to everyone. It just means that the person you are meant to be with is still out there waiting for you to find them!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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How to Set Realistic Goals for the New Year

 

The beginning of a New Year is an opportune time for setting a goal and looking forward to the wonderful feeling of achieving it.

As an Advance LA Life Skills Coach, I teach my clients the important skill of goal setting. I explain that goal setting means choosing something that you want to accomplish and then taking the steps to make it happen. A phrase to keep in mind is, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me!”  I explain that a coach can offer support to help a client achieve their goal but, ultimately, it’s the person who is in charge of achieving his or her goal.

 

Fun Facts:

  • 90% of successful people set goals.
  • By setting goals, a person chooses where they will go in life.
  • By setting a goal, a person can achieve more, improve performance, increase self-esteem, and increase self-confidence.
  • By setting a goal, a person can feel less stress, concentrate better and feel happier!

 

A good strategy for setting goals is to use the “S.M.A.R.T.” strategy. This means you make your goal Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

Specific:  Define what is important to you: what do you want to accomplish? Decide exactly what you want your goal to be. For example, instead of “get better grades” the goal should be stated as, “I will earn a B or better in my math class.”  Instead of “make more friends” the goal should be stated as “I will take a risk and join a school club or attend a club l.a. event this month.”

Measurable: Include precise amounts or dates so you know when you have met your goal. For example, “I will complete my math homework every day” or “I will invite a classmate to get coffee after class once a month.”

Attainable: Give your goal some real thought. Is it YOUR goal or really your parents? Is it actually possible or too far out of reach? For example, “I will go for a brisk walk four times a week” may be more attainable than  “I will run a 5K race.”

Relevant: Your goal must further you in the direction you want to go in. Review your goal once a month and determine if it is still important to you. Talk about your goal with a parent, coach, or teacher. If the goal is no longer of interest, feel free to change it!

Timely: A deadline is essential so you know when to celebrate your success. It feels great to achieve a goal so choose an end time that is realistic. For example, “I will make my bed in the morning every day for four weeks.”

And of course the best part of goal setting: choosing a reward for when the goal is met. Enjoy the feeling of satisfaction of a job well done! If you did not achieve the goal, take the time to reflect on what happened. Was the goal unrealistic? Did you try your best? And remember, a goal can always be adjusted and a person can always try again!

Goal setting is empowering because it provides a focus and a true sense of accomplishment when the goal is met. Setting a realistic goal is a skill of knowing how to make your dreams a reality.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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Returning To College With A New Outlook

Parents of college freshmen look forward to their child coming home for the Winter break. But parental excitement can turn to worry when their child announces that they do not want to return to college after the holiday. This is not an unusual situation as thirty percent of college freshman will not return for their sophomore year with a large percentage not returning after the Thanksgiving or holiday break.

In a recent New York Times article, “When a College Student Comes Home To Stay,” authors William Stixrud and Ned Johnson discussed this trend. The authors noted that college freshmen are often devastated about not feeling emotionally able to return to school. In addition, they experience intense worry that they have disappointed their parents.

It is easy to understand how freshman year can be overwhelming as college life is a highly dysregulated environment. There is little structure, inconsistent sleep and eating patterns, and often a great deal of alcohol and drug usage. To add to this mix, students often feel intense pressure to succeed socially as well as get good grades. According to the American College Health Association, 62 percent of undergrads reported feeling “overwhelming anxiety.”

If your child says that he does not want to return to college after the Thanksgiving break or after winter break, there are steps a parent can take to offer support and guidance.

The following are suggestions for parents to assist their child with a plan for returning to college:

1.) Encourage your child to find a job: Working helps young adults learn to manage their time and budget their finances. Discuss with your child that a first job may not be the beginning of their career but it can be a wonderful opportunity to gain job skills. Grocery store jobs or retail jobs teach young adults responsibility, the importance of punctuality, and how to get along with co-workers and supervisors.

2.) Encourage your child to take a class at your local community college: Discuss with your child that he or she can take a class for the sole purpose of exploring a interesting subject without the pressure of needing to get a good grade. Often times college freshman become overwhelmed, and discouraged, by required courses that are of little interest. Discovering a true passion may motivate a young adult to return to college more focused and invigorated.

3.) Address any mental health issues: Parents often want to believe that enrolling in college will eliminate any mental health issues that were present in high school. However, college life tends to exacerbate issues due to the lack of support from family and close friends. Taking time off from college may allow a young person to gain a better understanding of their strengths and challenges. When returning to college,  parents can require that their child be able to demonstrate knowledge about campus support services in case the need arises.

4.) Life Skills Coaching: A life skills coach can provide the support a returning college freshman needs to regain their confidence. Learning time management and executive functioning skills can help a young adult learn to budget their time and stay on top of their school work. Coaches can assist young adults with how to get involved in campus activities. Further, a coach can help a young adult increase their self-reliance and independence allowing for a successful re-entry to college.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.