Seven Books to Enhance Your Career Search

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Seven Books to Enhance Your Career Search

Riley Ovall

Riley Ovall is Avenica’s Content Specialist and host of the WTF am I Doing?! Podcast. She is a young professional, and recent college graduate who brings her own experience and expertise to Avenica on how to navigate starting or restarting your career.

Entering the professional world or changing career paths can be overwhelming. If this is all new to you, it may be hard to define goals or know what you want out of a job. One way to combat these feelings is by learning from others. When in doubt it can be helpful to lean into the experts of success, determination, and those who know how to help you find yourself. The process of entering a new field or applying for a promotion, might be uncomfortable, but it can be an incredible success with the right guidance. Here are seven books that will inspire your process from start to finish.

 

7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen R. Covey

Looking for a holistic checklist to become a better version of yourself as you pursue your career? Stephen R. Covey brings just that in 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. He shares his best insights from across all industries and life experiences. This book is great to keep on your desk or nightstand even after reading to flip through for daily motivation and reminders.

 

The Defining Decade by Dr. Meg Jay

This book is all about maximizing time in a defining decade- ; your twenties. Ironically, it is a great read for all ages who are looking to get the most out of their opportunities. Dr. Meg Jay offers advice based on her two decades of experience working with 20-somethings, and how to bring this advice into every phase of life. Jay is blunt as she talks about the importance of work, relationships, and identity in a person’s adult life. This book also stands out as a tool for planning in each of these aspects of life.

 

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Are you in the midst of job interviews? Then it is time to learn how to influence people. Dale Carnegie originally published this book in 1936, and it feels just as relevant on the hiring scene in 2022. Carnegie makes sure to remind you that you are capable of your dream job, and in fact you should go get it! This book is meant to give you all the tools to become a “people person” who is achieving all their goals.

 

 

Relentless by Tim S. Grover

There is nothing gentle about this book by the G.O.A.T. Tim S. Grover. This book lays out the path from good to great, and it’s not easy. If you are looking to dominate any sector of your life this is the book to devour.

 

The People We Keep by Allison Larkin

I can’t have a list of books for the job search without a novel that makes your heart beat a little faster. The People We Keep weaves a fictional story of empathy and discovering oneself. If you are looking for something to inspire and move you in between applications, this is the perfect read.

 

10x Rule by Grant Cardone

Are your goals so giant that they make other people uncomfortable? Great, this book is for you. Inaction breeds fear and insecurity, while the instructions of this book will push you too achieving huge goals. Grant Cardone is not afraid to act, and after reading this you won’t be either.

 

The Life Lessons and Rules for Success by Oprah Winfrey

Oprah takes you through her life, starting in her troubled youth going through how she became the star she is now. She highlights both emotional and physical health throughout this book, with her biggest life lessons taking center stage. She also incorporates key actionable principles to take away while reading.

If you’re looking for information on how to kickstart your career, contact Avenica or browse jobs today! We help our entry-level job seekers find positions that fit their expertise and career goals. Find more advice to help you in your job process.

Breaking Down Core Values

What is a core value?

Core values represent a company’s deeply held beliefs. At Avenica, we say our core values are what drive our actions whether people are watching or not. They are impossible to fake and “core” to how individuals show up every day. If done correctly, core values can be the connecting force of teammates within a company.

Who comes up with core values? What does that process look like?

At Avenica, we implemented EOS (the Entrepreneurial Operating System®), to get better at defining our vision, to build a strong team, and instill clear focus and accountability. Understanding, communicating, and operating with core values is paramount to being a successful EOS company. Our EOS Implementor led us through an exercise that included listing out the qualities of strong performers and valued individuals within the organization. We narrowed in on commonalities to arrive at our list of core values. We revisit our core values quarterly to see if those values and our definition of those values still apply as the company matures.

How do core values play out in a company at a high level? What about day-to-day?

Core values should be at the heart of how a company operates day in and day out. They should be called out in meetings, listed as teammates are recognized for contributions, referenced when key decisions are being made, and “core” to the hiring, evaluating, and firing processes within a company.

Why do they matter when I am looking for a job?

Finding an authentic fit is important for an individual to be able to show up as their true self every day. We are paid to go to work for a reason. Work requires effort. Trying to be someone you’re not (but a company expects you to be) will require a great deal of time and energy. For many people, that takes more time and energy than simply doing their day job. A core values match allows an individual to focus on the work itself and drive results, instead of spending time and energy on “trying to fit in”.

How can I find a company that fits me?

When interviewing, ask questions about a company’s core values. Seek to understand what the values mean and if they speak to who you are and an environment you think will bring out the best in you. Also try to gauge how important the core values are within an organization. It’s telling if the interviewer needs to look up what the core values are, or if they speak freely about them. Ask the interviewer questions such as:

  • How are your core values demonstrated in day-to-day operations?
  • How are you evaluating me on whether I’m a core values fit?
  • How are your core values celebrated?
  • What happens when someone is deemed to not be a core values fit?

Credit Card Basics

How do I get a credit card?

Most financial institutions (banks) will offer a variety of credit cards. There are also private companies that specialize in more specific credit card programs. In general, you would reach out to the institution or company to inquire about a credit card. They will use information about you including your credit score (see below) to determine your financial risk. From there, you will be approved or declined a credit card based on those factors. Your credit score, income, and other factors will also determine how much credit you will be allowed at a time. This could range from $500 to hundreds of thousands, for example.

What’s a credit score?

This is a great question and one that many people don’t completely understand. A credit score (or Fair Issac Corporation, “FICO” score) is a three-digit number tied to individuals who have opened at least one line of credit; typically, a credit card or loan.

The score itself will range between 300-850 per individual and is based off your:

  • Timeliness of making payments – are you paying your minimums on time?
  • Available credit balance – how much credit is available to you
  • Credit mix – revolving debt (credit cards) and/or installment debt (loans, etc.)
  • Length of your credit history – how long you’ve had a credit card or loan
  • New credit – are you applying for new credit often?

Generally, you need six months of owning a credit card or having credit (through a student loan, for example) to obtain a credit score.

Broken down, here are how the big three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) would rate credit score.

  • 800-850 = Exceptional
  • 740-799 = Very Good
  • 670-739 = Good
  • 580-669 = Fair
  • 300-579 = Very Poor

Each of the big three credit bureaus may give you a different score and some lenders or institutions favor one over others. In general, the higher your credit score, the more likely financial institutions and lenders are to lend you money via a loan or credit card at a lower interest rate because you are less of a risk to them. They know you can pay back the debt owed to them efficiently and in full. Lower credit scores are looked at as riskier because of how the scores are calculated and often result in either a denial of credit or loans, or a higher interest rate to make up for the risk.

What types of credit cards are there?

Get ready because there are likely many more types of credit cards than you previously imagined.

There are many different types of credit cards, but the most common types include:

  1. Secured credit cards
  2. Standard unsecured credit cards
  3. Travel rewards credit cards
  4. Credit cards for students
  5. No annual fee credit cards
  6. Business Credit cards
  7. Charge cards
  8. Store credit cards

Each of these have different application requirements and from a value standpoint will vary from person to person.

Super quickly, a secured credit card requires an upfront deposit that protects the card holder. Often this deposit becomes your credit limit. From a risk perspective, this ensures that the credit card company won’t be out any money if you aren’t able to pay off your balance. An unsecured credit card means that you don’t pay an initial deposit to open the card/account.

How do I figure out which one is right for me?

This is the million-dollar question, and the answer is of course, it depends.

There are many credit cards that offer perks like cash-back, travel rewards, or initial rewards bonuses. So, let’s give a couple examples. Let’s say you’re an avid traveler who has some liquidity (meaning you have a good amount of money left over each month after paying off your expenses and debts). You may opt for a credit card that earns you miles with each purchase that you can use on airfare in the future rather than paying cash out of pocket. On the other hand, maybe you’re not looking to travel just yet, are in school, and barely making it by month to month. You would likely do better with a student credit card with a lower APR (Annual Percentage Rate) and lower spending limit that would keep you out of longer-term debt issues. It really depends on your financial position and interests at the end of the day.

What’s an APR?

Good timing! APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate. It is the percentage that credit companies and lenders charge on an annual basis, calculated off your balance. The most common ways you will see this is in the interest applied to your credit account during a billing cycle.

With a Variable APR (the most common credit card APR), you can calculate this by taking your daily rate (divide your credit card’s APR by 365) x average daily balance (add all the balances at the end of each day and divide by the number of days in that billing cycle) x days in billing cycle. That will get you your credit card APR.

A Fixed APR is a fixed rate that you can lock in for a designated period. Keep in mind that fixed rates can sometimes be higher than Variable APRs and can also change based on if you miss payments or your credit score decreases.

If you don’t plan to carry a balance with your credit cards (that should always be your goal), APR won’t impact you as they are based on balances you carry.

Who else can see my credit score?

Another great question. Individuals and entities who have access to your personal credit score are lenders, landlords, utilities, potential employers, and insurance companies. Each of these have a specific reason why they may want access to your credit information, but all get back to the same question of “what is level of risk I take on if lending/servicing/employing this individual?” The higher your credit score, the less risky you appear to these entities, and you may eliminate any need to pay additional fees that offset that risk.

How do I find my own credit card score?

There are a variety of companies that can do a credit report for you or obtain your credit score. A credit report is a statement that details your credit history. A credit score is the three-digit number we mentioned at the beginning of this article. Some loans, financial institutions, and employers will provide annual credit reports to their customers or employees for free. If you’re looking for yours without these resources, you can find more information by visiting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) website.

Should I pay my entire balance each month? Should I only pay the minimum?

Ideally, each month you should pay off your balance so that you have a better ratio of debt to available credit. The minimum balance is truly the “bare-minimum” that you should pay each month to stay in good standing. Not to mention that if you decide not to pay it off in full, you will begin accumulating interest likely as well. That total balance will keep ticking upward!

How do I build credit?

You build credit by paying your debts on time or in full over a period of time. Building credit takes time and discipline. Despite what you may think, having debt can be a good thing. Some debt is looked at more favorably than others! A few debts that are often considered better for your credit would be a mortgage, student loans, and car loans generally. This is because each of them can positively impact your financial position and potentially provide a return on your investment. “Bad debt” would be more often considered credit cards or high-interest loans that are difficult to repay. Now, if you’re paying off your credit card in full each month, that can actually help your credit score, too. The key is to pay on time and be aware of what you can afford to pay off ultimately. Don’t overspend.

What happens if I miss a monthly payment on my credit card?

It depends. Every institution or loan may have specific terms for missed payments and it’s important to familiarize yourself with them before you sign up for a card, loan, or otherwise. Regardless, this does not positively impact your credit and over time can really hurt it.

Can I get a credit card if I have no credit?

Yes, you can. The options for which are available to you may vary though. You may need to start out with a card that is designated a “student credit card” or another introductory card with a higher APR due to your risk profile. But generally, there is a card out there for everyone. Just be sure to understand the minimums and APR you’ll be repaying for that card itself. If you are living paycheck-to-paycheck, a credit card may not be a great option for you just yet.

Why do we have “Credit.” Where does it come from?

Credit is, in other words, your buying or financial power. It’s your promise to pay back a balance from an institution, individual, or other entity. The history of credit dates back thousands of years. It has often been originally linked to farmers. As a farmer’s crops took time to grow, they would need to take out credit from the sellers for the initial seeds they would plant and pay them back plus interest when the harvest was complete, and they had cashflow from the sale of their crops.

Disclaimer: Avenica is not a financial institution or personal finance expert. The information above is for informational purposes only and should not be seen as financial guidance. You should always seek additional information from a financial professional before opening a credit card or taking on any level of debt.

Benefits Basics

Insights

Benefits That Come With A Job: Terms You Should Know

Understanding and selecting the right benefit plan from your employer.

Nicole Peterlin

Director of Human Resources

Benefits that come with a job can be overwhelming, or even underwhelming when accepting your first role. Every employer is different, but we asked our benefits experts at Avenica to answer some of our FAQs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Benefits That Come With A Job

What is a co-pay?

A co-pay is a set amount you pay upfront for certain services or prescriptions. Co-pays apply toward meeting your out-of-pocket maximum, but not your deductible.

What is deductible?

A deductible is the amount your pay each year before your insurance starts to pay. If you have a $1,000 deductible you would need to spend $1,000 on medical care before your insurance begins to cover it.

How much comes out of my paycheck?

Typically, what comes out of your paycheck via payroll deduction is your premium cost. The actual amount of your premium will vary based on the plan, the carrier, the employer cost-share, and other factors. Most times these payroll deductions are made on a pre-tax basis, so you’re paying for them before any federal, state, or other taxes are deducted from your paycheck.

How much is “normal” to pay for benefits?

There’s not really a “normal” amount to pay for benefits. Premium costs are determined for each plan using a variety of factors and can vary widely. Costs may be determined using state and federal guidelines, member experience ratings, location, and costs of service providers, in addition to other factors.

To understand the overall cost of your insurance you can consider: how much you’ll pay for premiums, how much you’d have to pay to meet a deductible, and what a normal office visit or prescription might cost. These will help you decide which coverages might be best for you and your personal health needs.

Costs are also often offset by employer contributions — generally, employers don’t fully cover benefits for employees but do offer some cost-sharing. This means both you and your employer pay a portion of your health insurance premiums. It’s a nice benefit if the employer’s share of the cost is higher than the employee’s share!

What should I look for in a benefits plan when I am accepting a role?

Employers attract talent partially through the job and the compensation offered, but also through the benefits package – which typically includes medical, dental, vision, retirement, and other benefits or perks, such as life insurance, short and long-term disability insurance, or pet insurance. You might not need (or want) them all, but it’s nice to know what an employer is offering. It can be found in your official job offer or a question you ask the hiring manager during the interview process.

For medical insurance specifically, you might be interested in a low-cost, super basic health plan or you might be interested in a more comprehensive benefits plan for those “just-in-case” moments.

If you had healthcare needs that would require you to use your coverage more often (frequent prescription refills, regular office visits, etc.), then you’ll really want to pay attention to the out-of-pocket costs and deductible – you may be inclined to choose the plan that has a lower deductible or has a co-pay structure, rather than say, a High Deductible Health Plan.

Can I change my benefits or am I stuck?

Once you pick your benefits for the first time, you’re generally locked in for the duration of the plan year. There are some exceptions to when you can make benefit plan changes – these are called Qualifying Life Events (QLE’s). Examples of a QLE might be: losing coverage on a parent’s plan, getting married, getting divorced, having a baby, or gaining coverage through a new job. There are others, too, but these are standard life events that employees may experience throughout the course of a year that allows you to make corresponding mid-year benefit changes.

Outside of QLE’s, you generally have to wait until Open Enrollment – an annual period of time when plans are renewed, and employees are asked to re-evaluate and make changes for the next benefit plan year. Again, you’re locked into those elections than for the full plan year unless you experience a QLE and can make a mid-year change!

How much will I actually pay the doctor?

It depends on your plan and what you’re seeing the doctor for. Typically, preventive care visits (your annual physical or wellness exam) are covered at 100% – zero cost to you. If you’re referred for other tests and bloodwork, those elements of your visit may not be covered at 100% – you might have to pay out of pocket.  If you have a plan that offers a co-pay, then you typically pay the corresponding co-pay for that visit. If you have a co-insurance plan, then you typically pay the full cost of the visit or procedure. It really depends on what’s covered / what’s not covered under your plan and how things are coded by the medical provider. Reading the fine print is important.

Who can answer questions for me about my insurance?

Your health insurance carrier is a great resource if you want to talk about what’s covered or what’s not, and your HR department might be able to provide more detail as well. If you have benefits questions, ask the front desk for guidance on how to find out what’s covered.

What is co-insurance?

Co-insurance applies after your deductible is met – it’s your share of the costs of a covered health care service. For example, if you met your deductible, and your insurance plan pays 70% after the deductible is met, you pay 30% of health care costs between when your deductible is met and until your out-of-pocket maximum is met. The cost-share of the insurance plan’s responsibility and your responsibility is co-insurance.

What is an out-of-pocket maximum?

It’s the most you will pay for health care services covered by your insurance in a plan year. Once you reach your out-of-pocket maximum, your insurance pays 100% of any additional covered charges for the rest of the year.

What is preventive care?

Preventive care helps detect or prevent serious diseases and medical problems before they become major. This is different from diagnostic care, which is when your provider is looking for something specific to diagnose, often because of symptoms or based on results of a preventive test or screening.

Can I stay on my parent’s? Can I join my partner’s? Can I be on more than one plan?

Covered dependents can remain on a parent’s plan until the age of 26, which is when individuals typically age out of their parent’s plans and must seek coverage as an individual or join another plan.

You may join a spouse’s plan if you are legally married, and their plans allow for spousal coverage. You may be able to join a partner’s plan as a domestic partner — but this depends on the plan’s eligibility criteria. Each plan is unique, so I’d recommend always reviewing the plan documents or asking a trusted source like your carrier or the HR department for benefits questions.

While you can be on more than one plan, it’s uncommon. In instances where you are covered twice, the two plans work under what’s called “coordination of benefits.” This is where one plan pays as primary and the other pays as secondary. The pros and cons to this largely depend on the plans themselves, how they determine the coordination of benefits, and the costs to hold both plans.

Who can I include in my plan?

You can enroll qualified dependents onto your medical, dental, and vision plans. This could be your legally married spouse (or domestic partner, if eligible under the plan) and children.

If you’re looking for information on how to kickstart your career, contact Avenica or browse jobs today! We help our entry-level job seekers find positions that fit their expertise and career goals.