Newsletter Highlights


:: 5 Things Included in Every Successful Budget ::

A recent study by US Bank revealed that only 41 percent of Americans use budgets to manage their money. While it’s great that more people are budgeting their money now than in 2013, when only 32 percent of American households were routinely utilizing a budget, many are still living paycheck to paycheck and ask each month, “Where did my money go?”

Every adult needs a spending plan to manage income and expenses. When crafting your budget, determine how much you can afford to spend for each of your monthly expenses. Below are the five items that make up a great budget.



:: Financial Literacy Supports College Success ::

New students face a variety of challenges during their college career, including important financial decisions that could follow them for years to come. Incorporating a personal money management session into your orientation program or seminar classes can help students make smart financial choices, which can boost retention at your campus.

Our services are FREE and our program allows you to choose resource options that best meet your students’ needs.

If you’re ready to talk about how OKMM can help your students improve their money management skills, contact us at 405.234.4313, 800.970.OKMM (toll free) or OklahomaMoneyMatters@ocap. Workshops are subject to staff availability, so schedule yours today!



:: HOW FINANCIALLY SAVVY ARE YOU? ::

How much money should you save in your emergency fund?

a. $500

b. $1,000

c. One month’s living expenses

d. Three to six months’ living expenses

What website should you use to get a free copy of your credit report each year?

a. FreeCreditReport.com

b. AnnualCreditReport.com

c. INeedMyCreditReport.com

d. CreditReports.com

What percentage of your available credit should you utilize to maintain a positive credit score?

a. 100%

b. 75%

c. 50%

d. 30%

Answers:

Q. How much money should you save in your emergency fund? Answer: 3–6 months of expenses.

Q. What website should you use to get a free copy of your credit report each year? Answer: AnnualCreditReport.com

Q. What percentage of your available credit should you utilize to maintain a positive credit score? Answer: 30% or less.



:: Q&A: Interview & Resume Tips ::

Dr. Brett Sharp teaches Human Resources in the Public Sector at the University of Central Oklahoma. In this month’s Q&A, Dr. Sharp answers questions about interviewing and resume writing.

What are the biggest mistakes job applicants make on their resume?

The most common mistake is for applicants to send the same resume to each employer. Instead, successful applicants tailor their application materials for each vacancy. Employers can tell if a resume addresses their needs and appreciate those applicants who make the extra effort. Outlining general responsibilities is fine, but more effective resumes emphasize action-oriented accomplishments. An applicant should also be mindful of length. A good rule of thumb is to have about one page for each decade of experience. That means younger candidates should have—at most—one- to two-page resumes. Since hiring supervisors often hurriedly scan incoming applications, the most relevant information should appear on the first page. In fact, human resource professionals usually make decisions by just looking at the top third of a resume, so that’s where the relevant and most critical information should appear. Make use of white space. Pick a clear, clean font that looks good both in print and on screen. Calibri is a contemporary font that was designed for that very purpose. It may be too obvious to say, but simple grammatical errors scream carelessness or incompetence–neither of which is desirable for an employer’s first impression.

What are the most important things employers consider when reading a cover letter?

Employers have an instinct for authenticity. Show your best side by including vivid anecdotes about your professional accomplishments. Demonstrate that you’ve done your research on the organization in which you’re seeking employment. The cover letter is often the first application component an employer reads. It’s your opportunity to link the information on your resume to the job skills required for the position you desire.

How can a job applicant stand out during an interview?

Be yourself. If asked, admit to mistakes that you’ve made on the job and then show how you’ve learned from experiences. Take advantage of every interview opportunity, even if you’re not interested in the job. Practice makes perfect.

What should applicants look for when selecting a list of references?

References are often overrated for getting to the interview stage, but these become critical when you advance to being a finalist. Make sure your references will reliably sing your praises from a professional perspective. Let the people you list as your references know that you’ve done so. You might even provide them with a list of your accomplishments to reference should they be contacted.

Is the selection process for employees changing at all?

There has been a dramatic change in recent years in how most job applicants are chosen. Resumes and other application materials are now processed through digital automation. More and more, artificial intelligence is assisting in the selection process. Employers are often making use of “people analytics” to help make employment decisions. Be mindful of keywords relevant to the position for which you’re applying and be aware of any digital traces you leave on social media. Humans will still make the final hiring decisions, but clearing the digital pathway has become essential to get your foot in the door. To keep up with the current job market, I advise getting the latest edition of What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles. It’s not only packed with wonderful information, it helps candidates get to know themselves in preparation for marketing their professional skills.



:: It Takes More than Luck to Win a Scholarship ::

Thomas Jefferson said, “I find the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” It may appear some people have indescribable luck when it comes to winning scholarships, but more often than not they made their “luck” through hard work and preparation. There are certain steps you can take to improve your chances of receiving a scholarship for your college education.