Networking is the life line of any career. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a college student trying to find their next internship, networking correctly can open a lot of doors for you.

Here are seven tips to use for your next networking opportunity.

1. Smile and like you mean it

Not the "Why do I have to be here?" grimace and not like your driver license picture smile. People notice if your smile is genuine and being genuine is a sign of trustworthy person. In turn, trustworthy people get hired.

2. A firm handshake goes a long way

Leave your limp noodle handshakes at home and your hand kissing for debutante season. It's important to have a firm handshake, but it's even more important as woman to be able deliver a solid handshake in a business environment. A 2001 University of Alabama study by psychologist William Chapin showed that "women with firm handshakes tend to be evaluated as positively as men are."

3. Be prepared with your business card

A proper business card has your name, a work email and work number. Your proper business cards need to fit your industry. If you're a creative, the more memorable the card is, the better. If you work in finance, healthcare or a more formal industry, stick to a classic design on heavy weight paper. Be sure to have a stack in a professional case. Business cards go like hot cakes and not having enough makes you look unprepared.

4. Talk to everyone

Competitors, connectors, your next boss and even the people not in your industry. No one is too good for your attention. The six degrees of separation is pretty accurate—everyone knows someone. Your job is finding the people who know the right people for you. Whether you like it or not, personal relationships tend to land you at the top of the list.

5. Be sure to know the most relevant news

The weather and non-political (unless you are at a political event) news are great icebreakers. Knowing what's happening in the world shows that are you're informed and can tap into relevant issues for work. Even better is knowing industry news. Your competitor's CEO just switched companies? Know when and her new responsibilities. Are you in advertising? What's trending in design? What's the next big thing? Who did the most-talked about commercial? Are you a writer? Who broke the latest news? Who won the latest writing award? What's trending on the runway? What aren't people talking about?

6. Ask appropriate personal questions

Beyond the who do you know, asking the right questions helps create common ground. Sincerely ask how their day is going, how long they've been working for their current company, what attracted them to their current job and what they're interested in outside of work. Talking about what you love excites people and leaves the impression you're an enjoyable person to have around. Don't ask if someone is married, what their religion is and for other personal information you don't share in work settings. Propriety isn't dead.

7. Follow up

Take all of those business cards you collected and start making LinkedIn connections. Find the cards of the people you had lengthy conversations with and send them a quick email thanking them for their time one to two days later.

Developing a relationship with people before your job hunt starts gets your foot in door before you're printing out resumes.

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The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

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