Even though we're led to believe that internships are the key to successful careers, we're also wary of companies that take advantage of the free labor, relegating interns to coffee runs or leftover tasks that don't enhance professional development. Students, new graduates, or even professionals looking to change careers and gain experience in an unfamiliar field can avoid being taken advantage of if they know their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). For example, unpaid internships are legal under federal law, but only if it meets specific criteria, and too often companies play fast and loose with the details of an internship in attempts to qualify. Here's the best advice from employers and labor activists about what to look for in a company's internship program.
1. Be clear if the position is paid or unpaid
The FLSA requires employers to pay employees for their work, but what defines an "employee" from an "intern?" Officially, courts impose the "primary beneficiary test," which is a loose set of criteria that only defines the difference in terms of how the employer and the intern understand the position. Namely, if the internship provides more benefits to the employer in terms of labor, cost, and company services, then the intern must be regarded as an employee. Conversely, if the position provides professional training comparable to an educational environment, enhances (rather than inhibits) the intern's coursework, and both the employer and intern clearly understand that no paid job is promised at the end of the program, then (and only then) is it legal to not pay an intern. Additionally, if the company is a non-profit, then they're granted an exception and may count unpaid interns as volunteers
2. Look for positions relevant to your field
The point of an internship is to gain professional experience and training. Look for opportunities that have built-in support systems to provide hands-on experience in the field of your choice. Be clear about what duties will be expected of you in the position.
3. Ask about mentors
In addition to gaining experience, the goals of an internship include meeting mentors who are invested in your progress. Particularly strong programs allow interns to access higher level executives. This will not only help you network in your professional future, it will enhance your understanding of the field.
4. Be aware of time commitment and living costs
Since unpaid internships can't guarantee a paid position at the end of the program, pay attention to how long the internship lasts and if the time investment will be worth it. Be careful to consider if your lifestyle can be maintained for that duration of time. Even if the position is a paid opportunity of your dreams, like the Disney College Program, be clear if the internship is limited to one-semester or longer. For example, the Disney internship is only available to enrolled students, lasts one-semester, and requires an application fee as well as a housing fee.
The last point is especially crucial if an internship requires relocation. Ideal opportunities are worth the sacrifices of time and even creature comforts, but they need to be feasible. If you're required to relocate, don't jump to apply unless you're reasonably certain you have the means and willingness to change your environment. Does the internship offer housing? Is there's a fee, how much is it? Does the program compensate transportation costs? Be certain you know the answers before you apply.
Internships are strong enhancements on resumes and can introduce you to a network of professionals to begin your new career. However, legalities and logistics are vital to work out before you apply to a program that could take advantage of your time, energy, and skills.
- Some college internships pay twice what regular workers earn ›
- How To Be The Best Intern EVER | Internship Tips Success ›
- Top Colleges, Universities for Internship, Co-Op Programs | Best ... ›
- Internships at Good Housekeeping - Student Internships ›
- Types of Internships for Business Majors | Career Advice & Interview ... ›
- 15 Best Practices for Internship Programs ›
- 2019 Marketing Internships | Internships.com ›
- The Top 25 Highest Paying Internships for College Students ›
- 2019 Business Internships | Internships.com ›
- The 50 Best Internships rankings|Vault.com ›
- The 11 Best US Companies for Students to Get Summer Internships ›
- 25 Highest Paying Internships in America for 2017 - Glassdoor Blog ›
- Key Qualities of a Good Internship ›
- 40+ Exciting Summer Internships for College Students & Grad ... ›
- The 10 companies with the best summer internships, according to ... ›
Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to grow in your current one, getting a certification can be a great way to improve your skills.
Anyone can put that they are proficient in a computer program on their resume but having a certificate can help you stand out amongst the competition and give credence to the strength of your skills.
But what's the best way to invest in yourself without breaking the bank? Some certification programs can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. We are going to walk through six of the best certifications you can get for $100 or less.
Who is it best for: Those who work with analyzing and presenting data.
Cost: $100 for Tableau Desktop Specialist; additional certifications are available for a larger fee.
More companies than ever see themselves as data companies. Being able to understand data and use it to guide decisions at your company is often critical to taking on a leadership role. Not to mention, being able to present the data in a clean, attractive, and compelling way can help get buy-in from others in your organization or clients. That's why Tableau is a great tool to have in your toolbox.
Tableau allows you to create interactive visual analytics dashboards. In layman's terms, you can take data; create graphs, maps, or charts; and then allow end-users to interact with these graphics to better understand the information. It's a fantastic tool allowing non-technical users to gain insights for data-driven decision-making.
Tableau Desktop Specialist certification starts at $100 and has no expiration date. There are many videos on Tableau's site to prepare for your exam as well as Tableau Starter Kits allowing you to play around and learn the different capabilities of the program. Tableau offers a 14-day free trial as well as free license for one year for students.
Additional certifications after Desktop Specialist are Desktop Associate and Desktop Professional. Those working with a Tableau server may also be interested in a separate certification as a Server Associate or Server Professional.
- 7 Free Certification Courses to Enhance Your Resume | TopResume ›
- 7 Free Certifications To Enhance Your Resume ›
- Top 15 certifications in demand for 2020 | CIO ›
- Best Certificate Programs That Lead to High-Paying Jobs ›
- 8 Certifications That Actually Impress Recruiters | Glassdoor ›
- Professional Certifications That Can Help Your Career - Simplemost ›
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 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.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.