Stressful. Nerve-wracking. Exciting. These words could sum up a job interview or a first date perfectly. That's why preparing for an interview is a lot like getting ready for a first date. Naturally (and let's hope) the end result isn't quite the same, but with proper readiness, the outcome for both can be a positive one.

Dates are generally more fun than interviews, so if you plan for your interview as you would a date, the process will seem a lot less daunting. With a little groundwork to make your interview as smooth as possible, this pre-interview prep will have any hiring manager impressed. You'll be best equipped to land the job you want. Then, you can celebrate your new role by using your tactics to enjoy a perfect date!

Do Some Digging

Nowadays, getting some background info about your date isn't only a curiosity tamer, but a safety measure. Same goes for seeking out information about the job you're planning to interview for. But more than satisfying curiosity, doing your research will give you the tools to speak intelligently during the interview and show that you are serious about the job at hand. You can also do some poking around to learn more about the person hiring you so you can learn about their role in the company and have some ammo when it comes to chatting about things you may have in common.

As far as safety goes, you'll be able to determine if the company is real, does what you were told they do, and where they are located.

Note: Just like a date, don't reveal that you've done this amateur personal background check to avoid seeming creepy. Looking up company details are relevant and fine to comment on however.

Get a Good Night's Rest

You want to be fresh, energetic, and on the ball for a first date as well as (or even more so) for an important job interview. While you may have the jitters, it's imperative you get to bed at a reasonable hour so you are the best version of yourself for the big interview.

Put away your smartphone (Facebook can wait), turn off the TV (Judge Judy can too), and make the bedroom as dark as possible. Avoid any heavy eating just before bedtime, and if you drink, have no more than one serving. No one bottle of wine is NOT considered a serving. If you are completely wide awake, consider taking a warm bath or having a mug of chamomile tea. Both will soothe you and have you drifting off in no time.

Set the alarm with plenty of time to breathe deeply in the morning and to get ready at a leisurely pace before the interview so you aren't in freak-out mode in the morning. You'll want to have time to dress nicely, do your hair, and make sure your shoes match.

Eat Something Before You Go

Even if you have a dinner date planned, it's always smart to have a light bite beforehand. Arriving on an empty stomach can make you feel moody, nauseous, or sluggish. Same goes for filling up before an interview. You'll need substantial energy to make it through all the questioning and conversation.

Eat something nutritious and balanced, but not too big. You don't want to feel weighed down or find yourself in need of a bathroom as soon as you arrive at the interview. Consider a yogurt parfait, some whole wheat toast with avocado, a cup of soup and a half sandwich, or a fresh salad.

The fuel will keep your mind sharp and your body going strong. Just be sure you don't drip anything on your suit!

Exude Confidence

As nervous as you may be before a date or an interview, as long as you seem confident, whomever you're with will believe you are. You can practice your confidence skills pre-interview to assure you come across as intelligent, focused, and of good character.

Check your posture as you sit at home throughout the week before the interview. Are you slouching or slumped? It's time to throw your shoulders back and hold your head high. Body language is an important factor that hiring managers are tuned in to.

Practice talking with people, even strangers, and maintain good eye contact and show genuine interest in the discussion.

Brush up on any relevant business lingo and latest trends and developments in the field. The more you know pre-interview, the better things will go if you're hit with intricate questions. And if you don't have the answer to something, be straightforward. Honesty is just as confident as knowing it all.

Are you ready to ace that interview? While it may not be as romantic as dinner and dancing, it will fulfill your mind and future with the prospect of the launch of a new career.

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Developing further skills can boost your career at any stage.

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.

Tableau

Tableau's data visualization capabilities are comparable to Domo and Power BI.

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.

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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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.

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