Unique Engagement Presents for Her

Getting engaged is an extremely exciting phase in a woman’s life and there’s no better way to help her celebrate than finding the perfect engagement present for her. While an engagement gift is definitely not expected from anyone, if you are really close to the bride-to-be, then you shouldn’t feel out of line by giving her a little gift as a way to say congrats.

Many times the couple, or the couple’s family, may throw an engagement party to announce the engagement and to provide a comfortable place for the family and friends of the couple to meet for the first time or the get to know one another better.

If the couple is throwing an engagement party, then you may not want to just bring a gift for her. You can always give it to her in private at a later date and just bring a nice congrats card to the party or you can find a gift that both of them might enjoy!

Here are some great engagement present ideas for her that you can think about:

Make-up Consultation
If her big day is quickly approaching and you know that she is nervous about what type of make-up she should wear, then consider getting her a make-up consultation with a professional make-up artist. Many make-up consultations are paid by the hour and during the consultation she can talk to a professional about what type of look she is going for. Or she can bring pictures from magazines to ask the artist’s opinion. The consultation will likely include a make-over where the make-up artist can show her how to put on her make-up and advise her on colors, and the tools necessary to execute the look she is going for. This can be great if she is planning on doing her own make-up or she may even decide to hire the artist to do her make-up for the big day!

Be Her Gym Buddy
If you and her belong to the same gym and she is aiming to lose some weight for the wedding, then consider being her encouragement and helping her lose those last few pounds. It can be difficult to find time to make it to the gym with so much wedding planning and organizing to do, but if she knows that you are going to be and will be holding her accountable, then that small extra push can be just what she needs!

Offer Her Your Personal Services
Planning a wedding is stressful! Consider what type of things or services that you can provide for the bride-to-be. Are you great at creating centerpieces? Is she always complimenting you on your music tastes? Then consider offering your services to decorate the tables or create a fun playlist for the wedding. This can be a wonderful gift if she is a do-it-yourself type of person. Also, her bridesmaids may be extremely thankful for those extra pair of hands – especially on the day of the wedding. So consider your talents and write her up a creative little coupon for her engagement gift, this can certainly make her day!

How To Negotiate Your Salary As A New Graduate

So you’re a recent college graduate seeking your first full time job. As such, are you willing to accept any salary that a company offers you? You’re probably excited just to be offered a job and don’t want to rock the boat, right? I bet you’re thinking to yourself that you’re in no position to negotiate a salary. Well, you’re wrong.

Most people are too afraid to negotiate their salaries and while you may feel that it won’t affect you right now (you’re just happy to have a job offer, especially in the current state of the economy), not negotiating your salary can impact your salaries in future years. Having worked alongside hundreds of graduate job seekers the most common response I get as to why a new graduate did not negotiate their salary is because they were afraid the employer might take their job offer away. I can tell you that this cannot be further from the truth. The hiring process is a long and time consuming process (also a costly process – think about how many hours go into the selection process), and a company is not going to take back their job offer because you want to negotiate your job salary. In fact, employers actually expect to negotiate salaries and as such often offer lower salaries than what they can pay for the role.

My advice is simple. Don’t wait until you have been in the job for 1 to 2 years before you ask for a pay rise. Negotiate your job offer. You have nothing to lose!

Researching is the key to negotiating:

We all want to be paid as much money as possible. This goes without saying. However, the key to negotiating is to present a valid case as to why you deserve a higher salary. Before you begin your negotiation you need to know your market value. What is the market rate for your type of position? Using online salary tools is a great way to find out what other graduates in similar roles and similar geographic areas are getting paid. This is important as comparing your salary as someone who may live in a large city to a person living in a remote area will be different. In addition to using salary tools, use your own networks, speak with people within the industry, contact your career services office at your university and search forums and blogs.

When the time comes to begin the negotiations, be confident and be prepared to justify your worth. Back up your negotiation with examples. Most importantly, just be yourself. Remember that the interview process is not just about the hiring manager finding out if you’re a good fit for their organization, but it is also about finding out if the company is a good fit for you.

Negotiating can be an uncomfortable and frightening experience, but once it’s over and you have secured a higher salary you will be smiling all the way to the bank!

The Seven Deadly Sins of Presentations

Every day, so many tens of thousands of innocent clients and employees are bored to tears by presentations that it ought to be considered a crime against humanity.

Are your presentations guilty of the following sins?

  1. Illegibility. Know the size of the room, screen and audience before you create a presentation. The person at the back of the crowd should easily be able to read your slides. If he or she can’t, they’re going to tune out. Pick a clearly readable font that’s large enough for the potential decision maker at the back of the room to read. And make sure to keep your slide backgrounds simple and clean.
  2. Information Overload. Presentations are supposed to support what you’re saying, not tell the whole story. Otherwise, why should people listen to you? Use the outline of your presentation to pick and choose the main points on the screen. If you are going over a complex document, give your audience a handout to which they can refer.
  3. Bullet Point Abuse. Slide after slide of bulleted text will have your audience sliding into REM. Break up the text with an image, video, chart or other illustration that is relevant and that will crystallize your main point.
  4. Lost in the Wilderness. In longer presentations, take the time to put information into context. As you complete each section, flash back to the bigger picture for a moment so the audience knows how all the information fits together. This will also keep your presentation on track because if you can’t fit a section into the bigger picture, it doesn’t belong there.
  5. Selfishness. In sales presentations, it’s easy to slide into the trap of telling talking about your product or service, instead of what it will do for your customer’s lives. Internal presentations, be they about sales activities or manufacturing output, should also take their audience’s concerns into consideration. In presenting to your boss, keep the goals he’s set for you and the bigger picture in mind. In presenting to staffers, reinforce the positive reasons why they should be paying attention.
  6. Poor Branding. Using a template, especially one that is at odds with your corporate branding, will make it hard for people to recall who presented what, especially if you’re competing for attention. Make sure the design, layout, colours and font used in your presentation could only have come from your company.
  7. Copyright Violation. Sure it’s tempting to grab a graphic from a Google Image Search, scan a Dilbert cartoon or use a track from your favourite music CD to spice up your presentation, but guess what? It’s illegal. Even if you’re only putting together an internal presentation: if you didn’t commission the material you wish to use or get it from a royalty free source that allows business use – it’s against the law to include it. You might not get a knock on your door from Sony music or Scott Adams (the guy that writes Dilbert), but if your boss or client is sensitive about protecting intellectual property and is reasonably savvy, you could (at best) end up embarrassing yourself and at worst lose a major account.