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The Ins and Outs of Free Writing Contests (free writing contests) Free writing contests are available by the thousands. They are virtually a dime a dozen on the Internet. No matter what your niche is in the writing community there is a free writing contests out there for you. How do you know which ones to enter and which ones are legitimate? That?s simple. You do what you do best-- research. While providing the story for the free writing contest will probably be the easy part, researching the thousands of available contests will be a daunting task. If this is un-chartered water for you, you have the start at the beginning. Finding what free writing contests are available. Grab a notebook or start a word document and list the contests that are available. Beside each contest name you will want to put what kind of writing they are looking for and when it needs to be done by. By doing this first you will be able to eliminate any that do not coincide with your writing niche or with your schedule. Now the free writing contest research begins. Finding out if a contest is worthwhile and legitimate is comparable to running a background check on a person. First check the contest website. Do they have all contact information available? Do they tell you what company is hosting the contest? If they are not, you will have likely found warning number one that it is a scam. So scratch those off your list or at least move them to the bottom until you can find out more information on them. Start asking around to colleagues and writers groups. Search the writing forums and the Internet scam sites. The Better Business Bureau is also a good place to look. Once you narrowed the free writing contests down to the legitimate ones, read the contest rules and regulations. Some contests require you signing over all rights to a story even if you don?t win. Are you willing to do this? Giving up rights to you writing is a lot easier to do when you are getting something in return. After you enter there is no going back, so make sure this is what you want to do. The final thing you need to look for is if the contest is just a cover up to get you to buy services or products. This does not necessarily mean they are a scam or don?t actually award winners. It simply means that they will try to entice you to use their critiquing services or offer you a book at a reduced fee that your work will be published in. Being published sounds like a great deal but is it a book that carries prestige that people are going to see? Many authors think that writing contests will launch their career into a successful endeavor. This is not the case, especially for free writing contests. Even winning the grand prize of a smaller known contest is not going to affect your literary journey. Even though they may not springboard your career, there are good reasons to join writing contests. You will get unbiased opinions and valuable feedback from the judges. If you make it into the higher rounds, editors could also see your writing. Ultimately whether you enter a free writing contest the choice is yours. Just ask you self if the time spent writing and researching the piece you choose to enter is worth writing for free in most cases. The critique and feedback may be the most worthwhile thing you receive from the contest. But then again the judges opinions are a dime a dozen just like the contests.

Assistance on Filling Out those Online Forms for the Free Stuff So, you?ve found a great freebie online, or a free trial of some service you have been wondering about, but the form you have to fill out has left you scratching your head. Sometimes the paperwork involved in getting some free stuff can seem a bit like applying for a mortgage or filling out your life insurance policy, and in fact, many people decide the freebie isn?t worth it after all when they?re facing down an intimidating form to fill out. The good news is that you don?t have to miss out on the free stuff just because the form leaves you a little perplexed. This guide will walk you through filling out these online applications, even if this is your first trip around the Internet. Once you get the hang of things, you?ll be filling out these forms in no time at all. First things first: once you have the form open on the screen in front of you, you have to move your mouse so that the cursor sits in the very first empty space on the form, and then click the mouse once. Some forms will automatically place your cursor there when you open them, but if you are not sure, moving the mouse there and clicking won?t hurt anything at all. All you have to do now is start typing, filling in the information they ask for in that field. Filling out the form the entire form is merely a repetition of this process. Of course, you have to be able to move between the fields easily so you can fill in the rest of the form. On some online forms, the cursor will move automatically when you have finished filling in a field, which makes life easy on you, but others do not. To manually move between fields, all you have to do is either hit the ?tab? key on your keyboard or use your mouse to move the cursor to the next field, just like you did to start typing in the first field. Hitting ?enter? may seem like a natural thing to do, and while it can work on some forms, other forms will submit themselves when you hit enter, meaning you will have submitted a blank form. It is best to stick to ?tab? or your mouse to be on the safe side. This technique should allow you to navigate a freebie form fairly easily. There are a few other things you may see on a form that you have to know how to handle. You may be asked to ?check? a box or indicate in a little circle (called a radio button) that you accept the company?s privacy policy or some other thing. To do this, all you have to do is move your cursor over the box or circle and click ? the check or the dot will then appear. This can also be handy when forms ask for a billing address and a shipping address - if they are the same, you can tick a box stating so and avoid having to type the same thing twice. If a form has several pages, be careful to save your changes for every page as you move along. Usually there will be a button to click at the bottom of the page that allows you to save the work you have done. Especially long forms usually have some kind of side navigation that lets you skip around from section to section instead of moving through the form systematically ? this can be helpful if you need to find some info for one section, but want to take care of all of the other work first. Most forms are reasonably user friendly and contain info to walk you through the process. If you get stuck, look for a help icon on the page ? this info should clear up any questions you may have.

Five Biggest Job Hunting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them Looking for a job can be a challenging experience. Between the resume writing and the interviews you can find yourself exhausted and ready to throw in the towel prematurely. Stay the course until you find the job you want. While you are on your job-hunting journey, here are five big mistakes to avoid when job hunting. Steering clear of these mistakes could make finding a job much easier. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they are job hunting is not looking in enough places for jobs. There is a certain level of diligence you need to maintain when you are searching for a job. Look in newspapers, online and ask around. Of course, there are boundaries you should follow when looking for a job. First of all only apply and interview for jobs that you think you would take if you were offered the position. Do not apply for jobs that you are not qualified at all for or jobs that you do not have a clear understanding of. When applying for jobs, it is important to have a resume that is update and professional looking. If you are not a good resume writer, look at examples online or find a professional to do your resume for you. Employers will take one look at a messy or unprofessional resume and rule you out without ever meeting you. It is also important to be sure that you resume can be found online. There are plenty of job sites that allow users to post resumes. Some sites even allow multiple resumes to be posted. This is a great place for employers to locate your resume and contact you without you actually applying for the job. Lying on your resume can eliminate you from being a job candidate immediately. If you stretch the truth about your experience or the type of jobs you have had in the past, employers will think that you are a liar. If employers think you are a lair they will not feel confident about hiring you because you have already compromised your integrity. Tell the truth about your work and educational history. No matter what people may tell you, an honest inexperienced candidate is better than a lying experienced candidate. Have faith that you will be able to prove your worthiness for the position you are applying for without making up half-truths. Be sure that your contact information is correct and that you respond when you are contacted. No matter how busy you are, you need to check your e-mail and phone messages on a regular basis. If you do not respond to a call about a job this is a sign that you do not need employment that badly. Employers will move on to the next candidate if you are slow getting back to them. Candidates that are not prepared for their interviews are typically eliminated from the search before the interview is over. If you are late for an interview you have a big huge mark against you as soon as you walk in the door. Not being dressed in professional attire also will leave the interview with a very bad impression of you before you even speak. If you show up without a pen or copies of your resume you look like you are unfamiliar with the interview process. This, in turn, makes it quite possible that you are unfamiliar with other work place procedures. A good job hunt can land you the job of your dreams. When you are settled into your new job you will be thankful that you took the time to search for a job the right way.

Continuing Education Key to Being a Better Employee Employers now recognize the importance of continuing education for employees. Over the past few years, more and more employers have begun to offer tuition reimbursement and continuing education classes to their employees. While this was once thought of as an excessive expensive, it is now understood that continuing education benefits the company as much or more as it does the employee. The job market is becoming more and more competitive everyday. Only the best employees are getting jobs in certain sectors. That means that your skills need to be sharp in order for you to remain valuable to your company. This is where continuing education comes into play. No matter what type of job you have, just about all companies are investing in continuing education. The reasons why are simple. Even though the company may spend a good deal of money on continuing education for their employees, they see an even larger return. By having employees that are on the top of their game, the company will be more productive as a whole. Thus the company will make more money. With that in mind, it is very important that employees always take advantage of continuing education classes when they can. You will be able to stay on top of whatever new trends are coming up and possibly acquire skills that will allow you to move up in the company. By taking continuing education classes, you will become more productive. Studies have found that employees that continue to have their skills refreshed and renewed are more productive on the job. This is a perk for both employees and their employers. You will be able to finish more work in less time and with more understanding. Thus making your time at work easier. If you are not sold on the idea of continuing education, think of it this way. Your employer is paying for it. It is a perk of your job that you should take full advantage of. If you are working towards acquiring skills that will lead you to a promotion or an entirely new job, you are doing something to better yourself. And, it is costing you less, or nothing at all. The best companies to work for in the country have great training programs. This is no coincidence. These companies, which also make a ton of money spend thousands of dollars training their employees so that they can go out and make the company the most money possible. Less successful companies have begun to follow suit. No matter what type of job you have, there are continuing education programs that can help enhance your job experience. Continuing education is a great way to break out of a rut. If you are eager to change jobs or get a promotion, you will fair much better in the job market if you do some continuing education. Use whatever means your company offers to better yourself and become more marketable. The type of continuing education you choose depends on your career goals. It is always helpful to have an advanced degree in a certain field. If tuition reimbursement for graduate school is an option, take it. Having a Master?s or PHD will help you become an expert in your field of study. If your job has company continuing education, take them up on it., Even if a promotion is not exactly what you are looking for, being cross trained is always a good idea. Gain as much in the way of knowledge and skills as you can. When you move on to your next job those skills will look great on your resume.