A few tips on study habits

study habits

Shalon, a reader of my blog, sent a post with some of her favorite study habits. Back in college and grad school, I like to think that students who earned high grades tended to really develop their skills at studying.

Here are a few things I used to do:

  • For memorization, I found frequent 15-20 minute sessions over the course of a few days worked better than spending two or three hours at a time. I’d carry around flashcards and quiz myself. I believe that memorization is a habit and so found that short sessions worked better.
  • I never crammed and I never stayed up all night writing essays. Instead, I worked every day for about eight hours. At times, I would stay up late writing essays and studying when needed, but in general I tried to get most of my work done in the day. I think this is less stressful as if you procrastinate you just think about it all day.
  • In university, I began to have panic attacks. They’ve stuck around. But I found that exercising before an exam (such as going to the gym in the morning before a noon exam) helped to relax me.
  • Studying right before bed helped with memorization. I wouldn’t do a lot. But enough to let it soak into my brain as I slept.
  • I also read the blog Study Hacks. It’s one of the best guides to becoming an A+ student out there. The blog is written by a computer science professor and has amazing insights into skill development, habit development, and how to manage stress.

Here are Shalon’s study tips. This is Shalon speaking now.


A Cool New Tool I Found To Find Job Postings In Your City


Just enter in a few details and you can find job postings in your city. Works like a charm.

Powered by ZipRecruiter

How can you pick a career that’s right for you?

how to pick your career path

How do you pick a career that’s right for you? With so many options, how can you decide on the right direction to start walking? 

Catherine read my book and is well on her way to a new career. She recently wrote this post about how to pick a career direction and find a path that you love. She said it would be okay if I shared the post below. To follow her progress, visit her blog: www.cbcandmore.com

* * * * * * *

Over a month ago, I had an article published with the Elephant Journal about how my exhausting job search contributed to my feelings of depression. The issue in the end was not that I could not find a full-time position; rather, that I did not have a career-focus. Once I had a career-focus, I found my lifestyle to be more fulfilling as I am now working towards my goal.

While I attended university, I considered applying to law school and graduate studies in public policy. However, upon completing my philosophy degree at McGill University, I realized that not only did I need a break from academia, staying in school longer will not give me the career insight that I needed.

Here’s are the steps that worked for me.


How I went from mowing lawns to making 90K per year

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Here’s how I used to try to get a job as an English major,

Dearest Sir AND/Or Madame, 

As a recent graduate with a Master’s Degree in English Literature, I can assure you that you can look no further for a finer writer. I’m a scholar of grammar, narrative form, and a collector of pretty words that roll like pearls in your mouth. I shall write, edit, and proofread for you. Let me know if you have an opening for a strong communicator. 

Your Faithful Word Slave Starving and Deep in Student Loan Debt, 


BA in English (Dean’s List) 

MA in English 

Like most humanities grads, I thought that my best skills were writing and editing.

But here’s a hard smack in the face for humanities majors. There are VERY few jobs out there for writers alone.

Journalism is almost dead, book publishing is dwindling, and most writers and editors aren’t doing very well these days.

So what can you do?

Unless you plan to write best-selling novels or write for television, the best path to actually earning a livable wage from your writing is to think about this question . . .


Why a weird, long, and bizarre cover letter got me a job

I once wrote a cover letter. It was seven pages long. It broke every rule you’ve ever been taught about cover letters.

This cover letter landed me an internship, which got me a job, which started my career. Most of all, this cover letter taught me an important lesson about getting a job.

The first rule of a cover letter is . . .

The employer actually has to read it.

This is why starting your cover letter with “I’m a recent grad from the University of Nobody Cares” is a terrible way to present yourself.


The same.

Another generic applicant.


Do You Freelance to Pay the Bills? Don’t Get Caught by the Tax Trap

People seem to send me more guest posts these days. As I’m busy with my day job, I post the ones I think will be useful to you. This post is by Damian Davila. 

A few years ago, I was a contractor at a company. This means that the company isn’t claiming you as a employee. As such, you are a freelancer and responsible for paying employee-related taxes to the government. I happily spent my extra money and got hit by a big tax bill. I wish I had read a post like this back then as I’m pretty horrible with my books. 

Are you freelancing? Pay attention to the tips in this article as the old saying about death and taxes is true. 

This article covers how freelance article writers can keep more efficient track of revenues and expenses, and what tools and templates make billing and budgeting easier.

There are about 53 million Americans freelancing, generating an estimated $715 billion in earnings to our economy. When thinking about freelancing, the image of the freelance article writer often comes to mind.

With a median annual ranging from $51,940 to $61,630 back in 2012, freelance writing is an attractive career for those looking for schedule flexibility.? However, freelancers cite finding work and income stability as the top barriers to the industry.

In this article, we will cover how freelance article writers can keep more efficient track of revenues and expenses, and what tools and templates make billing and budgeting easier.


How to Make a Career in Investment Copywriting for Penny Stocks

I received an email from a guy named Hanson. He wanted to share some tips for humanities majors looking for jobs. The article he sent me was too interesting to not publish. I  personally know nothing about penny stocks. But this article is so good and the step-by-step tips for cold emailing to land that first job are brilliant and would work in other industries. Hanson, take it away my friend . . . 

If you have your series 7 or any brokerage license, please click the top back button on your browser or Alt-F4.

Investment writing in the penny stocks field is not for those with professional licenses.

This is why there’s a huge opportunity for you, a humanities major, to enter in.

A lot of people who enter this industry did not go to a formal college. They hustled as sales guys in boiler rooms, pushed penny stocks, and eventually they moved up the ranks. Back in the day, telemarketers would cold call potential customers.

As they gathered enough knowledge, they struck out on their own and created their own alert site to showcase the list of best penny stocks that they’re aware about. These days the effective way to push penny stocks is by email to investors.

I will be showing you how to find these penny stock newsletter guys.

How much can you earn on an average newsletter?

An average newsletter is 500 to 1000 words long. You will spend about 2 hours researching facts and data. Don’t worry, I show you where to find everything. You can get paid $500 to $1,000 for one email or up to $2,000 for a week series.

You need to be good at writing in a persuasive, factual, technical manner.


The #1 trait employers really want

career advice for college majors

Be positive, even when you are not.

It was the middle of August and I was working my first real hard job.

They had taken us up in trucks through a deep valley and into the back mountains of Revelstoke, British Columbia. We were brushing, which means you get a small blade and slowly climb over bramble and rocks and fallen trees, cutting away overgrown grass from newly planted trees.

This was our first day brushing, my friend and I. We were terrible at it. And had a lot to prove to the foreman.

Three things that define brushing:

  • The mountains are burning hot and you sweat and climb.
  • It’s fieldwork. Steady and paid by quantity of work.
  • It’s hard, boring, and tiring work.

By the end of the first day, my friend and I climbed off the cutblock and walked along the mountain road. We were tired and walked slow.

The truck appeared around the corner. My friend gave me this piece of advice which has helped me all my career. He said, “run and look positive.”

At the end of a long day, you expect a worker to be sluggish and complaining about their blistered feet. You don’t expect them to run down the mountains and jump into the truck happy and energetic.

So we jogged towards the truck. I didn’t feel like running. I wanted to complain about how hard the day was, how hot the day was, how much brushing sucked.

This impressed the foreman. At the end of the contract, he shook our hands and told us we could come back anytime for a job.

This taught me four career lessons:


Join me for a live webinar on finding a career with your humanities degree – Feb 28th

Join me and the Versatile PhD Group in Boston as I deliver a live webinar on February 28th, 2015.


The webinar is called, “A Roadmap to Using Your PhD in a Career Outside of Academia.” The date is Saturday Feb 28, 2015. 12:30 PM Eastern Time.

  • I’ll share a roadmap for marketing your PhD outside academia
  • Learn the 4 types of companies that need PhDs
  • Very practical steps you can take

How to Register 

If you have questions about joining, please contact @VPhDBoston or contact their group. I’m only presenting and not handling the registration.

See you there!

Another reader of my book gets a job – thanks for emailing me these stories

This weekend, I received this email. Thank-you for sending me your stories. It’s good to know smart humanities majors are finding their place in the world.

I’m a frequent reader of your blog since I discovered it as a panicking philosophy junior. I bought your e-book, signed up for your 14-day career course, religiously followed everything you’ve said and ended up at one of the largest ad agencies in the world in their NYC office. I’m now doing social analytics for their 2 biggest accounts, two Fortune 1000 brands. I can honestly say that your blog has been the biggest source of inspiration for me during the past 2 years. Thank you so much for having kept writing.


New on your career journey? Start with these resources.