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Take Charge of Your Career

(Family Features) Whether you want to advance your career or make the change to a new career, it's up to you to make it happen. "Sometimes hundreds of professionals are sending resumes for one open position, so you cannot leave things up to chance," said University of Phoenix School of Business Dean Dr. Bill Berry. "You need to put a solid plan in place that will help you set the right career goals and obtain the skills you need to give you a competitive advantage." Determine Your Career Goals Think about what you really want to do with your career - and be specific. Ask yourself some questions: What are the things that interest you most? What motivates you? In what kind of work environment do you thrive? What kinds of jobs fit these criteria? If you're not sure, it can be helpful to take a personal assessment. "Doing so can help you uncover your passions and preferences," said Dean Berry. "It can help you identify strengths and can help you make an informed decision about your career." Identify Skills Gaps There are more than three million job openings in this country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, yet ... read more

Spring Cleaning Shortcuts

Spring Cleaning Shortcuts   Spring brings a sense of fresh beginnings, and for many, that includes the annual ritual of spring cleaning. A survey conducted by the American Cleaning Institute found that 62 percent of people engage in spring cleaning each year, and their top three priorities are the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. This year, spring cleaning doesn't have to be a long, dreaded process. Follow these quick tips to not only get your house clean in no time, but keep it clean in the long run. Dealing with Dust Dust buildup not only looks bad, but it can also be bad for allergies. Skip the feather duster - it just spreads dust around. For fast dusting, use multi-surface cleaning wipes to pick up dust from furniture and electronics. When you dust, work from the top down. Cut back on dust by making sure your vacuum cleaner bags and filters are clean and in good working order. That will keep dust and debris from being blown out into the air as you vacuum. Change your furnace filter regularly and dust or vacuum vents to keep buildup to a minimum. Kitchen As one of the busiest rooms in the house, the ... read more

How to Do Your Taxes for Free

How to Do Your Taxes for Free   Going to college; getting your first job; moving into your own place. To these rites of passage add one more: doing your own taxes. And, it's not as scary as you might think. It's not scary because there's help available. It's called Free File, and it's offered exclusively from the IRS in partnership with nearly 15 leading tax software companies. About 3 million people use it every year. Free File lets you choose brand-name software that does the hard work for you - all for free. And, it offers a fast, safe and free option for everyone. Brand-name tax software is available to those who made $57,000 or less in 2012 - which is about 70 percent of us. Earned more? Try Free File's online fillable forms, the electronic alternative to IRS paper forms. Three simple steps to getting started Step 1: Gather Your Tax Information Collect your tax information and log on to Free File through the IRS website: www.IRS.gov/freefile. Step 2: Choose an Option The "Help Me Choose A Company" option helps you pick the brand-name software that will guide you through the tax process. Free File Fillable Forms, the ... read more

Smart Substitutions

Smart Substitutions   When you're hungry and pressed for time, it's tempting to swing through the drive-thru or order takeout. But while these seemingly convenient choices save you time, they might cost you in calories, fat, sugar and sodium. Here are some easy ways to make smart substitutions throughout the day that are also time-saving. Breakfast: Eating breakfast starts your day off right and helps you control hunger. Save up to 300 calories by substituting a doughnut or danish with a small English muffin and a tablespoon of your favorite nut butter. You'll also get the added benefit of protein, which gives you energy to start the day. Be mindful of what you add to your morning coffee. Your on-the-go 16-ounce latte could contain as much as 330 calories, 13 grams of fat and 40 grams of sugar, and could be costing you. Substitute with a 12-ounce cup of coffee with skim or soy milk, a pinch of cinnamon and a natural sweetener like honey. Lunch: You can enjoy a satisfying, convenient and smart meal whether you're at home, work or out to eat. If you can, avoid full-calorie pizzeria pizza and look for products such as Weight Watchers® Smart ... read more