Nicholas Fainlight is an aspiring finance professional.

Tag: career advice

Develop Professional Skills Nicholas Fainlight

7 Professional Skills You Should Develop

No matter what industry you work in or where your career ends up going, it’s important to work on developing your professional skills. Far too many people avoid developing professional skills until after they start working, which can negatively impact their career and the way coworkers and supervisors view them. Without developed professional skills, it can even be challenging to get a job in the first place. Here are some of the most useful professional skills you can develop that’ll help your career.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is a skill that takes time to develop and many people do not have. In any environment, being able to approach an issue critically is vitally important. There are some situations where you need to set your personal emotions aside and look impartially at the task at hand. Critical thinking is how you solve issues in business, whether with your product, services, or within the office.


Negotiation is an important professional skill, especially when it comes to positioning yourself to get what you deserve. When you’re up for a raise, negotiation is the skill that helps you get a great salary. You can also negotiate benefits, promotions, business deals, and plenty of other details throughout your career.

Time management

Any job requires a significant amount of time management; most people feel as though they’re overworked. However, the reason many people feel overworked is simply because they do not know how to properly manage their time. You need to become skilled at prioritizing tasks and getting them done in a timely manner in order to move on to other projects. Without time management, you’ll find it’s difficult to successfully work in many environments.


No one wants an irresponsible employee. You need to learn how to be responsible and display that to your supervisor. Be willing to take on additional projects or work that needs to get done. Own up to mistakes you make and stay focused on what you’re doing. Being responsible at work shows you’re a reliable employee; that opens up many more career opportunities.

Work ethic

You can have stellar professional traits, but if you lack a work ethic, you won’t thrive in your career. You’re going to come up against periods in your professional career where you don’t feel like working or feel burned out. It’s at these times that you need to tap into your work ethic and get done what needs to get done. Push through the difficult times and work hard; it’ll pay off later.

Hunger to learn

A desire to continuously learn helps you immensely throughout life. Even once you’re finished with your formal education, you need to keep finding new topics to nurture your brain. Whether it’s formal degrees or taking classes online or simply teaching yourself a new skill, any kind of continual learning helps you out.


You might not be able to clearly teach yourself creativity, but it’s something you can practice. Surround yourself with people, experiences, and objects that inspire you. Take time to understand art and the creative aspects of your job. If you take time to try to be creative, you’ll improve your skill.

Involved New City Nicholas Fainlight

5 Ways to Get Involved in a New City

Whether you’re moving to a new city for work or school, it’s important to get involved in your new home. You might think you’ll be okay and are planning on focusing on your job or academics and believe you can meet people organically, but you’ll enjoy the experience much more if you put your best foot forward as soon as you move and take steps to get involved in the city as much as possible. Connecting with other people, joining organizations, and starting new hobbies makes your transition much less stressful.

Find online communities

One of the easiest ways to get involved in a new city is finding an online community you can join. Whether it’s a forum for new people in the city, a local discussion board, or a Facebook group, there are plenty of ways to find out more about the social aspects of where you’ll be living and begin to make some friends. Even if you simply want to ask some questions about living in the new city, online communities are a great place to start.

Join a networking organization

Most cities have some kind of networking organization you can join, especially if you’re a young professional or college student. These organizations are a wonderful way to meet other people, get involved in local events, and simply learn some new skills or information. You can find these groups using Facebook or simply Google the name of your city and “young professional organization.”


If you’re looking for ways to give back or are passionate about a specific cause, there are plenty of opportunities in any city to volunteer. Look up local philanthropies and then contact them about volunteer opportunities and how you can get more involved. You’ll meet other passionate people who want to give back to the community.

Participate in community events

You can volunteer for community events or you can simply attend them. Just going to community events helps give you a feel for what your new home is like and it provides a wonderful opportunity to connect with locals. At most local community events, you’ll also find plenty of organizations and businesses from the area handing out information about what they do and how you can get involved. Take advantage of what’s happening in your new city and get involved as soon as possible.

Start a new hobby
Starting a new hobby can be incredibly beneficial; you’ll learn new skills and have something to focus on that’s productive. You can also search out local groups that share this hobby, which is something you can do for a hobby you’re already familiar with as well. You’ll meet people you have at least one interest in common with and you can attend meetings or events related to your hobby.

Young man in graduation robes facing auditorium, nicholas fainlight preparing for grad school

6 Tips for Getting Ready to Head to Grad School

Once you’ve been accepted to graduate school, you might think it’s time to relax and that you can approach grad school like you did your undergrad college. However, grad school is vastly different from your previous college experience. You’re studying something much more specialized and are in an even more competitive program. You’ll have to work harder and produce higher level work in order to excel in your grad program. It’s important to remember that grad school is a much more professional environment than undergrad; you’re entirely focused on progressing your career and have a narrowed view of what you want to study. This focus doesn’t mean that grad school can’t be fun, it just mean you need to prepare for it differently than you did undergrad.


Since grad school is all about getting ready for the future, take time to network before and during it. Attend local networking events over the summer and take advantage of any opportunities to connect with people from your school. The sooner you get to know professors and fellow students, the better.

Learn about the school

Once you’ve chosen your grad school, take the time to learn more about it. What’s the town or area around it like? How’s the campus? What are the classes and professors like there? Try to find current students to talk to or blogs to read. It’s never too early to start thinking about what classes you’d like to take or what organizations you’ll get involved with.

Choose where you’ll live

Some grad schools do not offer on-campus housing so it’s up to you to find your own place to stay while in school. Others do offer housing, but it’s often your responsibility to seek out your options and decide where to stay. The last thing you want is to show up on the first day with nowhere to stay.

Increase your knowledge

Before getting to grad school, it’s beneficial to increase your knowledge of the subject you’ll be studying and any other areas that could be useful. Take time to catch up with recent news and developments in your chosen field of study. Refresh yourself on the basics and do some research to find out if there’s any material you should know that you haven’t previously studied.

Get prepared

In addition to being prepared as far as your studies go, making sure you’re practically prepared is important too. Once you decide where you’re living, do you have all the essentials you’ll need for your new home? Do you have clothes that are appropriate for the climate? Are all of your papers in order? Make a list of everything you’ll need and tasks you to complete before starting grad school to be sure you don’t forget anything important.

Create some goals

Finally, set aside time to create a few goals for yourself. You’re entering grad school and need to have a plan for what you’ll do these years and afterwards. Are there specific internships you’d like to apply for? What do you want your career to look like once you’re done with school? Setting long-term goals helps you stay focused and organized during grad school.


A man and a woman in business clothes walking next to one another, no faces shown, image used for Nicholas Fainlight blog on the importance of having a mentor

The Importance of Having a Great Mentor

It does not matter what you are doing in your life, you could always be improving. To seek out the help of another is a sign of maturity and can make a serious difference in your future. Put another way, having a great mentor is a real sign of maturity and a great way to grow in whatever area of life you need to, particularly in your professional career.

Mentors provide you with new knowledge

The first inescapable benefit of having a mentor is the fact that they can provide you with knowledge that you do not currently possess. They have walked in your shoes in the past, so they know what it means to do what you are attempting to do, even if you don’t work in the same industry. You can bounce questions off of them and see what knowledge they can pass on to you.

Motivation is key wants all of us to make sure we fully appreciate the fact that mentors can provide us with the motivation we need to keep going and crush our goals. Simply motivating a person to stay on the right path and keep striving for greatness is a huge asset in and of itself.

No one gets to climb a mountain all by themselves. They need others who to push them along towards the summit. If you attempt to do it all yourself, you will likely not make it very far. Having a mentor means that you can get over the difficulties and struggles to see things through to the end because you have some guidance along the way.

Get unbiased opinions from them

Mentors may provide some people with unbiased opinions about the things they are doing. We all have ideas that are interesting from time to time, but we may not know what to do with that creative energy. Is the idea a good one or not? Is it actually sustainable? These are questions that can only be answered by someone who provides honest and unbiased feedback.

A mentor is a person you can rely on when it comes to getting the feedback you seek. They provide insights about the ideas and thoughts you have that you may not have been able to think of yourself. Only when you hear those thoughts can you grow and expand on the ideas you previously had. Even better, when you have an idea that is not a good one, it is a great thing to have a mentor in your pocket who can tell you that.

Group of people sitting around a table with papers and computers, image used for Nicholas Fainlight blog about great networking sites

6 Great Professional Sites for Networking

No matter where you are in your professional career, networking is a vital part of ensuring success. Whether you’re looking for a new job, new employees, or advice, networking is the way to meet new people. Building an online presence and creating a professional look can be incredibly beneficial to your professional career, especially if you’re just starting out in your field.


Obviously LinkedIn is the most obvious on this list. LinkedIn has almost 500 million members, so you know you’ll have the opportunity to connect and follow some of the most influential thought leaders from all over the world. This website allows you to fill in plenty of relevant information on your profile about your job and education history, any publications you’ve appeared in, and various other categories. There are also lots of sites that allow you to connect your LinkedIn, including lots of job search platforms.


While this website was originally started and directed toward young professional women, anyone can join and utilize it. Like LinkedIn, you can provide a variety of information about your professional and educational background, but there’s also more room for creativity and creating a unique look to your profile.

This site isn’t nearly as large as LinkedIn, but it’s definitely useful when it comes to making connections and finding job opportunities. You can search positions by industry and also check out industry-specific content. You can make an account for free and enjoy many of’s benefits, but you can also purchase a monthly premium membership that features a few extra features.


You may have thought Google+ was not longer relevant, but for many industries, this website is their preferred platform. Whether you use Google+ as a social site or for more professional pursuits is up to you, but you can join various communities and contribute to collections on specific topics.


This website is geared toward investors and those looking for investments, but anyone can join and use AngelList. If you have projects you’ve worked on and significant professional experience, AngelList is a great site to utilize.


Facebook may be the last social network you’d expect to see on this list, but it can certainly be useful for networking. There are lots of groups and pages you can follow on Facebook that encourage networking, often for specific industries and niches. Take time to explore the groups and see what fits your professional career and interests. Just remember, if you’re using Facebook for professional reasons, make sure your profile is professional!

Two people sitting at a table, shaking hands, one man smiling, image used for Nicholas Fainlight blog post about how to prepare for job searching after graduation

6 Tips for Preparing for the Job Hunt after Graduation

Two people sitting at a table, shaking hands, one man smiling, image used for Nicholas Fainlight blog post about how to prepare for job searching after graduation

Graduating college is a joyful, but also daunting time. You’re ready to take a break from constant homework and stress, but you’ll miss your friends. You want to start being an adult, but you might also not really know how to. Often, the most stressful part of the end of college is finding a job. You know you need to have some kind of job, ideally one that pays all the bills and allows you to rent an apartment, travel, and do fun stuff with friends. Maybe your first job isn’t the best, but you need to start somewhere. For many, the job after graduation is the first professional, full-time job they’ll have. Instead of feeling nervous about finding a new job, follow these tips in order to make job hunting easier.

Be realistic

When you first begin searching for a job, you might feel excited and optimistic. You’ll want to retain this feeling for as long as possible, so it’s important that you don’t go into your search thinking you’ll land the perfect job in the perfect place right away. No job is perfect and you’ll need to build your way up from an entry level position. For some people, this isn’t that path the follow and they do get a fantastic job right away, so don’t completely lose hope. However, there’s also nothing wrong with getting an entry-level job. You need to work and you can make the most of it.


Searching for a job is like a full-time job. You need to constantly check job sites and company pages to look for openings, fill out applications, exchange emails, and schedule interviews. If you’re waiting to hear back from an interview, keep applying at other places! Even if it’s taking longer than you anticipated, stay focused on finding a job.

Update your resume

A mistake many people make is never updating their resume and then sending the same copy to dozens of potential employers. Before applying to any jobs, update your resume. Include internships, volunteer experience, and jobs you had in college. Then, feature the most pertinent information depending on what job you apply for, such as relevant classes or volunteer work.

Create an online presence

Employers love to see that you have some kind of professional, online presence. Do a purge of your social media and get rid of any posts that you wouldn’t want your boss to see, then make your accounts private, unless you want to use them for professional purposes. Create a LinkedIn account if you don’t already have one and consider creating a website to feature some professional blogs you write while job searching.


Most professionals will tell you about the incredible power of networking. Always take advantage of opportunities to build your network and meet new people. You never know who might have a connection that could turn into a future job or some other great opportunity. Make sure to take advantage of any career services your college offers or the alumni network.

Enhance your skills

While you’re searching for a job, you’ll have some free time. Spend this time productively. Consider volunteering and working a part-time job, but also make sure you enhance your marketable skills. Learn something useful, such as some coding or educate yourself on a specific topic by reading and keeping up with industry news.

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