Author Archives: Andrew Dauphinee

About Andrew Dauphinee

Education and learning are passions of mine. Lifelong learning is a core part of who I am and I strive to pass that desire for information on to everyone I meet. As the Instruction and Outreach Librarian, it is my goal to provide quality, informative, and relevant programming to meet the diverse needs of our patrons. Please contact me regarding programming at adauphinee@njstatelib.org.

Home Buying Program Recap

Thank you to James Goodman, Home Finance Consultant for the Credit Union of New Jersey, for breaking down the complex process of buying a home.  James highlighted the entire home buying process step by step, including securing a mortgage and what to expect at closing, especially the different fees that will be factored in.  He also went through the entire mortgage process, explaining how to calculate how much you can afford, the documents needed when applying for a mortgage, as well as the timeline for the entire process.  When choosing a mortgage loan, and by extension buying a house, it is important to consider how much money you can afford as a down payment, what are your financial goals and how a home figures into them, and how the closing costs can affect the overall price of the home and how much money is required up front at closing.  Please visit the following links for more information:

Copy of the presentation

CUN’s Mortgage Center

NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency Home Buyer Resources

You can contact James Goodman at (908)-860-7120 or jgoodman@mortgagedept.com with any questions or for further information on any part of the home buying process.

Financial Aid Information Session Program Recap

Thank you to Sharon Austin from the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority for an extremely informative presentation on preparing for the financial aspects of higher education.   Paying for college can be overwhelming, especially for parents who are unfamiliar with the process.  Being organized and proactive are keys to ensuring that you do not miss any available financial assistance available.  Completing the CSS Profile and FASFA early and accurately can dramatically alter the cost to you and your child, ensuring you get the maximum need-based aid available.  Sharon also covered the details of subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans, different federal and NJ State grants, and a variety of loans specifically for parents.

Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) – www.hesaa.org

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – https://fafsa.ed.gov/

College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile – https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/

New Jersey Grants and Scholarships – www.njgrants.org

UNIGO Scholarship Search – https://www.unigo.com/scholarships

Records at the Camden County Historical Society Program Recap

Thank you to Bonny Beth Elwell, Library Director at the Camden County Historical Society for shedding light on a wide variety of unique resources available at the CCHS.  The CCHS has a wealth of information over many collections, including city directories, cemetery records, property records, and newspapers.  Especially useful are the digitized Camden city newspapers available on www.newspapers.com, including Camden County Courier, Camden Evening Courier, and Camden Courier Post.  There are also unique newspapers on microfilm recently discovered including The New Republic and Herald and Gloucester Farmer.  Other unique records include Naturalization and Immigration papers, police reports, and yearbooks from Camden county high schools and universities.  For a comprehensive listing of all that the CCHS Library has to offer, please visit https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/CCHS-Library-Holdings.pdf.  For more information on the CCHS, including hours of operation and other events, please visit https://www.cchsnj.org/.

LinkedIn 101 Recap

Thank you to everyone who attended Career Connections Presents – LinkedIn 101.  In our session, we learned how to create a LinkedIn account, develop a LinkedIn Profile, build a basic network, and conduct a basic job search.

We also learned the importance of expanding our LinkedIn presence by utilizing LinkedIn endorsements, joining LinkedIn Groups, and posting professionally relevant content to our LinkedIn feed.

For more information on the features of LinkedIn, including tutorials, please click on the links below:

  1. How to Use LinkedIn for Beginners – YouTube
  2. LinkedIn 101 – LinkedIn
  3. 10 Steps to a Complete LinkedIn Profile Makeover – TopDog Social Media

 

How to Sleep Like a Baby Program Recap

Thank you to Dr. Subooha Zafar, a sleep specialist from Capital Health, for revealing the intricacies of sleep and what we can do to improve as well as harm our sleep pattern.  While we will never be able to sleep like a baby, sleep is just as important as we age.  Sleep can have a tremendous impact on our immune system, our ability to focus and retain information, and can increase our risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.  In addition, lack of sleep can impact our driving the same, if not more, than drinking alcohol.

So what can we do to improve our sleep and ensure that we are well-rested?  First, we need to consistently get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.  While this is easier said than done, cutting out caffeine later in the day, resisting the urge to nap, and ensuring the bedroom environment is conducive to sleeping will all help ensure we can fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night.  We also want to practice good “sleep hygiene” which include exercise, keeping a consistent bedroom temperature, and practicing mental distraction techniques to keep our brain from running wild as we try to fall asleep.  For example, we often think about all of the things that happened during the day as well as what we need to get done the following day as we are trying to fall asleep.  Instead, process all of these things earlier in the day so that your mind is free when you lay down; additionally, if you have trouble calming your mind, a simple mental distraction technique is to focus solely on your breathing.  By paying attention to the depth and speed of your breathes, your brain activity will slow since you are now focusing on something that involuntary.

While medications can help us in the short-term to gain deep and restful sleep, your body can become dependent on them and just like with any other drug, your body can build up a tolerance which will make them less effective over long-term use.  Behavioral strategies such as relaxation training, cognitive therapy, and stimulus control (not having the television on since the changes in volume as well as the light waves emitted from the screen cause your brain to become active and can hinder sleep) can be used instead of medications.

Career Connections Presents – Top Notch Resumes 2 Program Recap

Thank you to all of the participants who joined us for Career Connections Presents – Top Notch Resumes 2.  Your resume is your opportunity to make a statement and lasting impression on the person or committee hiring for a specific position.  Here are some tips to help ensure your resume highlights your qualifications and skills:

  1.  While a chronological resume is the most widely recognized format since it emphasizes work history, a functional resume is great for recent graduates or career changes since it focuses on your skills and overall achievements rather than work history.
  2. Read through the job description and take note of all of the keywords.  Include as many of these keywords in your resume to show that meet or exceed the requirements of the job.  Also, many job applications are online and therefore first screened by a computer; including keywords from the job description will help ensure that computer does not dismiss your application.
  3. Make sure that a majority of our skills, relevant work experience, and keywords are within the first three-quarters of the first page of your resume.  You want to grab the attention of the person reading the resume right away since hiring managers tend to spend very little scanning each resume at the beginning of the process.

Top Notch Resumes 2 also touched on cover letters and references, which can be equally as important as your resume.  Follow this tips to maximize your impact on the person reading your credentials:

  1. Make sure your heading on all of your application materials is consistent.  If you papers get lost or mixed with others’ applications, it will be easily identifiable.  Also, this demonstrates your attention to detail and that you are organized.
  2. Your cover letter should not be a copy of your resume.  Refer to the job title in your cover letter and express interest in the position.  Demonstrate your ability to do the job in a few sentences, focusing on achievements and skills while also including those keywords from the job description.
  3. A cover letter should never be more than 1 page.
  4. Always provide professional references when asked, unless specifically instructed to provide personal references.

For more information on resume building as well as interview skills, finding the right career, and more, visit New Jersey Career Connections powered by the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body Program Recap

A big thank you to Nicolette Vasco from the Alzheimer’s Association for her presentation on tips for maintaining a healthy brain and body, especially as we age.  While we constantly hear about taking care of our physical selves, we often forget that our brain is just as important and continuously engaging in cognitively stimulating activities can help keep our brain healthy and potentially lessen the impact of dementia related symptoms.  Aging well depends on genes, environment, and lifestyle and while we cannot change our genes, we can make changes to our environment and lifestyle to put ourselves on a healthier path.  Below are four areas we can work on to ensure that our brain and body remain healthy:

  • Physical health and exercise – The heart and brain and interrelated so engaging in cardiovascular activities, such as running, walking, or biking, can lead to increased blood flow to brain and may reduce the risk of cognitive decline.  Trying to become physically active can be overwhelming, especially if we try to do too much too quickly.  It is important to do something we like or enjoy and start out small to ensure that we can create a routine that works for us.  Another important aspect is to make sure we get adequate sleep which can be just as important as our exercise regimen.
  • Diet and Nutrition – Foods that are heart healthy can have positive impact on the brain as well.   Eating breakfast is an easy way to ensure that your brain is properly fueled for the day.  Foods that are healthy for our brain and body include green, leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, lean meats and fish, and vegetable oils.  Foods we should avoid in excess include processed foods, solid fats, sugars, deep-fried foods, and fast food.
  • Cognitive Activity – Keeping your mind active forms new connections among brain cells and cognitive activity encourages blood flow to the brain.WE can maintain and possibly improve our cognitive functions through reading, solving puzzles, playing challenging games, and learning new skills and hobbies, such as another language.
  • Social Engagement – Social engagement is associated with living longer with fewer disabilities.  Joining clubs, organizations, and support groups can help us develop a routine that encourages exercising or cognitive activities.  Remaining socially and mentally active may support brain health, offer you an opportunity to maintain your skills, and possibly delay the onset of dementia.

For more information on tips to stay healthy or anything related to dementia and the aging brain, please visit the Alzheimer’s Associate at www.alz.org.

Getting the Most Out of Your Ancestry.com Account Program Recap

Thank you to Lew Meixler from the Mercer County Jewish Genealogy Society at Beth El Synagogue, East Windsor, NJ for his presentation on different features and tools available through an Ancestry.com subscription.  Creating a family tree is one of the most popular features associated with an Ancestry.com subscription.  You can easily add or change relationships between people in your tree, include unrelated persons in your tree to investigate later, and you can merge two persons if you find out that they are actually the same person while keeping all of the information and records associated with each one.  Additionally, you can easily transfer your family tree to other sites such as Family Search, search purchased add-ons like Newspapers.com or Fold-3 directly from your tree, and receive “hints” in the form of green leafs for records that may be related to individuals in your tree.  You can find a copy of Lew’s presentation at the link below.

Getting the Most Out of Your Ancestry.com Account Presentation

Career Connections Presents – Top Notch Resumes 1 Program Recap

Resumes and cover letters serve as your introduction to and first impression on potential employers.  As a result, it is critical that your resume and cover letter are polished and effectively communicate your strengths, skills, and accomplishments.  Your resume is essentially Your Brand and represents everything that you are.  Therefore, it is important to make sure your resume, and by extension your cover letter, are tailored specifically to the job you are applying for and complement each other with being exact duplicates of each other.  Here are some important tips to remember when drafting and submitting your resume:

  • A functional resume, while less common, focuses more on your skills, proficiency, and objectives rather than your work history.  This can be a great way to structure your resume if you are changing careers, unemployed or in a single job for a long time, or fresh out of school.
  • A chronological resume is the most common type of resumes and focuses more on your work history to show an upward or lateral progression in a certain career or profession as well as highlight continuous employment.  Always list your current or most recent job first and then work backwards in time.  Listing the last 10 years of employment is generally sufficient if you have held multiple jobs; if you are looking to advance in a particular field or career, it is worthwhile to list more than the last 10 years as long as those jobs relate to the skills or profession you are in.
  • Use bullet-points to list your skills, job duties, and responsibilities rather than paragraphs.  This will make it easier for employers to find the skills they are looking for and it will make your resume easier to read.  In the same vein, when using bullet-points, also list the most important or impactful skills and job duties first, especially those that are related to the job for which you are applying.
  • Be Consistent!  Whether it is punctuating at the end of your bullet-points or choosing the tense of the verbs in your description, always be consistent in both your resume and cover letter.
  • Use ACTION VERBS when describing your skills and job duties and try to link your duties, responsibilities, and accomplishment to certain goals or results, whether they can be measured or not.

For much more information on resumes, please visit the Prepare tab on the Career Connections website available at www.careerconnections.nj.gov.   For more information on careers and occupations, including summaries and required/desired skills, visit CareerOneStop at www.CareerOneStop.org.

Digital Storytelling for the Non-Profit Sector Program Recap

Thank you to Grace-Anne Alfiero for a wonderful and insightful presentation on digital storytelling and it’s impact for the non-profit sector.  Digital storytelling is a powerful way to engage your audience, call them to action, and leave a lasting impact that will help grow your non-profit.  Audience is a key factor when developing your digital story so it is important to know your audience to ensure that you capture as many as possible.  Knowing where to place your digital story can drastically increase the number of views, and donations, and Grace-Anne recommends studying the Z-Pattern associated with how people view and read computer screens.  While the images in the video can be extremely impressionable, ensuring that you have corresponding music (royalty free) and text to reinforce your message can lead to a greater call to action.  For more tips and resources, please download the items below from the presentation and visit her blog at http://www.artsinactionllc.com/blog.

PowerPoint Presentation

Storyboard Template

 

Successful Gardening Program Recap

Thank you to Nora Sirbaugh from the Master Gardeners of Mercer County for sharing a wide variety of tips on how to create and maintain a successful garden.  There are a variety of factors, from the gardener to the environment, that determine that will determine the health of your garden and plants.  Here are some tips to ensure that you have a healthy and vibrant garden:

  • Patience – some plants take time to grow and mature
  • Educate yourself – the more you learn about gardening, the better you will be when it comes to decisions about what/when/where to plant as well as when/what to fertilize, prune, and water
  • Keep a diary/log – track what you plant and where to serve as a reference for the future as well as take pictures or walk your garden daily to spot things before they become serious
  • Plants are not furniture – plants are not static objects; they grow, some quickly and others slowly, so be sure to keep attentive to your plants to ensure they are healthy and your garden looks nice
  • Know your soil – it is recommended to have a soil test done to ensure that you are planting the right plants in your soil to ensure they grow properly and stay healthy

For more information on gardening tips, as well as a list of other events and programs offered by the Master Gardeners of Mercer County, please visit their website: http://mgofmc.org/.

The Financial Side of College Graduation Program Recap

Thank you to Samantha Benson from the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority for her presentation on what life looks like after graduation in terms of student loans and the costs of graduation school.  The most important thing regarding you or your children’s finances after graduation is to make sure you understand all the details of any loans.  Some loans have a grace period (such as 6 months for Federal Stafford Loans) before any money needs to be paid back.  There are also a wide variety of repayment plans that may better suit you or your child’s ability to pay, such as loan consolidation, deferment, forbearance, or changing to an income-based or graduated repayment plans.  It is important to remember that if you consolidate, your monthly payments will be lower and you may get a lower interest rate, but you will be paying more money overall.  For more information on repaying Federal Direct/Stafford loans, please visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans.  For more information on managing your loans after school and preparing for the job market, please visit https://www.mappingyourfuture.org/planyourcareer/.  For a wide variety of information on repaying student loans, please visit http://www.hesaa.org/Pages/PayOnline.aspx.