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.

Career Connections Presents – The Right Career for You Program Recap

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Career Connections Presents – The Right Career for You.  Determining the best job or career for you can be overwhelming, but there are 4 important things to focus on to help you narrow your search and select a career that best fits you and the current job market.

First, your personality type is important for understanding what your strengths and weaknesses are, which occupation matches your personality type, and understanding how you relate to others.

Second, what your work interests are can be a good indicator of what types of careers you will thrive in.  Online tools can help you create an interest profile and match you to jobs and careers that best match what your work interests are, including NJCAN and MyNextMove.

Third, being able to identify you skills and abilities, both hard (technical and job sepcific) and soft (more abstract and universal across many careers), will help you narrow down you career profile to maximize your effectiveness within a given work environment.

Lastly, and perhaps the most overlooked factor in determining the right career for you, is the status of the job market.  There are certain jobs that will always be in demand (retail sales, food service, nurses) that increases your chances of getting a job whereas other jobs are no longer in demand (postal worker, teacher) which means that it will be very difficult to get a job and may not be worth the time and money to get the necessary educational or technical credentials.

For more information on labor market resources, visit CareerOneStop or NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development.  For more information on choosing the right career as well as a host of other job related information, from resumes, to interviews, to networking, visit Career Connections.

Using the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for Genealogical Research Program Recap

Thank you to Dr. Elana Broch from Princeton University for her presentation on the genealogical resources available at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as well as the International Tracing Service, including the Central Name Index.

The USHMM contains an archival repository that houses almost 300,000 records across 77 record groups.  While most of these records are not available online, there is an online listing of all their record groups and sub-groups to help researchers and genealogists identify potentially useful collections.  Each collection has a finding aid associated with it that will provide more details on the scope, breadth, and items in the collection.

These collections include Liberation of the Camps and Ghettos, Concentration Camps and Other Camps, and Jewish Communities.  Only about 10% of the nearly 3,000 sub-collections have lists of names.  However, the USHMM does have a Holocaust Survivor and Victims Database that you can search online, which will identify which lists a particular name are found in.

Additionally, the International Tracing Service, established after the war by the Allied Powers, is partially accessible through the USHMM.  The ITS contains roughly 30 million images of records; however, there is no full-text search capability to search by names or locations.  The ITS also contains the Central Name Index, which comprises approximately 50 million cards relating to the fate of 17.5 million individuals persecuted by the Nazis and their allies.

A copy of the presentation is available for download at https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/USHMM-Presentation.pdf.

 

Effective Communication Strategies for Alzheimer’s Caregivers Program Recap

Thank you to Nicolette Vasco from the Alzheimer’s Association for her talk Effective Communication Strategies for Alzheimer’s Caregivers.  Alzheimer’s is a very complex disease, affecting each person, and those close to them, differently.  People with Alzheimer’s will rely more and more on their caregivers as the disease progress and it is important for caregivers to be able to communicate, whether verbally, physically, visually, in order to help their loved one, even in the most mundane of tasks.  The following information is broken down into the 3 stages of Alzheimer’s (early, middle, and late):

  • Communication in the Early Stage
    • Changes that may occur
      • difficulty finding the right words or taking longer to speak or respond
      • struggling withing decision-making or problem-solving
    • How to connect
      • Ask directly with how to help with communication
      • keep sentences clear and straightforward
      • Leave plenty of time for conversations and include the person in conversations that affect him or her
    • Things to keep in mind
      • avoid making assumptions about the person
      • communicate in the most comfortable way for the person (phone, in-person, text-based such as email)
      • Be honest, stay connected, and laugh with each other
  • Communication in the Middle Stage
    • Changes that may occur
      • using familiar words repeatedly
      • inventing new words (hand clock instead of watch)
      • easily losing train of thought
      • communicating through behaviors more often than words
    • How to connect
      • Approach
        • approach the person gently, from the front, and use names to identify you and the person
        • maintain eye contact and remain at eye-level
        • avoid criticizing, scolding, and arguing
        • Take your time
      • Join the person’s reality
        • assess their needs
        • confirm you understand their concerns
        • provide a brief answer
        • respond to the emotions behind the statement (they may be angry because they are really afraid of being alone)
      • Keep it slow and basic
        • use short sentences and basic words
        • speak slowly and clearly
        • make sure only one person is speaking
        • limit distractions such as television noise
        • be patient
      • Give multiple cues
        • provide visual cues and gestures, but avoid sudden movement
        • write things down
        • put answers into your questions
        • turn negatives into positives
        • avoid quizzing
  • Communication in the  Late Stage
    • Changes that may occur
      • communication is reduced to a few words or sounds
      • similar responses to familiar words or phrases
    • How to connect
      • listen for expressions of pain and respond promptly
      • help the person feel safe and happy
      • bring respect to each conversation and keep talking to them
      • communicate using all 5 senses
        • touch
          • feel different fabrics
          • give lotion hand massages
          • visit with animals
          • hands-based arts and crafts such as sculpting
          • hold the person’s hand or stroke their arm or back
          • brush their hair
        • sight
          • watch videos of favorite subjects
          • view photos that resonate with the person
          • sit outdoors or go somewhere such as an aquarium
          • paint with watercolors
        • sound
          • listen to familiar music or recordings of nature
          • listen to songs or speech in their native language
          • read them books or the newspaper
          • your voice may be soothing and comforting to them even if they cannot remember you all the time
        • smell
          • herbs or spices
          • cotton balls dipped in essential oils
          • cut fresh flowers
          • fragrant hand lotions
          • cook and feed them foods that smell good
        • taste
          • cook favorite foods, which may encourage them to eat more
          • home-baked goods
          • flavored drinks to ensure they are staying hydrated

You can download of copy of the presentation at https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Effective-Communication-Strategies-Presentation.pdf.  Please visit the Alzheimer’s Association for more information on all aspects of the disease.  If you need immediate help, please contact their support line 24/7 at 1-800-272-3900.

Managing Your Credit and Credit Reporting Program Recap

Thank you to the Credit Union of New Jersey, this secured loan calculator on Lending Expert and Pete Manferdo from Experian for presenting Managing Your Credit and Credit Reporting.  Credit plays an important role in our finances, from car loans, to mortgages, to credit cards.  As such, it is important to understand exactly how credit and credit reporting works and what you can do keep on top of your credit.  The following topics were covered:

Credit Report

  • What is on a report?
    • Identifying information such as name, address, and social security number
    • Account information, such as credit cards, car loans, mortgages, etc.
    • Bankruptcy Public Records
    • Credit Inquiries
    • Dispute instructions
      • You can dispute anything on your credit report
      • usually takes 30-45 to process the dispute, including investigation
  • Used by lenders to gauge the likelihood of paying back a loan
  • FICO score is used by lenders to predict your risk of defaulting on loan within 24 months (higher the score, the less risk there is)
  • Credit Reports do not include your Credit Score

Credit Report Retention

  • How long information stays on your Credit Report
    • Accounts open that are in good standing – indefinitely
    • Accounts closed that are in good standing – 10 years
    • Late or missed payments – 7 years
    • Collection accounts – 7 years
    • Chapter 7 bankruptcy – 10 years
    • Chapter 13 bankruptcy – 7 years
    • Credit inquiries (hard hits) – 2 years

Common Myths about Credit

  • Once bad debt is paid off, it goes away – all debt will remain on your credit report according the to the retention information above
  • The credit reporting company denied me credit – the reporting company only houses your information; the lending company makes the decision on the loan
  • I am not responsible for charges on my account – if someone else is linked to your account or you have a joint account, you are responsible for all debt associated with your accounts
  • Divorce decree separates joint accounts – marital debt is considered joint debt even after a divorce decree
  • I must give permission for a report to be issued – Lenders can request information on your credit history (soft inquiries) for purposes such as pre-qualified offers for credit cards or loans.
  • Requesting your own credit report and pre-approval offers harm history – You can obtain your own credit report once a year for free without any impact on your credit score
  • There is one score based on your report – different companies have different calculations for evaluating your credit so scores will be different based on different criteria

Breakdown of the Vantage Score (Similar to FICO Score)

  • Payment History – 40%
  • Depth of Credit – 21% (how long you have had credit)
  • Utilization – 20% (how much you owe vs. your available credit limit)
  • Account Balances – 11%
  • Recent Credit – 5%
  • Available Credit – 3%

For more information on credit reports and credit scores, contact your financial institution or visit the Federal Government’s Credit Reports and Scores page at https://www.usa.gov/credit-reports.

Career Connections Presents – Acing the Job Interview 2 Program Recap

Thank you to those that joined us for Career Connections Presents – Acing the Job Interview 2.  This program is an expansion on Acing the Job Interview 1 and focused on common interview questions, methods for answering different types of questions, and important things to remember.  Topics covered include:

  • The S.H.A.R.P. Method – designed to help you respond to a general question, such as “Tell me about yourself”
    • Specific – make sure you have something specific that you want to communicate, such as previous work experience or skills that apply to the job
    • Honest – Always be honest in your stories and avoid canned responses from the Internet
    • Articulate – Make sure to speak clearly and stay focused on the Specific message you are trying to convey
    • Relevant – Make sure the content of your response relates directly to the question, the job, or the skills the job entails
    • Positive – Make sure your answer highlights the positive points and avoid talking negatively about past employers
  • The S.O.A.R. Method – designed to help you respond to questions related to how you would handle/handled specific work situations
    • Situation – Clearly define/describe the situation related to the question and identify what you want the interviewer to take away from this example up front
    • Obstacles – Be sure to describe that problem or obstacle you were faced with, but avoid singling out or denigrating past co-workers or employers
    • Action – Describe the action or actions you took, highlighting any skills that were required to execute the action or planning for the action
    • Results – Make sure that the result/results are positive and reflect positively on not only yourself, but your team/employer/clients; be sure to highlight how the results reinforce the takeaways you mentioned in the beginning of your answer
  • Some of the most common interview questions include:
    • Tell me about yourself – be sure to stick to professional rather than personal information
    • Why should I/we hire you – This question sounds like your are asked to defend yourself, but it is a perfect time for your to highlight what you bring to the table and how you can positively impact the employer
    • What is your greatest strength – This is designed for you to think critically about yourself so make sure you you discuss how your strength will positively impact your performance
    • What is your greatest weakness – Again, this is designed for you to think critically about yourself so make sure you address how you have tried to better your weakness, such as through professional development or taking risks that put you in an uncomfortable position
    • Describe a difficult situation and how you handled it – There will always be some form of this question so remember to use the S.O.A.R. method and have a couple examples ready that may fit the different ways this question is asked
    • Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years – This question is designed to assess how you plan on growing yourself so you can keep it general and focused on your career/profession rather than within that employer
  • Tips to remember:
    • Always keep the focus of the conversation on the job and your professional life
    • It is illegal to ask, and you do not have to answer, questions such as “Are you married,” “Do you have any children,” “What religion are you”
    • Remember to research the employer so you are able to identify projects, opportunities, or values that relate to your experiences or skills, which can be a great way to show interest in the job and how you will benefit the employer

For more information on how to prepare for a job interview, please visit the Career Connections website at https://careerconnections.nj.gov/careerconnections/prepare/interview/interviewing_skills_index.shtml.  For more information on popular interview questions and how to answer them, visit https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-answer-the-31-most-common-interview-questions.

Take the Wheel Program Recap

Thank you to the Credit Union of New Jersey for their presentation on car buying.  Purchasing a new or used car can be a hassle, but you can help relieve the stress and secure the best deal by doing some research and willing to negotiate.  Follow these tips:

  1. The most important part of buying/leasing a car is determining how much you can afford.   Make sure to create a budget to determine the limit to what you can spend.  Secure a pre-approval from your bank or credit union to have an accurate number for what your spending range should be.
  2. Shop around, either at dealerships or online.  By researching the car you wanted, you can pick the features you want, check to see what others in your area have paid for the car, and see what discounts or offers certain dealerships may be giving to help lower the cost of the car, as well as your payments.
  3. Determining the actual price of the car can be difficult.  The MSRP does not include optional equipment, dealer fees such as destination charges, or market adjustments.  The total price of the car is the “sticker price” which is usually at the bottom of the window sticker.  Additionally, there may be rebates, offers, and dealer incentives that can decrease the cost of the sticker price so make sure to ask about them.  Ideally, you want to negotiate to about 2% over the dealer invoice price.
  4. Negotiation is an art and car salespeople do this many times a week.  Be sure to talk about the invoice price rather than the sticker or MSRP.  Negotiate the price first before discussing any payments or trade-in values.  The salesperson knows what the lowest price is so do not wait around for a manager’s approval; this is a stall tactic to make you think about buying impulsively.  As always, shop around to get the best deal because each individual dealership controls the final price of the car, not the manufacturer.
  5. One way dealerships try to sell you a car is by offering discounts on financing, such as 0%.  However, if you take the financing option through the dealership, you usually loose out on other rebates, such as cash back.  Financing through your bank or credit union, while it won’t give you 0%, you will still be qualified for the other rebates, which may be greater than the interest you will pay on the loan.  Additionally, the dealership may make several hard inquiries on your credit while checking several lenders they work with while your bank or credit union will only make one.

There are many resources out there to help you when buying a car.  Consumer Reports has reviews as well as a booklet to purchase that lists the dealer invoice prices for a given year.  Cars.com is a great way to shop around for the features you want and see what others have paid in your area.  Kelly Blue Book is the gold standard for determine the value of your used car, but they will also provide information on new cars.  The Federal Trade Commission has good information on all aspects of the car buying process, especially in terms of leasing a vehicle.

Copy of the Take the Wheel Presentation

Copy of the Take the Wheel Handout

Career Connections Presents – Acing the Job Interview 1 Program Recap

Thank you to those that joined us for Career Connections’ Acing the Job Interview 1.  Topics covered included:

  • The different types of interviews
    • Phone, panel, in-person, and online
  • Preparing for the interview
    • have short and long term career goals defined
    • extra copies of resumes and list of references
    • proper hygiene
  • Dressing for the interview
  • Stages of the interview
    • Introduction
    • Interview Questions
    • Interviewee Questions
    • Closing
  • SOAR method
    • highlighting a situation where you were able to overcome an obstacle and explain the positive resolution

Please visit Nailing the Interview on the Career Connections website to find out more tips and strategies and visit Glassdoor to search for jobs and view company profiles, including potential interview questions.  Also, check out the following databases provided by the NJSL for researching companies and non-profits:

Hoover Online*

Job and Career Accelerator*

ReferenceUSA*

Foundation Directory Online Free*

*Please access the above databases through the links on the NJSL Databases website

 

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Documenting Your Past with iBiographer Program Recap

Thank you to Sofia Milner, founder of iBiographer, for her presentation and demonstration on how her product can help us all document and preserve our family stories.  iBiographer fills a gap in the storage of genealogical and familial information, allowing users to create family histories and family trees that are interconnected.  One of the biggest draws to iBiographer is that is free to use without any restrictions.   Some of the main features include:

  •   Family Trees
    • You can create unlimited amounts of family trees and you are able to link between family trees to ensure they are neat, less-cluttered, and more manageable
    • You can attach biographies to members on your tree to enhance the information related to each person in your tree
    • You cannot import family trees from other programs or websites
  • Biography Box
    • You can write your own biographies on anyone you wish
    • Biographies can be broken down into chapters that you can arrange in any order
    • You can upload photos, videos up to 1 minute, music, and documents to your biographies
      • There is no limit to the amount of material you can add to a biography or chapter
    • You can invite others to contribute to any part of your biography, for free, and they cannot make changes to anything you have done – a great way to involve family members from across the globe to more fully develop your biographies and family tree
  • Baby Bio
    • You can track the growth of children with the Growth Chart up to 14 years old
    • The Baby Health feature allows you to add all of your child’s medical information so that it is easily accessible and a quick reference for things such as immunization dates
  • Chatterbox
    • A chat feature where you can exchange messages with people that you have invited to contribute to your items, an vice-a-versa, as long as they are online at the same time

For more information, please visit the iBiographer website at https://www.ibiographer.com/.  To view videos about iBiographer and its features, please visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJQWtiSyzsDtxmnrgGhIgsQ.  You can view the iBiographer pamphlet here.

Some New, Free, and Exciting Genealogy Websites Program Recap

Lew Meixler from the Mercer County Jewish Genealogical Society at Beth El Synagogues showcased a wide variety of websites that can help genealogy researchers.  Through a paid Ancestry.com account, he demonstrated how to merge family trees others created into your own as well as how you can invite “Guests” to your account that have access to many of the same features a paid member can use.  Lew also covered the basic features of more popular sites such as FamilySearch and FindAGrave, including the ability on FamilySearch to view entire microfilm collections digitally.  Below, please find a list of some lesser known genealogy websites Lew covered, including a brief description.  You can also download a copy of his handout here.  You can download Lew’s presentation here.

GenealogyIndexer (Free) – Over 2 million digital pages, focusing mostly on Central and Eastern Europe, including documents in native languages

GenTeam (Free) – Indexed records for German speaking area, including over 18 million entries

MyHeritage (Paid) – Allows you to upload your DNA results and organize your genealogy resources, from frees to family photos.  You are also able to find related matches that people have uploaded in native languages.

SteveMorse (Free) – Provides links to a wide variety of free and paid genealogy websites including the U.S. Census, Vital Records, and Ellis Island.

ItalianGen (Free) – Indexed records related to Italian heritage, but include many U.S. records, including the N.Y. C. Bride and Groom Records Indexes.

Retirement Planning Program Recap

Thank you to Arlene Ferris-Waks from the Bureau of Securities for presenting on how to start preparing for retirement.  Retirement is a critical milestone that can severely affect the quality of one’s life as they age.  When considering your retirement, there are 5 steps you should go through to prepare yourself:

  1. Coordinate with your partner/spouse
  2. Determine where your money will come from after retirement (pensions, Social Security, annuities, etc.)
  3. Set a monthly budget to ensure you have enough income
  4. Determine how you will spend your time, including part-time jobs
  5. Plan for your healthcare

Planning for your retirement is a long process, so within 5 years of your retirement, you should:

  1. Review your pensions, estimated Social Security income, and other investments to make sure you are able to sustain your expenses
  2. Evaluate your taxes to ensure you can adequately afford to stay in your home or pay the income taxes from your investments
  3. Diversify your investments to ensure you have a stable and reliable income
  4. Educate yourself about the different types of investments, financial professionals, and government benefits

It is important to make sure you are secure in your financial future so consulting with a financial professional is important.  There are different types of financial professionals that may or may not fit your financial goals.  Registered Representatives generally charge a commission per transaction and do not have a fiduciary responsibility to manage your investments, which means they can pick more costly securities to ensure their commissions are higher.  Investment Adviser Representatives tend to charge a quarterly or yearly fee for managing your investment portfolio which can cost more money than the commission a Registered Representative would make if you have few transactions in a year.  However, an IAR does have a fiduciary responsibility to manage your money in your best interest and in good faith, which also means that you can take them to court.  You can always check the status and background of your investment professional through the NJ Bureau of Securities, either online or by phone at 973-504-3600.

As always, there are many investment scams to watch out for, from Ponzi schemes, to Bait and Switch, to guaranteed returns.  There is no such thing as a guaranteed return as all investing and securities come with some level of risk.  So, before you invest, seek the assistance of an attorney or CPA, consider estate planning and especially trusts if you want to pass your money on after your death, and always consider the tax implications of your investment choices.

For more information on retirement and resources to help you, you can reach out to the Social Security AdministrationAARP, FINRA, or the Employee Benefit Research Institute.  You can also contact Arlene at arlene.ferris-waks@lps.state.nj.us or 973-504-3627 regarding anything from her presentation or how the Bureau of Securities can help you on your road to retirement.

Resolving Conflict in the Workplace Program Recap

Thank you to Linda Stamato and Sandy Jaffe from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution for an interactive session on negotiation and its impact on all parties involved.  Negotiation is an art and there are many ways to approach a situation requiring an outcome between two or more disputed parties.  Negotiations take place in many settings and not infrequently, when agreements can not be reached, and a decision is needed, parties may turn to mediation for assistance with their negotiation, or, if further negotiation is not desired, they may turn to arbitration for a third-party-imposed decision which they agree to be binding.  Arbitration seeks to use a single authority to determine the outcome of dispute, such as a judge or supervisor/boss who makes a final decision.  Mediation aims at taking a more holistic approach to negotiation by determining not only why the parties are in a dispute, but what their interests are and what they hope to gain at the outcome.  Mediation serves to guide the parties to a mutually beneficial decision that creates a framework for future issues/problems to be resolved.  There are six things you are looking to do in any negotiation:

  1. Pursue an interest-based approach
  2. Frame the issues for constructive negotiation and management of differences
  3. Use objective criteria
  4. Generate options
  5. Develop a sense of the realities, such as what you’ll do if you don’t successfully negotiate
  6. Understand the value of relationships in negotiations

Successful negotiators do four core things:

  1. Ask questions
  2. Test for understanding to suggest you have listened to/heard all parties involved
  3. Provide reasons to substantiate statements and positions
  4. Label/Preface with constructive phrases

You can download of copy of all of the handouts at https://njstatelib.org/assets/ResolvingConflictWorkplaceHandouts.pdf.

Please visit the Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution for more information and tips at http://cncr.rutgers.edu/.

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.