Mr.      Randall L.  Davis 

 High Point University '15
Clemson University MBA  Candidate '19

Personal Development

Here are some tips and advice that I have been fortunate to receive as well as learn over the past couple of years. Take what you want and leave what you don't.
​-Randall
The Countdown
Interview Tips
Budgeting Tips

6 Things To Consider

10 Interview Tips 

5 Budgeting Tips

5 Year Advice 
“What you do now will determine where you will be in 5 years”. This advice is simple when you examine it. Conquer the day and put forth maximum effort into your current tasks and opportunities at hand and you will reap the fruit of your labor as time progresses if you are consistent. You are constantly positioning yourself for your next move whether you realize it or not. Ask yourself: “What was I doing five years ago?” and it should be a good indicator on how you got to where you are in life.
 
4 Month Resume Update
Every four months I would suggest updating your resume. Whether it is updating your CV with new material or polishing it up, stay on top of your game. New projects, newly acquired skills, or a new job title are just a few suggestions. This tri-annual tip is valuable because it forces you to consistently challenge yourself, to never settle, and to keep learning new things.

3 Sources of Income
Strive to have at least three distinct sources of income. Currently I have a job, investments (stock, mutual funds, etc), and am currently working on a third source of income. I would suggest that your third source of income should come from something that you genuinely love doing. Remember, if you are splendid at something, do not do it for free. Also if one of your three sources of income comes to a halt, you will still have two sources of income to rely on while you are working on rebuilding your third.
 
2 Degrees
Unfortunately today only having a Bachelor’s degree or an Associate’s degree is not enough to get by. Having one degree is common. Be uncommon. If the degree route seems too daunting (or expensive), try starting small by obtaining a certification or two. I would suggest taking classes at your local community college to expand your knowledge in your desired field for a reasonable price. Remember, you get paid for what you know. The more knowledge you have (degrees, certifications, etc.), will allow more doors and opportunities to open for you. 

1 Hour of Daily Distress
I would suggest spending one hour debriefing from your hectic day. I choose to workout or do yoga, but there are several other options. We all have highs and lows throughout our days. Take time to relax and clear your mind of all things that are occurring around you. Life is crazy and we should take 60 minutes and dedicate it to ourselves.

1/2 Hour in Thought
Thirty minutes a day dallying in thought should be a requirement of your daily regime. Goal planning is normally what I use my half hour in. Mapping out my next financial moves, career goals, or life goals is vital to me. A keen mind is the key to any success you plan to have. Reading, mediation or prayer can also be used during this timeframe. Whatever avenue you elect to go, remember that it may be more than thirty minutes. Don’t limit yourself. I have had times where I planned to map out my goals or read for only thirty minutes, and hours flew by because I was lost in thought. 

 ​1. For Phone Interviews, Smile While You Speak
Your voice will naturally come off as more pleasant and approachable. Try and see. 

2. Be the Interviewer. 
The interview process works both ways. I will encourage you to bring a notebook to jot down information pertaining to the position you are trying to acquire. Ask the interviewer what their job entails, what a typical work day is like, and how they like it. Not only does this help you retain vital information regarding the position, but it also lets the interviewer know that you are serious and genuinely care about the position. This will set you apart from the other candidates and make a great impression on the interviewer.

3. Differentiate Yourself From Your Colleagues. 
“So what?” “Why should I hire you instead of this other man or woman that has similar credentials as you?” These questions go through my mind when I try to envision what is going on in the interviewer’s head. Separate yourself from the competition and offer something that your competition cannot. Highlight and harp on skills that you believe are distinct and that will give you a leg up on your colleagues. Create a scenario where the interviewer has no choice but to hire you because of what you can bring to the table. You are an investment in their eyes. Show them why that will retrieve a great return if you are hired.

4. Use Quantitative Data
Whenever you are referring to quantity, use numerical data. Answer this. Would you be more inclined to hire a candidate that said “I worked on 10 distinct projects that generated over $40,000 in revenue in a two year time frame” or a candidate that said“ I worked on a lot of projects that made a lot of money in the past couple of years”? Be specific. It provides a clear indication that you value details and that you believe that details are imperative. Numbers or figures are significant when it pertains to presentations. You are presenting yourself in the best light possible, and quantitative can help add leverage to your candidacy. 

5. It’s Perfectly Fine To Say “I Don’t Know”
I was mentally exhausted during my fourth and final consecutive in person 45 minute interview for a Programmer Analyst position for a Pharmaceutical Company. This was one of the first companies I interviewed with after graduating from undergrad. The interview questions were tough, and trying to read each interviewer’s poker face was tougher. When they asked questions I was unsure of I simply said “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure, but given the proper training I could learn”. That’s it. Long story short, I received a lucrative offer for a recent college graduate over some of the other well qualified candidates. One of the interviewers informed me after my final interview that one of the candidates claimed they knew certain information when in actuality they did not. They did not recieve an offer. Be honest at all times and attest to items that you can attest to.

6. Be Real
Do not be superficial while being interviewed. Be yourself. Personally, I use slang a lot and try to limit how much I use in an interview. Some interviewers say they know who they want to hire within the first couple of questions of the interview based off of your responses. So be yourself and be real. At the end of the day, the interviewer will hire you based on if he or she would want to work with you or simply be around you five days out of the week. No one likes a fraud.

7. Come Prepared
To build off of Tip #2, not only should you have a pen and a notebook to write notes and questions that may arise in the interview, but you should also have extra resumes handy, business cards, or something along those lines. Do research on the interviewer. See what activities they like outside of work and use that in your favor and try to discuss those items pre or post interview. It’ll make you memorable when the final selection is made.

8. Eat Before Your Interview
Sounds silly, but this is crucial. Food has a correlation with focus and attention. You tend not to be as focused on a deprived stomach. Eat something before your interview so you will not get distracted by your appetite. You must be attentive and coherent to have a great interview. It’s hard to do that on an empty stomach.

9. Relax
Nervousness and anxiety are a part of the interview process. You have made it to one of the last steps of receiving a job offer. Go into the interview with a clean mind. Whatever happened on the way to the interview, the day before, the day after can be addressed after the interview. During the interview, your concentration should solely be on how you are going to knock this out of the park. It is similar to a test. Generally cramming right before an exam has a minimal affect on your outcome. At that point, either you know the material or not. I would suggest using that approach before an interview. Calmness also gives off a great vibe.

10. Acceptance of the Outcome
You are not going to receive an offer from every job you apply for. That’s life. However, if you do come up short do not be discouraged. Rather take what you feel like did not work, critique it, and work on it so that you can be prepared for the next opportunity. It is all about professional growth and getting better at branding yourself. Sometimes it takes rejection for us to look ourselves in the mirror and work on our skills. Just keep in mind that it is not the end of the world, and that rejection only means something is better in store for you.

1. Live $10,000 Below Your Means
This tip is very useful. Just because you are making money does not mean you have to spend the majority of your money. Be mindful of what your expenses are. It is important that our generation is financially strong and that we do not live a life we simply can not afford to live. If you have an annual income of $50,000, my suggestion would be to live and budget like your income is $40,000. The extra $10,000 could contribute to greater future purchases. A house, dream car, or nice vacation are a few ideas that come to mind. It all begins with discipline and belief. Hold yourself accountable and do not make excuses on how this idea is not feasible.

2. Be Thrifty 
Do not get caught up in labels. High end materials, designer clothes, and other name brand things are pleasant to have and are highly admirable from a societal perspective. However, take a longer gander at these items before deciding if they are worth the purchase. Remember, luxurious items are not deemed for everyone to have. Hence if they were, luxurious items would lose their value due to the commonality of the product. Remember that products and services are mainly used to serve their purpose or function. A diamond encrusted toothbrush serves the same purpose of an off-brand toothbrush. Sure one is more aesthetic than the other or does a better job, but both are just going to clean your teeth when used.
 
3. Don’t Mentally Budget, Physically Budget
We all say we budget, but do we all map out our expenses into an Excel Spreadsheet and adjust our monthly or yearly expenses accordingly? Even if we do physically budget, how often do we actually stay true to our budget? It is hard, but it is doable! Include your normal expenses that might include, rent, bills, food, etc. and add in more detailed expenses that may include entertainment, pets (if applicable), and clothes. Personally, I like to have physical representation of where I am sending my money. If there is a change in income or an expense, I can alter the formulas I have in my spreadsheet and re-evaluate how and where I am spending my money.

4. Set Up a Brokerage Account
Whether it is with Charles Schwab, Edward Jones, or another wealth management company, it is vital to get started in the investment game. In the long run, you will have more money than what you began with. Who does not want to play a game that is set up for you to win, and win big? Starting off may be tough because of the lack of money. If this is the case, save a little bit of money over a selected period of time and then invest. One of the best feelings is periodically checking your accounts (Individual, Roth IRA, stocks, mutual funds, etc.) and seeing your money grow exponentially over time. The earlier you start, the more time you have to let your money make more money for you.

5.  Save For the Future
Saving is another key element to budgeting that I do not see us taking advantage of. We live in a society where we crave instant satisfaction. It’s scary how impatient we are to let things marinate and develop over time. Tuck some of your income into a savings account just in case for emergencies. Consumerism does help stimulate the economy, but we collectively should be proactive in saving more of our funds for future endeavors.