Career Collective Intelligence Guides

How to find employers with great 401(k) matching

You can ask a company’s Human Resources department about the benefits the company offers to employees. Also, during your interview with a potential employer, ask for a written summary of benefits the company offers. Most employers have a pamphlet or a sheet with this information for new employees. Many times, if you are given a formal written offer for a job, it will include information about benefits the company offers, including 401(k) plans. One thing to watch out for in this environment is that many companies are eliminating their 401(k) match as costs rise. Be sure once you do go to work for an employer that you are enrolled in their 401(k) plan and that they haven’t gotten rid of their match. Usually in October there will be an open enrollment meeting that discusses employee benefits and any changes that will be made. Contact the Human Resources department if you have questions.

How to understand a 401(k) vesting schedule

1. Navigate to

2. Click the “FAQ’s” button on the left side of the screen

3. Click on question number 2, “What is a 401(k) vesting schedule?” - This site offers a short explanation of a 401(k) vesting schedule.

4. Now navigate to - This site provides information on just about everything you need to know about 401(k)s.

5. Read topic one to gain a better understanding about what a 401(k) plan is.

6. Now click the topic number seven link titled “Employer Contributions” on the left side of your screen. (This section provides information about the different ways an employer can contribute to their employees’ 401(k) plans as well as information on vesting schedules.

7. Read any other topics of interest on this site.

8. Now navigate to - Note: while this website answers another question, it gives great information about 401k vesting periods.

9. Finally, navigate to – This site outlines 15 things to consider when looking at a company’s 401(k) plan.

10. For company specific information about vesting schedules contact your company’s 401(k) advisor.

How to use the internet to establish a good professional network.

An intro to professional networking:

Professional networking is becoming more and more popular and useful tool to those seeking professional interactions over the internet. A professional network is a virtual community focused on enhancing professional interactions using the ease and communication benefits of the internet. Much like social networking sites such as Facebook or Myspace, professional networks such as Linkedln, XING, or Yahoo! Kickstart provide similar networks, but instead focus on professional contact rather than strictly social communication.

This information will provide a simple step by step guide for setting up a FREE account on Linkedln, a popular professional networking site. Spanning over 150 users and boasting over 30 million users as of October of 2008, Linkedln has established itself as a premier professional networking service.

Linkedln’s primary purpose is to allow users to maintain a list of contacts of people they know or trust in a certain in business. Such contacts are listed on the site as “Connections,” and users are able to invite anyone, wheter a Linkedln member or not, to become a Connection.

The purposes of Linkedln can by clicking this link, and they are listed as follows on their website:

• Re-connect: Find past and present colleagues and classmates quickly. Linkedln makes staying in touch simple

• Power your career: Discover inside connections when you’re looking for a job or new business opportunity

• Get answers: Your network is full of industry experts willing to share advice. Have a question? Just ask.

Getting started on Linkedln:

Now that we know what the benefits of a free Linkedln membership are, here is how one can register and get started.

1. Navigate to

2. On the top right portion of the screen, you will see a box titled “Join Linkedln Today.” Because we’re not yet a member, we want to fill out our first name, last name, and email address. Once the form is completed, you’ll click the green “Continue” button in the box.

3. We are then taken to further registration information, and after giving out our safe information (name, email, country, and postal code), we are then able to select, for optimal networking purposes, whether we are employed, a business owner, looking for work, working independently, or a student.

4. Once this form is completed, simply click the blue “Join Linedln” button.

5. You’re now a member of Linkedln, and after confirming your account through your email address, you are ready to go.

6. After signing in, you’ll find a vertical toolbar on the left of the screen. It gives you the following options:

• Modify groups

• Modify profile

• Modify contacts

• Check inbox

• Adjust applications

7. Perhaps the most important portion of the toolbar is the green button giving us the option to “Add Connections” (remember, Connections are the whole basis of having/maintaining a successful Linkedln network). To add Connections:

• Type your potential Connection’s first name, last name, and email address in the form provided.

• A request will then be sent to your potential Connection via email, and if they accept, you’ve successfully added you’re first Connection.

Congradulations! You’re now well on you’re way to complete and optimal use of a Linkedln professional network. Good luck!