Who To Use As A Professional Reference: A Simple Guide

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

Knowing who to use as a reference is essential knowledge for any job seeker. And while it might seem simple, there are right and wrong choices you can make when putting that list together! This guide will teach you who to put as a professional reference, and why. Who to Use as a Reference. While an impressive resume and top-notch interviewing skills can improve your chances of getting a job, choosing the right references can be just as important. The best professional references come from individuals who can speak to your experience, work ethic, and character. So who should you use as a reference? Here are people you should consider. 1.Current Supervisors or Managers. Supervisors and managers you report to are excellent people to use as professional references.... Read more

In tax season, how can Veterans maximize their tax benefits?

By Aaron Kassraie | U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs © 2023, Reprinted with permission

As a Veteran, you may be eligible for certain tax benefits under the tax code. It's important to file your taxes before this year's April 18 deadline and be aware of the benefits that apply to you. Here's a summary of some of the key tax benefits for military Veterans provided by accountant and tax expert Lisa Greene-Lewis of TurboTax. And don't forget: Tax advice that applies to civilians can benefit you too. Federal Taxes. Military retirement pay is taxable as federal income tax and is not considered earned income for Social Security tax purposes. Premiums for the Survivor Benefit Plan are excluded from taxable income. Veterans education benefit payments received through VA for education and training are tax-free. Disability benefits received from VA, such as disability compensation, pension payments and grants for home modifications, are not taxable.... Read more

15 High Income Skills To Learn In 2023 (Without A Degree)

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

These days there are a number of high income skills that can put you in a great position financially, but also give you a tremendous amount of flexibility in your life. But which ones should you consider first? This list of the most profitable skills to learn will point you in the right direction. No matter what your background is or what your preferences are, you'll surely find one below that appeals to you! 1.SEO. A strong Internet presence is a must in today's tech-focused world. Companies need to invest in their digital footprint, creating well-designed websites that can bring in more business. Whether a company is selling products directly to consumers or providing a service to B2B clients, ranking highly in search engines is incredibly important.... Read more

Travis Mills Foundation seeks to help injured Veterans "recalibrate"

By Molly Lovell-Keely | U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs © 2023, Reprinted with permission

When Staff Sgt. Travis Mills became one of only five quadruple amputees from the Global War on Terrorism, his personal life's mission changed to supporting Veterans like himself and their families. The Travis Mills Foundation (TMF) supports recalibrated Veterans and their families through various programs that help Veterans overcome physical and emotional obstacles, strengthen their families, and provide well-deserved rest and relaxation. TMF supports Veterans through their flagship retreat located in the Belgrade Lakes Region of Maine. Veterans who have been injured on active duty or as a result of their service receive an all-inclusive, all-expenses-paid, barrier-free experience in Maine where they participate in adaptive activities, bond with other Veteran families, and enjoy much-needed rest and relaxation in Maine's outdoors.... Read more

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Who To Use As A Professional Reference: A Simple Guide

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

Knowing who to use as a reference is essential knowledge for any job seeker. And while it might seem simple, there are right and wrong choices you can make when putting that list together!

This guide will teach you who to put as a professional reference, and why.

Who to Use as a Reference

While an impressive resume and top-notch interviewing skills can improve your chances of getting a job, choosing the right references can be just as important. The best professional references come from individuals who can speak to your experience, work ethic, and character.

So who should you use as a reference? Here are people you should consider.

Current Supervisors or Managers

Supervisors and managers you report to are excellent people to use as professional references. They have experience working with you and likely know your capabilities more than anyone. These individuals can describe your work ethic and provide more insight into the type of employee you'll be for this new job. Hiring managers understand that skills and work styles evolve, so they prefer to hear from people you worked under recently.

And of course, choose managers you had a good rapport with during your tenure at that job. Select those you know will endorse your skills and speak highly of you as an employee.

If you are currently working, selecting your current supervisor or manager as a reference is not a good choice. You want to keep your job search confidential. See more about this later in this guide.

Former Employer

Another good reference can come from former employers. A supervisor, manager or coworker you worked with previously knows your work well. While they might not have recent experience working with you, at one time they did know enough about your capabilities and could recommend you for a job. They have seen your work and have a good idea of your dependability and overall work ethic.

Using recent bosses as a reference is usually a good idea. However, there are some circumstances that might require you to leave them off. For example, if you are currently employed and reporting to them or you know they won't have favorable things to say about you.

The good news is that glowing references from former employers can hold just as much weight and can make a positive impact on the decision as any other references.

Valued Coworkers

Coworkers can provide tons of insight into what you're like day-to-day. When thinking about who to use as a reference, consider including some of the colleagues you collaborate with and interact with regularly.

We're not talking about your best work friend from another department that you meet at the water cooler for daily gossip. We're talking about people who understand your work responsibilities and can speak to the benefits your skills bring. They need to be familiar with your work duties. Otherwise, they won't be able to speak about your suitability for this new role.

Clients

Clients can be powerful references that leave a lasting impact on hiring decision-makers. It's particularly beneficial if you work in a service-based industry. From accounting to sales, hearing from a client who enjoyed their experience with you goes a long way.

They know how you work and how you interact with clients. What better way to learn about that facet of your skillset than from someone you served directly? It's a great way to learn more about your ability to interact with customers and the quality of work that you do.

Supervisors or Managers Where You Volunteered

If you don't have paid work experience, that's alright. You can turn to your volunteer experience. No matter where you donate your time, there's someone in charge. Consider asking them to be a reference.

Like teachers, they can speak volumes of your potential. More importantly, they can vouch for your character and work ethic. While it's best to seek references from individuals within the industry you're entering, any volunteer supervisor will get a glimpse of how you work.

They can see your dedication, understand your motivations, and speak of the work styles you employ while volunteering.

Internship Connections

Internships are a critical part of many industries. If you're a new graduate seeking your first entry-level job, having that experience as an intern can be quite beneficial. Consider using the connections you made during that time to help you get a job.

Your new network can do more than inform you about job openings. They can act as references to endorse your skills and capabilities. Go to program directors, individuals you shadowed, and anyone else you met.

The best references are those who worked with you directly and have a good idea of how you operate. While the internship might have only lasted several weeks, that's more than enough time for those connections to get a good idea of the employee you can be.

Teachers or Professors

If you're a new graduate looking to enter the field for the first time, you might not have much work experience (here's our guide on how to navigate that). As a result, your options for professional references are more limited. Fortunately, there are others you can go to beyond bosses, managers, and coworkers.

Professors who are deeply familiar with your skills are great to put down as a reference. They know how you work and can speak to your potential within the field.

The best teachers to use as references are those who run courses directly related to your field. Chances are, they have real-world work experience in the industry and can easily relate your capabilities to the job you want to land.

Academic Advisors

Finally, new graduates can ask academic advisors to serve as references. They already know how important good references are, so many are more than willing to vouch for your skills.

Advisors offer similar benefits to professors. They know your skills and capabilities and have a good idea of your potential in your chosen field. However, unlike teachers, advisors often work with you for several years.

They get to know you, learn about your aspirations, and discover your personality traits. For hiring managers, their insight is valuable.

Who You Shouldn't Put as a Reference

Now that you know who to use as a reference, let's go over who shouldn't make the cut. When companies ask for references, they expect to hear from people who can speak of your capabilities in the workforce.

That means they don't want to hear from the following people.

Friends

Never put personal friends on your professional reference list. This is a huge mistake that can cost you a job offer.

Your friends don't have any insight into your professional life. They might hear about your job and understand what you do. But do they spend every day seeing your work under pressure?

They provide no real value to the hiring process, so it's best to leave them off.

Family

Like friends, adding family members to your reference list is a big mistake.

Your family members want you to succeed, so they'll likely talk you up to hiring managers. While you might see that as a benefit, it's quite the contrary.

Family is inherently biased. Plus, they don't know about how you work. All they know is what you tell them. Adding family to your list will likely come off as unprofessional, so don't consider it.

There is one exception — if you worked for your family's business, then it is appropriate to list a family member if they were your supervisor.

Anyone at a Company That Fired You

This should go without saying, but never put down people from a company that fired you. Even if the individual you put down as a reference didn't agree with your dismissal, it's not a good idea to include them.

There may or may not be bad blood, but there's one thing you can guarantee: The company that fired you will likely say they wouldn't hire you again. That statement alone is enough to raise red flags.

The worst-case scenario is that they speak ill of your skills and capabilities. Either way, that conversation will likely work against you.

People Who You Don't Know Well

Another mistake many job-seekers make is using someone they don't know very well as a professional reference. For example, you might feel tempted to include a department head you rarely interacted with due to their high standing at the company. That's not a great idea.

First, that person might not remember who you are. If a hiring manager calls them up and they have no idea who you are, that doesn't look very good.

Secondly, they don't have experience working with you. If someone doesn't know you, they can't speak highly of your personality or work traits. They provide no value and can't say anything that would swing the decision in your favor.

Someone Who Isn't Prepared to Receive a Reference Call

It's common courtesy to ask about including someone on your reference list. It's never a good idea to put down contact information without getting the OK first.

You should also avoid people who are too busy to accept reference calls. That may be difficult to predict, but it's something you should bring up when asking permission to be a reference.

If the hiring manager can't get in touch with that individual, using them as a reference isn't going to help you. It might even send the wrong message and make hiring managers think you're hiding something.

Should You Use Your Current Employer as a Reference?

Whether or not you should include someone from your current employer depends on the situation.

If you're trying to make career moves without your boss or current employer knowing then using them as a reference might be a bad idea. For example, say that you're trying to find a job before leaving your current job. That would be a drama-causing call for your current employer!

The sudden surprise of hearing about your job search could cause them to say things you don't want them to say.

If you can't or don't want to use your boss or supervisor from your current employer to be your reference, consider asking a current coworker or a former supervisor from the same employer that you can trust to keep your search confidential. This person should know your work ethic and be able to speak about your skills.

How to Ask Someone to Be a Professional Reference

Asking someone to be a professional reference is easier than it sounds. While it can seem a little daunting if you haven't done it before, it's as straightforward as asking if they will serve as a reference for you. Always ask for their permission before listing them as a reference.

You will usually be asked to provide three-five professional references. It's best to line up five references as early as possible, just in case.

You should know that some companies have policies against employees providing references. If this is the case, your best option is to select a reference from another employer you worked for.

When requesting a reference, be detailed. Start with, “Will you be a reference for me?” And then provide information about your job search.

It's better to provide context and inform that reference of your career aspirations. Tell them what role you're pursuing.

Once they've agreed to be a reference for you, keep them in the loop during your job search and let them know when you have given your references to companies.

Prepare your references to be contacted after your interview. Let them know the skills you want them to speak about based on the job and the interview.

For example, you can mention that they'll likely want to hear about their experiences working with you plus your skills and knowledge for the role.

If possible, provide a copy of the job description and any information about the position's responsibilities.

Information to Include When Listing References

Applications may request specific fields when providing professional references. However, some hiring managers will simply email you asking for a list.

Provide details about the reference to help hiring managers understand who they'll be calling. You should include the individual's name and the company they work for.

Additionally, it's always good to include the company's address, the person's business phone number, and email address.

Finally, include a sentence about how this person knows your work. For example, you can say that they were your supervisor for four years or that they managed the group of volunteers you were part of.

Conclusion

Stick to these simple guidelines when deciding who to use as a reference, and who to leave off your list. The best references have had professional experience working with you in the past and can speak to your capabilities in a positive light.

As long as you follow our recommendations above, you should be able to provide a handful of good references that will help you get the job you want.

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In tax season, how can Veterans maximize their tax benefits?

By Aaron Kassraie | U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs © 2023, Reprinted with permission

As a Veteran, you may be eligible for certain tax benefits under the tax code. It's important to file your taxes before this year's April 18 deadline and be aware of the benefits that apply to you.

Here's a summary of some of the key tax benefits for military Veterans provided by accountant and tax expert Lisa Greene-Lewis of TurboTax. And don't forget: Tax advice that applies to civilians can benefit you too.

Federal Taxes

  • Military retirement pay is taxable as federal income tax and is not considered earned income for Social Security tax purposes.
  • Premiums for the Survivor Benefit Plan are excluded from taxable income.
  • Veterans education benefit payments received through VA for education and training are tax-free.
  • Disability benefits received from VA, such as disability compensation, pension payments and grants for home modifications, are not taxable.

Money from VA that is not taxed

  • Interest from VA life insurance policies.
  • Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program.
  • Money paid to a survivor of a member of the armed forces who died after Sept. 10, 2001.
  • Payments made under the compensated work therapy program.

Note that if you had a recent increase in your disability rating or were granted combat-related special compensation, you may be eligible for a tax refund, but this can only be applied to the year VA reassessed your disability level.

State Taxes

  • States typically offer tax benefits only to Veterans who were honorably discharged or released from active duty under honorable circumstances.
  • State benefits usually include exemptions on property taxes, according to value.
  • Benefits are often transferred to a spouse or surviving spouse of honorably discharged Veterans.
  • Many states offer property tax exemptions and other benefits for disabled Veterans.
  • Military retirement pay may be taxed differently in different states.
  • Every state's revenue website outlines state benefits for Veterans and how to apply for them.

Disabled Veterans can qualify for property tax exemptions at the state level. These breaks, which are usually tied to a specific disability rating, can help a Veteran save thousands of dollars. You can view a list of all property tax exemptions by state and disability percentage here.

AARP Tax-Aide

  • AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program offers free tax help to anyone, with a focus on taxpayers who are 50 and older and have low to moderate incomes.
  • Tax assistance is available through knowledgeable volunteers, either in-person or virtually, by appointment only.

To find out about more tax breaks for Veterans, read the full version of this article from AARP. It also includes state specific tax break for Veterans.

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15 High Income Skills To Learn In 2023 (Without A Degree)

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission

These days there are a number of high income skills that can put you in a great position financially, but also give you a tremendous amount of flexibility in your life.

But which ones should you consider first?

This list of the most profitable skills to learn will point you in the right direction. No matter what your background is or what your preferences are, you'll surely find one below that appeals to you!

SEO

A strong Internet presence is a must in today's tech-focused world. Companies need to invest in their digital footprint, creating well-designed websites that can bring in more business. Whether a company is selling products directly to consumers or providing a service to B2B clients, ranking highly in search engines is incredibly important.

Most search engine users won't even take a peek at the second page when they look something up. Not only that, but the higher up you are on the first page will significantly increase the amount of visitors your website gets. That's where SEO comes in.

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Simply put, it's the act of fine-tuning content to cater to a search engine's algorithms (while still delivering a good user experience). Best practices for Google, Bing, and other popular search engines are constantly changing, so SEO is an ever-evolving and competitive field.

Understanding the intricacies of SEO can put you in a great place career-wise. Not only is this a high income skill that's in great demand, but knowing SEO opens up doors for working freelance or starting your own business.

Copywriting

You might not have heard of this skill before, but it's a vital part of marketing and advertising.

To put it simply, copywriting is a specialized form of writing. The goal is to inform potential customers and encourage them to take a specific action. That could be to fill out a form, make a purchase, or even just click on a link.

Whatever the case may be, copywriters must use their way with words to guide prospects in the right direction. The fact that good copywriting can have such a large impact on the bottom line of a business makes this a profitable and high income skill to learn.

There are many routes to take with copywriters. Some will work with marketing agencies, others prefer to freelance, while others will operate "in-house" within a single company's marketing or advertising department. Like SEO, copywriting comes with plenty of freedom to work on your terms and earn a high salary.

Software Development

Can you imagine a world without software developers? We rely so much on smartphones and computers to do everything. Developers work behind the scenes to make our digital lives possible!

Developers work diligently to create mobile apps, computer software, and more. Many will also participate in web development, creating front-end interfaces for external applications or internal databases.

Ever since the digital revolution, software development has been one of the most lucrative and high paying skills you can have. Every piece of software you've ever used in your life was brought to life by a dedicated developer. New apps come out all the time, and nearly every industry requires unique software to operate efficiently.

Being a software developer can take you very far. Working for a larger company, trying your hand at game development, or working on small-scale projects as a freelancer are just a few of the directions you can go. Knowing how to code will ensure that you're not only employed for the rest of your life, but you'll earn a great living as well!

Sales

Sales is another profitable skill that you can use pretty much anywhere. There's an element of sales in most industries. Whether it's B2B or B2C, there's plenty of money to make!

Some of the top earners can easily make six-figures or more! Companies take care of their sales team, as they're responsible for generating revenue and taking care of the organization's bottom line. You may find opportunities to work for commissions, which gives you the chance to skyrocket your income potential if you're a high performer.

There's no shortage of motivation to work, and many successful salespeople thrive in the electric sales environment.

The beauty of this high income skill is that you don't need any special education. You can learn to be a successful salesperson regardless of your background. Plus, many types of sales positions are available to help you find your place within a team.

Project Management

Project managers use their abilities to communicate, stay organized, and lead a team. This high paying skill is slightly different from others, as it doesn't always require technical know-how (this depends on the industry). Degree programs exist for project management, but more and more companies are moving past formal education requirements in favor of talent and experience.

As a project manager, your job is to oversee an organization's daily operations to complete large-scale assignments. That's a pretty broad description, but that's because every industry needs project managers!

If you work for a retail company, you might oversee the production and launch of a new product. Maybe you're working in public infrastructure. In that case, you might manage the design and execution of a newly paved road!

The possibilities are endless, and you can end up working in a wide range of jobs. As long as you can keep a team on track and complete assignments efficiently, employers will want to work with you.

Web Design

Like we mentioned earlier, every company needs a well-designed website. There are almost two billion websites on the Internet, and that number will only grow as we head deeper into our new digital age!

Web design is one of those tasks that businesses need regardless of their industry. Some organizations will have an in-house team to cover web design needs throughout the year. Some will hire contractors or work with a third-party design company.

Either way, the demand is there!

This high income skill doesn't require a ton of in-depth coding knowledge. It's not like software engineering or back-end coding.

Designers either pass their creations along to developers, or work with website builders and content management systems like WordPress. The focus is on design and aesthetics, making it a viable choice for any creative-minded individual.

Real Estate

If you've ever been involved with buying or selling property, you know just how much money there is in the industry. But while the earning potential is high, it's a fiercely competitive field that requires in-depth knowledge of the current market.

If you're interested in building profitable skills in the real estate industry, there are a couple of approaches you can take.

As an agent, you can facilitate sales and earn commissions on your work. High-priced properties can make you a significant income. However, even selling many average-priced homes can give you the financial security you seek.

If you prefer a different approach, you can also become an investor. It requires upfront capital and knowledge on how to utilize a property, but the earning potential is high if you succeed. Investors can develop properties, generate rental income, and more.

Content Marketing

Many people confuse content marketing with copywriting. While both skills usually involve a love of writing, content marketing is about using various forms of content to support the growth objectives of a business.

In other words, the scope of content marketing is a bit broader. You may produce content to increase brand awareness, tell stories, educate, or inspire customers. Ultimately, the aim is to create compelling content that hooks readers and keeps them returning.

Content marketing is a high paying skill with ample flexibility and many possible routes to go. Many eventually work for themselves developing content for eager clients.

UX Design

UX stands for user experience and revolves around the front-end design of websites, apps, and other customer-facing platforms. What users see and how they navigate a website or app can make all the difference. A poor user experience is a huge turnoff for modern consumers.

As a result, companies are looking to fine-tune every minute detail to increase sales, revenue, and engagement. That's where a UX design professional comes in.

As a UX designer, you use qualitative and quantitative research to develop an enjoyable digital front-end experience. It's not just about design. UX involves navigation, emotional responses, overall user-friendliness, and much more.

Mastering UX design can do a lot to pad your resume. The skill is in high demand and shows no signs of slowing down.

Graphic Design

Graphic design is a marketable and high income skill that leads to many work opportunities. You can land a full-time career in advertising or work on your own through freelance endeavors. Whatever the case may be, everyone needs graphics to accompany their digital footprint.

Graphic design is a creative pursuit that does require work to improve at. It's not like web design, where you can start with templates and pre-made elements. Many graphic designers create their work from scratch to convey a message or establish a theme.

There's no shortage of projects to tackle. As a graphic designer, you may find yourself creating a logo one day and drawing up infographics the next.

Video Editing

Video editing wasn't always a high income skill. A couple of decades ago, it was something you didn't need to know unless you worked in media arts. However, things are a lot different today.

Companies don't need to hire third-party media companies to create video content! Everything is more accessible than ever. As a result, more brands are developing video content for advertising and social media.

Social networks view video pretty favorably, making it a quick and easy way to garner attention for products or services. Putting together well-made videos for Instagram or YouTube is cost-efficient and has a significant marketing impact.

Video editing skills are in high demand these days. Because it's so new, there are not many requirements for education. Anyone can learn to use popular software, and those with creative backgrounds tend to excel on the artistic side of editing.

It's a versatile skill with opportunities in many industries!

Data Science

If you enjoy sifting through data to find patterns and solutions to problems, this is a skill you should hone.

Many of the high income skills you'll hear about are focused on some form of marketing and advertising. That's not necessarily the case with data science (at least directly). Data science is an analytical skill that revolves around problem-solving and efficiency.

From communications providers to machine learning engineering companies, they all need to analyze data. Companies have access to more data than ever, but making sense of it can be quite a challenge. Data science skills let you work proficiently to find solutions to complex problems, identify trends, and more. Your insights and analysis will help a company improve their processes and understand what they need to do in order to thrive.

The work you can do with this skill varies widely. However, all projects are analytical by nature and require proficiency in statistics, data visualization, mathematics, and code.

Trades

In high school, you likely didn't hear many advisors talking about the merits of honing trade skills rather than focusing on broad academic degree programs. But times are changing. Vocational degrees and certificate programs are becoming more popular because they focus on practical high income skills rather than general knowledge.

Trade skills can take you far, and there are many different kinds of skills to learn. Some of the most reliable trade professions are electricians, plumbers, mechanics, and HVAC installers. Society is always going to need people with those trade skills.

While underappreciated by some, those trade professionals keep modern society going. Every home and commercial property needs an electrician and a plumber!

Other trade skills are available to learn, too. Any skill that prepares you for a specific job can be considered a trade skill. That means everything from elevator mechanics to instrument repair applies.

Not every tradesperson will earn a high income right off the bat, but as you become more proficient your earning potential will grow significantly. If this seems interesting, here's our list of the best trade school jobs.

Social Media Marketing

There's no denying that social media reigns supreme in today's market. Gone are the days of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram being nothing more than time-wasters. These days, those platforms are money-making machines!

More than half of the world's population is active on at least one social media platform. It's easier than ever to reach a broad audience.

Who would have known that being good at social media could get you so far? Ask any successful influencer, and they'll tell you that there are plenty of opportunities to grasp in the social media sphere.

Businesses often hire dedicated social media managers to handle these accounts, with many offering very high pay. Responsibilities include creating posts that stay true to the brand, interacting with consumers, networking, and more. It's a taller order than most realize.

Because social media managers represent the company as a whole, they take great care in choosing the most qualified person they can. If you have the necessary skills it can be quite profitable!

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is a unique skill sought after by retail companies and businesses looking to advertise their products or services. This high income skill often involves a specific advertising channel called PPC, or pay-per-click.

With this advertising model, businesses pay a fee each time Internet users click on an ad. It can be a successful form of marketing that provides a more direct connection than alternatives like SEO, and it requires great skill to do well.

Businesses often hire PPC specialists who can design and execute campaigns successfully. The job involves many subsets, including copywriting, graphic design, and conversion optimization. When all the pieces fall into place, you have a captivating advertisement that attracts attention and encourages action.

There's also an art to managing campaigns to get the most bang for your buck, because you need to run ads that convert (or else the company loses money). Understanding the complexities of paid advertising can make your resume stand out. It also opens up doors for freelance jobs or starting your own paid advertising business.

The Value of Learning High Income Skills

High income skills are in demand, offering excellent job security and a positive outlook for the future. Not only that, but these skills come with better pay and plenty of room to grow as your abilities improve.

But that's not all.

The most profitable skills you can learn offer long-term flexibility. You can start your career utilizing these skills to work as an employee for a company, but you'll also have the ability to branch out and do your own thing if you want!

Start your own business, do freelance work, or become an independent contractor. The choice is yours. As long as you continue to improve your skills, the ball is in your court.

Be Patient

One of the most important things to remember when learning any high income skill is that hard work and dedication still apply! These skills can be quite profitable and help you secure your financial future, but it's not going to happen overnight. These aren't "hacks" or "get rich quick" schemes.

It takes time to master these skills, and you'll invest years into them. The good news is that high income skills pay more the better you become. But even after you get to a point where you're making the big bucks, keeping your abilities current is a lifelong process.

Nothing in life comes for free. These skills can do a lot to give you the financial freedom you desire, but you have to work to get there!

Conclusion

Now that you know the best high income skills to learn, it's time for you to pick your favorites. Everyone gravitates toward certain jobs more than others, and it's no different with the list above.

If you're creative, maybe consider learning graphic design. If you're a strong writer, copywriting could be your calling. If you're highly analytical, learn data science!

No matter what you settle on, the skills in this list can be highly profitable. Stick with it, get better, and being paid well will be the last of your worries.

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Travis Mills Foundation seeks to help injured Veterans "recalibrate"

By Molly Lovell-Keely | U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs © 2023, Reprinted with permission

When Staff Sgt. Travis Mills became one of only five quadruple amputees from the Global War on Terrorism, his personal life's mission changed to supporting Veterans like himself and their families.

The Travis Mills Foundation (TMF) supports recalibrated Veterans and their families through various programs that help Veterans overcome physical and emotional obstacles, strengthen their families, and provide well-deserved rest and relaxation.

TMF supports Veterans through their flagship retreat located in the Belgrade Lakes Region of Maine. Veterans who have been injured on active duty or as a result of their service receive an all-inclusive, all-expenses-paid, barrier-free experience in Maine where they participate in adaptive activities, bond with other Veteran families, and enjoy much-needed rest and relaxation in Maine's outdoors.

Born and raised in Vassar, Michigan, Travis Mills served with the Army's famed 82nd Airborne Division. On April 10, 2012, he was critically injured by an IED during a routine patrol on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. The explosion blew off portions of all four of his limbs.

While recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, family was a crucial component to his healing. Mills, along with his wife Kelsey, their daughter Chloe, and their families, spent 19 months at Walter Reed, recovering alongside other Veterans and their families.

During his recovery, Mills maintained his lifelong mantra to "Never Give Up. Never Quit," and credits Kelsey and Chloe as the driving force behind his positivity and persistence. He had to learn how to feed himself again, drive a car, and walk, which he re-learned with the help of his daughter.

He and Kelsey later attended adaptive sports programs, learning that he didn't have to live life on the sidelines. It was then that Mills began to refer to himself as a "recalibrated Veteran." He didn't like the term wounded warrior since his wounds had healed. He realized that he had to reexamine his thinking and correct it in accordance with his new way of life. He recalibrated. From there, his new mission was born.

What started as sending care packages to the soldiers that Mills served with transformed into the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat, nestled in the Belgrade Lakes Region of Maine.

"Serving my country was the best job I've ever had," said Mills. "Since I couldn't do that anymore, I started the Travis Mills Foundation to give back to not only my fellow service members, but their families."

TMF offers seven distinct programs for post-911 recalibrated Veterans and their families, all at no cost to them. The Foundation serves Veterans with life-changing physical disabilities they received while in service to our country whether they were injured during combat or not.

Each program was carefully and thoughtfully developed in response to the needs of our Veterans. Rehabilitation is a life-long process and the needs of these Veterans and their families vary as they navigate through those phases.

Family Program: For the recalibrated Veteran, spouse and children, or a guest. The schedule is packed with adapted sports and activities to meet the needs of all. However, participation is not required; families are welcome to use the time to rest and relax. Family programming is offered year-round, including kayaking, zoo visits, wheelchair basketball, archery, dog sledding, ice fishing, snow shoeing and more.

Warrior PATHH: Progressive & Alternative Training for Helping Heroes is funded by a grant from the Avalon Action Alliance to teach combat Veterans and first responders how to "struggle well" and achieve post-traumatic growth. This program is offered monthly, the first 7 days are held at the retreat; the remaining 3 months are delivered virtually with check ins.

Caregiver Program: TMF provides programming designed specifically for caregivers of recalibrated Veterans to encourage self-care, rest, relaxation and bonding with others in relatable situations. These include spouses, partners, parents and even siblings.

Ambassador Program: Recalibrated Veterans who have attended a program at TMF's Retreat are selected and trained to represent TMF at various events across the country. It is a way for TMF participants to continue to be more involved with the organization, give back, and share the impact the Foundation has had on them.

Virtual Programming: Virtual programming was developed in response to the pandemic. TMF recognized that interacting with others without the hassle of travel and missing activities, school and work is better for some families. Participant families receive boxes of supplies and then they spend part of their weekend with TMF virtually, using the supplies for crafts, yoga a cooking class and more.

Offsite: TMF has established nation-wide partnerships to support activities that aren't offered at the Retreat. TMF holds quarterly trips to the Atlanta Aquarium to allow Veterans to either snorkel with whale sharks and other gentle giants of the sea or to shark dive. TMF has also provided funding to allow families to accommodate their recalibrated Veteran on another trip, such as skiing, or other adapted activities.

The Recalibrate Program: New in 2022, the Recalibrate Program capitalizes on a participant's motivation after attending the Retreat by providing financial assistance, goal setting, and long-term follow up. The program has helped pave a driveway, provide in-home cleaning services, bought a computer to help with a home business and more.

New programming in 2023 includes TMF's Health & Wellness Center, featuring small and a large fitness rooms, a massage room and indoor pool. TMF aims to teach recalibrated Veterans and their families how to use mainstream fitness equipment at the Retreat so they can return home with the knowledge to stay healthy beyond their visits to Maine.

To apply for Family or Caregiver Programming at the Travis Mills Foundation: travismillsfoundation.org/request-an-application.

In 2019, TMF became one of only 10 locations to offer Warrior PATHH (Progressive & Alternative Training for Helping Heroes) to post-911 combat Veterans and first responders to help achieve Post-Traumatic Growth.

First responder application.

Combat Veteran application.

To learn more, visit travismillsfoundation.org.

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