Graduate Success Story: Tanner Schelle

  • IPR graduation: 2011
  • First job: Guitar Center
  • Doing now: Video Content Manager, Wellbeats, and owner, Level Up Multimedia LLC.


What are you doing now?

Currently I do a few jobs. My full-time job is at a wellness company called Wellbeats. Here I’m the video content manager, meaning I shoot, edit and manage all of our video content. During shoots my role is “technical director,” meaning I run the video switcher and oversee that everything is being recorded properly. I work directly next to the director.

I also own my own company, Level Up Multimedia LLC. I am a freelance video producer, editor and live stream operator. My biggest recurring business is shooting and editing local mixed martial arts for a promotion based out of the Twin Cities area. Live streaming concerts are something we are really pushing for to become another source of revenue.

Are you doing today what you thought you would be doing when you started school?

Not even close. To be fair, I had no idea what I was going to be doing when I started at IPR. I wanted to do many different things, and the more people I met and talked about their experiences, the more my horizons broadened. I started wanting to be an audio engineer, then live sound engineer, then post-production whiz. I eventually realized I have to be able to do it all to succeed, and I started doing as much as I could.

Is there anything about your education that stands out as a pivotal experience in your education or career?

I had a huge turning point in education around my sixth quarter. I had a teacher named Tom Forliti, and on the first day class he walked in and said, “I can teach you how to run all of this equipment, and that’s great. But the best knowledge I can give you is my phone number.” That seemed so odd to me. I understood connections are why a ton of why people are hired over others, but it hadn’t occurred to me that they’re almost everything! Tom is a direct reason why I have my current job at Wellbeats.

What advice would you give to others looking to enter into this field?

Get out there! Find someone who does it, and contact them to be an intern or volunteer to help at a show. Find people with the same interests as you. Hanging out with a group of people who share the same passion as you is a great way to learn. You’ll all end up making work for yourselves out of thin air!

Was there anything that you had to wait until you were out in the industry to learn that you couldn’t be taught?

One of the biggest lessons I learned outside of school is that no experience is a waste. I’ve done so many jobs that either didn’t pay, people still owe me money for, or the project ended up not being finished that I felt like I had no idea what a good job was. For a while I felt as though I wasted my time because I didn’t have any financial gain. But this couldn’t have been less true. I learned how to perfect my craft so much more on these kinds of shoots. They ended up being pretty low pressure, which meant they were a great way for me to learn what questions to ask a client before taking a job.

Do you have mentors today? If so, how have they influenced your career?

Everyone has someone to teach me; specifically, though, Tom Forliti. After I graduated IPR and was working at Guitar Center, I would occasionally text Tom asking him what he was working on. One day he said he was doing audio for a fitness shoot and told me to come out. Even though I was just a guest there, I knew from my days at IPR to be helpful, so I asked to be a production assistant for the day. The director was impressed and asked me to come to the next shoot. Three months later, it was January, and everyone started to get sick, including the technical director and Tom. Luckily I knew how to run all of the audio equipment and video equipment because I had been asking questions throughout the shoot. Not long after, I was was offered a full-time job.

If you could change anything regarding your career path, what would it be?

The first year out of college was the hardest. I wish I could go back and change the way I approached the industry the first year. If I could go back to before I graduated, I would really push to have something lined up. This, however, didn’t really mess up anything in the long run because things now are great!

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IPR Unveils New Programs in Graphic Design and Digital Video

This quarter IPR began offering two new degree programs to students: an Associate Degree of Applied Science in Interactive Media & Graphic Design and an Associate Degree of Applied Science in Digital Video & Media Production. They join IPR’s already stellar associate degree programs of audio production and engineering, sound design for visual media, and live sound and show production.

Digital Video Program Chair Trey Wodele

In the Digital Video & Media Production program, students will learn skills to create professional video and digital productions, being trained in narrative, commercial and corporate production. Coursework includes learning to light, shoot and edit quality video; develop stories and storyboards; create professional motion graphics and grow as a responsible and well-rounded professional.

“Our production-based degree is really what sets us apart,” says program chair Trey Wodele. “While other programs are focusing on the art of filmmaking, we are preparing students for actual jobs on the set of a film.”

Career opportunities for digital video graduates include positions as association producers, production managers, stage managers, directors of photography, camera operators and directors.

“The process of creating a film, a commercial or a television show is so huge — there are so many people involved in the production that there is a place for everyone,” Wodele says. “We see students lean toward the parts of a production that they feel most comfortable with, and in that way find a place for themselves.”

Graph Design Program Chair Nicole Nelson

Just as exciting is IPR’s new Interactive Media & Graphic Design program. Program chair Nicole Nelson says the Interactive Media program is for “visual problem solvers,” people who love art, design, websites, brands, marketing and photography.

Throughout this program, students will learn skills to design for print and web.  They’ll also study and experience hands-on projects using elements of typography, style sheets, color, page layout, vector software, websites and more.

With these skills, plus a dose of professionalism and career planning, graduates with an IPR Interactive Media & Graphic Design degree will be prepared for careers as graphic designers, graphic artists, production artists, web designers, marketing coordinators and more.

“There are so many different types of businesses that hire graphic and web designers,” Nelson says. “There are big and small companies, ‘mom and pop’ shops, printing businesses, advertising agencies, law and public relations firms and marketing firms — to name a few.”

Exciting new changes are happening at IPR — and more are yet to come!

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Grip, Gaffer, Best Boy… What Are Those Weird-Sounding Jobs in the Film Industry?

If you’re interested in film, you’ve probably noticed some funky-sounding job titles in the credits at the end of movies… and wondered what, exactly, these Grip, Gaffer, Best Boy, jobs, careers, movies, industry, film folks do.

The world of digital video and media production offers an array of career opportunities. Some of them, such as director, are more straightforward. Others, however, may need some explanation.

Here, we’ll look at a few of the jobs in the industry that have weird titles, and discuss what exactly they do during a production.


Grips build and maintain the supporting structures used for housing cameras and audio and lighting equipment, according to IMDB.

These structures can include tripods, tracks, dollies, cranes and other devices that aid in how a scene is recorded. They work with directors and others on set to ensure the equipment is in the right place and the scene can be captured the way it’s intended.

There are other types of grips, as well.

  • Key grip: The head grip on set.
  • Dolly grip: A grip that moves a dolly, which is a camera mount that moves along a set of tracks.
  • Best boy: Top assistant of gaffer (see below) or key grip.


A gaffer’s job is to manage electrical equipment during a digital video production.

Generally focused on lighting, gaffers (sometimes called lighting technicians) ensure levels are correct and make adjustments depending on what a shot calls for. They also head up the electrical team during a shoot.

Boom operator

Simply put, the boom operator is the crew member who holds the boom microphone (a mic at the end of a pole) and ensures it’s picking up sound correctly.

Boom operators also make sure the microphone can’t be seen in the shot.

Other Careers in Digital Video and Media Production


Working behind the camera, videographers capture the images that will eventually become a finished product.

In addition to having an eye for framing and composition, they must have a strong grasp of the technical aspects of shooting video, as well as sound and lighting.

Videographers can work in a variety of places, including small production companies, media companies, corporations, or as freelancers.Grip, Gaffer, Best Boy, jobs, careers, movies, industry, film

Video editor

Video editors use the scenes taken during a production and translate them into a coherent, persuasive or entertaining product.

They use digital equipment to rearrange, alter and improve shots during the post-production process, helping create cohesive sequences for final production.

The advent of new equipment—and more channels through which video is presented—has allowed for a greater range of opportunities in the field.

Sound technician

Sound technicians coordinate and operate audio equipment during video productions, making sure microphones, speakers and recording gear is set up properly.

These professionals maintain sound equipment for various productions, including radio and TV broadcasts, concerts, videos and more. Many work as freelancers.

Work in the Industry

A degree in digital video and media production can prepare you for a host of jobs.

The work itself varies depending on the type of production, be it a commercial or full-length feature film. Some of the careers in the field not listed above include:

  • Associate producer/production
  • Production manager
  • Production coordinator
  • Director of photography
  • Unit production manager
  • Script supervisor
  • Second assistant director
  • Sound mixer
  • Audio assistant
  • Editor
  • Producer
  • Director

With the right training and experience, career opportunities in the world of digital video and media production are nearly limitless.

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Meet Mary Jane Alm: An IPR and Minnesota Legend

You know you’re a big deal when a restaurant names a dish after you.

Photo courtesy of Mary Jane Alm

Of course, IPR instructor Mary Jane Alm had plenty of reasons to consider herself “arrived” even before Jackson’s Hole, a favorite spot for IPR folks, introduced its “Mary Jane’s Salad.” In her illustrious career, she’s been voted Best Female Vocalist and Artist of the Year by the Minnesota Music Awards as well as being inducted into the Mid-America Music Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

“Mary Jane brings the voice of an angel to every song she sings,” says colleague Bob Jenkins. “She’s a professional musician—she knows how music works and what it does.”

“She teaches music theory in a way I can understand,” says student Mat Sawyer. “Not all teachers can do that.”

In addition to music theory, Mat also took Mary Jane’s Vocal Techniques class even though he knew the final exam was an on-stage performance. “I was terrified to sing on stage,” he said. “But she showed us singing techniques before we go on that helped.”

Mary Jane has made her living through music her entire life, a feat few people today can claim. She began singing in college mostly as a hobby, she says, and one thing led to another—“the universe just pushed me in that direction.” She’s done a bit of everything, from punk to jazz, but primarily her career has revolved around her combination of country, folk, blues and rock. She’s played gigs all over the world and currently plays with her band, The Mary Jane Alm Band, around the Midwest. Her two albums, Prisoner of the Heart, and Me and the Wild Blue, were released in 1985 and 2011.

Photo by Cameron Thomsen

Singing comes naturally to her, she says, but she credits her success more to her ability to read music than anything else.

“I would get jobs because I could read music ahead of maybe better singers,” she says. “I got a lot of jingle work and industrial work that way. And because I can hear harmonies, it’s helpful for my songwriting, too.”

Her ability to read music also led to her career at IPR: She was hired by IPR 11 years ago to “fix” its music theory class because, at the time, it had the highest failure rate of all the school’s classes. Almost none of the students could read music.

“I was kind of doing [IPR co-founder Tom Tucker] a favor,” she said. “But in the end, it was him doing me a huge favor because I fell in love with teaching.”

She went from teaching one class a week to full time just like that. And she still loves every minute of it. After more than a decade teaching, Mary Jane still brings her passion and caring nature to class every day. “I love seeing the light bulb go on in students’ eyes,” she says. “I love their energy.”

Most of her students, Mary Jane says, want to be in the music business because they can’t see themselves doing anything else, a position she had been in at that age, too. What she loves about IPR is that it teaches students how to make a living in an industry they love. Students may come here wanting to be rock stars, but they leave with their eyes opened to other possibilities, like post-production or sound for video games.

“My advice to students is to open your mind to all different possibilities,” she says. “Don’t just have tunnel vision.”

CLASSES: Mary Jane teaches Music Fundamentals I and II and Vocal Techniques I and II

3 ARTISTS ON HER IPOD: Sara Bareilles, Bonnie Raitt and Miranda Lambert

WHEN SHE’S NOT BEING MUSICAL: She’s being a mom. Of course, that often includes music, too.

WHAT SHE LIKES ABOUT IPR: “The programs are so valuable to students. And I feel like we’re really a family. So many of us have been here for so long, seeing IPR through a number of changes.”

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7 Reasons to Check Out IPR

IPR recording studiosThe Institute of Production and Recording (IPR) in downtown Minneapolis offers a hands-on educational experience for the Entertainment industry. Founded in 2002, IPR offers associate degree programs in Audio Production & Engineering, Sound Design for Visual Media, Live Sound & Show Production, Music & Entertainment Business, Interactive Media & Graphic Design and Digital Video Production.

If you have a passion for Music, Entertainment and multimedia, here are seven great reasons to check out IPR:

1.  Faculty with Gold and Platinum records, GrammysTM, EmmysTM and more

IPR boasts 50 instructors that are all currently working in the field – several of whom are “high-profile” teachers: Grammy winners/nominees, Platinum/Gold record recipients, Clio and Cannes award recipients, Certified “Expert” level instructors and/or other nationally recognized/published experts in their field. Between these high-profile instructors, they have over 150 Gold, Platinum and Grammy-award winning records to their credit. Our faculty also includes multiple AVID Certified Instructors who are specialists in Pro Tools, as well as many more instructors with a wide variety of expertise in the entertainment industry.

IPR’s experienced, award-winning teachers can teach you how to be a professional by learning from their experiences and successes. Our curriculum is reviewed quarterly and carefully crafted by IPR professionals with a long list of credentials of working with some of the most popular artists of our time.

2. Hands-on learning in labs and studios from day 1

IPR students have the opportunity to work on our equipment from day one – both inside and outside the classroom environment. IPR has 7 recording studios and over 120 computer workstations that serve as classrooms and training areas. Students also have the chance to work on their own personal projects and/or record their own music (unlike many other recording schools), and there are no additional hourly rates or rental fees.

Students are exposed to a wide variety of cutting-edge software at IPR. Whether you’re mixing a song, doing sound effects for a movie, crafting CD cover art, or shooting and editing a music video, IPR students get their hands on the gear to get the experience they need.

3. 8:1 student-teacher ratio in studio classes

Students get personal attention from instructors with Gold and Platinum records, Grammys TM, Emmys TM and more in our professional studios. Our mentoring philosophy provides for plenty of hands-on guidance, and small class sizes ensure that students get the knowledge they need.

4. Generous open lab and studio time 24/7

With 24/7 access to all this equipment – for 18 to 24 months – it gives students the opportunity to experiment, practice, create, produce, develop their own artistic style, and simply get good. That’s what IPR is all about – to help get the experience you need to get hired and move up in your career.

IPR studio

5. Certified training in Avid Pro Tools, Apple Logic Pro, Ableton Live

IPR offers certifications for a variety of the most commonly-used software programs and hardware products in the music and entertainment arts industry.

While students get exposed to most major software used in the multimedia industry, IPR offers certified training for those that want  specialized credentials and expertise. IPR was actually the first institution in the world to be an Ableton Live Certified Training Center. We also offer multiple certification levels in AVID Pro Tools, Apple Logic Pro, and Microsoft Office.

6. Continuous Job Placement Assistance for graduates

IPR is one of the few multimedia schools in the country that offers Job Placement assistance. Now does that mean that we can “guarantee” a job? Of course not – but what it does guarantee is that IPR is going to be there to assist you – whether you’re looking for a job or to start your own business – we’ll stand behind you.

Graduates always have access to the Career Services department, where you can connect to the Career Services website to find paying job and internship leads all over the country and around the world. We offer help with your job search, resume, job interview skills, and you can utilize our entertainment industry contacts and connections.

7. Student run record label

IPR’s own student-run record label, Sudden Media, is a modern record label and media company that is run and managed by IPR Students and mentored by an IPR Faculty member. There are real artists, real contracts, real content to put online, make sales, secure copyright, design merchandise and logos, create music videos, and more.

If your dream is to own your own record label, getting involved in the IPR label is a valuable and priceless experience. Where else do you find that?

The Next Step

There’s a lot more to consider when choosing a school, but these are all topics that are vital in our opinions. It’s all about employability – and we’re confident that IPR can help you get the variety of skills that you need to be marketable and employable.

If you have the passion and dedication for getting into a career in Multimedia, then IPR can help you get the knowledge and experience needed for getting the jobs you’ve been dreaming about.

Call your IPR Admissions Representative at 866-477-4840 now to arrange a personal interview to find out more about your goals, and see if IPR could be a good fit for you.


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From Beats to Bagpipes

Although they might spend their days (and nights) in the studio making beats, IPR World Music students had a taste of the bagpipes recently, taking a field trip to the Minnesota History Center to see a Scottish Céilidh group, the Dick Hensold Band.

Instructor Rich Manik brought his class to St. Paul for the performance, a part of the History Center’s Nine Nights of Music series, which celebrates the multicultural sights and sounds of the state. The class will also return to the series in a few weeks to hear a sampling of Ukrainian music from a local group, the Ukrainian Village Band.

As a part of the field trips, students create field journals that describe the soundscape of the performance and interact with the performers. It’s a perfect way to incorporate learning objectives, such as analyzing global elements in popular music, of the popular elective class into a hands-on experience.

Many IPR classes, like Manik’s World Music class, follow an applied-learning approach by turning textbook concepts into real, live experiences and projects for students. Students agree it leads to better understanding of the material as well as more engagement and interest in the topic. Plus, what better way to spend a gorgeous summer night than taking in an outdoor concert?

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Music, Food and Living in Minneapolis

IPR, Institute of Production and Recording, MinneapolisIPR is located in the heart of Minneapolis, surrounded by vibrant neighborhoods and city life. If you are relocating or getting your own place for the first time, staff at IPR can offer advice and resources to help you find your new location.

We’ve been there and done the research to come up with these great Minneapolis neighborhoods to recommend to our students looking for a place to live.

  1. Downtown is within walking distance of the IPR campus. It also is a hotspot for music venues and restaurants, and boasts the theatre district.
  2. Loring Park is near the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and is home to a number of walking and bike paths.
  3. The University of Minnesota covers a large area in Minneapolis, is only a few miles from IPR and caters to student life.
  4. St. Anthony is just across the river from IPR and has lots to do in the summer months with restaurant patios and outdoor music.
  5. Uptown is just south of Loring Park and offers restaurants, shopping and a great nightlife as well as the Chain of Lakes.
  6. The Hiawatha Corridor is gaining popularity because of the Light Rail Line. While more laid back, the train makes access to Downtown quick and convenient.

Check out this link for a map and more information about each of these neighborhoods.

Things to Do

Living in Minneapolis gives you easy access to the entire Metro area. Metro Transit offers both bus and light rail service. Discount passes are available for students. Take the time to explore both Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Don’t forget to bring your bike. Minneapolis has been named a top city for biking by the U.S. Census Bureau. Check out this site for everything you need to know.

Music IPR, Institute of Production and Recording, Minneapolis music

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are known for their local music scene. First Avenue was made famous by Prince and is considered a cornerstone of the Midwest music scene. Check out the movie Purple Rain to get in the vibe.

The Turf Club/Clown Lounge is a landmark in St. Paul and the Triple Rock Social Club is a mainstay of the West Bank. Check out the rest of our list of music venues.


We all need to eat and Minneapolis and St. Paul offer a bounty of options for every taste and budget. Check these out:

Twin Cities Trails

Minneapolis and St. Paul both offer walking, hiking and biking trails for all skill levels. Check out these options.

  • The Grand Rounds of Minneapolis
  • River Parkway in St. Paul and Minneapolis
  • Dakota Rail Trail
  • Gateway State Trail
  • The Midtown Greenway

Nature Areas in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Get away from the concrete jungle on occasion. It isn’t far.


The Metro area boasts 51 parks and park reserves with more than 300 miles of interconnected trails.


Right in the city

  • Calhoun
  • Harriet
  • Lake of the Isles
  • Cedar Lake

More options to consider

Minneapolis has something for everyone. Find your favorite places to go and things to do.

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6 Things to Know Before You Start College

IPRSo you’re ready to make your college selection. Congratulations, that is a big decision. There is more to do though. Here are six things you should know before that first day of class.

1.   Important Deadlines

There wouldn’t be anything worse than missing an important deadline and putting a halt to the start of your college career. Be sure to look at IPR’s deadlines to know exactly when you can submit your applications. An admissions representative can also provide that information.

Oftentimes the earlier you apply the better for admissions, so apply as soon as you’re ready. IPR sends acceptance letters to those who have met the entrance requirements. Your FAFSA should also be filled out as early as possible after January 1st. The sooner you file, the more likely you are to get the most financial help.

2.   Course Loads

Being recognized as a full-time student at IPR means taking a minimum of 16 credits per term. Generally, the more credits, the more work and time you have to put into the quarter. Take enough to be rigorous and complete your degree in a reasonable timeframe, but acknowledge that you will be spending time to complete assignment for all those courses, in addition to readings and exams.

Keep up with your syllabus; it’s the ultimate guide to your courses throughout the semester. College involves a lot of independence which means that you have to stay on top of things for your classes. Instructors will hold you responsible for due dates, so keep your syllabus handy!

A syllabus typically covers everything from attendance policies to grading scales to the term schedule of the course including due dates. Start the term off right by staying on top of your school work. Getting behind will only make your experience more and more stressful as your coursework begins to pile up.

Do yourself a huge favor. Buy a planner, or download an app and use it!

3.   To Purchase or Not to Purchase

Textbooks take a toll on your wallet and that is a fact. Once you get your syllabus, you can look through the required readings and see what resources will be necessary for purchase. IPR utilizes eResources in the coursework. This provides access to eBooks and other resources used within the course curriculum. IPad’s® are a required tool for an IPR’s student education. There is a scholarship available for a full-time students’ iPad®. Information on this scholarship is available from the admissions and financial aid department.

When it comes to software, for general education courses the basics like Microsoft Office are needed to complete assignments. Industry software, which can be hard on a students’ budget, is available for student use on campus in our labs and studiosWe recommend learning on the provided resources before making an investment in the software. That way you’ll know which of them works best for you and the type of projects you’ll want to do.

4.   Don’t Fear New Places and New FacesIPR students

The transition to college can be a scary one. Embrace it! New experiences shape us as people. Even before a student starts at IPR, they are provided an opportunity to get to know other future students through our Facebook groups. Students are invited to join a group that consists of other students enrolled to start the very same quarter. This is a great opportunity to find out who else is attending your college, what interests you share, and perhaps even find a roommate. At IPR we value the sense of community and this is another way we’ve found to promote our culture.

Be sure to sit next to someone in your first class and introduce yourself. There is unlimited opportunities your first couple days of classes to meet a ton of new people. This means new contacts and new friendships which is what life is all about. Soak up the change and your new surroundings.

Make a solid first impression; you will be spending the next couple months, if not more, with these fellow students. Don’t forget that you’re not the only one with these feelings. There is at least one other person in the same position as you, if not many more.

5.   Resources

Grab a map! If you feel lost in your new surroundings, that’s okay. You’ll get the swing of it before you know it. Take an extra few minutes your first day to familiarize yourself with where you’re going.

The faculty and staff at your institution are at your disposal, so take advantage of this resource. They will help you get your courses on track so you complete all the requirements for graduation in the most logical order. More often than not, they know a lot about your area of study and can help you get a better understanding, too.

Your instructors are the best resource around. These people have degrees and more knowledge in your field than any textbook or internet source. They have hands-on, real-world experience that will benefit you beyond any assigned reading, and they are there to help.

Use your instructor’s office hours; they have them each week for a reason.

6.   Get Involved

Get your social life rolling outside of class by getting involved on campus. This will help you meet new faces and expand your social circle while also filling up your calendar. Start networking with other students, collaborate with each other on projects, and attend local event. The more people you know, the more opportunities that come knocking on your door. So start networking now! Get out there, and get involved. Be seen.

*Apple, the Apple logo, iPad, Mac, MacBook, and MacBook Air are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. iBookstore is a service mark of Apple Inc. Programs may vary by campus.

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7 Tips for Your Job Search

job search, careerYou’ve finally done it. You went to college, learned to budget your time and your money, worked hard, learned a lot and graduated. Now you’re ready to move onto the next chapter and start your career.

Are you ready?

Electronic applications and social media have made it faster and easier to find and apply for jobs, but you still have to do the work of:

  1. Planning – Deciding which jobs fit your career path.
  2. Tools – Preparing your resume, cover letter and other tools for the application process.
  3. Research – Accessing job boards and other social media channels to get your name out.
  4. Networking – Getting your name out there to the right people.

If you’re not quite sure how to get started, the career services department at IPR has these tips for your job search.

1.  Devise a Strategy – Research the hiring process in your chosen field to find which jobs are the best for new graduates and how to use the various channels to find opportunities.

2.  Build an Online Profile – Your online profile is an important channel in your job search.  An online profile such as LinkedIn makes is easy to:

    • Upload resumes
    • List skills and experience
    • Search for jobs on job boards
    • Find positions using keyword searches
    • See related jobs to the skills you’ve posted

3.  Create an Effective Resume – Your resume is an essential part of the job search process.  The purpose of that resume is to get an interview.  The average amount of time it takes an employer to look at a resume is 30 seconds or less, so it’s crucial that your resume is brief, attracts attention, creates interest and describes your accomplishments.

4.  Master the Cover Letter – The old adage, “You only have one chance to make a first impression,” applies perfectly to cover letters. You should craft a new cover letter for each job you apply for.

  • Avoid overuse of the word “I”
  • Use a professional business letter format
  • Address the letter to the appropriate individual or department
  • Keep a record of letters you sent and any responses you received
  • Ask someone with good writing skills to proof your letter

One of the most important pieces of advice that you will learn immediately is to always double check your letter for spelling and grammar errors.

5.  Get Comfortable with the Interview Process – When you know what to expect from the interview process, you’ll be more comfortable sitting down with hiring managers and human resource personnel. Practice interviewing with friends, family or the career services professionals at IPR.

6.  Find the Best References – References come in three categories: personal, academic and employment. They are the exclamation point that communicates you are a responsible, qualified candidate.

7.  Learn the Art of Thank You Letters – Want to stand out from the crowd of job applicants? There is nothing like a handwritten thank you letter to show that you appreciated the hiring person’s time and that you are eager for the opportunity to join their team.

Ultimately, no one can promise when or what job you’ll find. But the better prepared you are, the better chance you’ll give yourself. IPR offers career placement assistance to all of our students and graduates.


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7 Things You Should Know About College Loans

Student loansSo you’re going to take the plunge and go to college, good for you. The next question typically is, how will you pay for it?

There are many options for getting college financing. Some, like grants and scholarships, don’t have to be paid back. But,if you can’t get grant or scholarship dollars, another choice is to check out college loans.

There are a several loan types available. Federal, state and private loans are the most common. Federal and state loans typically provide the best interest rates. They also offer a variety of repayment choices.

You must complete a FAFSA to be eligible. Once you have received your financial package, you can visit to keep track of your federal loan information. Private loans will vary from institution to institution.

As well as the types of loans, there are a number of other facts you should know about college loans.

1. Put Together a List of Questions – Loans come loaded with important details that you need to know. Before you start searching, make a list of questions that cover such topics as:

  • The type of interest rate—fixed or variable
  • Total loan cost
  • Available hardship waiver
  • Deferment policies
  • Grace period
  • Pre-payment options
  • Co-sign requirements

It might be worth your time to research general information about how private loans work. Check out these articles as a place to start: Types of Student Loans, Loan Repayment Basics and Understanding Your Student Loans.

2. Think About the Impact of Interest – When you are in the process of finding loans, remember the impact of interest on the amount of money you will be repaying. The longer period of time it takes you to pay back the loan, the more interest you will pay.

In addition to the questions above, you should determine if your loan has an interest rate cap. Federal loans are likely to have lower caps than private loans.

You may find that your lender provides flexible payment benefits, such as automatic debit programs, which can reduce your interest payments. If you pay more than the required minimum or you begin paying during your grace period, you’ll cut some interest out, as well.

The more time you spend researching what your repayment terms will be, the better prepared you’ll be when it’s time to start paying off those loans.student loan checklist

3. Find out If You Have a Grace Period – Many loans include a grace period that allows you to get on your feet financially once you are out of school. The period starts when you drop below full time, leave school or graduate.

The Department of Education Loan Services, Sallie Mae servicing, clarifies which federal loans have grace periods,

“If you have a Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized federal loan, your grace period lasts for six months. You must begin repaying your loan(s) at the end of your six-month grace period. If you have a Direct PLUS federal loan, there is no grace period. Payments begin immediately after the final loan disbursement is made. Payment postponement options are available. Contact us for details.”

4. Finding a Cosigner – Having a cosigner increases the chance that you will be approved for a loan. A cosigner legally agrees to be jointly responsible for loan repayment should the first signer (you) fail to make arrangements.

People to ask may include:

  • A parent or guardian
  • A mentor or close friend
  • Another relative (grandparent, aunt, uncle…)
  • Your spouse or significant other

As long as they have a good credit history and understand the responsibilities involved, almost anyone can be a cosigner.

5. You Can Find Loans Online – If you want to look beyond your local bank or credit union, you can check online to find a host of lenders. Here are a few loan websites you might find useful:

These websites can show you the benefit of consolidating your federal loans for easy repayment.

When you find different loan sites, you should carefully examine the fine print to see if there are added fees to the quoted rates.

6. You Can Get Help! – Learning about all the information surrounding student loans can be a bit intimidating, but there are many people available who can help you through the experience.

  • If you need help filling out your FAFSA form, you can chat live in Spanish or English with counselors who can guide you.
  • There are companies that, for a fee, will provide assistance and even file your FAFSA for you.
  • Your school’s financial aid office can provide assistance in understanding which loans are best for your situation.

You may want to talk to other students who have gone through the process before you. They can offer experience and support.

7. Remember ScholarshipsScholarships can reduce the amount of money you need to borrow. They are a great way to help pay for tuition costs because you do not have to pay the money back.

Taking a carefully planned approach to student loans will reduce stress during the process and prepare you for the impact that loan repayment will have on your life after college. Once you have the financial details of your college experience in place, you can focus on enjoying one of the best investments you could ever make—a college degree.


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