Brother Ron Barnes
Founder and Pastor

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Brother Ron answers your questions about religion, spirituality and ministry

Gatebuilder Ministry
A ministry to ministries. We want to help you become a more effective servant of our Father and your community.

Living Smart
Outreach Ministry

Equipping people to be positive,  productive members of the community.

Prayer Ministry
Prayers and prayer resources for Baha'i, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Native Americans, New Age, Pagans and other faiths.


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Request


Religious Education
Resources to expand your knowledge and understanding of the world's major religions

Music Ministry
Ron's original gospel songs and links to Christian music web sites.

Resource Directory
Where to find help for medical problems, abuse, finances and other issues.

Career Planning
How to identify the right career, locate potential employers and get the job you want.



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May the Lord continue to bless and preserve you.
Packing for the Trip 

It has often been said that life is not a destination-it's a journey. If we want our journey to be successful, we need to make sure we pack a few things before we just jump in the car and go. Here are the things you will need to pack in your career portfolio before you start down the road to your dream job.

BIRTH CERTIFICATE
You are going to need this to get a driver's license, visa and many other important documents. If you do not have a copy of your birth certificate, click
HERE for instructions on how to obtain your birth certificate in any state or U.S. territory. For you ancestry buffs, there's even a free software download to help you trace your family tree.

SOCIAL SECURITY CARD
Don't leave home without it. Your employer will require your Social Security number for payroll, insurance and a number of other functions. You will probably see it on the application. Your employer will need to make a copy of it for your I-9 (another form we talk about below). If you do not have your Social Security card, click
HERE for instructions on how to get one.

STATE-ISSUED IDENTIFICATION
This will usually be a driver's license. If you wish not to be licensed to operate a motor vehicle, the same people will issue an identification clearly marked "Not a Driver's License". This is just as good as a driver's license for employment purposes. You need verification from the government that you are who you say you are. Click
HERE for a complete directory of Department of Motor Vehicles websites for every state.

COMPLETED JOB APPLICATION
If you have read the discussion of job applications, you know that you will get a blank application and fill it out at home before you approach an employer. This is especially true if you are "cold calling" employers without an appointment. Their first response will often be to hand you an application to fill out. No problem. You have an application with all the information you will need to complete any application the employer gives you. If you have not yet read the information on job applications, you can click
HERE or continue reading and come back to it later.

RESUME
If you are applying for a management or professional job, you will need one. If you are applying for a technical or government job, the application will probably be enough. Some require or will consider a resume. If you have a chance to give somebody a resume, do it. A well-written resume is a great marketing tool. It presents your knowledge and abilities in a form which the personnel office is comfortable with and can process quickly. As we discuss in
INTERVIEWING, your future employer will probably use your resume as the basis for the job interview. By controlling the content of your resume, you control the interview.

To read the complete discussion of resumes, click
HERE.

REFERENCES
People or companies who can vouch for the quality of your work and your character. Be aware that, since September 11, 2001, organizations have become extremely cautious when it comes to security. Employers are now screening candidates much more closely for satisfactory work history, driving record, credit record and a number of other issues. Click
HERE for a complete discussion of references.

TRANSCRIPTS
You will need copies of your transcripts from college. Employers very seldom ask to see a copy of your high school transcript although you might need it for college admissions and financial aid. Get your transcript from your college's admissions office.

CERTIFICATIONS
Absolutely critical for careers in education, information technology, health care and many other fields. For many jobs, your certification is more important than your college degree. It verifies that you have demonstrated certain job-specific skills and are competent to perform the duties of the job. Certification also gives the human resources office proof they had a reason for hiring you. You might not think this is important but the human resource people do.
Click
HERE to learn more about teacher certification.
Click
HERE to learn more about certifications in information technology, finance, health and other fields.

DD-214
If you have served in the military, you need a copy of your DD-214. For directions on obtaining a copy of your DD-214, click
HERE. If your military records were destroyed in the 1973 fire at the Military Personnel and Records Center you may need to rebuild the DD-214. Click HERE for instructions on rebuilding your records.

W-4
When you are hired, one of the first things your employer will require you to do is complete form W-4. This tells the employer how much to take out of your paycheck for state and federal income tax. This information will have no effect on other withholdings such as Social Security and Medicare. To download Form W-4, click
HERE. Remember that your withholdings will not have any effect on the amount of tax you are required to pay for the year. This is determined when you complete and file Form 1040, which is due every April 15.

Many people want more money taken out of their check each pay period to avoid a payment or create a bigger refund. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this and it makes good sense for many budgets. Other people want as much money as possible as soon as possible. They feel that withholding additional money is making the government an interest-free loan. I can understand why this would offend them and there is nothing wrong with this strategy either.

The real question is what is right for you. When you complete the W-4, pay particular attention to the questions about marital status and dependents. Married people pay less withholding than single people. Usually, having more dependents means a lower withholding. You can also usually reduce your withholding amount if you or your spouse is retired or disabled. To help you determine how changing your W-4 will change your paycheck, click
HERE for the IRS withholding calculator.

I-9
Your employer is required to have this form on file to show that you have permission to work in the United States. For a copy of Form I-9 and instructions, click
HERE.

OTHER TESTS AND DOCUMENTS YOU MAY ENCOUNTER

INS WORK PERMIT (GREEN CARD)
If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will need this to complete the I-9. For a complete discussion of work permits and how to get one, click
HERE.

DRUG TESTING
The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires some Federal contractors and all Federal grantees to agree that they will provide drug-free workplaces as a condition of receiving a contract or grant from a Federal agency. Many employers have adopted a drug testing policy on a voluntary basis. There has been much discussion about whether drug testing violates employee privacy and confidentiality, but the movement has political appeal and probably will continue for the foreseeable future. Employers also believe that employees will do a better job if they are not stoned. They are probably right.

Most employers use a urine test for drugs. For a discussion of how to beat a urine test, click
HERE. Herbs such as Goldenseal are also used to flush drugs out of your system. Be aware that these methods are not 100% effective. The only way to be 100% sure you will pass the drug test is to avoid all contact with drugs. This means also avoiding all places where drugs are being used, especially those which are smoked like marijuana or crack cocain. You could get a "contact high" and test positive for drugs even though you were not using them.

Because urine tests only detect drug use in the last few days, and because there are other issues concerning urine testing, many organizations are now using hair samples to test for drugs. Hair testing detects drugs used months ago and is harder to foil with chemicals. For a more complete discussion, click
HERE.

CREDIT CHECK
Many employers, especially financial institutions, run credit checks on job applicants. They feel that a person who shows fiscal responsibility is less likely to steal or embezzle from the company or its clients. There is also an issue of customer confidence. Would you want somebody handling your money who can't manage his own?

A good credit record is vitally important for a number of reasons. Besides getting you a job, good credit will also help you buy a home and qualify for lower rates on cars and credit cards. You should be aware of your credit report. Reporting agencies sometimes make mistakes which can hurt your credit rating. If you find mistakes on your credit report, you are entitled by law to have them corrected.

CREDIT REPAIR SCAMS

Many companies offer to "repair" your credit records and "guarantee" a perfect credit rating even if your credit history is less then perfect. It is true that you can challenge credit reports. It is also true that a credit reporting agency must remove any bad reports that a creditor can not or will not verify. It is NOT true that a company can force creditors to remove accurate and verified information from your credit report. The only way to do this is to create a fake identity including a fake Social Security number. This is a federal crime and will result in you spending a lot of time in prison. Not a good idea.

You can verify this by reading the
FTC Consumer Alert, the Better Business Bureau Report or the links in "Helpful articles" below. You can also download a free e-book on credit repair by clicking HERE.

Helpful articles
The Importance of Good Credit
What are the consequences of student loan default?
What should I do if I have problems repaying my student loan?
How to Dispute Credit Report Errors
Avoiding Credit Repair Scams