25 things you need to know: by adopting these vital skills, you can take your life to the ultimate level.

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WHAT WOULD IT TAKE TO LEARN all you need to know in a lifetime? A trip around the world? A pilgrimage to a sacred holy land? Or, how about studying the Great Books? These are certainly possibilities, but not your only options.

To help you out, we've crafted a guide to what you need to know to live your best life. It comprises tips, secrets, and advice on everything from learning how to get paid for your talent to knowing what to do if you get stopped by the police.

Pin your favorites on a wall, tape them to the refrigerator, or tuck them into your wallet. These life essentials may not be everything you need to know, but they will certainly give you the chance to be your best.

1 Know How to Interview

It takes more than a flawless resume to get a job offer. Don't underestimate the need to prepare.

Do your research. Study the particular company's products or services, structure, and financial health.

Ask questions. Make it clear that you're looking for a good fit and not just a paycheck.

Be professional. Always wear business attire. Greet everyone, from the receptionist to the CEO. Concentrate on your qualifications and never discuss personal information.

2 Know How to Stay Organized Essential to managing any workload, organization is a learned skill. Here's how to start training:

* Change your attitude. Make time to get organized. Start with one room, or one drawer.

* Purge often. Don't let unnecessary items pile up. Throw them out, sell them, or give them away.

* Put everything in its place. Develop a system for storing the things you use and for filing important papers.

3 Know How to Research Anything

Whether you're searching pages on the Internet or racks at the library, how you go about it is important. Ask yourself:

What am I looking for? Know exactly what information you need, and the level of detail.

How will I use the information? Is it for a presentation or are you looking for background information?

Where did I find it? Keeping track of your sources will help you verify information, answer follow-up questions, and make future research easier.

4 Know the Importance of Having a Will

What will happen to your wealth if you die without a will? According to The Complete Idiot's Guide to Wills and Estates by Stephen Maple (Alpha Books; $18.95), you need a will to choose the following:

* the beneficiaries of your estate

* the executor of your estate

* a guardian for your minor children (under age 18)

* how to distribute your assets Sites like www.findlegalforms.com sell documents at low cost. If you write your will yourself, have an attorney review it.

5 Know How to Ask for a Raise

Asking for a raise takes preparation, skill, and a strategic plan. Before you head to your boss' office, consider the following:

The reality: Expect an increase of 3% to 4% for base salaries during an annual review; 10% to 15% for promotions; and 5% to 50% for bonuses, depending on job level.

The facts: "Documented accomplishments are key because the numbers themselves are not enough," says Chris Fusco, vice president of compensation for Salary.com.

Your emotions: Never say that you need to earn more money because of personal reasons (think kids); compensation is tied directly to what you do in your job.

6 Know How the Political System Works

Pop quiz: Who's the speaker of the House? If you don't know, you definitely...

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