Salary & Negotiation

salary pic

First, let me begin by stating openly and emphatically that I am not a career coach. What I share with you today comes from my experience and the experiences my clients have been wonderful enough to share with me. Disclaimer. Check.

When it comes to salary and negotiating yours for a new position, remember not to settle. Once more I am going to ask you to do your research. Look at the salary range for the position on Glassdoor or Google Jobs. Think about your worth and the skills you bring to your potential employers’ table. Consider what your bills and living expenses are. These factors give you a good idea of what you need to ask for salary-wise – and what your walk-away point is.

A word of caution. Although the job market has come back full-force, employers have continued to use some of the tight-market tactics with candidates. Things to watch out for and, in my mind, walk away from, are; offering the base salary, offering the base salary with promises of increases and no plans/steps to see them materialize and agreeing to the mid to high-end of the salary range with the responsibility of supervising 10 extra people and 4 additional territories. You may think this sounds crazy and wonder who would go for it, but it happens more often than you think. And it happens to some pretty talented and sharp candidates.

While these are extreme cases and there are examples of employers behaving badly that run the gamut, I believe most organizations and corporations truly mean well. You need to remember that their ultimate responsibility is to protect their bottom line. Your responsibility is to provide for your family, and, hopefully have some work/life balance. There are many mutually beneficial employer/employee relationships to be had. If you are dealing with a situation or potential employer where the benefits seem to be all one-sided, it may be time to walk away.

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Keywords Versus Power Words. Which One Wins?

All my clients are super sharp people. Without exception, each one is highly trained, skilled and has a multitude of excellent achievements to their credit. You can be an intelligent person and still get tripped up by keywords. In fact, most of my clients are on the right track when they come to me – meaning that their resume has a good portion of quality content and, what I like to refer to as, power words.

Power words and industry phraseology are important on a resume. A hiring manager must believe you know the industry or role you are submitting your resume for, after all. It is important not to mistake power words for keywords. Keywords, like the hiring and resume industry, are constantly changing. Therefore, each new resume requires complete, fresh, industry and position-specific keyword research.

Keywords need to be included throughout your resume and cover letter. Keywords specific to your target position / industry are populated in the applicant tracking system (ATS). If you do not have the right mix of keywords in your resume, ATS filters you out and your resume is not seen by a human being. Similarly, if your format and content aren’t visually engaging when your resume makes it through ATS, the hiring manager will not add your resume to the stack for interview.

Without keywords, you don’t stand a chance. No chance of your resume being seen. No chance of be invited to interview. No chance at landing the job. Keywords win.

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I had My Resume Professionally Written 2-Years Ago. Would You Critique It for Me?

First, let me say that I do not even like my own work from 2-years ago! Second, resume and hiring trends are constantly changing and evolving. For this reason, I do not charge for, nor do I offer, reviews or to critique resumes. In all the years I have been writing resumes, there has never been a client that I have not had to do a total re-write and / or re-format of their resume. Not once.

There has only ever been a singular time that I felt I could not help a client. In his case, he had no relevant experience for the industry he wanted to transition to – and I can always find ways translate experience so that it lends itself well to the target position – even when switching industries. While there is a trick to resume writing, I never suggest false information on a resume. Not only does this devalue what you have to offer, it always comes out – and usually in the interview. That’s embarrassing for everyone. So, I had to turn that gentleman away. An experience I hope I never have to repeat.

The thing about my service is, while I don’t offer critiques, I am completely upfront. I charge you one fee, which includes my total service; resume, cover letter and interview. Many companies charge a separate fee for the critique, resume, cover letter and a fat fee if you want to actually speak to a human being. Many companies charge far more than I do. And the money is well-earned, I assure you.

My business model has always been a simple one. Serve people well, at an affordable price. This model has, in turn, served me well, as my clients continue to bless me with referrals and support. I know I could raise my fees and charge needless critique fees in addition to separate service fees for every product I provide my clients with. While it would be nice to make more money, I feel it is more important to serve my clients well and share my talents in an affordable way. No critiques. Just straightforward, quality service.

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Sites to Research Your Next Employer

Let’s talk about your next employer for a minute. What is the company culture? Are their values in line with your own? How do they treat their employees? What need do they have that you can fill? While 2019 is definitely shaping up to be the year of the candidate, after years of employees staying in a situation they were unhappy with, the job market is fierce.

As I have said on many occasions, it has never been more important to do your homework. Make sure you have done your research. Know the employer, the salary you want, and they are willing to pay, and how they do business. Employers are looking for anything they can use to eliminate a candidate from the hundreds submitting resumes. They want you to invest the time to understand them and their business needs. The internet and their website make this simple.

Quick side-note:  Another trend we are seeing is employers wanting you to find them directly, not through a search application, although many still post their open positions with job search apps. Whenever you can, apply directly on the company site.

To help you along with your research, below I share a few resources for learning more about your next employer (and, handy as they are, can be used to find your next employer/position):

Glassdoor

Indeed

LinkedIn

CareerBliss

Twitter

Facebook

Google

Fairygodboss

Whether this is new information or a valuable reminder, be sure not to overlook the details in any step of the hiring / job search process.

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I Live in A Different State. Can You Still Write My Resume?

You bet I can! I write for clients across the country – and have completed several international resumes and CVs. Resume writing, like many roles, has become a virtual gig. Sure, I still have those clients that prefer to meet face-to-face. While I deeply enjoy getting to know a person’s story, we live in a world where that can be done quite well through email and by phone.

The upside to our culture of expediency, is that a resume writer can remain accessible to you while you are able to go about your busy life. I find that the most important aspect of any client project is the “resume interview.” This is where I ask questions that I have developed from the initial information you provide me with (i.e. your last resume or timeline of experience), to dig into your achievements and pull out what I like to refer to as “golden nuggets” from your career. This is critically important because our culture is also one of humbleness – and the resume, and subsequent interview phase of the hiring process, require you to be the opposite of humble.

Location, in resume writing, is a non-factor. What is important to me as your resume writer? That you have reliable access to the internet, an active email account and that you have a working phone line (are willing to carve out one to one-and-a-half hours of your time for the “resume interview”). It goes without saying that you want an experienced resume writer that conducts in-depth keyword research and fresh formatting for each client. Beyond that, don’t let location stop you from using the resume writer you prefer.

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Do What You Love

Are you doing what you love? Yes, I mean in your career. But, also, in your personal life? Many of us need to take a job in order to get experience to build toward the career we will love. Work, though, doesn’t have to be what you love, as long as you are able to pay the bills – and afford to do a little of what you love / are passionate about in your personal time.

If you want to see an unhappy person, look for the person who isn’t doing what they love. Get creative. Perhaps you love volunteering (incidentally, volunteering frequently leads people to jobs and, the careers they love). Maybe it’s planning and you buy and work in a planner that helps you organize your family’s lives. It might be playing a sport, or reading, or learning. Whatever you are passionate about, make a little time in your life to do it each week.

As the phases of your life come and go, so too will your passions. Take inventory and adjust for the new passion in your life in each phase. Just make sure you are making a little time to dabble in your passion each week. You will find you feel more fulfilled and happier – and I am pretty sure this is what people are talking about when they say, “Make sure you take time for you.”

For those out there able to mingle their passion and career, congratulations. You are way ahead of the rest of us, but we’re getting there! 

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