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What you need to know before you negotiate a new salary

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by Karen Adamedes

You’re going to be offered the job. Or at least you’re pretty sure you are going to be. You’re thrilled and picturing yourself in the big chair and doing whatever it is that you will be doing for this role.

But don’t break out the champagne and dancing shoes just yet.

There’s one more big hurdle that you have to get past before you’ll be in the position where you can accept the job even if it’s offered to you.

You need to negotiate your salary package. (Don’t panic!)

What you earn is important to your career for a whole lot of reasons, our earlier post ‘Why it’s important to earn what you’re worth’ talks about the impact how well you negotiate for yourself has on your credibility (not to mention how much money you make!).

And in ‘What’s negotiable in a salary package?’ we discussed what might be negotiable and the importance of understanding this so that you can make decisions about what is important to you and what you might be prepared to trade off – before you get into the fun and games of the negotiation itself.

Apart from knowing what you are able to negotiate you need to do even more background research before you start negotiating for your salary and benefits.

You need to know the benchmarks of the average remuneration packages for people in your job, your industry and in your organization.

There are lots of credible online recruitment sites where you can research your industry. Talk to people in your network: they’ll know. Most companies have a range or guidelines on what they’ll pay for a position based on an applicant’s skills and experience, not to mention negotiating ability. This kind of research is factual and based on data that is generally verifiable.

But there is another kind of research you can do as well.

Don’t just find out about the published data and guidelines. Find out what is really going on; what others who do the same role are paid, as well as people who do a similar role in another division of the same company, and people in similar positions in other organizations. And you shouldn’t just do this when you need to prepare for a salary negotiation – good preparation comes from continuously collecting this kind of data.

If you ask people will tell you.

Don’t be embarrassed about discussing numbers or afraid to ask questions.

When someone is telling you about their new job or promotion ask some questions and give them the chance to brag and you start collecting really good bench marking data! 

You don’t always need to ask direct questions. Probe to gather information: “That’s great news about the new job! Did they throw in a parking space with that? They did? Excellent. How do they pay the long-term incentive? Oh, right you’re not on the incentive. Sounds like you scored big!”

Without even asking the dollar question you can find out things like if your contact  has managed to get a parking space but isn’t on the long-term incentive. Once you have this type of information you can make some pretty accurate educated guesses about where this person is positioned and the likely value of their remuneration. File it away for later. People won’t necessarily tell each other exactly what salary someone else is on, or use it in an actual negotiation, but if your know some benchmarks and where roles fit in the scheme of things it will help you work out where to pitch yourself when the time is right.

The ‘official’ data you gather about remuneration ranges is of value, but the reality can often be quite different.

It’s not important what the company says it will pay, but rather what they are actually prepared to pay.

If your coffee shop research shows that the company pays people in your area 20% more than the ‘official’ going rate, this is much more important to know.

There is a chance that everyone is considered overpaid compared to the going rate. If that’s the case … you want to be overpaid, too!

In cases like this, there’s a fair chance that you will be successful if you pitch strongly for an amount higher than the official figure suggested to you.

Your likelihood of success increases greatly with the amount of information you have and how confidently you use it. Once you understand how this works (and it does) you will be in a much stronger position to negotiate for you!.

Career Tip To Go: Do your research and find out what companies say they will and actually do pay.

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How should you use coffee breaks at conferences?

Use coffee break at networking events

 

 

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Include these 3 things in your career plan

set specific actions for your career plan

 

It doesn’t matter whether your career goal is to achieve a promotion, a new role, a pay rise or something entirely different. Whatever you want to achieve requires a plan. Not just hoping for the best.

A plan of how you are going to make your goal become a reality.

Specific actions, time frames and measures are the 3 things that are essential to include.

In other words:

  • What are you going to do?
  • When are you going to do it? and
  • How will you know you have been successful?

Don’t just hope for the best!

Plan your career the way you would plan your work.

Take control of your future and hold yourself accountable!

Include specific actions, time frames and measures in your career plan!

 

 

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3 Ways to conduct a successful job search

3 Ways to conduct a successful job searchby Erica Francis

If your plans include a career change  you’ll need to know some tips and tricks for conducting a successful job search. To help, here are three ways to conduct a successful job search:

Make Yourself an Obvious Fit for the Job

Chances are, you’ll be applying online for a job. There’s also a very good chance that your application and resumé first will be screened by an automated computer system.

This means that you need to scour the job posting and description, as well as any other information you may have about the position, for keywords and phrases when crafting your application and resumé. Mirror those words and phrases in your application materials and closely match your skills and qualifications to the role to make yourself look like an obvious fit.

These tricks also show the lower-level HR staff, who review your materials before hiring managers and supervisors see them, that you are a good fit for the position. It is your job to show these non-human and human screeners that you are what the company is looking for, so that you can make the cut to the first round of interviews.

Make Your Resumé (and Yourself) as Marketable as Possible

No, you probably don’t want to spend one more second on your resumé than absolutely necessary. So, make sure you do it right the first time.

Resumés have changed quite a bit in the past few years, as screening processes are automated and hiring staff is more pressed for time. This means that you want to forget about the summary paragraph at the top. Your document needs to be able to be scanned in about 6-10 seconds, and a summary paragraph is not worth the space on the paper.

It’s also important that you don’t make it seem as though you are hiding anything from potential employers. Include the months of your employment, to show exactly how long you worked in previous positions. These minor details are important, because they demonstrate that you are following a full disclosure policy with your information. You are more credible when you are honest from the very beginning, and it’s better to explain why you had a short stint somewhere else than to explain why you left out key information.

Use bullet points, quick explanations, and facts. If you achieved something in a previous position, include it under the corresponding job and title. Don’t bury important details or make people go on a scavenger hunt when they read your resumé. And, include your true working title on your resumé. Attempting to trump up your status will come back to bite you in the end, during your face-to-face interview.

Explore All of Your Options

One of the best things you can do before your job search is to take stock of your skills and qualifications, as well as your educational qualifications. You may not realize it, but you more than likely have skills that make you qualified for a position outside of your current or former field. For example, you may have technology skills that you did not have when you graduated. Or, you may have project management experience from your former position. By evaluating your entire skillset, you may find that you are qualified for positions that you would not have considered a few years ago.

It’s also important to consider all of the options available to you in your job search. Have you thought about working from home? Telecommuting is on the rise, and companies and employees benefit from the practice. Working from home boosts productivity and job satisfaction and saves companies money. When you apply and interview, state that you are open to working from home. Or, consider jobs that allow you to be your own boss while working from home. For example, you might become a pet sitter or offer your services as a virtual assistant.

Getting a new job you love could make 2016 one of your best years yet. Follow these tips to help you on your way.

Erica Francis loves working with ReadyJob.org to teach young people how to get started in the job market. In her spare time, she enjoys horseback riding, crocheting, and acting at her town’s community theater.

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