Wednesday, May 10, 2017

It Never Hurts to Ask: Getting Comfortable with Negotiating

Why is it that so many people are uncomfortable with negotiating? I myself spent years as a buyer and negotiated $MM dollar contracts. Yet, my comfort level decreased when I was representing myself in a negotiation. Truth be told, at times the hiring manager or your manager (for an internal  role ) are not at ease with the process either. So, to help raise your comfort level, and their's, here are a few tips to start you off.

TIP #1 ~ Communicate with a professional demeanor at all times. I was so nervous the first time I negotiated that I almost cried in frustration. In this particular situation, my manager "gave in" to my request but we both walked away a bit uncomfortable. I, because my manager really did resist, and when finally agreeing to my salary increase request, told me that I would be making more than my senior peer on the team. (Something that should have never been revealed.) It left a bad taste in my mouth and I left shortly afterwards. However, I now had a higher base to leverage going forward. 

You can negotiate most things if you are professional along the way. You may or may not win what you want, but you will feel better about yourself for trying.

TIP #2 ~ Preparation is 90% of the negotiation. This was called out in my favorite book on the topic, "Getting to Yes" by Fisher, Ury and Patton, new edition. Ask questions along the way about where you will be brought in on the salary range and how the hiring manager decided upon the amount you will be paid. Many people think companies want to offer you the lowest amount possible. In most cases, this is a myth. Companies have developed a fair compensation practice and know that the best candidate for the role deserves a fair salary that will incentivize her or him as an employee.

Always be in preparation mode. In your internal role, after joining a group, find out more about the company ranges and comp philosophy, if you don't already have that information. "Make a friend in HR or Recruiting" Pat Mahony, my friend,  colleague and also a Career Coach, wisely said.

For external roles, research salaries and company comparative ranges on the many salary sites such as and

TIP #3 ~  Be silent at the appropriate moments. After you make your request - don't fill the air with talking but "wait" for their response. Watch for signs of uncertainty on their part and ask more questions to clarify.

TIP #4 ~ Discuss salary earlier rather than later in the process. I have seen individuals lose out because they discussed their requirements too late in the process.

TIP # 5~  Know why you are asking for the salary or hourly amount, or other item such as tuition reimbursement, time off, etc. Never negotiate just for the sake of it. Sometimes this will backfire even in the best of economic times. Have a reason for your negotiation request and present that sound reason.

And, PRACTICE. PRACTICE. PRACTICE. As I said earlier, 90% of negotiations happen behind the scenes.

Wishing you much success and I'm here to be a resource and answer questions.
Ask about sliding scale if you've been laid off or are a student.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Job Search at the Holidays or Take a Break?
~ The holidays certainly present opportunities to network. 50% of jobs come through our network - neighbor in line at grocery store; cousin at family dinner; partner of a co-worker at holiday party. So, be prepared to describe what you do (to get more business) or what you are looking for (in a target job). Your description should be short and engaging and you should sound enthusiastic. I coach others to do this all the time but struggle myself. We will all benefit by practicing with a friend, family member or colleague. You might think of your tag line on LinkedIn and start building your short work story from there.

Now, what about job search at the holidays? Well, when I was a hiring manager, I interviewed and hired for two new reqs, the week before the holiday shutdown. I started a job the week after New Year's. One of the reasons for this stimulus in hiring is that companies get budgets approved at the start of the new calendar year (which in most cases is the start of their fiscal year). Sound like a reason to continue your search through the holidays?  

If not convinced, here's another reason for you. Many people take a break from their search at the holidays. So, your competition drops off a bit. I look at it this way: You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. And, earlier this week, Glass Door published this article: 17 Awesome Companies Hiring Before the New Year by

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

 Engaging Your Hiring Audience: Writing an Effective
Professional Resume Summary

The Professional Summary is an excellent way to grab the eye and interest of hiring managers There is great advice on the internet about writing a Professional Summary for your resume. You will find information about including your outstanding skills and past experience that stands out, pertinent to the job at hand, and being succinct and targeted. I've also included the following tips for you:
  • Include numbers and specifics - years of experience, size of teams managed, company annual sales, team or individual awards, themes throughout your career, and names of customers impacted are just a few examples. Including these will increase the impact that your summary content will have ion the reader. And, the use of DIGITS (numbers) draws in the reader's eye and so your content is much more likely to be read. 
  • Strengths and abilities are often included in a summary but it's important to make this specific not general. Excellent communication could be anyone. Strong communication to technical or C-Level audiences is specific and stands out. 
  • If using paragraph form only, make it short - 3 sentences is good. If your summary is longer, consider integrating a small space of separation that divides the summary into two small paragraphs. 
  • Bullets draw the reader's eye in, so you might use a combination of sentences and bullets. You might start off with one or two lead in sentences followed by three bullets.
  • Highlight an achievement that will also be in your experience section. It's OK to highlight a success in two sections of your resume. That's good marketing practice.
A well written, targeted summary will grab the reader so that she or he wants to read on, into your experience section. When that happens, the summary has fulfilled it's marketing purpose.
I've included an internet blog article link. Add the tips above and you will be on your way.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Two Tips for Your New Year  

There are two things that are "nice to do for career" early on in the new year. One is updating your resume. The second is evaluating your support team or, as I refer to it, my board of directors. 

Let's begin with the first item - updating resume. Why do it now? Well, one reason is to insure that you take the time and do it. A great way to feed your updates is keeping a "kudos" list of accomplishments and acknowledgements throughout the year. Then, you review that list and use the ones that will add value and impact to your resume content. If you have too many bullets (rule of thumb is about 7 under your most recent position), then it may be time to clean house and remove older bullets or ones with less impact. OR, you can leave them all on and only pare down when you are applying for a position or using your resume for an introduction.

For the second tip, I am including the link to a mid year post of mine in 2015.  This post describes in detail why it's important to have a support group for career success. And, while you are at it, develop a support team - your board of directors - for support of achieving personal life goals, too. I'm planning to do this for myself. We all benefit from the support of others in our lives.

Have a great start to 2016. It's a year of rebuilding and now is a good time to start.  

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Wishing you much success and I'm here to be a resource and answer questions.
Ask about sliding scale if you've been laid off.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Connections on Linkedin: 
Take Time to be Effective
I receive several requests every week to connect with others on Linkedin. Due to my work as a career counselor and former role as a staffing consultant, I have over 1500 direct connections. There is no "right way" to determine who will be a new connection. But, for me, before I accept a connection,  I like to know the person on some level and be able to speak about our connection if ever asked by others.

Now, for months something else has weighed on me. I get many people who click on the button to connect and I receive their message: "I'd like to connect with you." I have no idea who the person is and why they'd like to connect. Well, the obvious - to expand their connections. Taking the time to express who you are and why you are reaching out,  goes a long way to displaying professionalism.  Including information on how we know each other - worked together, a colleague in common, met in a class - is effective. Even if I am not able to connect, due to my parameters, I am forming a positive impression when I receive that inmail. And, you never know how an interction, even a brief email on Linkedin, may create an opportunity in the future.

So, please, don't send me a request unless you expand upon it and take the time to be effective when networking with me and others through Linkedin.

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Wishing you much networking success and I'm here to be a resource and answer questions.

Ask about sliding scale if you've been laid off.  

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Should Salary Information be Shared?

Sharing Salary Information with Peers: In the last week, it has come out that a former Google employee had created a spread sheet, in "Googledocs" of course, that allowed colleagues to share their salaries. People even began to enter their bonus information. I have taught salary negotiations, was a hiring manager, and now coach individuals on salary negotiating. l learned from a wonderful HR friend, always assume that salaries will be shared by peers. Therefore, when I brought in someone new on the team, or prepared for raises, I wanted to be able to explain the logic behind the salary base so that if everyone were to know their peers' salary information, things would be seen as fair. For instance, everyone knows who the high performer is and that person would typically be higher than many in the range.  Someone newer in the profession, unless bringing in a really unique specialty, would be a little lower in starting base, than peers.

So, this open spreadsheet concept tested the waters for Google. I'm not certain how it will all play out. I'm someone who loves compensation theory. And, yes, there is an art to establishing company ranges and compensation philosophy. HR professionals who have a love of numbers and the psychology and strategy behind them, when applied to a company's pay structure, devote entire career lives to this profession. In fact, here's our local SV Comp Association >>>>>

So, I can't wait to see how this all plays out. Like many others, I'm staying tuned!

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Wishing you much success and I'm here to be a resource and answer questions.

Ask about sliding scale if you've been laid off.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

March Madness and Career Dreams

March Madness and Dreams: I was so struck by all the raw emotion of both winners and losers, coaches and players, in the March Madness series. Dreams and talents played out on those basketball courts. Emotions were felt and observed as the games played out. I think of the emotions we have when pursuing our career and life dreams. We have a talent or talents that bring so much satisfaction when used. Depending on circumstances, and sometimes with sacrifice made, some of us use our talents full time, and others of us in our spare time, or at a particular season in life.

There are emotions felt when making these important decisions. It can be an emotional process. Our process should include a list of criteria or preferences that we'd like to have met in order to satisfy our career pursuits. Use of a particular skill set, living in another country, helping others, flexibility of schedule, saving for retirement, might be on the list, as examples. For me, I sacrificed regular weekly paychecks to live out my passion of coaching others in pursuit of their dreams or career goals. I love what I do but it came at a price, giving up something on my overall criteria list - a regular salary. I'm somewhat of an entrepreneur so that item was also fulfilled.

We can make our decision to move forward when a decision meets most items on the list. How many criteria items need to be met will vary for each of us. We may decide to sacrifice one or two in order to fulfill the most important one or two on our list.  Whether it's a long or shorter list, doing the analysis will help us move in the direction right for our life/career at any particular time. But, it's important to assess along the way. Maybe it's time to re-evaluate our list.  If so, bring out that criteria list. Have some criteria changed? What is important for our career engagement today, future plans, use of our talents, family situation, etc.? Make adjustments, weigh options, seek wise council to make changes. Whether you lead with your heart or your head, lead with what is important for you at each season in your life. And, make it a "winning" plan for you.

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Wishing you much success and I'm here to be a resource and answer questions.
Ask about sliding scale if you've been laid off. 
Photo ~ VB News