Bias in the Job Search – Avoiding Triggers in Your Resume

Last week, we had an awesome webinar on the topic of bias in the job search, focusing on things that you as a jobseeker can do in order to avoid falling victim to the biases (conscious and unconscious) of a hiring manager, recruiter, or HR person.  Thank you everyone for the great feedback – we are so glad that you enjoyed it.  For those of you who weren’t able to attend, the recording is available in our webinar archive – but, here are some quick tips to help you fortify your resume so that you can get to more interviews!

  1. – Cut down on the amount of personal information you’re giving away

I know, I know – your resume is your marketing piece.  It’s where you put your best foot forward and give your potential employer the opportunity to get to know the *real* you, right?  Well, sort of.  Your resume is absolutely your strongest marketing piece for your job search – however, it is also rife with opportunities to count you out of a job based on triggers.  Avoid putting too much personal information in the resume.  Certain things are just not necessary in order to have a strong document, and they can hurt you more than they help you.  Some things to avoid including are:  your address, graduation dates, photos, and specific years of experience (if you have more than 10-15 years, that is).  You want an employer to look at your whole document, and not get hung up on one little thing – so the best thing to do is simply eliminate those things when and where you can.

  1. – Always have a clear, specific headline

Back in the old days (meaning, 10 years ago or so), we used to use an objective statement for every resume.  This was an easy way to customize your resume for specific employers, and a clear way to communicate what your professional goal was.  Unfortunately, including an objective statement on your resume today is a sure fire way to get passed over, because it immediately ages you (even if you’re a 20-something or 30-something) and makes you seem out of touch.  Instead, we opt for Professional Summaries that give the reader an idea of who we are and what we are about, rather than simply what we want.

The problem, though, is that sometimes we become a bit too lofty with our professional summaries, and not everyone has the time to read them.  One of the best things that you can do on your resume is create a “headline” (think, LinkedIn) immediately below your name (you know, where that address used to be), so that the reader knows who you are and what you do right off the bat.  Remember that the average recruiter spends less than 20 seconds reading through a resume before making a decision on whether or not to recommend you for next steps – it is your job to connect the dots and make it as easy as possible for them to see who you are and what you offer, so that they feel comfortable going forward with you as a candidate.

  1. – Master the AI aspect

Artificial intelligence, including those awful applicant tracking systems (aka, the resume robots) are here to stay.  Instead of railing against them and bemoaning their use, learn to make them work for you.  With regard to your resume, ATS are trained to do one thing:  use your skills and keywords to match the best candidate with the requisition from the company.  In order to be chosen as the best candidate, you need to speak the ATS’ language.  Use a wordcloud generator, or a tool like Jobscan.co to figure out how the ATS is reading your resume, and adjust it so that you are highlighting the same keywords, skills, and attributes that the computer is designed to look for.  This will help you get an interview, and from there, you can land the job.

Bonus:  Understanding the technology of today’s job search demonstrates awareness and ability to learn new things, which is always a plus for mature jobseekers, or those who have been out of the market for a while.

We hope that these tips will help you as you begin crafting your bias-proof resume.  As always, if you would like some one on one advice from one of our career consultants in the Office of Alumni Career Management, we are more than happy to assist you, either in person or virtually.

Have a great day, and Go Bucks!

The Best Jobs in America for 2019

Greetings everyone!

As we work our way through the first month of 2019, many of you are on the #newyearnewcareer train!  January is always a great time to start fresh in your career, whether that means transitioning to a different industry or position, or simply better positioning yourself for professional growth while remaining consistent with where you are for the moment.

With that in mind, Glassdoor has released its annual “Best Jobs in America” report, complete with a compilation of the top 50 jobs for professionals in 2019.  This report is, as always, chock full of excellent information for job seekers who are interested in knowing where industries and job types are projected to go throughout the next year.  Just to give a sample, here are the top five “Best Jobs” according to the report:

  1. Data Scientist – Average salary:  $108k/year – 6,510 projected openings
  2. Nursing Manager – Average salary:  $83k/year – 13,931 projected openings
  3.  – Marketing Manager – Average salary:  $82k/year – 7,395 projected openings
  4. Occupational Therapist – Average salary:  $74k/year – 17,701 projected openings
  5. Product manager – Average salary:  $115k/year – 11,884 projected openings

Additionally, the report forcasts a spike in demand for highly-skilled workers, and sees the healthy job market we are currently enjoying as one that is particularly favorable to job seekers.  Unsurprisingly, healthcare jobs continue to gain ground, taking up 8 of the top 50 spots, but this list is well-rounded, showing progress and opportunities for people across a variety of industries. All in all, it looks like this is a good time to change positions!

For the full report, check out Glassdoor here:  https://www.glassdoor.com/List/Best-Jobs-in-America-LST_KQ0,20.htm

 

Tools You Can Use (To Spruce Up Your Social Media)

Happy New Year everyone! We here in the Office of Alumni Career Management hope that you have had a wonderful holiday season and are starting the new year off with a bang!
This time of year always brings new year’s resolutions, and desires for self-improvement. Though we often see many new clients approaching us with desires about finding a new job, we recognize that a new gig isn’t necessarily everyone’s goal. However, whether you’re looking to start something new, or simply looking to refresh your own personal brand (hint: you definitely should be), we have a few tools that can help you along the way with that.

This week’s tools you can use focuses on two awesome tools that will support you in cultivating a strong, professional brand presence online. As we all know, the internet is an ever present part of our lives these days. We have long since surpassed the days where social media was this “new” thing that “the kids” were into – now it seems that everyone has a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn profile. And while you may not be one of “the kids” any more, it is likely that you’ve had these accounts for quite a while. If so, there’s a possibility that you may have said or done something (maybe years ago) online that is now coming back to haunt you in your current life. The worst part? You might not even know/remember what it is.

That’s where our tools you can use come in! Our tools this week are WillMyTweetsGetMeFired? and Brand Yourself.

The first tool, WillMyTweetsGetMeFired? is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a tool that, for $2.99, will comb through all of your public tweets of old and flag the ones that are likely to cause trouble for you professionally. The algorithm looks for things like: profanity, racial slurs, nudity, etc. and it highlights them for your review. Of course, you can look at each of them and decide individually whether or not those are tweets that you think you should get rid of, prior to deleting them.

The second tool, Brand Yourself, goes a little farther. For $9.99, Brand Yourself does a complete sweep of the internet and gives you a score. It will scan through any social media accounts that you have, including the standards of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, etc. and flag any strange or unbecoming posts. This includes posts that (may) contain profanity, sexual references, and anything else that may be deemed “offensive” to others (think: political opinions, etc.). Those can be reviewed by you so that you can determine whether or not you would like to keep them or delete them.

Additionally, Brand Yourself will offer up advice/steps that you can take to make your online presence more positive, including optimizing search results, etc. so that you appear higher when being “Googled” or otherwise researched.

Both of these tools are important, because they work in accordance with applicant tracking systems – you know, the dreaded “resume robots” we are all accustomed to dodging during online applications. What you may not know is that the ATS not only scans and scores the documents that you submit online as part of your application, but they may also scan the internet in search of mentions of you, and include the content they find in your overall score. Because of this, it is critically important that you are cognizant of the things that you have posted in the past, as well as things that you will post in the future. Always think before you post, and if you’re ever in doubt, these tools can definitely lend you a helping hand!

The CAR/PAR Method – Effectively Marketing Yourself to Employers

The world of the job seeker is a dynamic one, constantly evolving to keep up with changes in technology and the needs and desires of employers.  As the workforce changes, so must the ways in which applicants communicate to potential employers how they can best fit their needs.

We already know that your resume is a living document, and as such, it is regularly evolving.  More than a simple list of your prior work and education experiences, your resume communicates to employers the story of your professional development, including all relevant and important accomplishments you have achieved.

One effective way to realize this is to utilize the CAR/PAR method.  The acronyms CAR and PAR stand for Challenge > Action > Results or Problem > Action > Results.  This is an efficient and effective way to build your resume and practice answers for interview questions.

 Challenge/Problem:

Consider each job that you have listed on your resume – what were the most important tasks that you were given?  Then, reframe your thoughts a bit – every “task” can also be seen as a problem or challenge.  Think specifically about the important tasks that you have taken on – the ones that required true strategy and resourcefulness in order to solve.  These are the ones that employers are most interested in hearing about.

Instead of:  Accountable for sales quota

Try:  Tasked with maintaining accurate sales records for three sales teams

 

Action:

Now that you’ve identified the challenge, the next step is to spell out how you solved the problem.  You should be as concise as possible, stating simply how you were able to affect change for the better on your resume or to your employer in an interview.  This is the shortest part of the CAR/PAR statement, so be careful not to spend too much time on it.

ExampleDeveloped a comprehensive product library consisting of 4,820 models

                 Engineered and implemented company intranet using Google Sites

 

Results:

Now you’ve reached the important part – the section that employers care about the most.  You’ve identified your problem and talked about the action that you took in order to solve it – were you able to succeed?  Typically we call these your “deliverables” in your resume, and, where possible, they are quantifiable.  At a minimum, you should have five in your resume.

ExampleTasked with streamlining business operations, engineered and implemented user-friendly company intranet via Google Sites, increasing productivity and reducing data errors by 20%

Interested in trying the CAR/PAR Method while sprucing up your resume?  Check out the worksheet here for a little help!

Managing Up – Three Things You Need to Know

Managing up is one of the hot topics in today’s world of career development.  It seems that, regardless of where you are in your career, everyone is interested in understanding how to better manage their relationship with their boss, so that they can have an improved working environment.  Even if you’ve never heard the term “managing up”, you’ve likely heard of the concept – and have maybe even engaged in it one time or another.

However, if you are interested in learning more about how to effectively manage up, here are three quick things that you should know:

  1. – Managing up is all about relationships

At its core, managing up can be defined as teaching your boss how to best manage you.  The idea is that you want to make your work life easier, and you want to make her life easier as well – you do that by communicating and building a relationship.  If you’re able to do that well, then you have the opportunity and ability to establish trust with your supervisor.  From there, it’s easy to improve your work environment and have a pleasant and productive assignment going forward.

  1. – YOU (not your boss) are in charge of your interactions

At the risk of sounding redundant – managing up is about teaching your boss how to best manage you.  Just as in other relationships in your life, you are responsible for teaching your supervisor how he or she can and should treat you.  Often, I hear from clients who are frustrated due to the lack of professional development that they have received.  Usually, when talking with these clients, they seem to be under the impression that their supervisors are responsible for overseeing the growth and development of their careers – however, that just isn’t the case.  If growth and promotion is what you want in your company, or in your career, you must be assertive and forward thinking about your interactions with your superiors.  Talk to them about concerns that you have or ideas you would like to test out.  Show your strengths to them – do not assume that he or she will seek you out in order to give you additional opportunities.  While those bosses do exist – they (and their opportunities) are few and far between.

 – Managing up requires maturity

Managing up means establishing a productive working relationship with your supervisor – and sometimes this isn’t always easy.  We have all had difficult bosses, bosses who we felt we were smarter than, and/or bosses that we just did not gel with.  However, if you would like to have a good relationship with your boss, YOU have to be invested in doing the work.   A sound working relationship comes with time, and with proving that you are reliable, as well as someone that your supervisor can trust.  It isn’t about manipulating your manager, or delegating tasks to him or her – rather, it is about gaining their buy-in and making them care about you and your professional growth by demonstrating that you care about theirs.  It’s about looking out for your boss, and also about honestly and professionally finding ways to advocate for yourself.  Be honest about what you want and need from them, and help them find ways to get you what you need.

For more information about Managing Up, click here to listen to a replay of our recent webinar on the subject, featuring OSUAA’s Director of Lifelong Learning, Lauren Luffy.

Have a great week!

Alumni Spotlight – Meet Kwame Christian

Hey there Buckeyes! It’s time again for a new Alumni Spotlight!  This time around, we are featuring attorney, author, podcast extraordinaire, and all-around great guy, Kwame Christian.  Check out his information below, and get to know this one of a kind Buckeye.

Kwame Christian, Esq.
Best-Selling Author and Director of the American Negotiation Institute
(2010, BA – Psychology; 2013, MA – Public Administration; 2013 – Juris Doctorate)

What brought you to Ohio State?

I actually chose Ohio State because I am from a really small town, and I decided that when I went to college, I wanted to experience something different from what I was used to.  I’m from Tippin, OH which has a population of about 20,000 people, and Ohio State has a population of more than twice that.  Even though the thought process wasn’t all that great, I am glad that I chose OSU, because it was the best experience for me.

How did your experiences at OSU help shape your career path?

I had a lot of great mentors coming through school, which is something that I have always found to be very beneficial.  I got a great education, and also was positioned around people who were willing to invest in me.  My best mentor was a woman named Patty Cunningham, who made a huge impact on me because she would not accept my excuses – she would always push me to do better.  The fact that there were people here who cared enough about me to help shape the path after I left was instrumental for me.

What advice do you have for any students or alumni who may be considering your career path?

My career path is a bit unorthodox – I started out in psychology, and then went into law, where I practiced for a few years prior to starting The American Negotiation Institute.  Really, negotiation is a way for me to get back to my love of psychology.   So what I would suggest to others is to pursue their passion and follow their interests.  When I was doing law, my clients were happy and I was doing well, but I wasn’t very interested in the material – I was always interested in psychology.  So, looking back at my career, it is very much me taking incremental steps back to what I love doing.  The benefit is that, when you’re doing what you really, really love doing, you can tap into boundless energy. Now I am able to create great content and work on awesome presentations because I really just love what I do.  

Ask the Coach – Salary Negotiation (Part II)

 

Hey there!  Here we are again with (more) answers to your questions regarding salary negotiation.  Remember that you can also view the full recording of our presentation on this subject by visiting us here.

In considering the hiring process and the point where negotiations begin, is there a “norm” for the number of interviews in the hiring process?

Typically there are at least two interviews in the hiring process – a phone interview and a more formal in-person session.  Some employers utilize a three interview system, where you would do one phone screen, one in-person with a panel or committee, and then one as a one on one with the person who is actually making the final decision.  Of course, there may be some slight variations on this depending on the specific company – however, this is the usual course of action.

 

What if my current company pays me very well, above industry standard: will asking my future employer to at least match this be acceptable?

It is absolutely acceptable!  We never recommend that someone willingly take a pay cut, especially when they are going to be working in a similar or more advanced role.  Prior to asking, take some time to assemble your justification for why your current employer is paying you at the rate that they are, and why you should continue to receive this level of compensation with a new employer.  Remember that by the time you have reached the stage of negotiating salary, they have already chosen you as the person that they want.  This gives you leverage to ask for what you need from them.  Now, that’s not to say that you should be greedy and attempt to take the employer “to the cleaners,” but at the same time, you should feel empowered with this knowledge to ask for what you want and need from them in order to make this employment situation work for both of you.  Remember, the goal is to create a “win:win” situation for everyone involved.

 

How do you approach salary and/or higher status title when your positions moves to reporting to the President of the organization based on your accomplishments?

You would essentially approach it the same way that you would approach any other position change if you were leaving the job to pursue a career with a different company.  Find out what the comparable rates are for someone in your position with your reporting chain of command by doing informational interviews, and then set about building your case for why you deserve a pay increase based on both that information and on your personal background of accomplishments and contributions to the company that would justify the increase.

 

If certain benefits (like educational assistance for ongoing professional development) are not necessarily common within an organization, what strategies would you recommend for bringing up that possibility during the negotiation process?

My recommendation is to use the tiered approach that we spoke about in the presentation (making a list of first level, second level, and third level priorities) and determine in which tier those professional development opportunities belong for you.  Then, research the benefit of offering those to a company, as well as the cost of some specific opportunities that you are interested in and that you feel would be valuable for the role you are entering into.  Present this information as part of your case justification during the negotiation process, but be prepared for the possibility of having the give something up in order to get what you want on this front.

 

Could you negotiate a pay cut in order to work remotely instead of in the office? If so, how is this done? Is remote work is one of “package of benefits” that could be negotiated?

We never suggest negotiating a pay cut – even if you want a more flexible arrangement.  What we suggest instead is to be clear about your intention/desire to work remotely early on in the process (this way you know before either you or the employer invest too much time whether or not this is even a possibility), and then be prepared to negotiate with the understanding that remote work is higher on your priority list than salary.  You may be more amenable to accepting the initial salary that the company offers if it comes with the flexibility to work remotely, but don’t sell yourself short by negotiating down before they even throw something out there.

Also, remember that it is a bit of a long shot to obtain a position that allows for remote work, unless it is explicitly designed and advertised that way already.  You may be more successful taking the position in its traditional format, and then after a time in the position (at a minimum a year), requesting/negotiating a flexible work arrangement.  Typically, employers need to know you in order to have confidence in your ability to manage yourself properly in a remote situation – so, if they aren’t specifically looking at a remote opportunity from the start, you will likely have a challenging time negotiating the remote angle without first proving yourself trustworthy of such an opportunity.

 

Some companies ask up front what your expected salary range is – in this case, what should I do?

First, try to flip the question back onto them by asking what their intended rate of pay is for the position.  If they are unwilling to answer that question, or if they still press forward with an additional ask, give a broad range ($10-15k) that includes your desired rate of pay.  You should already have a good idea of what the rate for this type of position is from research and therefore should be able to give a range that keeps you in contention for the position.

Remember, when a company is asking for the salary range up front, what they are really doing is preparing a judgement on whether or not you are close enough to their intended rate of pay to merit further interviewing. The range that you give them is not necessarily what you will be offered – but you want to make sure that you’re not providing them with a wage rate that is lower than your walk-away point, in the event that they decide to hold you to the range that you gave them.

 

My work performance is better than several other employees at the same level. How do I leverage that without trying to make it sound like I think I’m better than someone else or throwing my colleagues under the bus?

You leverage it by showing your results and allowing them to stand on their own merit, instead of using them in a comparison strategy to show that you are performing better than someone else.  You want to provide justification for a pay increase by showing what you contribute to your team/organization, so let that be the focus of your case (rather than what someone else isn’t doing).

 

How do you handle when an employer says an offer is non-negotiable or they give a short time frame to sign and respond?

Take the time that they offer (I would still recommend refraining from answering immediately on the phone) and use that time to deliberate on whether or not the offer meets your needs.  If salary is non-negotiable, there may be an opportunity to negotiate for other benefits instead (such as additional time off, educational assistance, etc.).  Also, if you’re feeling overly pressured, don’t be afraid to walk away from the offer.  If you aren’t comfortable providing an answer in the time frame given, then perhaps that is a sign that this company is not a good fit for you and you need to reevaluate.

 

Should it be expected to receive a pay cut when taking a job in a different geographic location? (ex: moving from the gulf coast to the Midwest) What about changing job industries? (ex: going from oil and gas to automotive or commercial goods)

Not necessarily – cost of living is definitely a factor when relocating to an area, but it does not necessarily mean that you should expect to have to take a pay cut.  With regard to industry, that’s also not necessarily a deal-breaker.  The key here (as in any instance of negotiation) is research – research the area you’re moving to, research the industry you’re considering, and then create a case for the salary that you would like to have based on that information.

 

At the time of online job application, sometimes it’s mandatory to provide my current salary. Is there any way to avoid that?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to outsmart the automated online application system.  Be sure when you’re filling in an application that this is a required field before giving that information (sometimes employers ask for that, but they don’t make it a mandatory field.  If not, then skip it.).  If it is mandatory, then be honest when providing your information, and be prepared to speak to what you believe you deserve for this role when you go into an interview.  If the role you’re interviewing for pays significantly more than what you currently make, don’t be discouraged – just be sure to have your facts and research on hand as you prepare to ask for your desired wage.

 

Can you further explain how to avoid telling the interviewer how much you currently make, especially if they push you to disclose even after you “put the question back on them” (aka ask their range)?

If you ask for their anticipated range, and they ask about your current salary, redirect again by staying something like, “I’d much rather talk about market value” and speak to the information that you’ve gathered through research that has helped you arrive at your preferred range.  This lets them know that you are savvy enough to have done research and won’t be easily swayed by a lackluster offer on their part simply because it is more than what you are currently making.

 

From the employer perspective, what are some of the factors that would cause them to agree to a higher salary that has been requested in their range?

Because they want you – remember that you are the person that they’ve chosen and they are not terribly interested in going back and starting the search over again.  They also want the situation to feel like a “win : win”.  In order to secure a higher offer, reiterate why you’re the best fit for their company, and show the value that you bring to the table.  Also, fall back on market value and, if necessary (and advantageous), you current salary as well.

 

Also, is it fairly common from your experience for them to come back and agree to some improvement?

Yes – remember that employers are expecting you to negotiate.  This means that rarely will they open with their highest offer.  They offer slightly lower to give themselves room to improve in order to meet what they feel is an inevitable ask on your part.

 

If I accept an offer from somewhere and later on fortunately get a better offer from a higher priority place, in that case, is it an option to decline the previous offer and accept the new one?

This is not really something that we recommend, because doing this will likely burn bridges which may come back to haunt you in your later professional life.  However, if you absolutely must do this, it is critical that you are open in communicating with the opportunity that you’re leaving, and that you do your best not to leave them in a lurch.  Try to give more than 2 weeks’ notice if possible, and if appropriate, assist them with finding a replacement.  This will go a long way toward establishing some good will on your part and help them to remain with a favorable impression of you despite your choice to leave.

 

Any recommendations for those who do not want to leave their current role, but may be in a situation where they know they are underpaid (more than 10-15K) compared to peers with similar roles, but their department will not be flexible with a salary raise despite acknowledging the significant discrepancy?

Unfortunately, you may need to consider looking into other opportunities in order to receive the pay that you want and deserve.  One strategy that you could use to motivate your current employer to provide additional compensation would be to pursue other opportunities and, when offered, use that as leverage to spark a counter offer from your current company.  The danger with that, as always, is that they may call your bluff and then you’ll need to make a decision about whether or not you want to pursue the other opportunity(ies).  The good thing about doing this type of exploration, though, is that you may find that you want to move on or that you’ve come upon a better opportunity for yourself.

Ask the Coach – Salary Negotiation (Part I)

 

Hello all!  Last week we had a great webinar on salary negotiation, presented by myself (Kioshana LaCount Burrell) and our director, Marilyn Bury Rice.  After that presentation, we were inundated with questions from you all about specifics surrounding the topic.  Here are the answers to some of the burning questions you all submitted to us after that presentation regarding your specific questions on the negotiation process:

 

When you are negotiating, should you counter with your “optimal” salary or counter with slightly above your optimal salary, assuming they will negotiate down?

When you are negotiating, remember that the idea is for both of you to compromise in order for everyone to feel like they won all around.  Therefore, if there is a specific number that you are looking to reach, I would suggest countering slightly higher.  That way, the employer has room to come down a bit if he or she cannot accommodate that number, and you will still likely obtain the rate that you wanted initially.

 

Can you share how large of a range you suggest sharing if pushed for expectations on that first HR call?

If you are absolutely being pushed for a range on the first call/phone screen, be as broad as possible.  Up to $15k in salary difference is fine – just be sure not to start way below what you actually want or need to move forward.  For example, if you are expecting/hoping for $75k, then I would say that my range is $70k – $80k, depending on the market rate for the job.  Don’t, however, start the range at $65k, because then the employer will have the impression that you are willing to accept $65k as a reasonable salary for the job that you actually want (and should be) paid $75k for.

 

On OSU website there are salary targets, does this mean this is out window to negotiate our offer?

Not at all!  Salary negotiations happen every day in hiring processes, even here at OSU.  The salary targets on the postings are there to give you an idea of what range you should be expecting for this type of job, but are not set in stone.  It may be difficult to negotiate a $20k raise from the posted target salary, but there is still room for wiggle within that range.

 

Next week will be my 1st year anniversary at my current company. My first year, my manager and I have never talked about raises. How do I talk about raise if supposedly they don’t give me a raise on my 1st year anniversary? FYI, I did not negotiate this job offer – due to excitement and I’m somewhat underpaid.

You anniversary is a great time to open the door to a discussion on salary increase, because this is usually the time of year where you are receiving an evaluation.  There will be an open dialogue between you and your employer about your work on the team over the last year, and you should use that as an opening to broach the conversation about obtaining a salary increase.  Be sure to speak to any positive contributions that you have made to your work environment and highlight any areas where you can show that you have added value to the team.

 

What is your take on relocation packages?  Do you think it’s worth negotiating for if it was told in the phone screening that it is not built into the level of this role? But it’s something you could discuss/negotiate with the hiring manager himself.

Relocation packages are a tricky thing – especially if you’ve already been told that the company does not offer them.  However, it does not hurt to ask once you’ve obtained an offer.  Remember, though, that negotiation should be completed in a tiered approach.  You should negotiate with the most important things to you first, understanding that you will likely not get everything on your list of wants.

 

Do you have any tips for negotiating a raise in your current position/company?

Generally speaking, this is something that is easiest to negotiate during an evaluation period.  This is because your manager has spent time looking at your work for the last period of time (quarter, 6 months, or year) and has therefore come up with a definitive opinion about the value that you add to the team.  However, even if you are not in an evaluation stage, you can negotiate a raise using the same tactics you would at the beginning of the job.

First, you’ll need to do some research and determine what a fair salary is for your role.  You’ll also need to outline the specific amount of increase that you want and be able to justify why you deserve that increase.  You do this by demonstrating ways that you have had a positive impact on the business – have you been able to save the company time or money by streamlining processes?  Have you seen an increase in sales based on something that you have chosen to do differently?  Do you consistently meet and exceed expectations, etc?  Use this information to build the case for your raise and then request a meeting with your supervisor to go over your pitch.  The key is to be clear and confident when talking to him or her, and to communicate your value in a way that leaves no room for rebuttal.

 

What do I do when the HR manager says “this offer is not negotiable” or “this is our highest offer/best we can do?”

Thank them for their time, and then ask for time to evaluate.  You need to determine whether or not the offer as it stands meets your needs, or if you need to walk away from that opportunity.  You can also ask if other things are negotiable (for example, perhaps salary is set, but you’re able to negotiate some additional benefits from the offer instead).  Evaluate the total offer, and figure out where it falls within your needs – and decide whether to accept or decline based on that.

 

Is it a bad sign if an employer needs an answer in 24 hours and is not flexible on that timeline?

It isn’t necessarily a bad sign, but it may be an indicator of whether or not this is a company that you want to work with.  This shows some inflexibility on the part of the employer – therefore, you need to be able to make a decision quickly.  If you cannot fully come to terms with accepting the offer within that period of time, then don’t feel bad about walking away.  Never allow yourself to feel overly pressured into a situation that you are unsure about because you don’t have adequate time to make a decision.  Remember that you are in control of the choices that you make regarding your employment – if you aren’t sure about the offer, then it is more than acceptable to decline and continue with your search for the right fit.

 

If an employer asks why I declined an offer and it is b/c the salary was too low, should I be honest about that?

It is fair, and even important, to let an employer know that you declined his or her offer because their salary did not meet your needs.  Be polite and courteous, but also frank when communicating this to them.  You might even be surprised at receiving a counter offer.

 

My current superior is stepping into a new role and therefore, his current position will be coming open in a few months. We have worked together for a year now in a company that has a more family-like, casual/relational approach than a rigid business approach, so we have become friends. As part of his new role, he will be making the deciding factor on who steps into his position coming open and salary for that person. I will apply and interview for this position. Any advice on how to navigate negotiation if offered the position?

Be all about business during the negotiation process – do not lean on the fact that you have a friendly relationship with this person.  Although you are friends, his job is to choose the best fit for the business as a whole.  Therefore, you should be able to showcase the value that you add to the company through the use of examples that speak to your track record as a strong employee and leader within your team.  Not only will this be a more effective route to take, it will also likely win you additional respect among your peers and supervisors.

 

Is it appropriate to ask broadly what benefits are negotiable? Companies present benefits packages as being standardized across the company or certain roles

Once you’re in the space of negotiating salary, it is absolutely appropriate to also ask questions about benefits, and negotiate there as well.  There may be less room for wiggle with a benefits package, but it won’t hurt you to ask.  I’ve personally been able to negotiate things like an extra week of vacation and the ability to forego waiting a 90 day period for insurance benefits to start, having them start on day 1 of employment.   Ask – the worst they can do is say no.

 

When I accepted my current role I was told during my initial negotiations I would be eligible for a 9% increase after 6 months. That VP has since moved on from the company how should I address this with the new leadership?

I would contact HR about that – explain the situation and ask what the process is for getting the increase evaluated.   Even though you don’t have it in writing, you should be able to get an increase based on merit.

 

Can you negotiate with an offer if recently laid off/unemployed?

Absolutely!  Being laid off is almost never the person’s fault, and is something that most of us will experience at one time or another in our lives.  The key is to approach a new offer with confidence, which (again) comes from being able to communicate your value to a new employer.  Remember, just because your last company failed or chose to go in a different direction doesn’t mean that you have failed.  Even in a role that was eliminated, there are still opportunities for you to speak to what you have contributed as part of that team.  Use these points as a spring board to communicate to the offerer what you have to contribute to them as well.

 

Telling an employer you have another opportunity can also be interpreted negatively as an attempt to leverage or speed up the hiring process – how to negate this?

You’re absolutely right – telling an employer that you have other offers can sometimes be perceived as negative.  This is why we advise that you do not bring up another offer unless you are fully prepared to take the other offer if the employer you’re bargaining with will not meet you where you need to be (in other words – don’t just bluff!).  Also, be mindful of the way that you broach this subject – be sure to be polite, enthusiastic, and keep a positive attitude.  Having another offer in and of itself isn’t negative – being rude or off-putting when bringing it up, however, may very well be.

 

Don’t see your question up here?  No worries!  We’ll be following up this post with a second part later in the week that details even more questions submitted by you all, along with our expert answers!  In the meantime, if  you would like to schedule an appointment with a career consultant, remember that you can do so by calling our customer service line at 1.800.635.8944.

Networking Tips for Introverts

 

We’ve all been there – the dreaded “networking” meet and greet situation.  Some of us – the extroverts – often find these situations easy (or even exciting) to delve into.  Others of us (the not-so-extroverts) can find these situations challenging, however.  If you fall into the latter category, this post is for you.  The following tips, originally published on GetFive, are an excellent starting point for someone finding themselves (possibly uncomfortably) in a networking situation.

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The annual Chamber of Commerce dinner is being held after work tonight. Does the idea of attending fill you with anticipation or dread?

Extroverts love the opportunity to meet and greet, make connections, and chat with new people. It energizes them and revs them up. Introverts, not so much. Even the idea of a room full of people at a chamber dinner can cause the energy to drain out of them. Schmoozing and small talk — the lifeblood of networking — is painful and awkward.

But, like it or not, when it comes to business and career advancement, networking is a vital tool. It comes naturally to extroverts, but with a little planning, introverts can navigate those events like a pro, too.

Here are a few tips:

Do some research beforehand

If you know who might be there — other members of the chamber, say — jump on LinkedIn and look them up. See if you have any shared connections and look for other commonalities in their profiles. That way, they won’t feel like complete strangers.

Come armed with questions (and follow-ups)

One stifling problem introverts have with networking is the dreaded conversation starter. You’re waiting for a drink at the bar, standing next to someone. What do you say?

Offering a handshake and introducing yourself is a great go-to icebreaker. The other person will respond in kind. Now what? That’s when it’s useful to have a follow-up question ready. A safe bet is to say something about the event. “Have you been a chamber member long?” “Have you tried the hors d’oeuvres?” “What did you think of the speaker?”

Another way to go is to look at the name tag and ask about his or her profession. “Oh! I see you’re in HR. How did you get into that?”

Plant “hooks” in your responses

To keep the conversation going, don’t give one-word answers to questions. Instead, say something that will hook the other person.

“Where are you from?”

“Minneapolis. Yep, it’s as cold and snowy as people say it is. We don’t mess around with winter.”

Give yourself a time limit …

Don’t go into the event thinking you have to stay for the entire time. Give yourself 30 minutes or an hour. That way, it won’t seem so overwhelming when you walk in.

… and a goal

You don’t need to come away from the event with a stack of business cards and email addresses after having worked the room like a seasoned politician. Give yourself the goal of talking to three new people, and once that’s accomplished, call it a success.

Using these tips, networking will be easier. We’re not going to say you’ll learn to love it, but you can make it work for you. And that’s the whole point.

Alumni Spotlight – Meet Dr. Elisse Wright Barnes

It’s time to spotlight another of our distinguished alumni!  Today, we feature Dr. Elisse Wright Barnes, entrepreneur and workforce development instructor.  Read below to learn more about her journey, how she came to choose Ohio State, and how that has impacted her career trajectory.