Alumni Spotlight – Mindy Derr

Hello there Buckeyes!  It’s time to feature another wonderful alumnus from your ranks for this quarter’s Alumni Spotlight!

This time our spotlight is Mindy Derr, an avid philanthropist who founded and now serves as advisor for OhioHealth Fore Hope.  Fore Hope is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that uses golf as an instrument for therapy designed to improve the lives of persons living with neurological and cognitive disorders.  Through this organization, which Mindy founded in 1989, countless numbers of patrons have reaped the therapeutic benefits of golf and had their lives forever changed by Mindy’s vision.

Mindy Derr – Community Advocate and Founder/Consultant, Fore Hope (OhioHealth Fore Hope) (1981 – BA, Communications)

 

My advice for anyone, regardless of their career path, would be to follow their dreams and their mission. Go for it, give it all you’ve got, and don’t refuse the calling on your life. Don’t stomp on anyone else’s dreams along the way, either. Be wise about everything. Specifically, if you would like to begin a career in the world of community advocacy and nonprofit, make sure that you surround yourself with people who can support your mission. Be sure that you have a circle that include people who know about taxes and accounting, that you’re building a succession plan, and more. Begin with the end in mind, and be smart enough to know that you cannot possibly know everything.

 

Why You Should Attend A Career Fair (Even if You’re Already Employed)

Hey there, Buckeyes!

It’s June, and that means that it is once again time for the HireOhio Alumni Career Fair here at The Ohio State University.  This event is one of our biggest and most successful programs here in the Office of Alumni Career Management, and with good reason.  In the 7 years since the program’s inception, HireOhio has facilitated the career growth of thousands of Buckeye alums of all backgrounds – and it can help yours as well.

Of course, if you are an unemployed, or employed but searching alum, the justification for attending HireOhio are obvious.  However, even if you are not someone who is currently in the search, attending a career fair (HireOhio or otherwise) can be really helpful to you in your current and future positions.  Here are three reasons why you should attend a career fair – even if you’re not looking for your next position.

  1. – Practice networking and using your “elevator pitch”

    Regardless of where you are in your career, there are some skills that you should be regularly honing – networking is one of those skills.  Rather than waiting until you are ready to re-enter the job search, you should be meeting new people and growing your network organically on a regular, on-going basis.  Understandably though, this can be difficult sometimes.  Career fairs offer an excellent opportunity to meet with people who are in a position to hire candidates and seek their feedback on the way that you present yourself.  You can practice your elevator pitch (or, 30-second commercial) and ask for honest feedback with out the pressure of having your actual livelihood on the line.  Take notes on any critique that you receive, so that you can make the necessary adjustments well in advance of your next search.

  2. Gauge the current market for professionals in your field

    Another great benefit of attending a career fair is that you can get information about what the market is like in your field or industry.  You can talk to recruiters or hiring managers, as well as other seekers, about salaries, upward mobility, and the growth of your field in general.  It is very easy to become out of touch with what is going on in the industry around you when you are satisfied with your current position, but it is important to remember that you will not be in your current position forever.  Even if you plan to continue with your current company, you will need to do salary negotiation and more when you are ready to move into your next role.  Any additional information that you can glean that will help you have an idea of what this market looks like will be beneficial to you in the long run.

  3. Get feedback on your resume from hiring managers and recruiters

    One of the biggest mistakes that jobseekers make is waiting until they are ready to begin the search to worry about their resume.  Doing this puts you at a disadvantage because it requires you to “think back” to achievements or duties, meaning that you may not remember some of the key things that you have accomplished that would be beneficial to you moving forward.  Additionally, depending on how long it has been since you last sought a new position, there is a risk of appearing dated and out of touch to hiring professionals if your resume has not been updated and reformatted in some time.  However, by attending a career fair, you can get feedback on your resume from one (or several) HR perspectives, which you can then apply to your document, ensuring that it is ready when the time comes and you are ready to take on your next role.

If you are interested in attending the HireOhio Alumni Career Fair, there is still time to register.  You may do so by visiting us here.

Hope to see you there – Go Bucks!

 

Pushing Past Fear – Finding Your Voice at Work

Hey there Buckeyes!

Last week, we had a great webinar hosted by the Alumni Career Management staff on “finding your voice” in the workplace.  So many times at work, we find ourselves feeling stifled, unable to bridge the gap between our “professional” selves and our actual selves.  We code-switch, adopting a completely different vocabulary and way of speaking to seem softer and more “mainstream”.  We dress outside of our cultural norms or comfort so that we can appear more “professional”.  We fail to speak up when we need to, or when we should, so that we don’t rock the boat and bring unnecessary attention to ourselves.  We do all of these things to better blend in and go with the flow of our workplace – often to our own detriment.

What I’ve learned about these behaviors is that we often adopt them out of FEAR.  Whether it is because we are afraid of rejection, because we feel intimidated by others around us, we don’t want confrontation, or we just want to blend in – all of those things boils down to one major idea:  we fear what will happen if we open up and let our voice be heard at work.

The thing about fear, though, is that it isn’t real.  Fear is something that we make up in our minds, and unfortunately, it becomes big enough to control us.  But often – actually, almost always – the fear in our head doesn’t match the kinds of things that may actually happen if we simply move past it and let our voices be heard.  So, what can you do to help yourself move past those feelings of fear and apprehension and actively speak up in the workplace?

  1. – Be prepared

Are you afraid to give your ideas in meetings or in one on ones with people on your team?  It may help you to get over that if you do a little prep work prior to the occasion.  Taking about 15-20 minutes to think your ideas out clearly and write them down, before organizing them into a clear and coherent message will do wonders for your confidence.  You could even take your notes with you to the meeting, so that you can refer to them along the way.  Not only does this help you feel more secure when you’re speaking, it demonstrates to those around you that you are invested in what you’re saying and serious about having your input counted.

  1. – Remember that you’re being paid for your opinions and ideas

You were hired to be a sound contributor to your team – to give input and advice from your unique standpoint.  Now, that may not always mean that every idea you give will be received as gold, but it should give you some confidence when attempting to vocalize your thoughts.  Remember that, by virtue of being hired for your position, your supervisors find value in you – leverage that with the potential value your contributions can bring to your team, and speak up to have them heard.

  1. – Volunteer to be involved in changes

If there is something new coming down the pipeline that you have thoughts and ideas about, or if you yourself are suggesting change, then your input will be received much more positively if you demonstrate that you are willing to be part of the work as well.  This is a “put your money where your mouth is” move that is more likely to get people on your side, believing in what you have to say, when you clearly demonstrate that you believe in yourself.

If you want more information about “Finding Your Voice”, check out the replay of the entire presentation here.

Make it a great day!

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.