February 26, 2008

The Salary Negotiation Process

You've made it through the multiple interviews, and it's job offer time. As if the job interview process wasn't tricky enough, you're faced with the salary negotiation process. You have mixed emotions. On one hand you're excited to receive a job offer and often relieved and on the other you try to maintain your cool. So what's the standard process?

Typically, you receive a job offer either by phone or face to face with the recruiter or hiring manager. Each job offer situation is different. Here are some points to consider.

  • Be upfront. If the hiring manager gives you a lowball offer, express your disappointment and your expected salary range based on the position requirements and qualifications. Sell yourself!!

  • Be professional. This is most important. No matter what the situation is don't beg or treat the hiring manager unprofessionally. Often times the salary negotiation process takes time. Keep your game face on.

  • Don't feel pressured. Take the time that you need before you jump in. Measure the pros and cons. Speak with family members and your professional mentor. If the company wants you, they'll wait just not forever.

  • Ask questions. Hopefully, during the interview process you've already asked some questions and gotten a feel of the culture and environment that you might be working in. Make a list and don't be afraid to ask as many questions as you need.

  • Be realistic. Don't make crazy demands that are unrealistic. I am always upfront with the candidate especially if they are expecting a salary that I can't offer. Unfortunately, not every company or recruiter is. Follow your gut.

  • Don't be afraid to ask for more. . . money, vacation, pto, benefits. This is your one chance to be in the driver's seat with the company you're interested in working for. Be realistic but if you feel you deserve a company car, more vacation, a larger salary, or medical benefits from day 1 of employment, let the hiring manager know. I recommend that you be prepared by doing your research on industry standards as well as being prepared to sell yourself and the reasons why you deserve __________ (add benefit or salary here).

Good Luck and Happy Negotiating!! Next time. . . Networking when Relocating

February 24, 2008

Job Hunting on the Edge Part II

In this job market, one in the job hunt needs to be creative to get that competitive edge and develop their own personal brand that will get you noticed and on your way to the career of your dreams. Here are some ideas while job hunting on the edge:

  • Creative Marketing Materials-Get noticed with unusual business cards or a video resume on CD or jump drive.
  • Rent an airplane banner-Although expensive, this will definitely get people's attention. Use your website to draw people in and go from there.
  • YouTube Video-Start a sensation with a YouTube video. These videos can be reposted on blogs like this one and myspace and facebook pages. Start a grass roots event using your online network.
  • Speak Publicly every chance you get-Give public presentations and speeches at every opportunity to broaden your network and your public image. Make sure you have those marketing materials handy.
  • Be googleable. Get your name and information out on the world wide web. Get a website, a blog, or a myspace, facebook page. Get on zoominfo. Customers, clients, and prospective companies often google candidates during the hiring process.

Setting yourself apart from the rest takes time and a lot of effort. Do what's right for you and good things will follow.

Next time. . . The Salary Negotiation Process

February 19, 2008

College Job Search-How to Plan for Success

Recent college grads learn very quickly that the job search process can be long, drawn out, confusing, and uncertain. Students often graduate from college without a clear understanding of what their future plans are or how their college degree will play into their professional future. I speak from personal experience. I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Anthropology and a minor in Business. I will admit I had no idea of the job I wanted to do or the field or industry I wanted to work in. I was fortunate enough to receive a job offer several months prior to graduation with Target as a retail manager and eventually fell into the Human Resource profession. However, not every recent grad is so lucky.

1. Set yourself apart from the rest. As a college student, every person in your degree program should be considered your competition in your job search. It's important to differentiate yourself from your competition through internships, part time jobs, and other clubs and activities.

2. Get your marketing materials together. It's never too early to put together a professional resume or portfolio. I recommend ordering professional business cards for yourself to hand out as you meet new contacts at job fairs, college, and networking events. Never miss an opportunity to make a life long professional connection.

3. Join organizations and networking groups outside of your college and university. Spread your wings and get out there in the real world. Join local organizations specific to your degree program like Women in Communication or Society for Human Resource Management. Don't be afraid to join local organizations outside of your degree program like Toastmasters or the Chamber of Commerce.

4. Internships & volunteer work are essential. These are becoming more and more important for valuable experience and networking. Use your networking to your advantage to gain unadvertised internships. Volunteer for extra projects and ask for more. Don't be afraid to talk to someone within the organization you are interning with about career opportunities upon graduation at their company or any they recommend.

5. Create your own destiny. Don't just sit on the sidelines. Start your own company or ask for more responsibilities and experience at your current company. Let the company you work for or volunteer with know that you are available for future projects in your degree field. For example while in college, I started my own residential and commercial cleaning business allowing me to gain valuable business, accounting, and marketing skills that I continue to use to this day.

6. Get a mentor. Develop a relationship with a professional in your field of professional interest. Ask for their advice and assistance in professional decisions like attending graduate school or internships.

7. Do your research. Read articles, attend seminiars, meet with professors and professionals in your field of interest. Don't be afraid to ask companies you are interested in to schedule an "Informational Interview." These interviews allow you to gain valuable insight into what qualities and qualifications specific companies are looking for.

Your professional job search should begin months or even years before you actually graduate. Stay focused and keep your goal in mind in everything you do and say. Be creative, take risks, and don't be satisifed with the norm.

February 17, 2008

Sales and Your Job Search

The job search isn't just about resumes, responding to newspaper job ads, and interviewing anymore. It's all about selling yourself. Here are some important points to consider as you begin your job search.

1. Follow the Girl Scout motto: Be Prepared. Do your research prior to meeting or contacting the company you are interested in working for. This means a variety of things inlcuding visiting the company website, researching their stock performance, and knowing that position qualifications and speaking to them. Have marketing tools ready to go including your sales pitch, resume, coverletter, business cards, and portfolio.

2. It's a numbers game. Sales is a numbers game. I often use a deck of cards as an example. Consider the face cards as sales or interviews. The remaining cards are all no's. As you flip through the deck of cards you may come across 12 consecutive no's before coming upon a yes.

3. Be confident. Part of being a successful sales person is being confident, and it all starts with you. Dressing the part, a firm handshake, and good eye contact are a good start.

4. Keep it professional. Unless you are indepently wealthy or just lucky, having a job means being able to pay your bills. It's very easy to cross the line from professional to personal. Always try to keep an open mind, an even keel, and keep your focus.

5. Opportunity knocks. Your sales opportunity can happen anytime and anywhere. Greet everyone you meet. Be ready with marketing materials and be prepared to sell. Networking opportunities happen at the most unusual places including Starbucks, the grocery store, movie theatre, and a Halloween party.

Finding the right job that meets your personal, professional, and finaicial goals is a full time job. However, with proper preparation, research, and a little bit of luck you'll be off to a great start.

Next time. . . More Job Hunting on the Edge. Crazy, creative networking and job search ideas to get you noticed.

February 4, 2008

Blog Testimonial

I received my first testimonial with regard to this blog. I'm so excited!!!!

". . . I for some reason was drawn to your linked in account and I read your job search blog. I just finished reading The Little Black Book of Connections. I am so excited. I want to work in HR and I know I need better networking techniques and after reading this book I want to share with everyone that is job searching.. so all I want to say is THANKS... " Carla

And to Carla I say your welcome! That is exactly what this blog is about. Searching for your dream career doesn't happen over night and takes a lot of work. It's about passion and taking the bull by the horns to make things happen.


February 3, 2008

Superbowl Ads & Interviewing

Who knew that both the Superbowl and Interviewing would ever be a blog topic. Did you see the Tide commercial where the guy (candidate) is sitting in an interview and each time the guy tries to talk about his qualifications, the stain on the guy's shirt talks over him?

Tide-to-Go Superbowl Commercial, My Talking Stain Ad

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Often times a candidate's dress or characteristic takes center stage over the interview which is why the Tide commercial is such a good example that actually happens. A friend of mine had a candidate come to an interview with his pet iguana. During the interview, the iguana kept pacing back and forth across the candidate's shoulder. Apparently, the iguana was nervous. My friend had a hard time focusing on the candidate for obvious reasons.

A nervous habit can also be magnified in the interview. In the past, I had a candidate repeat the following phrase about 75 times in the interview, "And Everything." It was very distracting and was very hard for me not to begin counting the number of times he repeated, "And Everything" and everything.

The point is as a candidate you want to be your best. Be prepared. This includes dressing appropriately, leaving distracting accessories (iguana) at home, doing your homework on the position and the company and practicing your pitch and interview questions with friends or in the mirror. It's normal to be nervous in the interview. Preparing appropriately for the interview allows you the opportunity to let your qualifications shine through and not distractions.