How to Negotiate Your First Salary

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Negotiating your first salary can be tricky, as you can’t benchmark from your current or previous compensation.  However, you can, and should negotiate your first offer. Be realistic about what an appropriate compensation package is, but don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve.

Keep these tips in mind when negotiating your first salary.

Do Your Research

“Research available data regarding your major, and the position. There are plenty of sources of salary data for entry level positions. Use these numbers to keep your offer in perspective: The National Association of Colleges and Employers can give you some very good reference points

Research the company. Glassdoor and Vault are popular posting sites for employees to share information about individual companies, and may give you an idea about how they treat entry level employees relative to the rest of your industry.”

-Vinnie Dicks, CEO, Career Gaudium

Know Your Value

“Be ready with a list of your accomplishment, academic or otherwise, all the reasons why you’re worth the figure you want. Don’t just tell me about your amazing potential. Give me the reasons why that potential should be obvious. (This is much more important than why you NEED that amount, which is what most people stress.).

Be ready to discuss how you’ll be able to advance the interests of not just of the company, but of your boss, the one who may well recommend (or not recommend) the salary figure. “

Barry Maher, Consultant, Author, Speaker 

Be Strategic

“Don’t mention money too early – Let the employer bring up the subject first. If you ask about salary too early in the process, it will seem as though this is your primary interest. Focus on getting the offer first! Some interviewers bring the topic up early to use it as a screening tool. In that case, you can respond with an honest answer about what you’re currently earning and what your hopes are, but you should also stress how important it is to you to find a rewarding job.”

-Frank Gentile, Director, Professional Staffing Group

Negotiate the Whole Package

“Don’t focus only salary, an area for which an employer may be constrained; there may be other areas that can have a lot of value that might be added to the negotiation. Examples include tuition reimbursement, moving expenses, flextime, severance pay, other benefits. Pay a lot of attention to benefits; these can be quite valuable. A great health plan may offset some disappointment in a salary offer. Don’t negotiate each item at a time; negotiate a whole package. Tradeoffs can work to your advantage.”

-Ed Wertheim, Associate Professor, Management and Organizational Development at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University

When, and How, To Bring Up Salary in an Interview

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There’s no telling when the salary discussion may come up in an interview, but bringing up your desired salary too soon could be a risky move. It’s important that your are able to present yourself, your abilities, and what you can contribute to the company before your price tag.

Employers want to get a sense of your salary expectations as early in the job interview process as possible. They will often press you to name a specific salary number or salary range. Avoid this for several reasons:

1.If you name a figure in response to a question about your salary expectations, it could be well above what the employer had in mind, and your interviewer’s thoughts will shift to another candidate.
2. If the figure is too low, you’ll be stuck with less than what the employer was planning to pay—and you may even come off as less qualified to boot.
3. The employer knows the responsibilities of the job better than you and therefore is better qualified to assign it a dollar amount. Once that happens, you are in an excellent position to discuss why you could bring more to the position than someone else.
Here is an example of how to avoid naming the salary first—even when explicitly challenged by the employer to do so:
EMPLOYER: Do you have a minimum salary figure in mind?
CANDIDATE: I have several opportunities I’m considering, and each one is a little bit different, so I’m taking all of the circumstances into account. Would you mind giving me some idea of the salary range for this position?

In most cases, a hiring manager isn’t going to drop you from consideration just because you dodge the initial salary question successfully. In fact, you may have a better chance at getting the job offer in the end because you had the opportunity to go through your value-increasing presentation first; other candidates who name a salary early in the interview process may never get the chance to present themselves fully, because the manager may be turned off after hearing their asking price.

8 Ways to Bomb Your Interview

 

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1. Go Casual

 You have this interview in the bag- who cares if you’re wearing jeans! You’re Gen Y! Steve Jobs doesn’t wear suits!

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.”  – Mark Twain

I’m not suggesting you show up to your interview naked (although that would certainly end your interviewing excursion. Mission accomplished!) Ask the recruiter ahead of time, on the phone or email, about the company dress code. If asking is uncomfortable for you, play it safe with dress pants or slacks and a nice shirt and tie; or skirt and blouse. Even at a “laid back” start-up would be impressed with your professionalism. Better to be over dressed than…well, naked.

2. Arrive Unprepared

 You emailed your resume – certainly the hiring manager had time to memorize it, or at least to print it and bring copies with him. Right?

Bring copies of your resume to the interview. And having a quality notebook or leather-bound portfolio in which to take interview notes will add to the impression that you’re a professional. The more you know about the company and industry before the interview, the better. Do your research to learn the company’s history, major competitors, market niche, products, etc.

3. The Weak Handshake

This is a time-honored first impression killer. The interviewer enters the room. They greet you warmly, smiling, and extend their hand to grasp yours…this can be an awkward moment if you over-think it. Will your hands meet correctly? Will they land slightly askew, resulting in that quasi-handshake, half high-five event?

Use a firm handshake to indicate confidence and potential strength of character.  And definitely make solid eye contact with the interviewer! That will display some competence and social ability.

4.  Your Cell Phone Rings 

This is an easy one to forget since most of us are so completely tied to this little electronic second brain. Turn your phone off (completely off!) before the interview.  If you forget and it does ring, DO NOT answer it, or even consider sending a quick text while the interviewer’s head is turned. This is more inappropriate and annoying than couples who hold hands at the gym! The hiring manager will definitely notice your lack of social etiquette.

5. Your Eyes Glaze Over, Your Shoulders Hunch, You Yawn…

Your body language communicates loudly. Maintain eye contact with your interviewer. Sit forward- it shows active interest with your full body. Nod your head at appropriate times and ask questions throughout the interview. An interview should be a two-way conversation. Give your interviewer time to explain the opening and the company culture, but jump in with quality questions. By “quality questions” I don’t mean: “How long is lunch in this office?” or “I have a vacation with my boyfriend coming up soon. Is that ok?”

6. Show Me The Money!

You’re just starting out in your career – you’ve already earned a big salary! You should bring that up right away, right? Wrong.

Discuss the position first and foremost. Sure, being paid for your time and skills is how capitalism works! But focus on the job details first- discuss compensation afterward, once you and the recruiter agree that you’re the right fit.

Before the interview, research your industry’s salary rates and the cost of living for the area.  You’ll be prepared to negotiate a salary that will cover your living expenses and enable you to set aside savings for emergencies. Having a job is only great when you can afford to pay your bills. Being underemployed is just as hard as being unemployed.

7. Be Really Un-Friendly

With the exception of very technical positions, employers interview for skills, but they hire for personality. Most entry level skills can be learned through on the job training. The interview reveals if you will be a good fit with the manager and their team. (I once got a job where the interviewer was a big golf nut. I play golf, so we talked about golf the entire interview).

Don’t use polite manners, smile or have an engaging and articulate conversation with the interviewer – avoid these as they will most certainly encourage the hiring manager to consider you further.

8. The Follow Up

Your best chance of not being hired is to blend in with the tens, or sometimes hundreds of other applicants… like job seeking camouflage! Don’t fall into the forgotten pile- send a follow up letter after the interview; at the very least an email to thank the interviewer for their time and add a few memorable points from your discussion (maybe even a question or two that you thought of after the interview). Better yet, send an old-school hand-written letter.

Most interviewees send resumes and wait… or interview and hope. If you don’t want to get hired… don’t stand out.

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at YouTern.

About the Author: Dave Ellis, is an original member of the YouTern team and instrumental to its success… in fact, he’s so awesome there wouldn’t be a YouTern without him (and he might have written this bio himself). In his spare time, Dave volunteers, rescuing and rehabilitating sea lions and baby elephant seals.

How to Ask Your Boss for a Promotion

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Asking for a promotion is a terrifying, nerve-wracking experience that everyone should do at least once in their career.

The mere thought of approaching an intimidating boss and asking them to give you more responsibility is enough to give any person goosebumps.

“What if my boss says no?”

“What if my boss fires me for asking?”

“What if my boss thinks less of me for asking?”

What if? What if? What if? You can think about hypothetical scenarios until you’re blue in the face, but you’ll never know what will really happen until you actually do it.

When you finally do gather the courage to take the next step, here are some helpful tips about asking your boss for a promotion:

Asking for a promotion is a terrifying, nerve-wracking experience that everyone should do at least once in their career.

The mere thought of approaching an intimidating boss and asking them to give you more responsibility is enough to give any person goosebumps.

“What if my boss says no?”

“What if my boss fires me for asking?”

“What if my boss thinks less of me for asking?”

What if? What if? What if? You can think about hypothetical scenarios until you’re blue in the face, but you’ll never know what will really happen until you actually do it.

When you finally do gather the courage to take the next step, here are some helpful tips about asking your boss for a promotion:

Be Knowledgable

You can’t build the nerve to ask your boss for a promotion and then walk into their office without a plan — if you want a better job, you have to prove you’re ready to take it on.

Do some research on the job you’re looking to get and tell your boss why you think you’d be a better asset in that position. Know your previous accomplishments and the contributions you’ve made to better the company up until this point, and show you’ve done work that has gone beyond the tasks of your current position. Giving examples of how, in your current position, you’ve demonstrated the skills needed for the job you’re trying to be promoted to is a fantastic way to show your boss you’re the right person for the promotion.

And even though you shouldn’t be talking about negotiating salary until after you get offered the job, you should still research the pay you’re looking to get from websites such as Salary.com, lest the conversation should turn to that and you’re totally unprepared.

Set Up The Meeting Ahead Of Time

Many businesses have annual performance reviews where employees have the chance to talk about their future with the company, but if your company doesn’t offer one or you want to ask before that time comes, it’s best to set up a meeting with your boss in advance rather than ask them the question on a whim.

Setting up the meeting beforehand not only lets your boss properly prepare to talk with you about future opportunities, but also it shows you still respect their authority enough to not just barge in and blindside them.

When you do set up the meeting, either through your boss’ assistant or directly, make sure you’re transparent in your intentions so as not to catch them off guard — tell them you want to meet with them to discuss your role and potential with the company, or something along those lines.

Follow-Up

Even though you see your boss every day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still follow-up with her after the meeting. Treat your consideration for promotion just like any other job you have to interview for.

If you don’t get the promotion, tell your boss you’re still interested in the position, and ask if they have any advice for you. Make sure you don’t burn any bridges; in fact, use this opportunity to reinforce the ones you’ve already built. Now that you’ve shown initiative, your boss may be more inclined to give you more responsibility.

It may have just been you weren’t in their eyesight before, but now that they know you’re serious about progressing in the company, they’ll take more notice

Be Knowledgable

You can’t build the nerve to ask your boss for a promotion and then walk into their office without a plan — if you want a better job, you have to prove you’re ready to take it on.

Do some research on the job you’re looking to get and tell your boss why you think you’d be a better asset in that position. Know your previous accomplishments and the contributions you’ve made to better the company up until this point, and show you’ve done work that has gone beyond the tasks of your current position. Giving examples of how, in your current position, you’ve demonstrated the skills needed for the job you’re trying to be promoted to is a fantastic way to show your boss you’re the right person for the promotion.

And even though you shouldn’t be talking about negotiating salary until after you get offered the job, you should still research the pay you’re looking to get from websites such as Salary.com, lest the conversation should turn to that and you’re totally unprepared.

Set Up The Meeting Ahead Of Time

Many businesses have annual performance reviews where employees have the chance to talk about their future with the company, but if your company doesn’t offer one or you want to ask before that time comes, it’s best to set up a meeting with your boss in advance rather than ask them the question on a whim.

Setting up the meeting beforehand not only lets your boss properly prepare to talk with you about future opportunities, but also it shows you still respect their authority enough to not just barge in and blindside them.

When you do set up the meeting, either through your boss’ assistant or directly, make sure you’re transparent in your intentions so as not to catch them off guard — tell them you want to meet with them to discuss your role and potential with the company, or something along those lines.

Follow-Up

Even though you see your boss every day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still follow-up with her after the meeting. Treat your consideration for promotion just like any other job you have to interview for.

If you don’t get the promotion, tell your boss you’re still interested in the position, and ask if they have any advice for you. Make sure you don’t burn any bridges; in fact, use this opportunity to reinforce the ones you’ve already built. Now that you’ve shown initiative, your boss may be more inclined to give you more responsibility.

It may have just been you weren’t in their eyesight before, but now that they know you’re serious about progressing in the company, they’ll take more notice of your performance and consider you early on for the next promotion.

What tips do you recommend when asking your boss for a promotion?

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommended.

How Should I Follow Up After an Interview?

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You had a great interview, and you’re anxious to get an offer—now what?  Following up with the employer is essential. If the company took the time to meet with you, then you’re a qualified candidate and the employer will appreciate your interest in the position. Your follow up is a great opportunity to make any points that you forgot to mention in the interview, and remind the hiring manager why you are a great candidate.

FIND OUT WHAT’S NEXT

When you’re wrapping up the interview, find out when the company expects to make a decision about second interviews and/or filling the position. You should always ask questions during an interview, and understanding the company’s hiring process is essential for making the appropriate follow up.  If you don’t hear from them by the timeframe they give you, you can contact them again to find out their hiring status. Make sure you have the necessary contact information before leaving the interview.

ACT QUICKLY

Send your follow up e-mail and/or letter ASAP. Some employers may be in a hurry to fill the position, and you want to be at the top of their list. Don’t send a generic note; follow up with specifics from the interview, and indicate why you are interested in the job.  If you interviewed with multiple people, reach out to them individually. Thank them for their time, and express your enthusiasm for the position.

Laurie Berenson, President and Founder of Sterling Career Concepts, LLC, offers the following advice to job seekers:

“The most effective follow up letter is not simply a thank for the meeting, but rather a letter that addresses any gaps or concerns that the interviewer may have from your conversation and reiterates why you feel you are a strong candidate for the role. The best way to do this to pull detail in from your conversation to substantiate. If you feel that you could have addressed a question better during the interview, this is your opportunity to do so.”

TRY AGAIN

Be persistent, without being too aggressive.  If you haven’t heard back during the expected timeframe, send a quick follow up e-mail:

Hi Mark,

You mentioned that you expected to make a decision on the Account Executive position by the end of the month, so I wanted to check in with you.  I’m still very interested in the role, so please let me know if I can provide any additional information, or if you have any updates on your hiring timeline moving forward.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Beth

If you reach out via e-mail and don’t get a response, try leaving a voicemail.  Laney Lyons, author of Don’t Be A Yes Chick!, says “A candidate should follow up from an interview by email, phone and mail unless specifically instructed otherwise. Every hiring manager or business owner responds to mail, email and phone calls differently so you want to follow up using all three methods.“

Don’t harass the employer, but make it clear that you are serious about getting the job.

STAY POSITIVE

Always be friendly and professional when reaching out to a potential employer. You may be frustrated if you aren’t getting a response, but you could still be a potential candidate. Double-check your e-mails for any grammatical or spelling errors. Even if you are no longer being considered for the position you interviewed for, there might be other opportunities or future openings at the company and you want to remain in good standing.

Rebecca West, Owner and Principal Designer at Rivalee Design, agrees: “I also highly recommend sending a thank you when you do not get a position you really wanted. Something short, gracious, and positive can open up a door to another opportunity, either at that company, or by being referred to someone else looking for a great employee.”

What other follow up steps would you suggest?

 

How to Disclose Salary Requirements in a Cover Letter

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In a game of poker, showing your cards to your opponents would put you at a great disadvantage. No surprise, then, that when an employer asks you to list your salary requirements in a cover letter, you feel a tad vulnerable.

But there is a simple logic behind this standard request: If you require compensation far beyond what a company is prepared to pay for the position, it doesn’t want to waste its time—or yours—going through the interview process. So if you’re asked for salary requirements, especially if applications without them won’t be considered, it’s time to tip your hand.

BENCHMARK
Websites like Salary.com and Glassdoor can show you what you can expect to earn based on your industry, location, skill set, and experience. If you have industry contacts, inquire what entry-level employees typically make. Or go straight to the source, says Ellen Gordon Reeves, author of Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview? “You can call the HR department of a company and simply say, ‘I saw a job advertised at your company and I’m wondering what the entry-level salary is for this department.’”

SET A RANGE
Your benchmarking should help you determine a bottom line—the absolute minimum you’ll accept. But rather than a single figure, present your requirements in a ten-thousand-dollar range. This increases the chances that your expectations and the employer’s budget will overlap and gives you some room to negotiate later on. Reeves suggests writing, “My salary requirements are in the $30,000 to $40,000 range, depending on the type and scope of responsibilities.”

WIGGLE ROOM
Unless the employer is feeling generous, you’ll probably be offered a salary on the low end of your range. But you still have some wiggle room. Salary is only one part of an employer’s offer; employee benefits also carry a lot of weight, and can be used as leverage. If you feel the salary is on the low side given the responsibilities of the position, it can’t hurt to bluff a bit and say that you expected more comprehensive employee benefits and will need a higher salary to offset this.

Should Social Media Be Allowed At Work?

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Over recent years, social media has quickly integrated its way into the every day life of Millennials.

Social media is no longer just a tool of connecting with friends and family, but also it has become a strategy for building relationships at work. An astounding eight out of 10 Millennials are connected to at least one social media network — and 90 percent of Millennials even use Facebook for personal and work-related reasons.

Millennials don’t want to just have a job these days, they want to have a career where they can make a difference. Millennials are creative thinkers and innovators — so of course, they are going to want to implement technology into their daily lives at work. Social media allows Millennials to engage with coworkers, build relationships with clients, and simply stay connected throughout the work day. While social media has both its advantages and disadvantages, it’s transforming the workplace into a more creative and social environment.

Social media boosts employee morale.

Allowing social media in the workplace is a great way for employers to boost employee morale. It presents employers with the opportunity to build a sense of community while also giving employees the freedom to stay connected during the work day. Employers can create Facebook groups to help employees stay connected and inform them about internal events within the company. Social media can also serve as a virtual water cooler, which can help build the culture of your company. Overall, embracing social media in the workplace builds trust between the employer and their employees. This type of trust shows employees that management trusts them to be productive while simultaneously having the freedom to use social media on the job.

It’s an essential tool for Gen Y.

Social networking has become an essential communication tool for Millennials. Not only does social media allow Millennials connect with friends, family, and coworkers, but it has become the center of much their day-to-day activities. Fifty-six percent of Millennials use social media as a source of communication and 26 percent of Millennials check social networking sites during their breaks at work. Social media in the workplace is essential for Gen Y’ers because it creates transparency and allows them to stay connected, even when they’re at the office. Plus, employers who hire social-savvy Millennials can boost the communication process internally, as well.

Gen Y can educate their company about social media.

Employers who welcome social media in the workplace can definitely grow their company internally and externally. Social media has a huge impact on sales, consumer relations, and the overall brand for a company. By allowing Gen Y employees to bring their knowledge of different social networking tools to the workplace, you can grow your company, reach new customers, and improve employee engagement.

However, social media can decrease productivity for employees.

Whether you’d like to think you’re good at multitasking, you really aren’t. Surprisingly, only two percent of the population can successfully multitask. This means that the other 98 percent of you cannot and social media is often a cause for poor multitasking. Social media can create a distraction for employees, especially when 61 percent of workers spend approximately 15 minutes per day in the office checking Facebook. Although social media is a great way to stay connected, it can create a barrier between accomplishing tasks and productivity in the workplace.

It can also stir up inappropriate online behavior.

This year, we have see many employee blunders on social media. Probably the most memorable employee incident with social media was the Taco Bell employee who posted a photo of himself licking taco shells on Instagram. Now, these silly mistakes aren’t the only ones that happen on social media. Some employees have also been accused of bad-mouthing coworkers or complaining about their jobs. Millennials need to remember that whatever you decide to say on social media, it will always come back to haunt you.

The bottom line, is employers need to embrace social media. 

Social media in the workplace isn’t just beneficial for employees alone, it can actually boost the company’s culture. This is a tool that allows companies to build a community within the workplace and encourage open communication between management and employees. Gen Y employees are quickly filling the workplace and employers need to embrace how social media is essential to their employees’ success.

Do you think social media should be allowed in the workplace? Share your thoughts below!

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommended.

Show Me the Money: 5 Tips to Negotiate a Raise

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Asking for a raise can be a bit tricky. There’s that sentiment akin to asking your parents to tack on a few extra bucks to your allowance; and then there’s the walking-on-eggshells feeling you get in trying not to overstep your boundaries with your boss. But asking for a raise is OK, and it’s a two-way conversation that you can navigate tactfully if you keep a few things in mind:

Do Your Time

Although rightly deserved in some cases, a raise is not going to present itself on Day 2, no matter how convincing you are in presenting your case to your boss. The fact is, in order to rationalize paying you more money for the same work, an employer must see that you have made progress and remained loyal to the company. A company can find any old schmo off the street to do the work for a starting level salary. But go above and beyond, and they may be inclined to attach a few more dollar signs to your value.

Determine Your Reasons

In order to present a convincing case to your boss, it helps to understand why you are asking for a raise in the first place. Is it because your living expenses have gone up? Are you expecting a new addition to the family? Don’t misunderstand; simply desiring a higher salary for your excellent work is a completely valid point. But if you can present these motivations to your employer, you may find that they’re more likely to side with you on this one.

Be Reasonable

Of course you’re going to sound like a child when you put forth the whole “I want a million dollars” offer. That, and you’re going to get shut down very quickly. In order to be taken seriously, present a sensible figure to your boss, one that is on par with the work that you complete. This will get you much farther in negotiating with you boss.

Practice Savvy Negotiating Tactics

Alright, that said, you may want to present a number to your employer that is a bit higher than the actual raise you wish to receive. The boss didn’t get to where they are by being a pushover. They’ll likely try to bargain you down, trying to take you at your bottom limit. Before you propose anything, then, figure out what your bottom limit is. Give your boss a number that is higher than this – but not too high – and once negotiating begins, don’t allow yourself to go below this bottom line. Hopefully, the two of you will settle on something in the middle.

Understand Your Value

Logically, a company wishes to pay as little as they can while still employing reliable employees who complete great work. At the same time, their great wish is to keep their workers happy, which is equally – if not more – important to business. You may view a large corporation powerful and yourself lucky, in that they decided to give you a job in the first place. But it’s crucial to realize that you are equally as vital to them as they are to you. You are valuable and they know it. If you’re doing a great job, bring this up in a negotiation. Present numbers, graphs, or work samples when you go in to speak to your boss. Tell them that you’re worth it and show them why. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Keep these 5 things in mind when negotiating with your employer and you’ll be more likely to get your point across, make a favorable impression, and walk away with what you deserve.