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Archive for February 2010

Short answer is: no!

I was reading this article on CNN:  I stopped looking for work

The article profiles several people who were really struggling in their job search and had given or were close to doing so. Clearly a very sad situation for them, but Iwas amazed to see how many job applications these people sent out. The first girl they profiled seems to have sent out over 1,100 applications, most others “several hundred” applications.

If you are in the market, it can take a few attempts, esp. if you skills, experience and profile are not ideal. In fact, you can churn out quite a few applications, but I am a firm believer in quality over quantity. 1000 rubber-stamp, under-researched applications will generate far fewer leads than 10 or 20 well researched and written applications. See my post on How not to become a job application spammer.

Generally, you should spend at least 6-8 hours on research, customizing your resume, crafting you cover letter and developing a networking strategy to learn about a job before even thinking about sending out an application.

If you find yourself in the position of having become an application spammer – I can see how that will happen in a long job search – you need to step back and reevaluate. Concentrate on the opportunities you can win, step away from those that are too far of a stretch.

Good luck!

Image by arnold | inuyaki

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spotToday I came across a resume that was, let’s say – fru fru:  a rather expressive use of fancy fonts making it rather artistic but very hard to read.

Keep it readable

The main purpose of the resume is the highlight your experience and main selling points.  It will only be given a few seconds of attention, and needs to speed-readable – the reader needs to see the most critical points in just a few glances. If you obscure the key points with fancy fonts or graphics, or draw the readers eyes away from what matters, your message will not get across.  Stick to tried and true fonts – Arial, Times New Roman etc., and avoid fancy gimmicks that make your resume difficult to read. That said, don’t be sloppy and careless – make your resume look sharp, but keep it laser-focused on readability.

Keep it short

The more resumes I see, the more I believe in this – your resume should only be one page. Especially older candidates are obsessed with chronicling and detailing every aspect of their careers on their resume, ending up with multi-page works of art. Long, multi-page resumes are not power-readable. Most readers won’t even look at the second page. If you can’t say it on one page, its probably not worth saying. Work to take out any redundancy, anything that doesn’t tell the message you are trying to convey and anything that distracts the reader.

Good luck!

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Whether you are negotiating a brand new job offer or a simply trying to get your boss to give you a pay raise, here are 5 levers or hooks to drive a negotiation.

Five levers to start a salary negotiation
1.) Goodwill – Sometimes all you need is a smile or actually just need to ask. “Thank you for your offer, I really appreciate it. However, I was hoping for a slightly higher salary – is there anything you can do?” If you are nice, calm and sympathetic about it, the person you are negotiating with will try to help you if they can. So don’t be afraid, just ask.
2.) Hard data – Hard, cold facts are always a good thing assuming they are in your favor.
For example, research salaries for the specific company or industry in question on websites such as glassdoor.com, payscale.com or salary.com. Sometimes industry guides such as those from Vault and other also contain hard data. Next, you can also poll folks in your network if they know the industry – just ask them “what kind of salary should I expect?”. Use the data you collected thoughtfully and carefully in your negotiation, mainly as a “proof-point” in your reasoning. “You are offering me $70k for this position. However, my research tells me that your competitors pay $80k for the same position. Can you raise your offer to match the industry standard?”
3.) Profit share – Ask for a share of what you bring in. If your job allows you to measure your impact (not every job does), then ask for a cut of the proceeds. Ask what they expect you to achieve (sales, cost savings, etc) and then ask them for a small cut of anything you do above and beyond their expectation. If you don’t meet their expectation, it won’t cost extra, if you exceed their expectation they are still better off than before.
4.) Better offer – Now we start to play hard ball. Here you either bluff or actually have a better offer in hand and use that for leverage “I would love to work with you guys, you seem like the perfect fit. However, I also have an offer from XYZ, and they are offering me $20k more for the same position. Can you improve your offer? I would really prefer to be able to chose your offer over theirs”. This is a risky play – you can quickly offend people – so be careful in your tone (don’t be arrogant or aggressive), body language and messaging (be polite and friendly!).
5.) Threat – This is the toughest and riskiest approach. Here is simply say that unless a certain condition is met you cannot accept the offer – fix it or else you will walk. All the points above about tone etc apply here aswell. But be very careful, if you mess this up you might end up with a successful negotiation but with an unhappy boss who felt he was taken advantage of – not a good start to a new career.
Remember, salary is not the only variable in a negotiation – consider things such as benefits, timing to promotion, future salary increase promises, bonuses, job responsibilities, work hours etc.
We will discuss these issues in another post, but keep them in mind.
Also, remember to go into the negotiation with a clear threshold in mind. Set your minimum expectation. Be willing to walk away if they don’t hit that threshold, be willing to shake hands if they do.

Five levers to start a salary negotiation

1.) Goodwill – Sometimes all you need is a smile or actually just need to ask. “Thank you for your offer, I really appreciate it. However, I was hoping for a slightly higher salary – is there anything you can do?” If you are nice, calm and sympathetic about it, the person you are negotiating with will try to help you if they can. So don’t be afraid, just ask.

2.) Hard data – Hard, cold facts are always a good thing assuming they are in your favor.  For example, research salaries for the specific company or industry in question on websites such as glassdoor.com, payscale.com or salary.com. Sometimes industry guides such as those from Vault and others also contain hard data. Next, you can also poll folks in your network if they know the industry – just ask them “what kind of salary should I expect?”. Use the data you collected thoughtfully and carefully in your negotiation, mainly as a “proof-point” in your reasoning. “You are offering me $70k for this position. However, my research tells me that your competitors pay $80k for the same position. Can you raise your offer to match the industry standard?”

3.) Profit share – Ask for a share of what you bring in. If your job allows you to measure your impact (not every job does), then ask for a cut of the proceeds. Ask what they expect you to achieve (sales, cost savings, etc) and then ask them for a small cut of anything you do above and beyond their expectation. If you don’t meet their expectation, it won’t cost extra, if you exceed their expectation they are still better off than before.

4.) Better offer – Now we start to play hard ball. Here you either bluff or actually have a better offer in hand and use that for leverage “I would love to work with you guys, you seem like the perfect fit. However, I also have an offer from XYZ, and they are offering me $20k more for the same position. Can you improve your offer? I would really prefer to be able to chose your offer over theirs”. This is a risky play – you can quickly offend people – so be careful in your tone (don’t be arrogant or aggressive), body language and messaging (be polite and friendly!).

5.) Threat to walk away – This is the toughest and riskiest approach. Here is simply say that unless a certain condition is met you cannot accept the offer – fix it or else you will walk. All the points above about tone etc apply here aswell. But be very careful, if you mess this up you might end up with a successful negotiation but with an unhappy boss who felt he was taken advantage of – not a good start to a new career.

Remember, salary is not the only variable in a negotiation – consider things such as benefits, timing to promotion, future salary increase promises, bonuses, job responsibilities, work hours and others. We will discuss these issues in another post, but keep them in mind.

Also, remember to go into the negotiation with a clear threshold in mind. Set your minimum expectation. Be willing to walk away if they don’t hit that threshold, be willing to shake hands if they do.

Good luck!

Image by Photos8.com

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