Although money shouldn’t be the most important factor in career decisions, it has a big impact on our lives. How much money we earn will dictate where we live, where we vacation, the lifestyle we enjoy, and how and when we will retire.
When you work for someone else, you have a limited amount of control over your salary. You negotiate your starting salary and then you are given increases at management’s discretion for annual reviews and promotions. Do you want more control over your salary? By understanding and increasing the value you provide to your organization, you have the ability to increase the amount of money you can earn.
Here are five ways to start increasing the value you provide to the organization and ultimately, the salary that you earn.
1. Specialize in a new area. Research upcoming trends in your industry or find an area of weakness in your organization and establish yourself as the expert. It may require additional education, training or certifications, but if you are the go-to person for all related matters, you become an indispensable asset.
2. Make a direct impact on the bottom line. The sole purpose of every company is to generate a profit. Suggest a new way to service your existing customer base to create a new income stream. If you do not work directly in a revenue producing area of business, implement new practices that will save the company money. Calculate the impact you have on the bottom line and your value will be evident.
3. Be professional at all times. Although it sounds like a no-brainer, it can be easy to get caught up in office politics. Rise above the pettiness that can occur when a group of coworkers spend more time with each other than they do with their own families. Negative attitudes can significantly lower the production of a group. Participating in trivial activities can impact your annual raises and limits your opportunities for advancement.
4. Do something different. The danger of having a routine is that you rarely leave your comfort zone. Playing it safe doesn’t produce the “WOW” effect. Expand your focus and start taking calculated risks to drastically increase your results. Don’t be afraid to speak up in meetings with new and different ideas that will bring a fresh approach to achieving organizational goals.
5. Know your market value. It’s important to keep abreast of changes in the market. Become familiar with tools and websites that provide updated salary data, know what the competition is paying, and understand your company’s compensation policies. Armed with this information, you will be better equipped to negotiate annual and promotional salary adjustments.
Salary is a complicated subject. Getting paid more money isn’t something that can be accomplished overnight. Most organizations have a budget for salary increases that is divided among eligible employees. Put yourself in management’s shoes for a minute. Is the value you provide to the company worth more or less than your colleagues? Once you take the emotional piece out of the salary equation, you can objectively create a plan to start getting paid what you are truly worth.
© 2006 Jill Frank. All Rights Reserved.
Never include salary range in a resume or cover letter unless the potential employer has explicitly stated (within a job posting or advertisement or told you personally) that it is a required. Adding this information when it is not requested is the fastest way to get knocked out of contention for the position.
Salary is a sensitive and serious subject, and should only be discussed at the interview phase, once you have had a chance to determine what the position entails and the employer has a grasp on your abilities. You are in a much better bargaining position at this time also; especially if the potential employer is really interested in having you join his team.
However, if an employer does request salary information with your application, include the information on the cover letter only – never directly on the resume. Placing this information on the resume is distracting and takes focus away from the critical elements of your resume.
Within your cover letter, include a brief statement, generally second paragraph from the bottom of the letter. Make a brief and somewhat general statement about your salary range. Always make it sound like you are willing to negotiate for the right opportunity.
<b>Given my relevant industry experience and proven expertise, salary range is $75,000-$90,000 annually; depending on benefits offered and is negotiable based on the scope of the position.</b>
The above statement speaks of your confidence in you’re your skills and abilities; exhibits your flexibility and willingness to negotiate for the right opportunity and most importantly, offers room for negotiation in the event that your stated salary range is not in line with the employers’ budget. The mention of “depending on benefits” lets the employer know that you are looking for a long term position. Since the cost of employee training is so expensive to any company, this is always welcome news to employers.
Skill emphasis during the interview is important to show the employer what makes you different from all the other job candidates. In this competitive world, companies search for the most qualified employees by weighing skills of the candidates and determining how they would benefit the company.
Majority of the top companies search for employers who stands out based from their expertise, ability to give new developments, and pleasing personalities that would enhance the organization.
Skills are grouped into three kinds – knowledge-based, transferable, and personal traits.
1) Knowledge-based skills are those learned from experiences. These may include educational attainment, additional training, seminars attended, and other practices that you have studied to enhance your expertise.
Knowledge-based skills include computer and communication skills, marketing or managerial knowledge, product development, and many more. These skills vary depending on the field of industry of each job candidate.
2) Transferable or portable skills are those you bring to a specific job. This is the reason why interviewers ask, “What could you offer the company?” Transferable skills are important because companies strive to look for quality employees that would improve the development of the workforce.
Portable skills include problem solving, team leader potential, organized, writing and communication skills, customer service oriented, time and project management, and good with numbers and budget. This kind of skills varies depending on the experience and versatility of each job candidate.
3) Personal traits determine who you are. In a job interview, one of the most common things an employer says is “Tell me something about yourself.” Your response is vital because it would set the tone for the rest of the interview.
Personal traits include good judgment, well organized, analytical, goal oriented, flexible, creative and many more. Try to sell yourself in as modest as possible within a limited time.
* Self-assessment. In order to provide an impressive presentation, examine your resume and list all the skills you have used for each past job experience. Make a comprehensive list of your skills and strengths including personal traits, knowledge-based and transferable skills. This would be the basis for your personal commercial.
* Once you have completed your script, you are now ready to face the interviewer. Remember that employers are interested in your accomplishments. Use words that are concise, direct and clear.
Although many companies require a unique set of skills, you should still highlight your technical skills in the interview. These skills, which top companies usually seek, include leadership, communication, confidence, flexibility, problem solving and energy.
Emphasizing all of your strengths and skills on job interviews would increase your chances of landing the desired job.
Cover letter writing is almost as important a skill for a job seeker to learn as resume writing. The cover letter accompanies the resume at all times as the primary support document. Whether you use traditional mail, email, faxing, or another type of electronic submission, this should always be sent with the resume. There are, of course, other tools you’ll use when job seeking. Your cover letter and resume come first of course, followed by follow-up letters, thank-you letters for after the interview, reference sheets, salary histories, and job acceptance letters. If you have good cover letter writing skills, and good resume writing skills, the other written tools should be a snap to compose.
Your goal in this is to get the attention of the hiring manager, just as it is with resume writing. The method and format are a little different however. Your resume will cover all, or most of your professional career, and will be from one to two pages. Your cover letter will be a very brief page serving as an introduction to the resume. Cover letter writing style must be direct, to the point, and able to grab the attention of the reader quickly, with a goal of making the reader want to read the attached resume.
Many people, when engaged in this type of writing, have a tendency to say too much. Good cover letter writing is short and punchy, and will take two or three key points from the resume and emphasize them. The old adage “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them” holds true in both resume writing and cover letter writing.
As an example, let’s assume that you are a materials handling manager for a defense contractor, seeking another position. In your line of work the buzz words are MRP, lean manufacturing, ISO 9000, and cost savings. Your writing efforts should reflect these buzz words to show your value to your current employer and any future employers. Your resume will go into more detail about how you accomplished these goals. The cover letter will simply point out to the hiring manager that you accomplished them. An example of this would be two bulleted paragraphs in the body of the letter that say….
- Experienced in quality assurance and quality control, MRP, ISO 9000, QS 9000, and Lean Manufacturing.
- Demonstrated results in saving significant money for employers through cost savings, inventory level reductions, and on-time supplier delivery.
The hiring manager, according to many surveys, devotes only about fifteen seconds to each resume and cover letter he or she reviews. With that in mind your writing skills need to be top notch to get this person to look at your resume. Your resume writing skills need to be just as good to get the reader to want to grant you an interview. In turn, your interviewing skills need to be excellent to get the hiring manager to offer you the position. This long, and hopefully positive chain of events begins with good cover letter writing skills and ends with job satisfaction and a nice paycheck.
Many job seekers find themselves overwhelmed with dread at the prospect of hunting down a new career position on their own. That’s why many people hope to hang their hats on the experience of executive head hunters to do their hunting for them in their ongoing (never-ending?) quest for the ultimate trophy career.
In order to convince a reliable executive head hunter, a job seeker has to plan his attack. A well connected executive recruiter will not take on just any person in a suit. You have to build a solid foundation well in advance of making contact.
Just as you need hunting supplies and strategies in the wild, recruiter hunting requires strategy and supplies, too. Here are five tips to successfully capture the prize – the services of an executive recruiter.
Do Your Homework
The savvy job-seeker must be well armed with knowledge – not just about his or her interests and skills, but also in the head hunter’s interests and specialties. Yes, it helps to approach a head hunter who understands your field and has built up connections, because there is very little need for chemical engineers at an accounting firm (although chemical makers have been forced to allow accountants into their sanctums, but that’s another story).
At the same time, executive management recruiters have no interest in your skills, even if you have won dozens of awards for the French pastries you have created.
Of course, it helps to familiarize yourself with the job market. That is the executive recruiter’s job, but it is also yours.
You will also get a lot further if you have assessed your own skills, not just your desired employment. If you clearly are not qualified for what you seek, you won’t sell yourself to the head hunter. And if you can’t sell yourself to the head hunter, he or she won’t bother trying to sell you to anyone else.
Identify Reputable Executive Recruiters and Head Hunters
Unfortunately, in the 21st century there are a growing number of con-men and scam artists who have injected themselves in the business of executive head hunters and recruiters. Therefore, as you begin your search for a bona fide and qualified executive recruiter, it is vital that you ask around.
Before you approach an executive head hunter, find out all that you can about their operations, history and experience from as many independent resources that you can access. Make it a point to find other men or women who have used their services. Find out who has actually landed jobs for other people, before placing your career in the hands of a charlatan.
Prepare a Solid Resume
OK. so this might be obvious. But it is not always done. Prepare a professional resume before you make contact with the executive head hunters on your list. Your resume is your calling card, and it will determine whether the recruiter will even want to let you waste his secretary’s time. Using a 1-page guerrilla Resume will get their attention BUT when you go to meet them face-to-face, expect to be asked for your full 2-page resume before they will proceed. AND make certain everything on your resume corresponds to what you have on your LinkedIn profile or you won’t get asked in for a coffee in the first place.
Line Up Solid References
Before knocking on head hunter doors, make certain that you have handy a list of professional references.
Just as you will want to know the details about any executive recruiter you approach, these professionals will want to know a good deal about you as well. They will want to be able to contact your references, men and women who can support your professional aspirations with solid testimony about your prior accomplishments, your character, your skills and even your weaknesses, too.
Make sure to ask permission from each reference in advance, so they don’t get caught off guard and say something like, “well, uh, let me see, um…you were calling about whom?”
Schedule a One on One Head Hunter Meeting
Finally, when you have all your ducks lined up, you are ready to meet the executive head hunter who will land you that ultimate trophy career. Of course, it helps to pick more than just one recruiter, and it also helps to schedule a meeting at their convenience.
There you have it. You are ready to go and hunt an executive head hunter. Job-searching couldn’t be more fun unless it came with a candy cherry on top and a complementary subscription to Laugh magazine.