Saturday, April 26, 2014


It feels wonderful to get a job offer. This is what you were striving for when you started your job search.  But do not rush to say “yes”.

When you receive a job offer, the roles are suddenly reversed. Now you have become the buyer. The employer is now trying to sell you on the career opportunity, salary, and benefits. They definitely want you, and in most cases, would like you to join as soon as possible. You have to decide whether you want them, and if so, what changes are needed in the job offer before you make a commitment. 

You have probably determined, before a job offer is presented to you, that the company is a good place to work and you are satisfied with the position and advancement opportunities. If you have any concerns about the company or the position, this is the time to take another look at what you may be getting into. No amount of salary or benefits will make up for a bad career choice. Assuming you are satisfied with the company and the position, take a close look at the financial aspects.

Job offers are subject to negotiation. 

You can negotiate the job responsibilities, base salary, bonuses, relocation package, benefits, stock compensation, severance terms and anything else included in the job offer. This is an opportunity for you to define what you want and what you can get, and then negotiate an employment package acceptable to you. 

Timing is a critical factor in negotiating. The ideal time to negotiate is when you have received a verbal offer from the employer, or through an executive search firm. Prepare a logical explanation for every change you want to request. Remember, negotiating is a two-way process, where both you and the employer try to reach an agreement that will be beneficial to both sides.  

Preparation is the key to good negotiations. 

You have to research, consider alternatives, plan and effectively communicate with the employer. You have to know how far you can go, and when to pull back. When the job being offered to you is hard to fill, the employer will be more accommodating. If other candidates are available to fill the position, the employer may be less inclined to negotiate the terms of the job offer. Smaller companies are more willing to negotiate as compared to larger organizations with standard policies and procedures.

There is a big difference in salaries for the same jobs in different parts of the country.  

You should look up cost of living data when researching salaries. Here are some websites for your research.

This is a wonderful resource for help on salary information. It helps you connect to over 300 free online salary surveys. The surveys come from several kinds of sources including: General periodicals; local newspapers; Trade and professional journals; Trade and professional associations; and Recruiters or employment agencies. This website also offers helpful links to advice on salary negotiation strategies. 

This is a leading provider of on-demand human resources software to help businesses and individuals manage pay and performance, and achieve greater results in the workplace. The website includes quick links to compensation-related information: Salary Wizard; Benefits Calculator; Executive Pay Wizard; Cost of Living Calculator; Premium Salary Report; Salary Wizard Canada; Performance Self-Test; and Salary Negotiation Advice.

This website was launched in 2000 to provide reporting on salaries and cost of living. Tools available on this website help people make informed decisions when planning careers and searching for jobs. Following career tools are available: Search Jobs by Salary; Cost of Living Calculator; Education Planning Center; Job Search; Career Salary Potential Report; and Student Cost of Living Report.

Payscale is a market leader in global online compensation data. It has one of the largest databases of online employee salary data in the world. This website offers salary reports based on your job title, location, education, skills and experience.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook  issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is revised every two years. It is a nationally recognized source of career information for hundreds of different types of jobs. For specific occupations, it tells you: the training and education needed; earnings; expected job prospects; what workers do on the job; and working conditions. In addition, it gives you job search tips, and links to job market in each state. Occupational Outlook Handbook is available online, and you can use the Search box to find out about a specific occupation or topic. Also you can go to the A-Z Index for a listing of all occupations in alphabetical order.

Monday, April 7, 2014


This is a statement of the kind of job you want based on a clear understanding of your skills and interests. It tells your prospective employers what you are looking for. You may define it by picking a job title such as “Sales Representative” or by selecting a range of job titles such as “Marketing Management”. This would help you in putting together your resume and cover letters. By focusing on jobs that match your skills and interests, you improve the chances of finding a suitable position.

In addition, you need to develop the key message you are going to convey to prospective employers and to those in your network. This message describes how you are a good candidate for the position you are pursuing. You will put your key message in your resume and repeat it again and again in job interviews. That means going beyond determining a job title or cluster of jobs that will suit you. You have to prepare a key statement that describes you to prospective employers.

Prepare yourself to answer the question that often comes up in job interviews: “Why should we hire you?”  This question is a test of your ability to select the relevant portions of your background to show how you meet the job requirements, and present that information clearly in a two-minute presentation. You should write such a statement, practice how you will deliver it in a job interview, and review it carefully to use in your resume.

To prepare your key message, you need to go to your list of accomplishments and skills and then describe your strengths to do the job you want. You need to focus on your desired job when preparing your key message. It should provide evidence that you can effectively handle the job you want to do. You should state your skills, personal qualities, experience and accomplishments that support the cluster of jobs that you are seeking. Your key message will guide your communications including resume preparation, conversations with contacts in your network, and job interviews.

Preparing a list of your skills and linking your skills with stories of accomplishments is a good way to begin to develop your key message. As you proceed with your job search and share your key message in your conversations and written communications, you will certainly find ways to refine your message and present stories of your accomplishments. Keep your target audience uppermost in your mind when you prepare and revise your key message. Discuss your key message with some friends, and particularly with two to three professionals in your field, who can give you an objective assessment.
Most people underestimate their value. They do not realize the skills and experience they bring to the table.