Three Considerations When Asking For Better Compensation

Whether you are looking to get a raise or up the amount of start pay during a job offer, consider the following 3 considerations in asking for more pay or additional compensation.

1. Remember the first offer is typically a starting point in a salary range from HR.  Even if the money seems acceptable, why not try to negotiate for a higher rate?  Ask for more without naming a value, while explaining why you are worth more.  Salary negotiating means they are willing to go up, but you also must be willing to go down.  What is an acceptable compromise for both sides?

2. Be prepared with salary figures from your industry to prove your value, do not get emotional about money.  Your value is not just your skills but how you help the company.  Can you bring in new customers, reduce cycle time, make technology advances?  These things matter to the person interviewing you are a new hire or an internal candidate fro transfer or promotion.  Can you show them facts about what you have done and plans for what you could do?

3. Look for other compensation you are willing to accept in lieu of salary, if cash is either not negotiable or only slightly so.  Is working with the latest technology important?  What about being on a specific project or team?  If you ca not get a new promotion or title, can you get someone to assist you in getting more work done? What other benefits does the company have in health benefits, leave, life insurance, bonuses, flex-time, telecommuting, or profit-sharing, that would be good compensation?

Four Ways to Get Noticed for Promotion or Transfer

Are you wanting to move your career along, but feel stuck?  Do you think you are due for a promotion or want to get that transfer?  Get unstuck and start doing something to get noticed.  Below are four ways you can do that.

1. Remember ambition is not a bad thing.  So showing off your success is not bragging, it is just getting noticed.  Write it on progress reports and share it on social media if it is not corporate confidential work.  No need to be specific just post a quick bullet in hopes of attracting a mentor, network associate, and possibly the career you want.

2. Speak up in meetings.  If you have an idea that solves a problem or moves a project along, share it.  If you have a resource for necessary research or a needed skill set, let others know.  The more you show how you can help, the more you get noticed.  Getting noticed means being asked for opinions or getting assigned to more visible projects.

3. Take action whenever possible, do not wait for permission.  Do the work that needs to be done.  Take the lead on a team or volunteer for key projects.  Pro-activity and productivity get noticed too.

4. Find a mentor or coach who will recognize your capabilities and be willing to help you get there or guide your path. If you have a career goal, go for it by finding someone who will listen to your vision. 

Quick Flow Charts and Mind Maps with Visme Tool

Visme, the free presentation infographic creation on-line tool, has a new feature for quickly and easily creating process flow charts or visual mind maps.  The 1+ minute video below rapidly shows how the new tool works.

Three Big Tips for Interview Prep

Great!  Your application or resume got you an interview.  Now what?  Everyone gets nervous about going on job interview or internal promotional reviews.  A little nervousness is not bad, but too much can actually hurt your job search process by making you look unprepared.  So prepare yourself both mentally and physically before the interview so the process runs smoothly and in your favor.   Below are 3 tips to help you prepare before the interview date.

1. Mentally prepare for the interview by:
  • Charting your skills to the job.  Use two-columns:  in the first list the job responsibilities, in the second column list your matching qualifications.  If there is a gap in your skills for the job, indicate what you will do soon to close the gap or how your current skills will help you close the gap.
  • Determining what in your job history matches the open position.  Look for impressive examples of work you have done in the past to provide when asked for examples during the interview.  Decide how to introduce the example and what details you will provide if asked for them.  Pick examples of both individual work and work done as part of a team so you can match the example to the interviewers question. 
2. Make a good first impression by:
  • Dressing for the career you want, not just the job.  First impressions matter.  You may not want to look overdressed, but under-dressed makes a lousy impression.  If you know someone in the company or a similar organization, ask them for ideas on how to dress.
  • Planning your appointment time wisely.  Know the route to the interview location so you can plan for detours and exits to avoid being late.  Be sure you have plenty of gas or have scheduled your ride well a head of time.  Get to the interview location a little early in case the interviewers are ahead of schedule, you can review your resume and notes.  You need to plan to stay later as well,  in case the interviews are behind schedule.  The best way to do this is ask the person who calls you, to give you the date and start time, how long the typical interview lasts.   
3. Let them know you are really interested by asking good questions about a company career by:
  • Checking their corporate website for some ideas first and then ask for clarification.  Such as  company strategy (3-5 year plans), values, and culture.  
  • Asking what a successful employee looks like in this job to start and after some time (one month, 60 days, first quarter).  Ask where the job or your skills could lead career-wise in the future (1 year from now, 3 years, etc.).
Going to your interview properly prepared will help you remain calm and respond quicker.  Being calm will make a better impression than seeming nervous or unprepared,

Three Tips for Resume Writing

Resume formats and lengths have changed over the years, but three sections remain key for getting your resume noticed.  These are your header, your summary, and list of accomplishments.  Below are three important section tips for resume writing.

  1. Your heading is your first introduction.  The heading is a 3-parts of information needed to contact you for an interview.  You need to make sure you name is large and clear.  If you have a LinkedIN account, make sure the name on it matches your resume for possible research on you by interviewers prior to their contacting.  An email address and phone number are essential for getting notified by recruiters and interviewers.  These are the main way you will be contacted, so you may choose to use a cell phone for easy-access and a professional-looking email for follow-up purposes.  Typically a mailing address is included in the heading area as well.  Usually physical addresses are only used by Human Resources (HR) as  reference for on-line searches prior to hiring or mailing paperwork after a hiring decision is made.
  2. A summary of skills is vital to get your place in the interview group.  Whether you call it career objective or summary of qualifications,  a paragraph stating why you are a fit for the job is important - NOT optional.  Many recruiters read this before even looking at the rest of the resume, if what they are looking for is not here, then the resume goes in the "skip" pile instead of the "interview" pile.  So be sure to use keywords form the job description in this section to catch their eye.  Exact keywords are especially  important for electronic resumes, as this is what the computer searches for as a way to pull or eliminate resumes for recruiter review.  Using synonyms may prevent duplication, but the computer will not be looking for alternative words - so stick to the advertised keywords.
  3. Your list of accomplishments is where you provide brief examples of your experiences.  This could section may be called work history, career accomplishments, achievements, or core competencies.  This section should start with the most recent position/job/skill examples moving down through other historical work.  Using bullet points rather than paragraphs will make the resume more readable.  Again, use as many of the job description keywords as you can honestly claim - think SEO.  A few job or technology synonyms are okay to use here to vary descriptions in bullets after using main keywords.  If you get called for an interview, be prepared to provide more detailed examples of your accomplishments to prove your potential worth.  If you are have a long career, you only need to provide ten years of work experience.  If you think older jobs will support your accomplishments, only list the company details and job title to keep resume short but allow interview the opportunity to ask for examples from those years.

Do a web search for current resume formats you can use in order for your resume to look professional and up-to-date for recruiters.  You may want to take the search further and look for resume examples that match your chosen career field to make a better impression.  Make sure the format you choose has the three key resume sections of header, summary, and accomplishments.

Are the Holidays Causing a Dip in Employee Productivity?

According to infographic in How to Not Lose Track of Productivity During Hectic Holiday Week  post by ZeroCater, 42% of employees are shopping on-line during the workday for Christmas.  Plus  35% are planning  Dec. 25 activities, while 30% are thinking about what  they may be doing during their holiday break.  Wow!  Various excuses are given for why these employees are slacking off, including "it is slow during the holidays."

Check out their blog post and full infographic for ideas on how to boost workplace productivity during the holiday season with breaks and gamifying work projects.  

Never-the-less Principle, Adjusting Attitude at Work

With the seasons of Thanksgiving through New Years approaching, I began to think about the different feelings and attitudes people many experience on-the-job.  All too often, work and holidays bring stress and grips rather than relaxation and joy.  Are we letting the wrong attitudes steal our happiness at home and work?  There is this old principle for attitude adjustment called "the nevertheless principle".  The principle works this way - take a negative complaint and add a positive spin to it with the word nevertheless (never-the-less) at the end of the statement.

Below are a few statement examples to consider for adjusting attitude at work:
  • I get tired of working so much of the time, nevertheless, I have a job that helps support my family.
  • My position here is not very high, nevertheless, I find satisfaction in doing my job well.
  • I have a lot of work to do before the holidays, nevertheless, I will have free time with my family once it is done.
  • A few here seem to get away with doing very little, nevertheless, I will do my best and know that I truly contribute.
  • My boss is hard on me, nevertheless ,I know he appreciates it when I make the department look good.
  • This company only cares about profit, nevertheless, those profits are what enables them to pay me.
How does this help adjust attitudes?  First by forcing oneself to turn from a negative thought into a positive one.  This will immediately make one feel better.  Eventually, the negative fades as we concentrate more on the positive.  Resulting in a more positive attitude more often so that  the negative goes away to be replaced with feelings of contentment rather than resentment.  Happier employees are more productive employees.  Happiness them=n spills over into their personal lives as well.

What are some of the statements you might make?  Please share them in the comments for this post.  If you want to see some personal life example statements, see Lifestyle Organization blog

Breaks Proven to Increase Business Productivity

Do you think you are getting more done by not taking breaks or skipping lunch?  Actually doing this decreases your productivity as it can lead to both mental and physical fatigue.  You do not believe that?  Check out these articles and posts that support taking breaks.

Why take breaks?
Forbes Want To Get More Done? Try Taking More Breaks
Taking a Break Can Boost Your Productivity
Smart Business Advantages of taking work breaks to boost productivity
Science-Backed Ways Taking a Break Boosts Our Productivity
Psychology Today How Work Breaks Help Your Brain
Up Your Productivity by Random Work Sprints Vs Marathon Time

How to do breaks?
Creativity Break Ideas to Boost Your Productivity at Work
Fast Company 15, 30, and 60-minute breaks to boost productivity

How to do lunch?
Rules of effective lunch breaks that boost your productivity
Zero Eating Healthy Meals and Snacks for Workplace Success blog post includes 3 infographics:
  1. How to prevent getting hungry at work
  2. Tips to eat healthier at work
  3. How to tell if you are dehydrated