Month: September 2016

Determining What to Ask for When Negotiating Offers


offerOne question I’ve heard a lot during the course of my career is how do you figure out what to counter when you receive your offer. Most people don’t know how to figure out what to counter so they end up taking the company’s offer.

Consider this…

According to a study in the Journal of Organizational Behaviornot negotiating could cost you more than $600,000 over the course of a typical career.

When determining what to ask for you’ll first need to:

  1. Determine the Market Value for your skills
  2. Analyze the Benefits
  3. Build Justifications

So how do you do all of this?

That’s what I show you in my new class How to Negotiate Your Offer – Determining What to Ask For.  

Specifically you’ll learn:

  • How to build a Salary Calculation Worksheet to determine your market value.
  • How to build a Benefits Analysis Worksheet to analyze your benefits.
  • How to Build Justifications and Anticipate Company Objections.
  • How to Ask for Money or a Non-Monetary Benefit.
  • And a lot more.

Don’t accept the first amount that’s offered because you could be leaving money on the table. Remember, the company is hiring you because you’re bringing value to their organization. Determine the market price associated with that value and negotiate to receive it.

To learn more about how to maximize your earning potential CLICK HERE


Do You Need A Cover Letter?

cover-letterYes! If done correctly, the cover letter can be equally as important as your resume in getting you noticed.

Your cover letter should…

  • Introduce you to the company.
  • Provide a snapshot of your skills.
  • Clarify and/or explain items missing or confusing in your resume.

Following is a breakdown of what you should include in each paragraph of the cover letter:

First Paragraph

Include the position title and position number (if any) that you’re applying to. The number is especially important for companies that fill hundreds of positions. Recruiters will search positions by number, not by title. Then, use the first paragraph to include your objective statement. By including your objective statement in your cover letter and not the resume you allow for more room for achievements on your resume. The first paragraph should be no more than three sentences.


Accept my resume for the position of Financial Analyst, #53425. I am interested in using my five years analyzing financial data in support of your organization. My intention is to continue expanding my financial knowledge as I move toward a management opportunity.

Second Paragraph

The second paragraph is where you include a snapshot of your skills as they relate to the job description. By including a snapshot, you’re encouraging the recruiter to want to learn more about you. Address only 2 or 3 of the most important job description requirements.

Example: (Tip: Be sure to include an achievement related to your qualification as well.)


Job Description Requirements My Qualifications
*5 yrs financial analyst                               *5 yrs financial analyst
Partnered with departmental hiring managers in forecasting and analyzing budgets
*2 yrs Excel including pivot tables         *5 yrs Excel including pivot tables
Developed an Excel spreadsheet for managers to track spending.


Third Paragraph

In this paragraph you’ll clarify or explain issues related to the resume. These issues might include gaps in employment, relocation, excessive commute, and being overqualified for a position. If you don’t take the time to explain these issues in your cover letter and the recruiter notices the gaps or that you have an excessive commute etc., your resume is going to get screened out.


In reviewing the job description, it mentioned that only local candidates need apply. As you can see I am currently living in another state. I am planning on moving at my own expense as soon as I obtain employment. In addition, I am willing to incur the cost to fly out for an interview.

Fourth Paragraph

This normally is a one sentence wrap-up. It doesn’t need to be a full paragraph.


 Thank you for your consideration.

Keep your cover letter to one page in length. Also, it’s acceptable to address the cover letter to the attention of the hiring manager if you don’t know specifically whom to address the letter to.

Remembering these tips as you draft your cover letter might just make the difference in getting your resume reviewed and you getting the interview.

For a checklist of what to include on your cover letter, Click Here

Core Competencies and Interview Questions #careertips #careeropportunities



Many companies in addition to asking technical questions during the interview to gain an understanding of your technical knowledge will also ask questions related to specific competencies, or behaviors that they’ve identified as being critical to that particular position.

Human resource professionals work with hiring managers to identify at least five competencies that a person will need to exhibit in order to be successful in that particular position.

Once the competencies have been identified, recruiters will work with the hiring manager and develop interview questions related to the particular competencies. There are even software programs and manuals that companies can purchase that will suggest questions for particular competencies. Two of the biggest companies who specialize in this area are Korn Ferry and Lominger.

When preparing for the interview, check the job description for specific competencies. Below is an example of a job description where I’ve circled the keywords and added the corresponding competency.



Next, use the Core Competencies Interview Questions and Answers that I’ve developed to practice your responses. You can also type in ‘core competency interview questions’ in your favorite search engine and you’ll get plenty of help.

Finally, use the S.T.A.R technique when drafting your responses. This stands for:

S – Situation
T – Task
A – Action
R – Response

This is an easy format to organize your thoughts and communicate your responses clearly to the interviewers.

Don’t forget that it’s acceptable to write down your responses and refer to your notes during the interview. Sometimes it can be challenging to try and remember everything you want to convey.

Good – Luck!

Negotiating Offers with Precise Numbers #careeradvice



The next time you negotiate your offer give a precise number like $75,300, instead $75,000.


According to a group of researchers from Columbia Business School, precise numbers lead the other party to believe you’ve done your homework to come up with those specific numbers.

Malia Mason, lead researcher, conducted three separate studies to determine the degree of change from the first offer that was anchored.

In one study participants negotiated with a shop keeper over jewelry. In a second study negotiations were with a restaurant owner, and in a third study negotiations were with a coffee vendor. In each study one group of participants were provided a round dollar number while another group of participants received a precise dollar number to use in their negotiations.

The results of each study ended up with participants who negotiated with the precise dollar number made the least amount of change to their original ‘anchored’ offer. The participants with the round dollar number make the biggest changes. It was determined that the participants who negotiated with the precise number retained the greatest value from their original offer.

Basically this is like asking how much longer when waiting to be seated at a restaurant and the employee says 18 minutes over 20 minutes. If you hear 18 it makes you think they’ve actually timed how long the wait is versus saying 20 which makes you think they’re just pulling a number out of the air and you really don’t know when you’re going to get seated.

So what does this have to do with your offer?

If you get in a situation where you haven’t done your research to know what your market value is but you have an idea, instead of saying $100,000, ask for $102,500. Studies show that with the preciseness of the first offer that you anchor, you have a better opportunity to receive the full amount or an amount close to it.

Keep in mind, the best way to negotiate your offer though is to do your homework and research what the market value really is for your skills.

3/50 Plan to Conduct Your Job Search #careertips


How many times have you looked for a job and found that you had a hard time figuring out what to do and when to do it? You started your job search and found a job that you’re qualified to do so you decided to apply. Only it’s taking you time to apply and you think that maybe you should be looking for other jobs. So you stop applying and start looking for other jobs. Or you’re working on your resume and you’re stressed because you know you should be applying. If you don’t apply, you won’t get the job.

You get more and more stressed and end up getting nothing done. By the end of the day you’ve only applied to one job, if that.

Good news! Here’s a plan that will help you stay focused during your job search. There are only 3 steps and each step consists of you spending 50 minutes focused on only one aspect of the job search.

Here’s how the 3/50 plan works.

Step 1 – The first 50 – The Job Search

Spend the first 50 minutes searching for jobs. Of the 50 minutes spend the first 40 minutes making a list of jobs. Be sure and print off each job description or save it to refer to later.

Pop the links to the jobs on a separate word doc or excel spreadsheet so you can quickly find the job again when it’s time to apply. Don’t concern yourself about your resume or applying right now.

Then, the last 10 minutes go back through the jobs on your list and select the top 5 that you’re qualified to do and that you want to do. So many times we apply to jobs that we can do but maybe don’t really want to do. Your list probably includes some of the ‘can do’ jobs. Now it’s time to weed them out.

Step 2 – The second 50 – Customize Your Resume and Cover Letter

The next 50 minutes you’re going to spend customizing 5 different cover letters and 5 different resumes to match the top 5 jobs you’ve selected. For each job, review the job description for keywords and make sure those keywords are located somewhere on your resume. You’ll also need to make sure that the title of the job you’re going to apply to appears on your resume. Adding keywords to your resume and matching titles will ensure your resume will be found in a database search.

You’ll also want to make sure that each cover letter provides a snapshot of your qualifications.

For instructions and templates how to prepare your resume and cover letter CLICK HERE.

Step 3 – The third 50 – Apply to the Jobs

For the next 50 minutes, it’s time to return to the site where you found the job and apply. Make sure that you upload both your cover letter and resume. If the system will only allow one document, combine your resume and cover letter together and upload them as one document. If the company specifies they want you to provide both documents and you only upload your resume, you’re going to get screened out.

After you’ve uploaded your documents make sure you get confirmation that they were uploaded successfully. Many Applicant Tracking Systems, that’s the software that collects your documents, don’t all work alike. Sometime you think your documents have been uploaded – and they haven’t.

Finally, make sure you answer all the prescreening questions. Don’t put ‘see resume’ or you’ll get screened out. Recruiters use the prescreening questions to further narrow down their applicant pool. Providing well thought out responses to the questions will help ensure that your resume will get passed on to the hiring manager.

Follow this 3/50 plan and you’ll find that you’re more productive in your approach to searching for a new job – and less stressed!

Not only that but if you successfully apply to 5 jobs a day, you’ll be working before long.

How to Safely Search for a Job While You Have a Job. #careeradvice

Job Search.png

You’ve made the decision that it’s time to look for another job. Sometimes it can be tricky searching for another job while you’re still employed especially if you don’t want your current employer to find out.

If you start posting your resume everywhere a recruiter at your current company might happen across your resume while they’re actively searching the internet for other professionals to fill their jobs. Some companies will even purposefully search to see if any of their employees are actively looking. It’s very easy using a Boolean search string with your name, job title, or name of your company in it to discover employees who might be looking for another job.

Here are some TIPS on how to keep your job search confidential:

Listing Your Current Company on Your Resume

Some job seekers prefer to write “Company Confidential” in place of the actual name of the company. With the use of social media search capabilities today, recruiters can still find out where you’re working. Not only that, but listing your company in this manner doesn’t tell a recruiter why you wanted the name of your company confidential. Try this instead. List the name of the company and then next to it put the following: (confidential job search.)

By stating that you’re conducting a confidential job search you’re alerting any recruiters who happen to look at your resume to the fact that no one should contact anyone at your company for a reference. Sometimes if hiring managers and employees have friends working at the same company, they’ll ‘check a person out’ before contacting them.

Add Confidential Job Search to Your Cover Letter

Be sure to state in the first paragraph of your cover letter that you are conducting a confidential job search. This will alert recruiters and hiring managers so they don’t contact anyone at your company. If the recruiter knows you’re conducting a confidential job search they will be very diligent in alerting the hiring manager and other members of the interview team about your need for confidentiality.

Job Boards

Find out from the recruiters at your current company which job boards they use to find professionals with your skills. Once you know which ones they use, don’t post your resume on that particular job board. It’ll require a little more effort on your part searching and applying to individual jobs, but you’ll be safe from having the recruiter at your company confront you if they find your resume – or worse, inform your boss.


If you happen to be interviewing at a competitor or a company where you know your boss might have connections, let the recruiter know. There are ways to bring job seekers in for interviews to minimize the risk of you being seen. Recruiters can use interview rooms that are out of the mainstream, schedule interviews after hours, or even off-site.

The main difference searching for a job while you’re still employed is to inform everyone along the way that your job search is confidential. Hiring managers and recruiters are professionals and they will go out of their way to help you remain confidential.