Should you lower your salary requirements?

In these tough economic times, I am finding that a lot of clients are getting low-balled when offer time comes around. The question then becomes: Should I lower my salary requirements and accept an offer for less than I am worth?

The answer is, be flexible and carefully evaluate all your options. The most important thing is to be the one to get the job offer! Whether the offer comes in 5k, 10k, or 20k less than what you want is irrelevant. If you at least get an offer, you are ahead of the game. You do not have much power to negotiate upfront, but once they have set their sights on you, and have chosen to give YOU the offer, you are in a much better position to negotiate.

You have to ask yourself, what is my bottom line? Perhaps you were making 100k before, and now you get an offer for 90k. Is 90k something you can live off of, and more importantly, are you going to have the opportunity to get back to where you were within a year or two. Something most talented employees know is that, they determine their own worth. Sure, you might get low-balled initially, but if you know that you can prove your worth, you will be rewarded in the long run.

One of the women I interviewed for my book explained that she once took a position paying 30k a year, but knew that there was enormous upside potential. She saw the value in the company and what she could contribute, and within 8 months was making close to 700k. Now, this may not be the norm, but it goes to show that you can do a lot with the cards you are dealt.

Remember, the next time you get an offer that is less than what you want, ask yourself what is the upside potential? If the money is below what is absolutely necessary, then perhaps you need to renegotiate or turn it down. If instead, you realize that there is a large upside and you can negotiate a review in 60-90 days or possibly even 6 months, then it might be wise to seriously consider it.

The top 5 reasons to start volunteering while you are looking for a new job

Many job seekers underestimate the power of unpaid/volunteer work. Potential employers like to see that you are making good use of your time while you are unemployed. Here are the top 5 reasons to begin volunteering during your down time:

1) Volunteering can help add valuable skills to your resume that you may not already have, or may enhance the skills you do have
2) Showing unpaid and/or volunteer work can help explain gaps in your resume
3) By offering your skills for free, you are showing a potential employer that you are willing to go the extra mile
4) It shows employers that you are committed to being productive, rather then sitting around hoping a job lands in your lap
5) IT IS A GREAT WAY TO NETWORK TO FIND A NEW POSITION!

How to answer Trick Questions

There are several interview questions that are meant to trick you, and these questions require a little creative thinking. One such example is: “What sort of management style do you prefer: someone who micro-manages you or someone who gives you complete autonomy?” 

This trick question forces the interviewee to pick a side. The average job candidate would choose one option over the other and then make a case for their decision. A top notch job candidate would think outside the box, and perhaps answer “Both.” 
The trick to answering these difficult questions is to come up with a third option. The third option could sound something like this:
“I am looking to find a position where I can build a trusting relationship with whatever manager I wind up working for. I realize that trust is something that you have to earn, so I would expect that in the beginning I might need a little more guidance and direction. As time goes on, I hope to create a mutual understanding and a symbiotic relationship built on clear communication. As I gain more experience, I would hope the manager I work for would begin to give me more flexibility and to trust in my judgement.”
This is just one example of how you can transform an either or question into an opportunity to create something new. This method works with a variety of different situational questions. It is important never to leave the person you are interviewing with on the defensive. You always want to address the question that is being asked and come up with a creative solution that works for everyone. 

Looking to spice up your resume with some strong action verbs?

While doing research for a recent resume writing workshop I was putting on, I came across this wonderful list of action verbs that I wanted to share:

Action Verbs

accelerate advise analyze approve arrange assemble assist build collect complete
conceive conduct control coordinate create delegate detect develop direct discover
distribute edit deliver demonstrate design eliminate establish evaluate examine expand
expedite formulate generate implement improve increase influence install instruct lead
maintain manage motivate obtain operate order organize originate oversee participate
perform pinpoint plan prepare present process produce program promote propose
protest prove provide purchase receive recommend record reduce reinforce reorganize
represent research revamp review revise schedule select sell setup solve
streamline structure study supervise support teach test train write

Are objectives necessary on a resume?

There are only two reasons, in my opinion, to have an objective listed on your resume. 

The first reason would be:

1) If you are a student with little to no work experience in a particular field, then it would be appropriate to add an objective so that the potential employer can see what type of job you are interested in.
The second reason would be:
2) If you are changing into a new career after already having worked in a different field. In this case it would be helpful to identify what new industry you are pursuing (if it is not already clear from the resume).
I personally think objectives are an outdated tool, and should be replaced with a “Summary of Qualifications” and/or nothing at all. If it is already apparent from your resume what your end goal is in a position, then repeating the information in an objective and/or “Summary of Qualifications” can be redundant.
If you are going to use the “Summary of Qualifications,” you should keep it short and to the point. There is no need to say more then 3-4 sentences maximum. Also, be sure not to repeat information in your “Summary of Qualifications”  that is already listed in other areas on your resume, otherwise you are just wasting page space.

Things are Looking Up

Things are Looking Up
Though the current economic condition has been trying for millions of Americans and others worldwide, things are beginning to look up. More and more, my clients are getting interviews and are being offered fantastic positions. For the first half of this year, it was rare for anyone to even land an interview, let alone, receive a job offer. As we head into the end of the year, you will begin to see companies regaining their faith in the economy, and slowly but surely people will get hired.
In a normal market, September and October are relatively busy due to executives and hiring managers alike returning from their summer vacations. Unfortunately, in the past, there has been a bit of a lull in hiring around November and December because many potential employers are gone for the holidays with their families. Many times, a company has spent their budget by the end of the year so they begin to look at ramping up their staffing in January. That said, I would highly encourage any job seekers that are looking to be hired before the end of the year, to go full force through the end of September and all throughout October.
Ideally, you should be spending at least 40 hours a week looking for a job. This should include attending networking functions, such as Pink Slip Mixers, posting your resume on websites such as www.monster.com and www.careerbuilder.com, applying directly to at least 5-10 positions per day, and finally learning to use social media to help facilitate introductions to the companies you want to get hired at. 
Even if you cannot find a position by the end of 2009, the good news is that January is typically the busiest time of the year when it comes to hiring. Employers will have new budgets to work with and new staff needs to fill. Be diligent in your job search and you too will get hired!

The Fish Bowl: Are you IN or are you OUT?

I was recently having coffee with a friend where we were discussing the state of the economy and my upcoming book. I was explaining my rationale behind writing the book, is to inspire people to achieve their dreams and find something they are passionate about, that pays them well. During this conversation, my friend raised an interesting question: “What if some people simply have no desire do to be successful?”

I have to admit, I was rather dumbfounded by this. I asked her to elaborate, as this seemed like a foreign concept to me. Doesn’t everyone want to be successful in their own right? Her response was one that caused me to pause and think. She explained that we all live in a fish bowl, however, because the fish bowl is glass, and therefor transparent, it is almost impossible to see the fish bowl that you are in. She shared with me a cathartic moment she had experienced, where she was able to see herself from outside the fish bowl. What does this mean? It means that, from her perspective, most of us go through our day to day lives swimming about in our fish bowl, unaware that there is anything available outside of what we can conceive. For a certain few though, they realize the limitations the fish bowl imposes upon them, and they choose to live a life outside of the fish bowl, where things are less certain, but anything is possible.  

It is a fact that people who choose to live outside the fish bowl can still see into it, however, they embrace the uncertainty and the unease that comes from living on the outside. A wise person once said, “If you are not expanding, then you are contracting.” The same could be said for the people who choose to free themselves of their constraints. They are fearless in the face of the unknown, and in being unstoppable, they can often achieve their dreams.

The important point about the fish bowl is that those who are in the fish bowl and are content to be in the fish bowl, should not be forced to live a life outside of the fish bowl, outside of their comfort zone. If someone chooses to spend their life or career swimming in the fishbowl, with no ambition to ever attain success or even possible failure by leaving their comfort zone, those outside of the fish bowl should NEVER force anyone to embrace the alternative option.

Look at your life. Are you content to simply “go with the flow,” and live a life where you might not ever achieve your dreams, but you might have a great life? If living a simple life works for you, then there is no need to change. If instead, you are someone who wants everything that life has to offer, and is not afraid of possible failure, then embrace your fears in working towards success. Acknowledge that you have spent your entire life being comfortable, but if you are truly committed, you can choose to leave the fish bowl and carve out your own path. Failure may come, often more than once, but if you persevere the rewards on the other side of the glass with be plentiful.


My benefit is to offer people tools to set measurable goals, minimize fear, and achieve their dreams. For information about working together please email me: jennifer@jhccs.com 

Are you someone others can count on?

“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.”  Moliere

Are you someone that others can count on to show up? Are you someone who is accountable for your actions? Are there areas in your life that you are responsible for, but others that you let slide by?

Why is it that we always place blame, rather than take responsibility?

If you have done any of the following 5 things in the last 60 days, I would encourage you to ask yourself: How responsible am I?

1) Been late for an appointment or meeting
2) Not shown up for an event or commitment without calling to let anyone know
3) Cancelled plans with less then 24 hours notice
4) Missed a deadline for a project
5) Paid a bill late

If you have missed a deadline or appointment, it does not make you a bad person. Everyone has to cancel an appointment or push back a deadline from time to time.  All that is there is to become aware of is how your actions directly relate to other people’s perception of you. If you are someone who is consistently late, or does not show up, chances are you might be viewed as someone who is unreliable or flaky. Being an individual who others can rely on is of the utmost importance. In order to have success both in life and in one’s career, others must be able to trust you and to know that they can count on you to keep your word. Every time you break a promise, others lose a little more faith in you, until one day, they no longer feel they can rely on you at all.

Below are the top 3 steps that you can take to transform your relationship to responsibility:

1) Do a personal assessment of where you are breaking your word and get in communication with those you have broken your word with
2) Get present to the fact that every action you take has an effect on those around you
3) Practice saying “No.” Only committ to things that you can accomplish so that you will set realistic expectations for yourself and for  others

Taking responsibility for yourself and your actions is the first step towards personal and professional success.

The Top 10 things which will help you be more effective at interviewing

1) Always show up 15 minutes early with several copies of your resume and references
2) Always fill out an application thoroughly and completely with neat, legible hand writing
3) Always research a company prior to an interview
4) Dress professionally
5) Uncross your legs and your arms during your interview. Remember that your body language is just as important as what you are saying.
6) Always have a firm handshake upon meeting the person your are interviewing with
7) Always have good eye contact
8) Be flexible when asked about salary. Remember that until you have the offer, it does not matter how much you want, you are not in a position of power until you get the offer
9) Be CONFIDENT. Do not get intimidated by what could be awkward silences, rather you could engage the interviewer
10) Always come to any interview prepared with at least 3-5 great questions to ask the person you are meeting with about themselves or the company

Show Me Your PEP!

Over the years I have had the chance to get to know hundreds of C-level Executives and hiring managers, the question on all of their minds, when you go in for an interview, is: “How are YOU going to make my life easier?”

Regardless if they are the executive you will be directly reporting to, or the Human Resources Manager responsible for hiring you, they all have one thing in common, they want to look good. Everyone has someone they are responsible for reporting to, even a CEO has to report to their investors and/or board members. In an interview, it is YOUR JOB, to convey to the person that you are interviewing with how you are going to make their life easier and make them look good to their superiors.

One of the ways you can do this is through giving examples of your PEP. Employers want to hire people with PEP. What is PEP? PEP is Productivity, Efficiency and Performance. In order for you to effectively share your PEP with the executive during your interview, you must be able to clearly communicate what you are going to do for them and how doing that will alleviate some of their stress, while making them look great at the same time.

To find your personal PEP, look at your past work experience, and pinpoint examples of where you have increased the overall Productivity, Efficiency and/or Performance of the organization that you worked for. It is important to be able to explain the problem that you solve and the group of people that you solve it for in relation to the position you are applying for. You should be able to concisely explain what actions you have taken in the past that have had you be effective, and how that effectiveness, in turn, led to a smoother and less stressful working environment. 

It is not about you, it is about them. Do not just tell the executive WHAT you did, but also tell them how that impacted the company’s performance and how you will be able to apply your PEP in your next position. Find out what problem is that the executive needs solved, and then formulate a solution and explain how that plan will be executed effectively. By doing this, you will be able to make a strong case for why YOU should be the next person they hire.