Everything I know about finding a job

you can read it here or you can click here to go to the Google doc which contains a table of contents with links. 

 

Introduction

 

There are several paths to take to find a better job. Though, the path most followed is the least likely to get you a job. Let’s approach this through very deliberate actions instead of the typical random shotgun approach.

 

 

Getting to Know You

 

Clearly define why you want to leave your current job. It has to be a strong reason because it will take diligent work and perseverance to move forward. Nothing hard, simply continuous action. Do you want better pay? Does your boss suck? Do you hate the work you are doing? What is your reason?

 

Action: Write down a list of reasons why you want to leave your job. This will help to make sure you do not end up doing tasks you hate.

 

Focus on the family
I became frustrated in one of my previous jobs because I was required to return to a previous role (almost a demotion) because the person in that role left and the company was trying to save money by eliminating my current role. Also, I was nervous because the company was cutting jobs in the department which I was forced to return. Finally, management motivated people through fear and employees were treated like expendable equipment. Luckily, I was not directly feeling the negativity because I had an awesome boss.
I had to get out of there so I could keep supporting my family, and I knew it was easier to get a job when I had a job. I did not want to seem desperate during a job interview and I did not want to absorb all of the negativity which would make me look bad at my next company.

 

 

Afraid to Change Jobs?

 

What is holding you back from applying for that new job? Most likely subtle fears are keeping you from finding the work you love. Let’s dig into this, and see if you can overcome some of these fears

 

Through helping people to find new and better work, I have identified a handful of reasons which make them afraid to go out and look, no matter how much they hate their job.

 

The fears include:

 

  • I Don’t Want to Lose Insurance Between Jobs
  • I Do Not Want to Be Known As a Job Hopper
  • I Don’t Want to Make Less Money
  • There Are No jobs Out There
  • What If I Hate My New Job
  • I Don’t Want to Let Everybody Down if I Leave

 

Let’s tackle each one of these and dispel those concerns.

 

I Don’t Want to Lose Insurance Between Jobs

 

You can resign one day and start at the new company the following day. It simply takes a little planning once you receive an offer from the new company.

 

When I left my last job, my resignation letter stated that my resignation would occur on Monday at 8am. I also started at my new job on Monday at 8am. By setting it up this way, I was able to stay covered by insurance through the switch. I was technically through working there on Friday afternoon, and they could have made me work over the weekend, but they did not. It was a smooth transition.

 

I Do Not Want to Be Known As a Job Hopper

 

In today’s work environment the concept of a job hopper is less valid. Companies pay more attention to what you can accomplish. Also, incentives (like pensions) which were designed to foster company loyalty have been eliminated, which makes it less likely for anybody to stay long term. They also realize it is in their best interest to let you learn more skills elsewhere and with the potential to return to the company and use those skills.

 

Americans average 10-14 jobs between the ages of 18 and 34 and 3-5 career changes by the age of 38. This means if you are below age 34 you change jobs on average less than every 2 years. If this is you, you are just like everybody else. I was at my last job for three years and the one before that for only two.

 

Consider this, if you stay with one company long term you will make less money over time since your raises will not match inflation (at least in my experience). It is in your best financial interest for you to change jobs. For instance, in my last job change I made a 12% increase, have you ever gotten a raise like this?

 

In addition, when you stay at a company you will incrementally have more and more added to your plate, but you will not make more money from those little additions. Over time, this can add up to many responsibilities with little pay increase. After taking on this extra responsibility you should go out and find your value in the market (with a job search). Most likely, you will find that other companies will offer you more than you are currently earning at the same type of work. Companies don’t intentionally try to pay you less, but no one ever adds up all the increased responsibility you are asked to take.

 

I Don’t Want to Make Less Money

 

If someone offers you a job for less money, don’t take it (or negotiate for more). It is as simple as that. Not enough vacation, decline the offer. At the very least you will find out that you are making more than you would somewhere else (i.e. more than market value). Also, you  can always negation for more or maybe a slight pay decrease comes with added lifestyle benefits (like more vacation).

 

There Are No jobs Out There

 

How do you know, did you look? Did you know that 80%-90% of jobs out there are in the hidden job market (i.e. someone knew someone in the company etc.) The only way you will know is through a good job search.

 

 

A few years ago, while job hunting, I was making calls to learn about companies. In one phone conversation I explained my skills and they said “You know, we have been talking about hiring someone with your skills but we have not advertised it, let’s set up an interview?” I was even able to set up an interview (I was the only one interviewed) while being 3 states away and they did not even have my resume. I also got an offer after the interview.

 

What If I Hate My New Job

This is why you do a awesome job interviewing. You are interviewing the company the same time they are interviewing you. You need to ask great questions and really dig into the culture there. Also, you must fully understand the work you will do there. Ask, Ask, Ask. Plus, asking all of those questions in an interview makes you look better during the interview process.

 

I Don’t Want to Let Everybody Down if I Leave

 

If you are hesitant to leave a job when everybody else is sticking around, consider this. Most people will hold on until the last minute because they “don’t want to let the company down” but many times it is fear of the unknown which keeps people from leaving.

 

If you really believe that you will let the company down, think of this. You will let the company down if you are not doing your best work. You can do a mediocre job in your current position or you can go somewhere else where you enjoy the work and excel at it. Also, you will let your family down if you choose to stay in the job. Finally, someday someone may realize you are not working to your potential and may decide that someone else should have that job.

 

In some cases the company has let you down, and there is nothing you can do about it. For instance, if the company takes action to save itself through things like pay freezes, layoffs, pay cuts, etc. then they are struggling for their life and there is a good chance you may not make it. In this case, be sure to take care of yourself and your family. You cannot do this when you are let go if the company closes.

 

 

The Great Escape
My employer at the time was struggling for quite a while. They announced they would lay off 119 people in the next few months. This was a red flag and I began my job search. I happened to be one of the 119 people let go, but at that point I had already accepted a new job. About 3 months later the whole plant closed down.
At another company I was a trainer. Prior to that I was a project manager. The project management headcount was being reduced because the project was near completion. Many people saw this so they left for different companies.
Management required me to step back into my project management role to help wrap things up (I would not have a job once I the project was complete). Also, every week 1-2 more people were left that department. It felt like the ship was sinking, and if I did not get out I would be one of the people left with too much work and too much stress to get it all completed. I started a job search and found another job.

 

A rule of thumb I always follow is “when a company is failing, the best people are always the first ones to leave”. I am not saying that I am one of the smart ones but if all of the smart people leave then the dumb ones are running the company. I don’t want to be part of that, it sounds like a death spiral to me.

 

 

Question: What is your biggest fear about leaving your current job?

 

Action: Go to this webpage: intentionalsuperhero.com/newjob and pull out the fear mitigation worksheet. Follow the instructions and fill it out.

 

Source of This Program

 

Years ago I stumbled onto Dan Miller and his book 48 Days to The Work You Love (intentionalsuperhero.com/newjob), I love how he helps to redefine the way we think about work and the process he recommends to find a better job. While working through his process I developed some added steps which have helped me get a job much quicker and help others do the same.

 

This is a simplified version of the process he recommends.

 

  1. Send an introduction letter to the hiring manager.
  2. 7 days later, send your cover letter and resume.
  3. 7 days later, make a phone call.
  4. Repeat this process with the other 4 companies on your list.

 

The goal with this process is to make repeated contact to help the hiring manager remember you. You may want to circumvent the process and send your resume first, don’t. This is a process that has been proven countless times.

 

I strongly recommend Dan’s book 48Days to The Work You Love an a companion to this book.

 

 

Chapter 1 Making a Decision

 

What Do You Want to Do…

 

Strength in Numbers
I struggled quite a bit to find the right job prior to my most recent career change. This was because I was unsure of what I wanted to do. Nothing I found excited me. All I was able to do was browse the job boards  and hope for something to jump out at me. I had to go down a different path because I knew that job boards are one of the worst places to find a job.
To help me figure this out, I began talking with people who know me well. After a few discussions I realized I wanted to do something related to sales. Once I figured that out, I was able to refine my resume and target the companies I wanted to work for.

 

To figure out what you want to do, I recommend that you do the following

  • Make a list of the activities you liked doing at each of your previous jobs.
  • Make a list of the activities you hated doing.
  • Expand both these lists to incorporate your hobbies, outside activities, volunteer activities, etc.
  • Review that list with some close friends to see what can be added.
  • Come up with a list of 5 possible roles that you can do which utilize the activities you like and minimize the activities you hate.

 

This is the list of roles you should go out and look for.

 

 

Note from Dan
Summarizing Dan’s explanation that we are not supposed to hate our work: Dan’s client thought that racing cars on the weekend was for fun and when he was at work he assumed: “Now we have to be adults, now we have to bite the bullet and get a job that we hate” Dan helped him to move into a job he loves selling his favorite racing tires.

 

Question: What is your favorite activity you like to do at work?

 

Action: make a list of activities that you enjoyed from your previous jobs. Now make a list of the activities you disliked? Repeat this process for any hobbies and other activities. Periodically review these lists and update them as you learn more about yourself so you can continue to define the work you enjoy.

 

 

…And Who Do You Want to Do It For?

 

Where do you want to live? Do you want to live in the city? What City? Do you want to live in a suburb or in the country? Take some time to consider this, then draw a circle on a map with a 30 mile radius to identify where your potential job will be. For instance, I want to live in Kansas City because it is my home and I have many relationships here so I never look for a job that is outside Kansas City (unless I can telecommute).

 

Also consider there are many opportunities to work from home. In this situation you will have little problem living where you want as long as you have access to the internet. Though you should research this thoroughly to avoid scams.

 

Geoarbitrage Case Study
What if you could find a job in a market where they tend to pay more (like New York) and you are able to telecommute from a place that tends to have a lower cost of living (like Nashville)? There might be an ideal opportunity for both you and the company. The company could pay you less than what they would pay someone in their local market but still pay you more than what you would make in your market. A win win for everybody.

 

 

Question: Where have you always dreamed of living?

 

Action: Go to findyourspot.com and find your ideal place to live. Make a list of places you want to live. Pick one of these places to move onto the next step.

 

Bonus action: Google “find jobs overseas”, and browse the websites to see what work is available overseas.

 

Take a different Path to Find a Company

 

Most people look for work at a company that has posted available positions, but if you want a job that makes you happy you have to take control of the situation. You should find a place where you enjoy working and where they actually care about you.

 

 

Out There on Your Own
The main reason I decided to become awesome at getting the perfect job stems from the experience my Dad went through. He worked for a company which promised him many things, but once he was permanently injured (from his job) he had to fight 3 years for the benefits he was promised.
I have also worked in companies where people are treated like pieces of equipment with no regard for them as humans. I have also learned there is more than just a paycheck. I decided take my future in my own hands through work that is fulfilling in a place where I enjoy. I also understand that I will find my ideal job incrementally. Each job change is another step closer to my perfect job and an opportunity to learn more which will propel me forward in my career. The most notable thing is that I make significantly more money each time I move into a job I enjoy more.

 

Did you know 80%-90% of the jobs come from the hidden job market? This means that you have the best chance to find a job in this hidden market (especially one that you would enjoy). Another way to look at this is that only 10%-20% of the jobs are on job boards like Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com. I will explain this more later.

 

Action: google “Hidden Job Market” and read some of the top articles.

 

Most people focus on job boards since it is easy to send in a resume or application. Do you really want to apply at the same place hundreds of others are applying? Put yourself in the shoes of the HR representative in the company. What if you had to go through 300 resumes? In this scenario you will be skimming for quick reasons to throw out resumes. They don’t want to find the best candidate, they want to find a candidate who can do the job which will allow the HR rep to stop looking at resumes. This means that your resume will probably get lost in the shuffle.

 

Also, when most people are looking for a job they are asking the question “where can I get a job?” when they need to be asking “How can I help the company?”. The key distinction will change the way you approach a company. The first question is almost begging someone to do something for you where they are not sure they will receive a benefit and the second question is where you are saying you will trade your skills for a job which is much easier for an employer to accept.

 

 

What Company Do You Want to Do It At?

 

I want to give you a warning before we got to far along. Don’t get wed to a job or a company while going through this process. If become irrationally hopeful about a specific job or role then you could have a pretty big let down and derail your motivation. Plus this will cause you to make bad decisions and ignore red flags about a job or company. Finally, if you become wed to a company you may not give proper attention to the other opportunities you should be working which will prolong your job search. I want you to have hope about a job but I do not want your hope to cloud your judgement.

 

Now that you know where you want to live, find companies where you would like to work. Spend no more than about 5%-10% of your energy on the job boards. Job boards are good places to do research, but they are not the best place to find a job. Go to the chamber of commerce website in the community you want to live in. There are many companies listed there which are part of that community. Review each company and make a list of the ones that would employ someone with the skills you listed in the previous step.

 

Chamber of Secrets
I have studied the best way to find jobs for a long time and I have not found anybody that says to look at the chamber of commerce for a list of companies. I have done this several times while looking for work and it works great. Consider this one of the special keys to find a job through this program.

 

If you have exhausted the chamber of commerce site another option is the local business journal. You can find a lot of information about the up and coming companies near you through the business journal. You can find your local business journal here: www.bizjournals.com.

 

I understand this step in the job search process is slower than using websites like Monster.com since you have to research each company to decide that you would like to work there. Consider the whole process not each individual step. Even though this step is longer than searching job boards it makes the whole process much faster, and in the long run and it is much less frustrating. Also, you will be more likely to find something you enjoy while making good money.

 

 

Monster in my Closet
When searching for a job, I only spend about 10% of my time on job boards like monster.com. I do this in parallel with the process I describe above.
To be fully honest with you, I have gotten one job through job boards. I believe this process worked for me because it was a for a position which required someone who had strong technical knowledge along with the ability to effectively interact with people (I am trained as an engineer but I sold insurance through a MLM company to learn to be a better salesperson). There are not many people who fit this description so I was one of the very few that stood out. Though, most of the time I have received received job offers by without the job boards.

 

 

Throughout this process, always remember that the hiring managers are busy and they are want to do a good job. They don’t have time to thoroughly review each resume so they skim. Use this to your advantage. Do something a little different so you stand out. Call even when they say don’t call. Think about it, who would you rather have work for you? Someone who simply goes along or someone who has the initiative to make the phone call.

 

 

Your Sales Funnel

 

When searching for a new place to work you take action on several opportunities at a time or else you may be let down. What if you are super excited about a job and have been working several weeks on resumes, interviewing, etc for it; then one day you receive an email stating that you did not get the job? You will be bummed and you will need to start the job search process all over. In this case it takes a long time to find another job and forces you to deal with more disappointment

 

I recommend you work 3-5 job opportunities at once so you are more likely to find one that gives you an offer. Also, if you receive more than one offer you will have more leverage in negotiating. Don’t work more than 3-5 opportunities at a time, or you will be overwhelmed and possibly mix up company information (imagine talking to one company thinking they were another company).

 

If you are declined for one of the jobs then follow the previously mentioned actions to add another company to the list of the ones you are working.

 

Question: What is the one thing your current company does not have that you wish it had?

 

Action: Go to the chamber of commerce website for the place you want to live and make a list of 5 companies you think you would like to work for.

 

 

 

Chapter 2 Learn More About the company

 

It is time to learn more about the companies from the list you made in the previous chapter. There are two categories of information you need to gather. First you want to learn if it is a company you would like to work for. Second you want information to use during the interview.

 

In this step you may decide that you would rather not work for one of the companies on your list so go back to the chamber of commerce site and find another company so you have 5 companies that you want to work for after all of your research.

 

Choose 5 of those companies and search for places to learn about them. I recommend Google, Facebook, Linkedin, Glass Door, your local business journal, etc. are all great places to look. Look for names of people who work there and information about the company. Keep your eyes open for recent news, stock news, presentations people who work there have given, and conferences they have been involved in. You should also tap into your network to see if anybody you know can give you details about the company.

 

 

Keep Digging
During one of my job searches I was interested in a local coffee producer. While researching them through the internet, I found an article which mentioned that they would soon add another building to help produce coffee. I knew this would require hiring a new manager, so one of the letters I sent was to the operations manager which described how my experience can help in the expansion. This was not a job which was advertised but I knew it was what they needed for the expansion so I took the initiative to see if I could help.

 

 

Striking Fools Gold
While researching one of the companies I was interested in I found one of the sales people’s contact information. I called her to talk to her about the company (sales people usually like to talk). I spent 45 minutes on the phone with this person while she explained the best way to move into sales. A key piece of information I learned about the company was that they do not treat their people very well. I would not have learned this if I did not keep digging.

 

Networking

 

If you need a new job your network is the first place to begin your search. These are the people who trust you, like you, and they are the best people to help you find that next role.

 

If you don’t already have a network it may be too late to start one for this job search, but start nonetheless. You need to be continually networking.

 

Networking has a negative connotation since most people only try to “network” when they are desperate. Proper networking is like planting a tree. When is the best time to plant a tree? 30 years ago. When is the second best time? Now. Start networking now, even if you do not need help from your network yet.

 

There are many ways to network, and one of the best is to meet people who are like minded through meetings, conferences, and trade shows. You can look at local magazines and on websites like meetup.com to find these kinds of meetings.

 

 

Social Connection
My friend, Cindy, went to a conference for personal development. While she was there she ended up meeting someone who was so intrigued by her she received a job from this person.

 

 

I want to reaffirm that your network consists of people who trust you. Networking is essentially creating friendships and finding ways to sincerely help others. This means you have to dig in and find places where they could use your help with no expectation of any return. Go find someone who needs the skills you have and go help them.

 

 

Solve for Y
This is a method that many counselors use to help their clients: The best way to help yourself is to find someone with the same problem you have and help them solve it.

 

Question: Who have you helped in the past who might be willing to help you now?

 

Action: Make a list of people you know who might be willing to help you make a contact within one of the companies you are interested in. Ask that person to help you connect to the individual in the company.

 

You now know a quite a bit about the companies you are interested in (remember to start with no more than five). It is time to  make phone calls to find people in each of those companies who you would potentially work with.

 

Before you make the first call, you need to have a good set of questions ready because there is a chance you will talk to the person you are looking for on the first call. Here are some example questions (you can come up with your own):

 

  • What is the culture like?
  • How do you employ people with “blank” skills?
  • Where else would you like to use people with “blank” skills where they are not currently being utilized to improve your business?
  • What are the top 3 problems you would like to solve?
  • Is there anyone else you recommend I talk with?
  • What am I not asking that I should be asking?

 

Start by calling the main number and ask for the manager whom you would most likely work for. You could ask questions like “Who is the manager of the blank department?” “Could you give me their contact information?” You may be asked about the purpose of your call. I recommend explaining that you want to learn more about the company.

 

Many places will try and push you to apply for open positions online or will forward you to someone in the HR department who will push you through some application system. If you get this, keep trying to get the information you are looking for. Don’t view this as a dead end. You  may have to call and be a little sneaky to get the information you want, but most of the time people are willing to share what you ask for. They want to help you, so ask for them to help you.

 

Note from Dan
In the 48days.com podcast, a listener asked if the job market had changed such that we are required to apply online or via email with no possibility to make phone calls.
Paraphrase of Dan’s Answer: Do not “wait and see, you will get nothing but the leftover crumbs of those who are more aggressive in the job search process” Companies do this to control the process on their end and they don’t want to deal with 300 phone calls. Though, it puts you in the same category of the 300 others who are responding.

 

Even though your primary goal at this point is to gather information be prepared to talk about yourself, what you want to do, and set up an interview. This means having a rough draft of your resume in front of you along with your calendar so you can schedule the interview right there.

 

When you are through talking with the person ask them if they recommend that you talk to anybody else. If so, get that person’s contact information and contact them. And when you introduce yourself saying something along the lines of “I called John to learn a little about your company and he recommend that I talk to you”. This will give you credibility in the organization.

 

Calling The Manager

 

Sometimes the only person to answer your questions is the manager. Heck, you could be ambitious enough to call the manager directly (I do this whenever I am searching for a job).

 

It may take several tries when calling the manager to reach them. Don’t call more than once a day (unless you are told to) and only call that often if you are unable to reach the person. After about the third day of calling and not making contact, you can leave a voicemail in which you state the following:

 

  • your name
  • why you are calling (you want to learn more about the company)
  • when you will call back (don’t make this sooner than 2 days out)
  • thank them for their time
  • tell them if they would like to call you give them your name again and number
  • repeat your name and number to help them when writing it down

 

 

Dialing for Dollars
A few years ago I was living in Tennessee and I wanted to return to Kansas City. Before I could move I had to have a job to move into. I followed the process I have been describing here.
In one of the calls I made I asked to talk to someone about the company and they asked me some questions about myself. They then offered me an interview. I did not need a resume and I did not need to apply. I scheduled the interview and following the interview I was offered a position. All this with one phone call.

 

 

When you get the manager on the phone, always start out with “My name is ‘your name’.” “I am interested in your company and would like to learn more about it, is this a good time to talk?” They will  typically ask a couple of questions about you. This is the time to tell them you are exploring career opportunities and want to learn more about their company to find out if they are a good fit. Do not ask them for a job, interview, to send them your resume, etc. You are gathering information at this point.

 

 

How May I Help You?
I have always had great luck by clearly stating that I would like to find out if the company fits my skillset and experience. I believe this sets me apart because everyone else is asking “can I have a job”, and I am saying “maybe you cannot have me”

 

 

When you get a hiring manager on the phone, your goal is to figure out how you can use your skills to help with their needs.

 

A company has goals to reach. The goals include making a profit and serving their customers well. If a company identifies that they need help to reach those goals, they will create a job for it.

 

Put yourself in the manager’s shoes. What if someone contacted you who proved they could help you reach your goals. Would you pull strings to get that person in your company?

 

Consider this when talking to these managers. You want to to convince them how you can help them reach their goals.

 

Invention
I was in a meeting with some high level management who were talking about the goals for the next year. One of the managers said (I am paraphrasing since I cannot remember his exact words) “If someone can help us make more sales then I will figure out a way to hire that person”.Let me restate that, the company does not have an opening but the manager will make one to help them reach their goals. This means if you have skills that a company needs and you can effectively communicate how you can help them reach their goals then they will make a position for you.

 

Think about it, if a company doesn’t have an opening and “supposedly” their budget cannot support another employee wouldn’t it be smart to hire someone who can make the company $150,000 per year and only cost $50,000 per year. It seems like a no brainer to me.

 

Question:What skill do you find easy that you think everybody should be able to do but can’t.

 

Action: Call 2 people tomorrow to learn more about the position. Do this every day until you have learned all that you need.

Chapter 3 Documentation

 

Importance of a Resume

 

A resume helps you to develop a “brochure” of your skills. You need to have a resume, even if you are applying for a job which doesn’t require it

 

Action: Begin your resume if you don’t already have one (you can use the example resume from here: intentionalsuperhero.com/newjob as a starting point)

 

Do not get bogged down by “tips and tricks” or special words while writing your resume. Also, once you have written it, have someone review it for proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. If your resume is sloppy the employer will think you are sloppy.

 

When writing a resume do not write it for a job you will hate. For instance, if you hated inventory tasks in your last job don’t put it on your resume. Anything you put on your resume will be something that the new company will want you to do.

 

Use the list you created previously of the tasks you enjoyed and the ones you hated to help develop your resume. Now it is time to write your resume. Use those lists to help you develop the meat in your resume. Include the activities you enjoyed doing and don’t include activities you hated.

 

 

Resume Writing

 

There are two predominant types of resumes, chronological and functional. The functional type is best because it allows you to draw attention to the skills you want to use in the future instead of what you did in the past. You do not want a future employer know everything you did in the past because they may expect you to do activities you hate. Second, it allows you divert attention from any gaps in employment. Third, it allows you to include other skills which you use in other areas like managing your child’s soccer team or volunteering at your church or local shelter.

 

The functional format also allows you to list your skills by highest importance (most liked); where a chronological resume lists your jobs and the time you had them as the highest importance.  The person looking at your resume is busy, so we want to use the functional format to draw their attention to the most important skills first (in case they are skimming).

 

When you write a functional format resume put the skills you enjoyed the most toward the top and be careful not to include skills don’t want to use. For example, if you were an accountant but you hate accounting don’t mention accounting in your resume because the hiring manager will want to hire an accountant.

 

Another benefit of this style of resume is to hide job gaps or jobs you don’t think are important enough to mention. In the functional style the jobs are listed at the end and it is very unlikely that the hiring manager will review the bottom of your resume. In the case they do, you can only include the years you worked at a company and not the months to make it look like you had continuous employment.

 

Purpose

 

Your resume is a sales brochure about you. The goal is to get you an interview, not to get you a job. Think about all of the brochures you have seen. What makes them good brochures? The same concepts apply to your resume.

 

There are some things to consider when creating a sales brochure. First, you have to write your descriptions such that the employer knows exactly what you can do. For instance, if you say you are experienced as an accountant, say exactly what you want them to know such as “I was the lead accountant on a tax audit project which saved the company 10 million dollars”. Notice I used numbers, be very specific. Don’t make the employer guess what you want them to know.

 

Formatting

 

You may have designed a beautiful resume, but if someone tries to open it with a different program than the one you used it may look horrible. Reduce this problem by converting it into PDF format. Go to http://www.pdfill.com/ and download free PDF software.

 

Targeting

 

The more your resume is targeted to the intended audience the more likely you will hold that person’s attention. If you send out a bland form resume then it will go into the trash. Target it to their needs and the job.

 

Visual Appeal

 

Be careful with formatting. You want it to be simple and easy to read. Do not try to stuff a lot of text on a page and expect someone to read it; make sure there is enough white space for easy reading.

 

Number of pages

 

I believe you only need one page for your resume. If you feel you need more pages, you need to have intriguing enough information that will make the busy hiring manager want to look at the next page. If you are able to intrigue the hiring manager enough to look at the next page don’t waste their time by including non-value added information. You will not get an interview by showing the employer everything you can do.

 

Flow

 

When someone reads your resume you consider how they will read the information. You want to put the most important attention grabbing information at the top and work your way down. Since all resume readers are busy you need to grab their attention at the beginning so they want to keep reading. If you bore them at the top of the document there is a good chance they will quit and throw it in the trash.

 

 

Keywords

 

Most resumes are placed in a computer database and to help the hiring manager save time. They then do a keyword search and if your resume shows up then you might get an interview.

 

Though, if you do not have the right keywords in your resume then it will not be found. That makes it very important to get your resume to a person and make sure it is designed to flow for a person to read it.

 

The only value keywords have is that they can be easily searched by computers. If you fill your resume with keywords then your resume will not flow well and you will not get the job.

 

Objective

 

Objectives are lame, bland, and they don’t help you stand out. I prefer a skills summary which gives a concise explanation of what you can do to get them interested in you.

 

Jargon

 

If you are applying outside of your previous industry, don’t use jargon which the reader will not understand. Remember, even if you know what it means not everybody does. Let one of your friends read it to see if they understand it.

 

Question: How many times have you looked at monster.com this week?

 

Action: If you have a resume, revise it so that it better fits the description above. If you have not written a resume yet, then begin by listing the jobs you had in the past and from each of those jobs list the activities that you enjoyed. Following that, review the example resume here: intentionalsuperhero.com/newjob and develop your resume with a similar format. Once you are happy with your resume, meet with a friend to help you improve it based on the format I recommend.

Letter Writing

 

Letter writing is a lost art, but it is a key tactic to obtain a new job. A letter stands out because we they are rarely sent out. Do you remember the last time you went to the mailbox and there was a letter with a handwritten address? Were you excited to see who it was from? This will also work for someone who is interested in hiring you.

 

Since people rarely receive letters and letters are not screened as thoroughly as phone calls it is pretty easy for a letter to reach a hiring manager.

 

Many times when you call into a company (as I mentioned earlier) they will say that you have to go through an online application procedure. You should do this if you are asked to, but this should be in conjunction with a typed letter. If you only apply through the website then will not stand out from everyone else who has applied online. Plus, when you do talk to that manager they will ask you to apply online and then you can tell them you already have.

 

There are two main types of letters you used in the hiring process, the introduction letter and the cover letter.

 

When you are creating any of these letters remember that any letter you write should be written to a specific person/company/job. Do not make a generic letter you can send to everyone.

 

Introduction Letter

 

The first letter you write is the introduction letter. The key points in this letter are

  • To introduce yourself
  • To target the type of work you are interested in
  • To let the reader know you will be sending a cover letter and resume in a week.
  • You are not asking for a job
  • You are not asking for an interview
  • You are only breaking the ice
  • This letter should be targeted to each job you are interested in

 

 

Question: What task are you most proud of from one of your previous jobs?

 

Action: Use the introduction letter example (available here: intentionalsuperhero.com/newjob) and write a similar introduction letter. This letter will be your starting point for each of the introduction letters you send. Change each introduction letter to match the job you are apply for.

 

 

Cover Letter

 

When you send a resume always include a cover letter.

 

The key points for the cover letter are:

  • To remind the hiring manager that you sent them an introduction letter a week ago.
  • To remind them who you are and why you have contacted them.
  • To introduce your resume so that it is not a surprise and they know what to do with it (these managers are very busy so it is good for you to help guide them with the actions they  should take).
  • Let them know you will call them in a week (be sure to call them in this time frame, it is very important for your credibility).

 

 

I have included examples of an introduction and cover letter I have used here: intentionalsuperhero.com/newjob .

 

Question: How excited are you about getting a better job?

 

Action: Create a cover letter using my example available here: intentionalsuperhero.com/newjob as a guide. This will be your starting point for each cover letter you send. Change each cover letter to match the job you apply for.

 

 

Note from Dan
Paraphrasing a statement on the importance of the multiple contact system: “Getting a job is just like selling a product, and that product is you, and we use marketing principles to do that” The principle is if a person is exposed to something multiple times their likelihood to buy increases significantly.

 

References

 

Many interviewers will ask for references but they rarely contact them. Even though, I still like to provide strong references. Your references need to be from people who have worked with you. It can be on a project independent of your day job but they should be able to talk about your work ability and what it is like to work with you.

 

I like to provide references that seem hard to come by. For instance, I think the strongest reference you can provide is from your manager at the company which you want to leave. This person has constantly reviewed your work and is a peer to the hiring manager. Plus, if your former boss can speak well of you your value to the new company will increase significantly (don’t burn bridges).

 

 

Hard to Get References
In my last job search one of the references I provided was my manager from the job I was leaving. The other reference was a Frenchman who was a manager at a contracting company (located in France) whom I worked with while at the company I was leaving.

 

 

Finally, you want your references to be confident in describing you and how it is to work with you. If you ask your cousin to be a reference, they should have worked with you on a project. A reference has never worked with you then it will provide little value to you in the hiring process.

 

Question:Who have you worked with on a successful but very difficult project?

 

Action: Make a list of 5 people who trust you and have worked with you and are willing to be a reference. Contact those people and ask them if you can use them as a reference and get their name, title, phone number,and address. Once you have all of their information, type it up on a page with the same heading as your resume.

 

 

Chapter 4 Offer to Interview

 

When an employer likes your resume they will extend an offer to interview. This is one of the easier steps in the hiring process because it consists of being and talking about yourself. I advise you to accept all the interviews offered to you, even if you are not interested in the job, to give you more interview practice.

 

Many times an employer will attempt to schedule an interview during your work hours your current job. Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer if it can be scheduled at a non-normal time such as early in the morning, evening, or on the weekend. Worst case, you may need to use vacation to participate in interviews. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box to get a new job.

 

 

Robert Cialdini recommends this approach to have an interviewer look at you more positively.
For instance, if you are called for a job interview, arrange for the interviewers to say something positive about you. One way to accomplish that is to say, “I’m pleased to be here today and happy to give you information about myself, but why did you see fit to invite me for an interview?” The interviewer will explain the favorable features about you that they identified. Then he or she will spend the rest of the interview seeking to validate what they have publicly said about you.

 

 

Preparing For The Interview

 

Begin by reviewing everything you have already learned about the company so that the information is fresh in your mind. In addition, research your interviewers using the same methods mentioned previously. This is where Facebook stalking and Linkedin stalking comes in handy (If the interviewers are smart, they are researching you on the web too). Your goal is to sound like you already work for the company.

 

There are a few items you need to bring with you to the interview.

  • Good questions
  • Notes on what you learned about the company
  • A couple pens in case one fails
  • A pad of paper for notes
  • A few copies of your cover letter and resume

 

Below is a list of interview questions I recommend you ask. Feel free to change these or add your own if you feel it is appropriate. Also, it is okay to have these questions written down before the interview so you are sure not to miss any.

 

  • What is the culture like here (I ask this from as many people as possible since it tells me about each person and their perspective on the culture)?
  • What are the primary responsibilities of the job?
  • How will my performance be measured?
  • What are the top three problems that you would like me to help solve if I am hired?
  • Why do you enjoy working here?
  • Are there any negatives with this role/company?
  • How will my expectations be clearly defined?
  • What is your timeline for filling the job?
  • How many other candidates are you interviewing?
  • What am I not asking that I should be asking? (save this to the end)
  • What is the next step in the hiring process?
  • Should I expect to move onto the next step in the hiring process?
  • Is it okay if I call in a week to follow up?

 

Question: What is the most important thing for you to learn in your interview?

 

Action: Take out the notepad (I recommend a legal pad) which you will take to the interview. Write down all of the information you think is important. Next write out the questions you want to ask.

 

Dress For an Interview

 

You should always dress one level higher than the role for which you are applying. For instance, if the new employer requires you to wear t-shirt and jeans, then wear a polo shirt and a pair of khaki pants with nice shoes. If you would wear khaki pants and a polo shirt to that job every day then you should wear a pair of slacks, a dress shirt, nice shoes, and a tie to the interview. Be careful not to dress out of place, you do not want to wear a tie while interviewing to be a construction crew foreman.

 

No matter what you wear your clothes should be are unwrinkled, clean, and fit properly. Also, you should be clean and smell nice. A little perfume or cologne is okay but don’t over do it. you don’t want to overwhelm someone’s nose during the interview because they will want to end the interview to get away from you and the smell. If you aren’t sure how much perfume or cologne is okay do a test run before the interview and ask a trusted friend if you are wearing is too much.

 

If you have any out of the ordinary tattoos or piercings cover them up or remove them before the interview. You do not want to offend someone who holds a negative opinion of these things.

 

Finally, remember the interviewer is asking themselves if they would like to work with you so make sure your appearance does not turn them away.

 

Beginning of An Interview

 

At the beginning of an interview always ask “is it okay if I take notes?” Interviewers love this, because it helps them to see how attentive you are.

 

When you are interviewed you should also interview them. Learn if it is a place you want to work, so it is in your best interest to learn all you can. You do not want to take a job just to leave after a couple of weeks because you hate it. You want to be happy there.

 

During the interview, smile and be yourself. There is no need to nervous here; you are in control and the worse that could happen is that they turn you down.

 

Actually, the worse that could happen is that you do a poor job interviewing them and you go to work there then to find you hate it. Treat it like you would if you were buying an expensive car; you want to know all you can, so you ask a lot of questions and understand all the details so you can make an informed decision. When you interview them, ask questions that focus on topics beyond money. You should also consider lifestyle and the work environment.

 

To get the job you must stand out. There are some answers that you should not give an interviewer. Such as, when they ask about one of your weaknesses do not tell them your weakness is that you work too hard or that your strengths are your weaknesses. Everybody uses these and they do not help you to stand out. Answer the questions honestly and not based on what you think they want to hear.

 

There is a growing body of research which points to multitasking as counter to  productivity, so you may not want to mention this.

 

 

Weak Knees
One of my weaknesses is that I am really excited in the initiation phase of a project, but I get bored after the plan is made and I want to go onto the next project. The way I have remedied this is I use a modified version of David Allen’s Getting Things Done (available here: intentionalsuperhero.com/newjob ) to help me resolve that issue. Though it is an internal battle everyday.
I explain this to the interviewer, but I also explain that I have created systems to help me overcome my weaknesses.

 

 

At the end of the interview they will ask you if you have any questions. The final question you should ask is “is it okay if I follow up in one week if I have not heard from you”? They may give you another time to follow up, but you want them to know how interested you are. You must follow up when you say you will and you must follow up to get the job. Remember the interviewers are busy and they sometimes forget things. It is easy to keep your name at the top of their mind with proper follow up.

 

When you are in this part of the process, do not ask anything related to compensation (i.e. pay, vacation, insurance, etc.). Understand the responsibilities of the job first so you can decide on the appropriate compensation.

 

Sometimes they will ask how much you were paid at your last job. I recommend you defer this with a statement such as “at this point I do not wish to share this because the compensation should be based on the responsibilities of the job”. Normally they will respect this, but if they push, make sure they understand that you will value the job based on the responsibilities of the role and current market value. Eventually you will have to share your salary information. If it cannot be postponed just be honest with them and understand that they may use it to lowball you. If they do give you a lowball offer you can either negotiate up or decline the role if they do not meet your requirements (I will explain in negotiation).

 

 

Dodging the Bullet
In one of my previous job interviews, I was asked how much I was paid in my current role. I stated that I am concerned in answering this question because I want the compensation to be based on the responsibilities of the job and not on my previous compensation. The interviewer accepted this and told me I would have to share it later. Even after I shared this information I was able to negotiate a salary which was 12% more than I was paid at the job I was leaving.

 

 

Similarly, they sometimes ask a question like “what do you expect to make in this role?” I definitely defer this with a statement similar to the one used defer the previous salary discussion. You won’t be able to answer this question effectively until you have learned all you can through the interview process and then thought about it for a couple of days.

 

Here are some further ways to dodge the salary question at this point:

  • “Before we get to that, let me make sure I’m even in your ballpark. What is the salary range for this position?”
  • “I’m not comfortable discussing salary at this stage. Perhaps we can do so when we meet in person?”
  • “My current employer does not allow me to discuss the terms of my employment.”
  • I am uncomfortable sharing that information since I don’t feel that my current role has a bearing on the compensation of the new role which should be based on the value I provide.
  • I make X but based on my research of this position I expect it to be around X.

 

Sometimes, immediately following the interview they will extend you an offer. In this situation, ask for a couple of days to think it over so you can get your ducks in a row for negotiation.

 

Finally, in most of the interviews I have been through, the interviewer was not prepared for the interview. They barely glanced at my resume beforehand and then they skimmed it during the interview. Then they basically pull some questions out of the air. In this case the interviewer is really asking the question “will I be comfortable working with this person”. They may not realize it, but that is the only criteria they have to decide on since they were not prepared.

 

Phone Interview

 

Many companies have defined interview process. Many times you will start off with a phone interview (I have had two for each job I have taken). This makes it easy for the company to weed out bad candidates without wasting a lot of time.

 

 

First Launch
In obtaining one of my previous jobs, I had two phone interviews with the HR representative. The first one was to understand my situation and the second was to better get to know me and my skills. Even in the short phone conversations they were assessing whether or not I was a good candidate and if I would be a good fit for the company.

 

 

If you are offered a phone interview, it means they are interested enough to spend more of their time to learn about you. This is usually done during a weekday, so you may need to do it on your lunch break. The place you choose should be quiet and if you use a cell phone be sure you have good reception, and mention that at the beginning of the interview so the interviewer will understand if there is bad reception. If a landline phone is available it is better for an interview since the reception will be much clearer. You also want to be in a place where you would not be distracted.

 

Working in My Car
During all of my phone interviews I had to do it from my cell phone since I could not find easy access to a landline phone. In one case, I went to a quiet gas station dining area. In another interview I sat in my car in the company parking lot while on a break.

 

 

In Person Interviews

 

A phone interview is typically followed by an in-person interview (usually more than one). If you are located far away from the company, sometimes the company will pay for you to travel to their offices (I was flown to Pittsburgh, PA and Knoxville, TN to interview for my first professional job).

 

An in-person interview generally falls into three categories: single person, group interview, and multiple interviewers one at a time.

 

Single Person Interviews

 

This type of interview is the easiest. It typically lasts no more than one hour and you only have to meet with one person.

 

An employer would be smart to avoid this type of interview since this does not give the employer a full perspective of the candidate.

 

This is also bad for the interviewee since it not give them a chance to really learn about their potential co-workers.

 

Group Interview

 

This is where multiple interviewers are in the same room with a single candidate. Most of the time each person takes turns asking different questions. This interview style allows the several interviewers to learn about you at the same time. This is used for several reasons. In some cases there are several managers who would like to fill open positions and it saves time in the interview process. This interview style is also used so everybody can learn a little about you from their different points of view while they see how you act in a group setting. Following a group interview all of the interviewers can compare notes.

 

Pleasant Surprise
While interviewing for one of my previous jobs, I was in a group interview. One of the interviewers asked what I did as an engineer in my last role. I explained that I did several types of engineering work. The interviewer was growing frustrated and annoyed with me because he came from an environment where engineers did only one type of work and he thought I was dodging the question. I gave him several examples and he was still frustrated. I was getting worried and said “ I am sorry but I do not think we are connecting and I am not sure how to answer this any other way”.
Another of the interviewers jumped in and explained what it was to be an engineer in my previous industry which shut frustrated interviewer up. The other folks asked me a few other questions and the interview ended.
I thought I had bombed the interview. About 10 minutes later I received an offer to work there. I was so surprised.
After going to work for that company, I learned that the frustrated interviewer was not a good manager to work under (side note: if you cannot connect with the interviewer maybe you should not work for them because there could be contention between you two).

 

Don’t be intimidated by the Group interview since your goal here is the same as any other interview. Learn about the company and the role and explain how awesome you would be for that position.

 

Confusion
In another group interview all of the interviewers had preprinted questions to ask me during the interview. I was super confident in this interview because I knew I had the skills to do well. After I took the job I was told that one of the interviewers thought I was arrogant. This means that you don’t have to make everybody happy in an interview and it does not have to be perfect to get the job. Also if you get the job follow up with some of the interviewers to learn what went well and what you could have done better for future interviews.

 

Multiple Person, One At a Time

 

In some cases there will be multiple people interviewing you, and you will meet with them one at a time. This type of interview takes several hours and can be exhausting. Though, I prefer this type of interview.

 

This type of interview allows you to get to know each person better and sometimes they will share information which they would not have said in front of their peers. This works really well when you ask the culture question (mentioned earlier) since each person has their own perspective on the company culture. This also allows you to get to know your potential co-workers better so you can make an informed decision if you want to work there.

 

 

Deep Dark Secrets
During an interview where I met with the interviewers individually, one of the interviewers asked if I wanted to know what salary I should expect to make there. I turned it down because I wasn’t sure if it was good for me to have this information. In hindsight it would have been great for negotiation (the winner is the one with the most information and patience).
In another case, one interviewer said “you will essentially be the proposal bitch”. This told me she gave me the raw truth of the role which I did not get it elsewhere.

 

How can I help?
In another interview we walked around the facility so I could see the place and they could get to know me. While we walked around they were explaining some of the problems they wanted to solve, and I was able to give them some high level solutions to their problems. This helped them to identify me as a strong candidate and they presented me an offer.

 

Lunch With An Interviewer

 

Many times you will be taken out to lunch during your interview. Even while socializing you still will be evaluated by the interviewer. This is the time to remember all of the manners your mother taught you. Here are some key points to follow

  • Be nice to the wait staff, you do not want the interviewer to think you are a jerk. No one wants to work with jerks.
  • Put your napkin in your lap.
  • Excuse yourself from the table if you need to go to the restroom.
  • Do not scarf your food (I am a fast eater so I struggle with this).
  • Split your time eating and talking and take small enough bites so that you can easily chew and begin talking again.
  • Thank the person buying for the meal.

 

Video Conference Interviewing

 

This type of interview is one which I have no personal experience in. Though, I thought it was important to mention since more companies are using these tools.

 

My sister-in-law applied to work as nurse and the hospital sent her a webcam (to keep) so that they could interview through the computer.

 

I expect to see more of this happening especially when the candidate is located quite far away from the potential job location.

 

If you have an opportunity to have this type of interview consider the following:

  • Dress like you would for an in-person interview.
  • The interview location should be quiet.
  • Be sure there is nothing in the camera you would not want the interviewer to see.

 

Following The Interview

 

Hopefully at this point you have a great set of notes which include the names and contact information of all of the people you talked with. During the interview it is helpful to obtain the business card of reach interviewer to help you remember each person. In the case you were unable to get one of the interviewer’s information, it is acceptable to contact another of the interviewers to request the information.

 

Write thank you notes to each person who interviewed you. In the note, say how much you appreciate the opportunity and also a specific sentence or two related to your conversation to show you were listening.

 

Thank you notes differentiate you from many others who interview for the position.

 

You can find thank you cards in the store’s stationary section or you can find some online here: intentionalsuperhero.com/newjob .

 

Question: What can you do better during the next interview?

 

Action: Following each interview take some time to analyze it. Ask yourself what went well and what went wrong. This will help you do better in later interviews.

 

 

What if you are not getting any call backs?

 

First you need to remember you have to stay in the driver’s seat here. Don’t just sit and wait. During the interview you should have asked if you can call back in a week but if not it is okay.

 

Remember hiring managers are busy and they forget things. By calling them to follow up you help them remember who you are in the sea of all the interviews they have held.

 

One week following the interview (unless the interviewer told you a different timeline) contact the hiring manager and ask something like “My name is … and I am following up on the interview we had last Tuesday. I am still very interested in the role, has the role been filled?”

 

If they have not made a decision then feel free to call back in a week with the same question.

 

Consider this, they want someone working for them who has initiative and following up is a great way to show this. Plus, they don’t want to hire someone who just sits and waits for what to do.

 

Try to avoid leaving a voicemail if you can. If anything I like to leave a voicemail saying my name and that I am still interested in the role and that I will call back in a couple of days.   

Chapter 5 Negotiation

 

Now that you have survived all the interviews the company may make you an offer. It is time to prepare to negotiate your compensation.

 

Many people are afraid of negotiation because it is unfamiliar, it can be intimidating, and they don’t want to lose the offer. Consider these points:

  • By the time you get to this point in the hiring process they want you, which gives you leverage.
  • It costs the hiring company money to get you to this point in the process, therefore if they lose you they are throwing money away.
  • Companies expect negotiation so they have a range in mind and they will typically at the low end of the range.
  • The hiring manager wants you to be satisfied in your role so you can use your skills to the best of your ability, and if you feel you are underpaid you will not last long there.

 

Negotiation is not a winner take all situation; it is a give and take with the goal of amiable agreement. When negotiating, you are not trying to “win”, you are want to get what you are worth. Ignore what you see on TV about negotiation. It is nothing like this.

 

You too can make $1,000 a minute
In a previous job interview, I negotiated an extra week of vacation and $2,000 more than what they originally offered (that is a 12% increase in income from the last job) in a down economy. I pushed them and they pushed back. It was not contentious at all.
When I went to work for the company there is no mention of my salary or the negotiation and I am good friends with my manager whom I negotiated with. Everybody is happy.

 

 

Negotiation is pretty basic if you remember that the winner is the one with the most patience and knowledge. In this type of negotiation the goal is for both the hiring company and prospective employee to win.

 

I can help you gather the knowledge but you will have to decide how much patience you have.

 

How Much Should You Get Paid?

 

To figure out your market value visit to websites like Salary.com and glassdoor.com. Enter your information and see what each site tells you about similar roles in your geographic region (or where you are moving).

 

Companies usually have defined a salary range for each role to allow for negotiation. To figure out where you fit in the range, consider the number of years you have in experience and if your role will require more responsibility than similar roles.

 

I recommend that you shoot for above average salary and back it up with the other skills you bring to the job. Consider the following ideas:

  • What certificates have you earned?
  • What hobbies or activities do you participate in?
  • Are you involved in your church?
  • What do you learn on your own for fun?

 

 

Outside Influences
When I am in this situation I share that I manage a soccer team, the team’s finances, my time in network marketing  (face to face selling) and time I spent as a career coach.

 

 

This may help you understand your value to a company. You cost the company about two times your salary if you consider all the benefits, insurance, and costs associated with employing you there. Also, keep in mind that a company expects to earn them about 3-5 times your salary.

 

 

Question:How much do you cost your company? How much do you earn your company?

 

Action: go to Salary.com and find out what you should get paid in this new role.

 

 

How Low Can You Go?

 

You have to know what you are worth and the lowest point you are willing to go for compensation. This is your baseline, the point where you will accept no less. This includes benefits like insurance, wage, vacation, etc. Once you draw this line, then everything above is gravy.

 

What are you worth?
In a previous job negotiation, I set my baseline just a little higher than what I was compensated in the last job. I set it low since the employer I wanted to leave was cutting jobs and I needed to get out of there before my department was eliminated (side note: it is easier to get a job if you already have one). Though, I was sure to negotiate more because the responsibilities of the new job were greater, thus it was worth more pay.

 

 

When you decide decide your baseline, think of compensation other than pay.  Consider compensation such as lifestyle along too. What if you could work from home but you would earn 5% less than you are now? Would you make that up in gas? I know if I worked from home 1 day a week I would have an extra 2 weeks in drive time which I could spend with my family. Brainstorm on this and decide what is valuable to you in your situation.

 

Your baseline should not be arbitrary or based on your bills. It should be based on your market value or what is typically offered for the responsibilities of the role. Therefore, if the industry average for a computer programmer is $70,000 per year then your pay would most likely fall into the $60,000-$80,000 range. In very limited circumstances you may be higher or lower but this is rare.

 

 

Miscalculation
In a previous job change, the hiring company wanted to calculate my salary on a percentage increase from my previous job. I did not agree to this because my compensation should be based on my market value and the job responsibilities. The new job responsibilities were different then the old job responsibilities, therefore the pay should not be related.

 

Question: How much money would you be willing to give up for an extra 4 weeks vacation?

 

Action: Consider your current situation. How much pay are you willing to give up for an opportunity to leave your current job. A pay increase is not always required, as long as your quality of life increases. Talk to your family and decide how low you are willing to go to get this job.

 

 

What Other Things Can I Ask For?

 

The things you can ask for in a negotiation are only limited by your imagination. Remember that your compensation does not always have to be financial. Below are some examples of what you can ask for.

 

Vacation time is one of the most sought after compensation items. The problem is that many times when you start with a new company they typically want to give you only two weeks vacation because that is their policy. Ask for more as part of you compensation. This is especially important if you have earned a lot of vacation time at a previous job.

 

 

Time Off
At one point in my career I had earned 4 weeks of vacation. When I negotiated compensation at the new company they only offered me 2 weeks vacation. Through this process I was able to get them to increase my vacation so that I actually had more than some of the people who had been there longer than me.

 

 

Sometimes, accepting a job offer will require you to move. You should ask them to pay for your move as part of your compensation. I have had two companies pay for me to move. When a company pays to move you, they usually require you to work there for about two years. If you quit before that time period you will be required to pay back a prorated portion of the amount.

Another option is a signing bonus. If you request this, have a good reason to back it up. It may require research so that you ask for the right amount considering your industry and role.

 

Bonuses
I was automatically given a signing bonus of $2,000 when I took my first professional job. I was new to the work force and didn’t know this was even an option.
In one of my previous jobs they offered me a retention bonus to keep me there for a certain time. If I left before that time I would not get it back. I decided to leave since it was a better long term career decision.
When I negotiated for the next job I requested a signing bonus to make up for the retention bonus I was losing. I did not get this bonus.

 

Some companies require you to work there a certain amount of time before insurance starts. This hinders many people from moving to a better job because they do not want to lose insurance coverage. This is also negotiable. For instance, some companies require you to be there for 90 days before insurance begins. You can ask for your coverage to start on your first day as one of your compensation items.

 

Consider when you want to start at the new company. I tried to get a week or two off between jobs but the new company really wanted me to start sooner. There will be very few chances in your life to take time off; so think if this is one of the times when you should.

 

No matter what, you need to be able to backup your requests in the negotiation. “Based on my responsibilities and the market value of the role…” If they ask for your reasoning on a negotiated item and you don’t have a solid answer you will be discredited.

 

Think outside of the box when you create your list of negotiation points. If they can’t pay you what you want then ask for more vacation (i.e. trading one item for another). Everything is negotiable even if the company says it is not. If something is a deal breaker then bring it to the table to negotiate. Everything that is negotiated equates to dollars for the company. If you push something show them how it equates to dollars.

 

Also consider that a large company has buying power which allows them to purchase things for less than what you can. Therefore, they can offer some of these things for free or as discount for part of your compensation.

 

Here is a list of unique compensation ideas from the web

  • Use of company equipment
  • Health club memberships
  • Ability to purchase through company discounts
  • Education assistance
  • Training that will help in your job and personally like a new  language
  • Books purchased for you
  • Flex time
  • Work from home
  • Charitable giving
  • pet insurance
  • paid volunteer work
  • Concierge services
  • Extended time off when having a child
  • Job sharing
  • Daily lunch allowance

 

Another option is to ask what the company has available to offer. This may open up other ideas you had not thought of. Frame it by stating that you want to ensure that your requests are within the company’s capabilities.

 

Question: What is the strangest thing you could ask for in your next negotiation?

 

Action: List out the other things you want to ask for in your negotiation.

 

When you know what you want to ask for in a negotiation you should rank the items from highest priority to lowest. This is how you will focus the negotiation. Ask for the highest priority item first, then go down the list. For me it was salary, vacation, bonus, and work from home, in that order. You may not have an opportunity to ask for all every item on your list, but as long as it is above your baseline everything is great.

 

Question: How much money do you think you can ask for in your next negotiation?

 

Action: Prioritize all of the items you want to request in a negotiation in the order of priority with the highest priority first. Quantify items like vacation time and salary. Also include the lowest amount of salary and vacation you will accept. This is the worksheet you will work from during negotiation.

 

You will typically receive a written offer (usually emailed to you). I advise that you never immediately accept. Always request at least 2-3 days to think it over. This gives you time to sleep on it and consider your options in a relaxed environment.

 

 

Ring, Ring, Ring
All the negotiations I have been involved with were over the phone.

 

 

Once you have thought it over, you are ready to make your counteroffer. When making the counteroffer use phrases like “I was looking for something more in the … range” or “Based on … I was expecting …” or ”What are my other options?” or “Can you do a little better”, or Based on the responsibilities of the job I see the salary range to be in…”

 

During negotiation you do not want to give away too much information if you can avoid it. For instance, they will ask what you made in your last job and try to give you an increase based on that. Your compensation at your last job has nothing to do with what you should be paid at your new job. Whenever I am asked to share that information with them I explain I am not comfortable sharing it because the compensation should be based on the responsibilities of the role and the local market. If they really push, I share the information but I reaffirm that what the compensation should be based on.

 

If there is something you don’t want to share, then tell them. Be firm, but not confrontational. These are people who you want to have good relationship with.

 

Also, don’t lie by telling them you made more at your last company than you really did just so they offer you more. If they catch you in a lie you will definitely not get the job.

 

A negotiation can go back and forth several times. Most likely you will be negotiating with your future manager and he may have to talk with others in the organization to understand what is available to you.

 

Be willing to push a bit in this process to get what you are worth. Remember you also have leverage in this situation and they are not totally in control.

 

Finally, get your final offer in writing.

 


Chapter 6 Resignation

 

Now that you have accepted the new job offer it is time to consider resignation.

 

No matter how much you want to make a big scene I advise against it. You don’t want to burn bridges because there might be people there who would hire you at another company in the future. Though for fun, you ought to Google some funny resignation stories.

 

The time between when you submit your resignation and leave the job really depends on your situation. Here are some things to consider:

  • Some companies let people go as soon as they submit their resignation. In this situation it is in your best interest to wait to submit your resignation until the day you want to leave.
  • You have a lot of projects you want to wrap up or hand off so you want to give enough notice so everybody can prepare to fill your role. I know of people giving 6 weeks and I usually shoot for 4 weeks notice.

 

 

Lucky Deal
In one of my previous jobs I knew the company was going layoff 119 people off in the near future and I had a feeling I was going to be one of them. If I was laid off I would receive a severance package (i.e. money). I wanted to give them 4 weeks resignation but if I resigned I would not receive the package. I kept postponing my resignation until I had two weeks until I wanted to quit and on that day they let me go. I received the severance package and two extra weeks paid plus insurance coverage. In this case it was in my best interest to wait to submit my resignation.

 

When you leave a job, many companies will conduct an exit interview. They try to find out why you want to leave the company so they can change things. I do not feel that the company actually changes anything meaningful from this. My advice is to be pleasant and don’t make it a complaining session.

 

 

Praise
In my last exit interview I told them what they already knew what was going on. Since my department was being downsized I was unsure if I would have a job and I wanted to be sure my family was supported. Plus my new role is a better fit for me. Then I told them how awesome my direct managers were.

 

 

Question: What was your favorite thing about your current boss?

 

Action: Take the resignation letter example from here: intentionalsuperhero.com/newjob and modify it to fit your situation. Now decide when you will submit your resignation and put that date on the calendar.

 

 

 

 

Closing

 

This will not work everywhere

 

There are some roles these techniques will not work. For instance, there are many jobs where the company sets the pay for that role based on some criteria like number of years at a company. Many factory jobs are like that. If you wish to follow these techniques then you should consider moving from this type of role since it would be a lot of work to change a corporation’s policies.

 

In many cases this change requires you to move from a more manual labor role to a more mind skill role. If all you have ever done is manual labor, then this move may intimidate you,but you can do it. You can use the steps described above to get there and be willing to figure out what skills you have beyond simply working with your hands.