Salary and Promotions

Telling Your Boss You Won’t Keep Working After Hours

Enough is enough.

You’re already working more than 40 hours a week, and you love your job. But one day your boss asks you to stay even later, maybe because they have to and they want you to match the workload. Or perhaps they just keep piling on more responsibilities, until you have to burn the midnight oil just to keep up.

That’s not fair, and your boss is taking advantage of you. You should be able to have a personal life. If you’re ready to put an end to this, check out a few of our tips below.

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4 Secrets to Getting a Promotion

Get Your Dream Position with These Quick Tips

Getting a promotion isn’t easy. There are only so many upper level positions, and competition is fierce. It’s important to be ready when those openings arise.

How? By being prepared. Earning the right to ask for a promotion isn’t a question of tenure or age—it’s a byproduct of knowing not only the inner workings of your own job, but also those of the company you work for and the position you want.

Here are four secrets to getting a promotion.

Know What You Want

Management isn’t for everyone. Before you ask for a promotion, ask yourself if being a leader is what you want. Do you desire the position for the title and accolades or because you truly want to manage and inspire others? If it’s just for financial reasons, consider asking for a raise instead. You may also want to consider applying for a position in another department, depending on your interests.

Management isn’t easy. Leadership can seem fun, but there are numerous responsibilities that come with such status, including handling billing and budgets, managing deadlines, and dealing with unhappy or sick employees. And that’s only a partial list!

Speak with Leadership

Once you’ve been at the company for some time and have earned your stripes with proven performance and knowledge of the company, talk to your manager. Let them know you’re out to achieve a promotion if the opportunity arises. Come with proven examples of your ability to rally, push, and inspire others, as well as metrics regarding your own performance.

Find a mentor at your company who can push you to succeed and speak candidly about areas in which you need improvement. Not every leadership experience is going to be a great one. A mentor can help you realize what went wrong and what you can do in the future to minimize those problems. Leaders don’t want novices in management roles; they promote those with demonstrated performance.

Be Prepared

A management position could open at any time. Therefore, preparation is key. A promotion isn’t something you get because you’ve been working at the company a certain amount of time. You only get the job if you’re the right fit at the right time.

Watch those who hold positions that may be attainable in the not so distant future. Unless your department expands, these are most likely your only options. Although you don’t want to be a direct copy of the individual currently in the position, make sure you exemplify the qualities of the role. Do your research! If they started working 15 years ago, you’ll need to know everything they learned in those 15 years.

Seek out team leader roles in projects and take initiative to show you can lead a team. This also gives you time to discover your own leadership style, and how to handle appropriate conversations with others in your team.

Apply

At the end of the day, you have to make your case. That means waiting for an opening or proving there is currently a need for a new management position. If you aren’t up to creating your own role (with detailed metrics regarding why that role needs to exist), you must wait.

If the leadership role is open to everyone, you’ll be able to apply. If it’s only open to a select few, you’ll have to hope your prior discussion with leadership will cause them to notice you as a great candidate.

Have you ever gotten a promotion? How did you achieve it? Let us know in the comments below!

4 Secrets to Getting a Pay Raise

Are you underpaid? Ready for a change?

SaveMoney_June2014_webAsking for a raise isn’t easy and preparing to ask can be nerve-racking. When should you ask for one? How much should you ask for? What do you even say?

The most important thing to remember when asking for a raise is that the only reason for asking can’t be because you need a raise. It should be because you deserve one. But, it’s on you to prove that your actions have led to success, and will continue to do so in the future. An employee doesn’t get a significant increase in pay just for doing the minimum—he or she must go above and beyond.

On that note, here are our top four tips for negotiating a raise.

1.       Start Preparing on Day One

To begin with, figure out why you deserve a pay raise. If that question is difficult to answer, negotiations aren’t going to go very well. You start figuring that out the first day on the job.

Many people only think about raises at the end of the year, or after a certain amount of time has passed. However, if you start thinking about a future raise on that first day, you can start collecting accomplishments early on. Create goals and an actionable plan to meet those goals. While traveling on your career journey, keep a journal of all professional successes, preferably with metrics and details regarding how each met goal furthered the company as a whole.

Remember, your manager isn’t giving a raise expressly for your benefit—a raise is given to keep an employee as an asset to help the company in the long run. So, if you can connect your performance to achieved business goals, a raise may just be in the cards.

2.       Timing is Everything

In order to really succeed with a request like this, you need to ask at the right time. If you work in oil, for example, and the market suffers a setback, don’t ask for a raise. The same thing applies to a company that’s going through financial or PR difficulties.

If it’s the company’s busiest time of the year, that’s another bad time to ask. Same goes for just after you’ve been on vacation or taken time off. And try not to bring this up after making some sort of mistake, no matter how minor.

3.       Know the Market for Your Position

This ties in with asking yourself whether you deserve the raise or not. Read the papers and research online to find out what your competitive rate is at similar companies. Are you already earning that same rate? If so, you may be working at the cap for your position.

In that case, see if anything major really makes you stand out from the competition. Are you expendable? If so, become an asset. Losing you should not be an option. Raises are given to retain top talent. If the company isn’t the right fit or you aren’t actually top talent, a raise may not be in the cards.

But being top talent in and of itself doesn’t mean a raise is certain. You have to be on time, an excellent employee, and using that talent to further the company every minute you’re on the job.

4.       Bring a Plan and Be Confident

What do you plan on bringing to the negotiating table? If you answered nothing but a smile and a well-worded speech, think again. Prepare an actual presentation. Know your worth and properly articulate any strengths, as well as details regarding tasks that were not only completed, but elevated to the next level. In other words, be confident.

Avoid being arrogant. Tie all accomplishments back to how they helped the company, not you. Don’t walk in assuming a pay hike is a given. Be confident in past successes, and let that lead where it may.

As a bonus, try to include some sort of physical, tangible element to the presentation, whether it’s a printed summary or printed charts and graphs. Include information about how you have saved the company money, or how your actions led to an increase in revenue or production.

Although the goal is for your manager to read these materials, even if they don’t, they’ll still see them on their desk and remember your request. Conduct the entire meeting in a calm manner, and, once it’s over, let your manager know that this is a two-way conversation by asking them for feedback on future projects.

If your manager declines to give a raise, don’t be afraid to ask why. If the reason has anything to do with factors you can control, make those changes so you will be a prime candidate in the future.

Reasons You May Not Get the Raise

Even if you follow all of these tips, it is important to note that you may not get a raise due to external factors that have nothing to do with performance. These include:

  • A slow market
  • A recent downturn in the economy
  • A different raise structure (your company may have a rigid raise structure in place that does not allow for deviation)
  • Downsizing in your department
  • You are a relatively recent hire

Have any more questions about the salary negotiation process? Let us know about it in the comments below!

Thrilling Finish Predicted in Job Search Tournament Bracket

StreetballThe competition to land a new job or score a promotion is fierce. As a job seeker, you have to bring your A-game or you’ll find yourself on the bench. Before the NCAA college basketball tournament tips off later this month, we assembled an all-star line-up of job skills and qualities sought by employers and pitted them head to head in a quest to see which could outlast the competition and emerge as champion.

The Tournament Begins

In our hypothetical scenario, the field began with nearly 30 highly sought attributes chosen from a strong field of abilities and characteristics coveted by employers. We seeded the top 16 according to rankings accumulated from leading hiring managers. It’s important to note that there were many strong contenders who narrowly missed the field of 16, many of which on any given day are strong enough to help score a job. Among them were ambition, independent thinking, strong time management skills, good listener, goal focused, and a proactive mindset.

The Super 16 Battle it Out

As the competition heated up and the field narrowed to the Super 16, our job search tournament began to take shape with desirable skills occupying one side of the bracket and highly sought personal traits dominating the opposite side. A couple of surprise underdogs made the field due to emerging trends in the hiring mindset. Empathy made a strong showing in the bracket, underscoring a desire by many companies to employ a mindful, conscientious workforce. Flexibility also made a solid run for the title, demonstrating a need for employees who can adapt and evolve in a changing work environment. In what many observers viewed as a stunning upset, Writing Skills narrowly edged Computer Skills to advance in the tournament. Pundits suggest that in today’s job market, computer skills are readily expected from an applicant, thus giving the edge to Writing Skills.

The Road to the Favored Four

The field continued to thin as the tournament intensified. Powerful front runners emerged as many contests went down to the final buzzer. In a key match-up, Flexibility continued its strong push to go deep in the field by constantly adapting to changing conditions. However, the “can-do” spirit of Positive Attitude prevailed, refusing to be denied their rightful spot in the Awesome 8. Two favorites of hiring managers, Organization and Dependability both punched their tickets to the next round. However, when the dust settled, only the Favored Four remained to contend for the title of Most Desirable Trait. Set to contend on the “skills” side of the bracket, number one seed Team Player goes up against Problem Solving. The winner will square off against the winner on “attributes” side of the bracket, which pits number one seed Leadership Potential against Work Ethic. The outcome is far from set in stone, as any one of the four could be enough to tip the scale and score the job. Astute observers point out that the likely winner will be the one who can maximize its strengths, as well as adopt the qualities of the other contenders to present a multi-faceted approach.

What do you think? Check out our bracket (click to enlarge) and let us know how you’d fill out the remainder of our Favored Four. Are there early round match-ups you think should have turned out differently? What other skills or traits that should have appeared in the bracket? Tell us in the comments section!

Job Search Bracket

5 Low-Cost Ways to Develop Your Skills

ThinkstockPhotos-509352886It’s always a good idea to look for ways to increase your marketability and make yourself more appealing to prospective employers. The more you bring to the table, the greater your chances for landing the job or earning a promotion. In fact, many employers are less concerned about whether you have a higher degree, and more interested in the skills you possess. Acquiring new talents and abilities doesn’t have to clean out your bank account or leave you drowning in debt.

Online Courses

The web is a fantastic resource for low-cost learning. You can find courses on just about any subject; software and web development, business courses, CAD, marketing, general education courses, and a myriad of other topics. Sites like SkilledUp.com and Udemy.com offer free and paid courses, some for as little as $5. Other websites such as Lynda.com charge a monthly fee for unlimited access to a plethora of courses. Remember, depending on the type of course you’d like to take, you may have to purchase the necessary software, if for example, you’re interested in learning Microsoft Excel or Adobe Photoshop.

Public Library

The good old public library is an often overlooked skill-building resource. Many libraries offer writing workshops, as well as courses in computer skills and career readiness. You may also be able to learn a new language, which is always a desirable asset sought by employers. As an added bonus, many public libraries offer online classes from popular e-learning sites, free of charge for cardholders. So check with your local library before you shell out any money for an e-learning site.

Join a Club, Organization, or Group

No matter what you’d like to learn, there’s probably a group in your area that shares your interests. Sites like Meetup.com connect you with groups in your area that share a similar interest. From coding to cooking, public speaking to mobile app development, the list is practically endless. Most group meetings are face-to-face gatherings at a public place. There may be dues or a fee required to attend a meeting, but the cost, if any, will be listed on the event’s page.

Career Tech

Compared with the cost of a college or university education, career tech can be a real bargain. Career tech tuition costs nearly $5,500 less per year than the average four-year college. Plus you’ll be ready to begin your career and earn an income in two years. Career tech touts itself as providing education in a wide variety of high-paying, in-demand jobs. Career path options will vary according to the campus near you, but expect to find a wide range of choices including mechanical drafter, welder, IT technician, physical therapist assistant, biomedical equipment technician, legal secretary, aircraft mechanic, and real estate appraiser just to name a few. To find out more, do an internet search for “career tech” and your city in the search field.

Uncle Sam

The U.S. Department of Labor offers CareerOneStop.org as a source for “career exploration, training and jobs.” The site can help you explore careers, find training, and guide you to local resources via links to one of the more than 2,500 American Job Centers across the country.

You may be able to locate free computer classes, career counseling, apprentice programs, and more resources to help build your skills and prepare for a better job. Because it’s a government site, there is a vast amount of information on a wide variety of topics. So be prepared to spend some time wading through the wealth of information.

Do you have any great tips on low-cost ways to develop skills? Share your knowledge in the comments section!

When it’s Okay to Ask About Pay

ask_about_pay_webIf the world were perfect, hunger would be eradicated, chocolate wouldn’t have calories, and you could go in to every job knowing exactly how much you’re going to get offered. Unfortunately, the world is not perfect. So, how do you find out a job’s salary when you’re in an interview?

Depending on the company, the salary range might be posted in the ad. However, these numbers are usually “commensurate to experience,” meaning companies want to evaluate candidates’ work history before offering a hard number. This is not uncommon. Don’t go into an interview expecting the exact number that is listed, because nine times out of 10 you won’t be offered that.

If the job description doesn’t include a salary range, you’ll want to research what a typical salary for that position might be before the interview. This will give you an idea of how much the employer might be willing to offer.  There are several websites available out there that can help you accomplish this.  What range you fall into is determined by your education and experience, the size of the company, as well as where you live. Pay for a job can vary widely depending on location. Companies want to make sure they are getting the most qualified individual and are willing to pay for that experience.

At some point in the hiring process, you might be asked about your salary expectations. If this happens in the early stages of the interview process, try to deflect. Show the people you are interviewing with that money isn’t your first priority—because when it comes down to it, you are working with people on projects. Focus on finding out more about the job itself, because there will be plenty of time to discuss dollars and cents down the road.

In general, it’s best to let the employer bring up salary. In many circles, it’s considered gauche to ask about salary upfront. Sure, you could work it in to the conversation, but you may risk putting them off in the process. According to experts, it’s best to wait for the potential employer to bring up the topic of salary—and it will be brought up. We all work to make money, so whenever the salary discussion comes up, figure out what salary you want, and then ask for a little more to allow room for compromise.

This is where your salary research will pay off—by having a competitive wage ready, you’ll not only feel prepared and confident, but they will appreciate that you did your research. If you aren’t comfortable with naming a number, use key words and phrases like the following:

  • “I’m very excited to work with you, and trust you will offer a fair and competitive salary.”
  • “I would like a salary comparable to my experience and value.”
  • “Money is important, but there are other topics that are relevant that we should discuss. Could we revisit this question later, after we discuss the company and the position more?”
  • “Until I know more about the position and benefits, it’s difficult to give you a hard number.”

If you can, avoid naming an exact figure.  You might be short-changing yourself.

Remember, it isn’t just the salary that counts. There are other perks and benefits to working with an organization that should be considered—such as 401(k), insurance, vacation, and health benefits. Remember to get the big picture from whomever you’re interviewing with—it isn’t always about the salary.

Do you have any tips for asking about pay? If so, leave your tips in the comments below!

 

Peak Performer’s Life: Networking is a Game Changer!

walterbond_webThis week on Peak Performer’s Life, Walter Bond continues his series on networking and discusses how networking can be the game changer you’ve been looking for to advance your career and personal life. By using networking skills, you can elevate and focus your career through your relationships. Your success is determined by your ability to connect to and maintain your network.

According to Walter:

“If you do a great job networking, it’s a game changer. I mean, if you really really focus on your network, it can change the trajectory of your life. It can create what I call a new normal.”

As part of his year-long series of motivational messages, Walter Bond discusses the importance of patience, solid investments, perseverance, and more. Check out the full message below. (more…)