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Salary: Someone has to bring it up

There is nothing more intimidating for some job seekers than to broach the topic of salary. When and how you approach the topic is extremely important.


Tawana Wood, Chief Resume Writer for the says job seekers must view interviews as sales calls. According to Ms. Wood, salary and benefit negotiations are a part closing a deal. “Job seekers are selling their skills and abilities to potential employers who are investing/purchasing their expertise."


Ms. Wood recommends job seekers do the following:


1. Research the Market

Research how much professionals are being compensated for the same or similar functions.  Review salary surveys, review industry related publications - and associations for resources, job advertisements and consult with those in your network. Job seekers must also keep in mind that their geographic area plays a significant role in determining pay levels, salaries in NY will differ from those in FL.


2. Become An Expert

Like a Sales Professional, know your prospect. Research the company's financial situation. Do they have the resources and market position to support the salary you are seeking?  It is critical that you find out this information before attempting any salary negotiation. Although the market is fluctuating do not be afraid of asking for the salary you believe you deserve. If you are applying for a job within the nonprofit sector be sure to review their 990 Form from previous years.  


3. Are There Any Perks?

Are there things other than financial rewards that will attract you to a company? Consider what the full compensation package will look like. Does the company offer a good work/life balance? Do you receive healthcare benefits? Do they offer specialized training or tuition re-imbursement? "I accepted my job because it was close to my home and offered telecommunicating options" says Jerrod Stalls, Field Technician in Maryland.  “I accepted the position because they offered me four weeks vacation the first year and six weeks for the year following" says Darrien Jones, IT Director in California.


Determine which factors are critical to you. Look at your whole picture.


4. Distill Value

In order to close the deal you must distill value. A successful sales professional overcomes objections by distilling value.  Highlight your achievements in a quantitative and qualitative manner as it relates to your field and the position. Your resume should focus on what you do well and be used as a guide to help you demonstrate your stuff to a potential employer. Employers are looking for solutions. Show how your experience and expertise will help them save money, make money, change, or do something new. The better you are at showing your worth, the more likely you are to negotiate a better deal. A good book to read prior to any interview is Jim Collins’ From Good to Great.


5. Be prepared to Answer the Question

When the time is right the employer may ask you to state your salary requirements. Based on your thorough research you will be ready to respond. Never just say "I’m Flexible” if asked the question, give them a range mid XX's to upper XX's. If an employer doesn’t ask, then ask "How much has been budgeted for this position?"


6. Ask for An Official Offer Letter

To officially close the deal, request the employer send you an offer in writing outlining the specifics of the offer including your key responsibilities, start date, salary and special arrangements.


Tawana Wood is a Recruiter and Chief Resume Writer for The, she has personally written more than 7,900 resumes for today’s top executives worldwide.


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