Is It Time To Add A Photo To A Resume?


With the widespread use of websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook where people are freely posting photographs of themselves, is it time to start including a headshot on resumes?

It’s common practice for many organizations to search job candidates names after having received their applications. While they may be intending to learn more about what people are saying about a candidate, and pick up more information than what is only included on a résumé, there’s no doubt that they are going to also see one or multiple photographs if they are part of the persons profiles.

This opens up the dialogue and discussion of preferences, biases, subjective opinions on what an organization might find, ‘the right fit’ with their corporate reputation etc. Once again, the ‘beautiful people’ of the world would probably have an advantage over those who are not; and in this case, we’re only talking outward physical attraction, as interviewer and applicant will not have met at this stage.

There are many organizations these days working to become more diverse and inclusive of many cultures and races too. In their efforts to add more minority groups, people who are physically challenged etc., a photo could strengthen an applicants chances of receiving an interview. This is a touchy subject; one that many would rather not be on the leading edge of discussing for fear of coming out wrong on the side of public opinion.

Some would argue that organizations are actually trying to move in the complete opposite direction than identifying an applicant by race, colour, gender, name, height, religion etc. In fact, there are some who upon receiving a résumé, will remove an applicants name and other identifying information before handing it on to those making decisions on whom to interview. By removing these features, the thought is that the most qualified on paper get through on merit alone, and personal biases are taken out of the equation.

Of course once the people come in for an interview, their age, skin colour, accent, mobility, height, gender all become immediately apparent. So any bias or preferences do come into play, the only difference is that the interviewers know they have before them a person whom impressed them solely on qualifications alone. In other words, all that’s really happened is the possibility of declining to interview someone based on subjective prejudices and / or preferences has just moved to another level; the physical introductions. It doesn’t entirely remove them completely from the hiring process.

Photographs one could argue, like any other piece of information provided, can be valuable. Looking at Facebook and LinkedIn, there’s a fundamental difference in the two platforms. On LinkedIn, members are more thoughtful about what they choose to include as their image. Great thought and care is taken to ensuring the headshot (for that is often what the best photographs are) is clear, the clothing worn is in sync with the image the person is striving to achieve. People will also put care into their grooming; hair brushed and neat, posture good and typically a nice smile looking into the camera and out to ones audience.

Facebook on the other hand might show multiple photographs; everything from headshots to bikinis, from birthday parties to backyard barbeques, wine tasting events to micro brewery tours. There could be pictures of someone with their babies, glimpses of their home and the condition of its cleanliness. While we’re at it there could be shots of tattoos, rants about an unfair speeding ticket or face painted in the colours of their favourite sports team. You might not have wanted or expected that a potential employer would look up such things, but if it’s there, it’s there for public viewing.

The point is the photographs and pictures of potential employees are there for the looking in many cases. Including one on a résumé could be helpful or hurt ones chances. It’s not a level playing field, and when it comes down to it, we know it never has been, nor is it likely to be. I applied for a job many years ago in the men’s clothing department in a shop in the town of Fenelon Falls Ontario. Having shopped there often, I observed all the employees were female. When the owner of the store called me to invite me in for an interview, she asked for Kelly. “Speaking” I said, and this caught her off guard. “Oh!”, she said, “I’m sorry, we only hire women and I thought Kelly was a female.” Leaving the discrimination aside for the time being, this wouldn’t have happened had they a picture to see that indeed, I am Kelly – a male!

On the other hand, when I applied to work in Toronto, the employer there was looking for a workforce that looked like the population of people it served. They were actually short on white men at the time, which goes against what you hear often in the media today. A photograph might have enhanced my chances of landing that interview, which I got by the way and was hired based on merit, not only skin colour and gender.

So what’s your opinion? Include or omit photographs? I imagine the less courageous among employers will take to commenting for fear of controversy. On the other hand, this is an excellent opportunity for organizations to state their stand on the subject. So stand up and be counted.

Advertisements

The Pressure To Choose


At 8 years old, “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

At 13 years old, “You should start thinking about getting a part-time job.”

At 15 years old, “Are you taking College or University level courses in school?”

At 17 years old, “What Universities or Colleges are you looking at going to?”

At 19 years old, “What will that degree or diploma qualify you to be?” Are you sure?”

At 24 years old, “You changed your mind! What are you going to be?”

At 30 years old, “You’re changing careers?  Again? So what’s it going to be now?”

At 36 years old, “I’m sorry things aren’t working out. “What’ll make you happy?”

At 45 years old, “What are you going to do with your life? Such a disappointment.”

At 55 years old, “Had you made better choices, you’d be retired by now.”

At 60 years old, “So what are you going to do with the next 5 years of your life?”

At 65 years old, “It’s a shame really. Such potential and no life savings, poor dear.”

Maybe this sounds familiar in part or in whole. Interesting when you put the sequence of questions together though and look at them in their entirety. Can you spot the questions that are truly asked to seek information and separate them from the questions that really show others expectations and judgements?

When you’re the one asking out of genuine interest, the questions seem innocent enough. Perhaps you’re the grandparent or parent with an inquisitive nature; you want the best for your grandchild or child, and you see the world before them. They can be anything and anyone they choose to be; the possibilities are endless!

However, on the receiving end, you may well remember the angst you felt yourself when the question was turned to you. First of all it’s improbable as a child that you’d even know the majority of jobs that you could find rewarding. You’re limited to considering an occupation based on what you’ve been personally exposed to. As a very young child, many want to be a Doctor, Fire Fighter, Dentist or Teacher because these are within the limits of what they’ve seen or experienced.

By the time high school is underway, your already being told to choose university or college level courses, most often without any real idea of what either experience might be best for you personally. For many, a school official may have reasoned you were bright enough for university or you were intellectually challenged and university would prove far too difficult. Though well-meaning, you were encouraged to take the college level classes, or you were introduced to a trade as a viable alternative because you were good with your hands.

Yes, people feel a lot of pressure and anxiety when feeling they have to pick a career. Even in a job interview, employers often ask, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Or they might ask, “How does this position fit with your overall career goals?” Ever sat there and realized you have no idea whatsoever? You haven’t thought much beyond just getting this job and you’ve no career goals that come to mind?

Well if you’re fortunate enough to know what it is you want to do and you’re working the plan to get there, I say good for you! Excellent in fact! Well done! With a long-term goal you can get help mapping out the steps along the way you need to take to eventually arrive at your destination of choice. That’s commendable.

However, if you have no long-term goal in mind, or you’re torn between 4 things that you find appealing, you might be thinking, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just decide on something and be normal like everyone else? I’m such a loser!”

Well, you’re not a loser for starters, and no, not everyone else has it figured out. In fact, only a handful of people know what they want to be when they are children and years later emerge in life fully satisfied in the same profession they once only dreamed of. For the majority – the vast majority – as we grow up we meet people in different roles, and the more we see and interact with, the more we have new information to consider.

If you want an answer to that question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, that will be 100% right, tell them, “Older.”

Now depending on who is asking, realize that as parents and grandparents, they care about you. They are naturally curious to hear your thoughts. Even if you have no idea or you’re confused, it’s okay to say exactly that. It’s better than just saying, “I don’t know” and closing the door to your bedroom, shutting them out.

Good advice is to talk with people about their jobs. Gain some experience by doing some various things and pay attention to what you find pleasing and personally rewarding. Equally as valuable, pay attention to what you find unsatisfactory. You don’t have to choose one career and stick with it until you retire. That’s not the only success.

Success could be changing jobs several times over your lifetime, making full use of different skills as you acquire them, leading where you once followed, or taking on a new challenge to stretch yourself. You might head back to school and you might not. There’s no one formula for success.

Be true to yourself. Maybe – just maybe – that’s a good thing to be as you grow up.

Think What Your Email Address Says About You


When applying for jobs, many people take great care to hide their age on their resumes, and for good reason. They’ll go out of their way to omit jobs pre-2000, decline to add the year they graduated from high school, College or even University if it’s going to make it easier for an employer to figure out how old they are by doing some simple addition. All that effort is lost however if their email addresses contain the year they were born.

I see this time and time again in my position as an Employment Counsellor. Just yesterday, I spoke at the tail-end of a workshop on interview skills about this. When I asked what her email address was, she told me her first and last name plus the number 60. “Are you 57 years old by any chance?” I asked her. To this she looked at me somewhat surprised and confirmed I was correct. “How did you guess that?” she asked. “You told me yourself by including your birth year in your email”, I replied, and then the light of realization switched on.

The thing is a lot of people include their age in their emails. They’ll either put the year of their birth or their actual age. Having several times watched people attempt to create their email using their name only, I know that computers will often suggest various email addresses which are available, and they almost always include a number. Don’t allow a computer to randomly suggest an email address for you that you’re then going to let represent you! That kind of random generation might be okay for your phone number, but not your email.

Unfortunately giving your age away isn’t the only problem I find in emails. There’s the inappropriate sexy ones, the childish ones, the nonsense ones, and downright insulting ones. None of these I’ll give examples of, so just use your imagination. It never ceases to make me wonder how serious a person is about their job search when they preface telling me what their email is with the statement, “I know it’s not very professional; I should change it probably, but I’ve had it for a long time.”

Okay so enough with making the case for what not to have, here’s suggestions for what it could or should be.

My first suggestion is to begin with either the word, “contact” or “call” followed by your first name and last. In my case it would be, contactkellymitchell@ or callkellymitchell@. If your full name is too long or is already taken, try a period between your first and last name, or your first initial and last name such as callkelly.mitchell@ or contactk.mitchell@

As the person at the receiving end silently reads your email address at the top of the résumé, they cannot help read the words, “contact” or “call”, and aren’t these the very actions you want them to take? You want to be called or contacted by the employer with the offer of an interview. Your suggesting the action to them just by reading your email address alone. Not too many have caught on to this strategy yet so get yours while the getting is good.

Another strategy I suggest is reserved exclusively for those people who are committed to looking for one career. So take me for example. I want to brand myself on those I meet as Kelly Mitchell Employment Counsellor. So my email address is employmentcounsellorkelly@gmail.com Yes it’s a little long, but easily remembered. The email address includes my job title and my name; the two are now linked together creating the lasting connection.

If a PSW, you could opt for PSWjillwhyte@ or j.whyteyourpsw@ Get the idea? The only drawback with this email address comes if you should then start applying for jobs that are similar in nature but use different titles. A Personal Support Worker might apply for jobs as a Health Care Aide, Personal Care Provider etc. and the like, and while having PSW in the email wouldn’t be entirely inappropriate, there are cases where you might want to switch things up entirely and look outside your typical field and your email wouldn’t work. So a PSW now applying for a job as an Office Receptionist might hurt rather than help her chances by using PSW as part of an email address.

The first suggestion I made, using the words, “contact” or “call” don’t present this problem. You could use these indefinitely and for a variety of employment applications across any sectors. So my overall suggestion is when applying for employment, turn exclusively to using an email that either prompts action on the part of the receiver or brands yourself with your occupation.

Continue to use your existing emails for friends and family; your social address. Create and use a professional email reserved only for employment applications, running your business, or professional networking. By keeping the two mutually exclusive and not using your job hunting email for anything but looking for work, you’ll also avoid cluttering up your inbox with spam and junk mail. This means you’ll likely never miss seeing some important reply from an employer and mistaking it for your horoscope, dating website or those large sums of money just waiting for you to claim from some lawyer representing a person in another country!

 

Problem Solving


Problems; everybody has them. Some problems are minor and easily resolved while others are large and overwhelming. While some people resolve the problems that come their way with relatively ease, many other people get paralyzed with their problems; unable it would seem to get past them.

The more you know about how to go about tackling problems when they occur, the better you’ll be equipped to deal effectively with them.

Generally a problem is something that’s hard to deal with or understand; it’s often difficult and requires a solution.  For every problem there are two things associated with it; a goal and one or more barriers. Essentially there’s something to be obtained or achieved and things that stand in our way of getting what we want.

If you’re hungry your goal is to find something to eat. The barrier could be that there’s no food in the kitchen or cupboards. If you’re being evicted or have sold your home, your goal is to find somewhere to live. One barrier could be having no money for a deposit on a new apartment, or not being able to find a home you want to buy. The solutions to the above could be to go shopping and buy some food, borrow the money for the apartment deposit and to enlist the help of a Real Estate Agent to find the home you’d like to buy.

Problem solving isn’t always so straight-forward or easy to understand. In fact, there’s often several ways to go about removing the barriers that stand between you and your goals. This can mean that the way you’ve approached and resolved problems in the past won’t be effective in another situation. It’s often a good idea therefore, to share your problem with someone else to come up with possible solutions you may not have considered on your own. ‘Two heads are better than one’, is a phrase that comes to mind and in the case of problem-solving, often helpful. Others may have had similar challenges and found ways to remove the barriers which you can use copy and in doing so, reach your own goals.

The first step seems pretty obvious; define the problem. Not everyone admits they even have a problem; and some who do know they have a problem have a hard time correctly identifying it. They may have multiple problems, and despite what you might believe, even though it is THEIR problem(s), they may not be the expert in identifying it/them. Without clearly identifying what the real problem actually is, all the work to resolve it will be unsuccessful at getting to the root of it. An alcoholic might see their problem as finding the next drink, and not seeing their drinking itself as the problem.

In dealing with major problems of a complex nature, it’s good advice at the next stage to start getting information together so you understand the problem better. So you might get information on the housing market, the effects of alcoholism, or if unemployment is your problem, looking at the job market. This is a crucial step many people by-pass because they want to move right to solutions. Without a clear and accurate picture of the problem, the solution you arrive at might not be effective if you don’t explore the problem fully.

Once you’ve correctly identified the problem and you’ve increased your knowledge of it, you’re ready to move to coming up with possible solutions. Doing this with other people involved can generate multiple ideas, and it’s crucial at this stage not to be resistant to any idea put forth. This ‘brain-storming’ period can produce a unique solution or spur a thought in one person they wouldn’t have imagined otherwise by hearing another’s idea.

With the generation of many possible solutions, the process now turns to deciding on the best solution; best meaning the one which remove the barrier. It may or may not be the easiest or cheapest or quickest, and you may be bound by time, money or other considerations so take those into your thinking.

This next stage is usually the most invigorating; actually starting to use what you’ve decided on as the best solution. Because you’re doing something to fix or resolve the problem, you will feel empowered and hopeful; even in the face of some physical or mental strain as you get down to the hard work involved. This after all is what’s required to remove the barrier; the thing that stands between us today and what we want in the future. It may take a relatively short or long time to reach our goal, but now is when we start acting. Anticipate you may discover some other problems at this stage; typically smaller than the one you are working on which will need your attention.

Now with the implementation of your solution underway, the only thing left to do is gauge how successful you’re being at whatever you’ve implemented. You might count how many days you’ve gone without a drink, find yourself comfortably sitting in your new home, or working in that job you thought was too difficult to get.  If the problem you had involved others, you’ll want to get feedback from them as confirmation that your solution worked and your goal of mending a relationship has been achieved.

Hope this look at problem solving has you inspired.

Example Of Seizing An Opportunity


Just yesterday, I was planning on facilitating an interview preparation and practice workshop. 10 people had signed up for the day. Outside the weather was good; cool mind you, but sunny and precipitation-free. It was scheduled to run from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. and exclusively for those in receipt of social assistance so the admission was free.

As the clock hit 9:20 a.m. I was seated in the room, awaiting the first of those attending. At 9:25 a.m., still nobody. As 9:30 a.m. came and went I was still alone. The handouts and flip charts were ready and at hand and there I sat. Honestly at that point, I hoped no one would come. It’s funny how one’s mind switches gears, but I started to then think of all the other things I could turn my attention to with what was otherwise going to be a free day to invest in strengthening other workshop materials, revising some electronic files, perhaps catching up with some past participants of my various workshops.

At 9:35 a.m. however, one person walked in breathless and looked around, fully expecting no doubt to see a room of people. She apologized for being late and joked about the irony of being late for an interview workshop. I immediately liked her. Well, my brain had to shift again; workshop for one!

Now if you’ve ever had this experience of showing up for something and being the only one to do so, often you’ll find it gets cancelled outright or rebooked at best. The way I figured it though was this one person obviously thought it important enough to show up so why should she not get what she came for? Especially when my day was planned around delivering on this topic.

Now as it turned out the two of us sat together from 9:30 a.m. until 12:40 p.m. – with all of a 5 minute break. She didn’t get the standard interview workshop, didn’t see all the video’s I’d planned on showing, nor did she benefit from the various flip charts I’d create with input from all of those in attendance. No, what she got was a very personalized 3 hour meeting with an Employment Counsellor who provided information targeted specifically to her needs based on what she shared.

And what she shared was so different and better than what she would have shared were there others in the room. Being somewhat shy and introverted in group situations but more engaged when working independently or 1:1, her comfort and trust levels soared, and in revealing more truths about what she needed and how she felt, she ended up with an enriched experience which for her was much more meaningful.

Now in order for this experience to occur, a few things had to happen. She had to make the decision to stay and not leave when she recognized she’d be the only attendee. I had to make the decision to give her my time and not send her away, which I could have but that’s not my style. Finally, those to whom I report have to create the rules that put the needs of the people we serve ahead of other considerations. Some companies you see might have said that working 1:1 when a workshop for 10 was planned isn’t an efficient use of staffing dollars. That could have resulted in me sending her away and rescheduling for the same workshop in 3 or 4 weeks time, and offering my time to aid my co-workers etc.

Now have you ever been to a concert or a live theatre event? If you have, I’m sure you’ve experienced situations where the more a performer puts into their performance, the more the audience responds; which in turn encourages more energy and commitment from the performer. The energy flowing back and forth between the stage and the audience make the experience either outstanding or underwhelming.

I found this to be our shared experience; for the more I saw her seriously invested in improving herself by listening, thinking and then using what she’d learned to give stronger answers to questions I posed, the more I was motivated to share.

This is an important lesson to take in. For in all kinds of situations we may find ourselves in, there are opportunities to seize or to pass on. She could have turned around after 10 minutes of waiting and gone home. I could have made a note in her file saying she chose not to stay being the only person there and will look into coming back in the future. We both could have moved on. A less experienced or less invested Employment Counsellor might have even said they weren’t ready for a 1:1 session and may not have been able to adjust what they’d planned sufficiently to deliver a quality presentation. Who knows?

I urge you to stay open to opportunities; to look for them. Opportunities are around us if we only take the step to seize upon them and take advantage of them. Consider that this introverted, shy 26-year-old woman actually had a better experience working 1:1 than she would have had were the room filled with others. Even one more person would have made the experience different. She may not have shared as openly.

To my colleagues who facilitate, I gently remind you too that one person is still 100% of your audience. Invest in each person as if they are the only person in the room – and they just might be!

Abused? In A Shelter? Trying To Work?


Here’s your situation…

You’re unemployed, the car needs $450 of work to even get back on the road. You’ve know a few people but none well enough to really call close friends, and certainly no one to really confide in and tell how you feel. You’ve had three failed relationships with men who’ve abused you verbally, emotionally and occasionally physically, but they were always smart enough to never leave evidence. Now you find yourself living in the shelter system, safe but removed from most of your belongings. Your family blames you for the choices you’ve made and your not even notified or invited to family functions; weddings, funerals and holidays included.

On top of the above, you’ve got no job, your references are weak at best, you’ve got little experience or it’s in a field you no longer want to work in because the jobs you have had in the past only put you in vulnerable situations, attracting the kind of people who only brought you trouble.

Now you find yourself receiving social assistance, a nice name for welfare. As your housed temporarily in a safe house for abused women, you’re only getting some funds for food and transportation. You’re safe for the time being but the stay isn’t indefinite, and you’ve got to find a place to move to within a looming deadline. Where you’re staying you’re surrounded by other women with similar stories, and while the humanity in you makes you open to feeling their pain, in another way you don’t feel it’s doing you good to be constantly hearing others talk about their situations. It’s all still kind of raw and open.

There’s the courts to deal with too, and that means you’re dealing with law offices and lawyers; yours and his. It’s not a world you ever thought you’d have to deal with and your out of your depths. So much paperwork, so many things to send by email and post, other things to record and organize, meetings to be kept and names and contact numbers to store.

Personally, you’re worried. Your decision-making skills seem pretty poor, your more confused than you remember ever being, little things seem like major problems, your self-esteem is fragile and no matter how much you try you just can’t seem to turn off your brain. Even reading a book or a magazine isn’t possible. After 20 minutes you find you’re still on the same page of a book and you suddenly realize you can’t recall what you’ve read anyhow. You’d go out for a walk to clear your head except it’s the evening and you feel more vulnerable as night descends and the house gets locked down for security reasons anyhow.

On top of all of this, you want to get a job. A job after all will bring you some immediate income. You worry though if you can handle it. After all, how many balls can you juggle at once?

For those of you that think I’m laying it on rather thick; that this might be an extremely rare situation for a woman to be in – maybe one in a million, I wish you were right. Unfortunately you’re not right and I’m not laying it on rather thick. This is reality for far too many women.

Having visited just such a residence and being a man, I’m a bit of a rarity. Men as a pretty hard rule aren’t allowed in women’s shelters. Even the nicest and best of men can trigger fear in those in residence there – being the one place they are assured they are completely safe. Having been in one on a professional basis, it’s given me some experiential insights I wouldn’t have otherwise. But even having made a visit to the inside, I’m not naïve enough to think I understand what it’s like to stay in residence there. I would never presume to feel that.

Can you understand perhaps even a little how difficult it must be to then go about rebuilding your life and trying to get a job? Whether you’re a Job Coach, Employment Counsellor, Temp Agency, Recruiter or Employer, you can’t ever know the story behind the woman who appears totally employable but for some odd reason is having problems moving ahead.

On the outside, this woman before you might seem pretty together. Perhaps she’s well-groomed, dressed appropriately, arrived on time for the interview and even interviewed well. Sure there’s the issue of very few references or little job experience but she seems to have the right personality and attitude for the work. Yet, why when you offered them the job did they decline? Or if they did take the job, why did they have to go and quit on you after just two days on the job?

It’s what you don’t know, and what they just can’t share with you that’s behind their apparent lack of respect for the trust you placed in them. At the moment their emotionally messed up to put it bluntly. There’s a gulf between what they want to do and what they are capable of doing. They know it, and now they feel guilt for having to decline a job offer they thought they could do.

If you knew their story, you’d get it. You might even Champion their efforts. Something to bear in mind if you find yourself puzzled with some woman’s behaviour.

Making The Case Of Starting With A Higher Wage


Yesterday one of my connections contacted me with a personal dilemma and suggested his question might be right for a blog. I think that like him, there could be others dealing with the same issue, so here goes.

The situation is when you’re in the running for a job and the posted salary range is quite broad. It’s so wide, you can’t afford to take the job at the low-end, and you’re only considering the position should the salary you accept be toward the highest range. So how and when do you raise the issue of compensation?

To answer this question, you have to look at a number of factors. First and foremost is to separate what you need from what you want. Sure you want more, unless you’re so wealthy that you’re taking the job just to keep busy and working for $1.00 per year because you have to take a salary of some kind. But how much do you need to pay the expenses and how much do you want to live the lifestyle you imagine? Those are often two very different things. Essentially it’s a good idea to do the two budgets. Time consuming? A little yes, but a great exercise to know where you are and usually quite revealing when done properly.

Now it’s important to look at this situation from the viewpoint of the employer, not your own. This is critical and not a place most people start from. Most folks look at their experience, education and their accomplishments and come up with a number that in their minds is what they are worth. While that’s a healthy thing to do, it doesn’t impress most employer’s to simply say, “I’ve done my homework and I know what I’m worth.”

No, to make your case for a higher starting salary, you should make a business case. Business owners, Boards of Directors, etc. understand the business case model. It begins with what your hiring will actually do for the organization. Are you going to grow their business? If so, what’s your revenue stream, marketing plan and how do you plan on implementing it? If you’re going to solve an existing problem the company has, be ready to share it and you’d better understand and respect their business including their values, target audiences and their market share. Or if you’ve identified an opportunity for them which your skills and experience eminently qualify you to undertake, your services become more attractive.

And that’s it in a nutshell; you need to make hiring you attractive to them. This is a better approach than simply saying, “I’m 47, I’ve worked hard and I’m not taking less than x number of dollars.” You’ll likely be shown the door.

You become attractive when your services, ideas and energy synergize with the organizations objectives and goals. That being said, you also have to understand and accept that even if an organization does see the value in bringing you onboard, they might not be in a place to meet your expectations or demands. They may point out to you that they can hardly bring you in at a higher annual salary than other employees who have been at the organization for years doing essentially the same job.

Here you come to negotiation; and it should be a win-win strategy you propose. If you feel your business case is sound and you’re invested in making this work, what other benefits beyond dollars might you suggest be on the table? Perhaps there’s an opportunity to negotiate free monthly parking, your annual golf or membership, an extra two weeks vacation beyond what was offered, or build in some performance incentives.

Of course in many organizations these perks don’t exist. It may be that they are unionized and there’s no wiggle room, or it could be the company has never entertained the ideas you’re suggesting and will have to regroup and discuss your proposal.

What you do need to know clearly is the lowest number you’ll actually accept and if you’re offered anything below that number, are you prepared to walk away and look for work elsewhere? I know a woman who asked for $80,000 and when told the position was $46,000, she sheepishly said, “Okay”. This only after told the lower wage by the employer who was packing up, figuring she wasn’t interested. She ended up begging to be hired at $46,000 and her earlier number was just an ill-advised shot at the moon.

It’s important for your long-term mutual happiness that your wages reflect what you’re worth and that you are invested in the work you do to justify your wages to the employer. At an interview – or series of interviews – it’s up to you to show how you’re going to go about earning those dollars. This is where sharing your previous accomplishments adds validity to your case.

Examples! Examples! Examples! What are the specific examples from your past that prove you have the skills and experience you claim? Having shared those, now turn to the opportunity on the table. As your past behaviour is the best predictor of your future behaviour, relate what you’ve done to what you’ll do. If you make the connections for the new business, you may just get what you want – as shall they.

So know your worth; know their business, know your opportunity and go for the mutual win. Got ideas or experiences of your own to share? Comment please!