Negotiate more than just pay

yellow please pay here signSometime you can feel stuck in a job and the boss just won’t (or can’t) increase your pay.  Is there a possibility that some other type of compensation could make you happy?  Cash is king but there are other things that an employer could offer that might be able to make up for it like:

  • Additional vacation time – Everybody likes extra time away from work!
  • Telecommute – Even one or two days a week will have you saving money and time from commuting.
  • Flexible hours – Not everyone is at their best between 9am and 5pm.  See if your work hours could be adjusted around your peak time.
  • Membership perks – Maybe your employer would allow you to keep the airline miles you rack up for the company?  Or maybe there is a professional organization they would pay for you to join.  Lots of possibilities!
  • Special project – Is there a project that needs to be completed you would like to work on?  Ask!  You my even gain some additional marketable skills!
  • Bonus structure – Propose a bonus structure based on time or performance that is measurable and can easily be calculated so you know what you will get.

Even when a pay increase is off the table there are other ways an employer can offer incentives for their treasured employees.  Give it a try, you might be surprised!

What other types of benefits or compensation could an employer offer?  Please comment.

Think before you post

Social Media BirdEmployers are getting smarter and using social media to check out potential hires even BEFORE deciding on who to interview.  Think about what is on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Linked In and YouTube or any other social media site about you.  Would a potential employer viewing the posts think you would be a good fit for their organization?  Maybe, maybe not…

“I start my new job today but I absolutely hate working at day cares, Lol it’s all good I just really hate being around a lot of kids.” was a post from Kaitlyn Walls on Facebook that cost her a much needed job.  The employer called her and told her not to bother showing up to start work that day.  Think before you post.

As we have told our kids, consider anything you post on social media to be on a BIG billboard that your family, friends, teachers, employers, etc. drive by and read everyday.   Before clicking enter and posting make sure you would be proud if they all saw it, because chances are they will.  This caution applies to everyone.  Think before you post.

Click like if there has been something you posted to social media that you shouldn’t have.

A Simple Thank You

Hand writes the word thank youWhen was the last time you got a HANDWRITTEN thank you note sent through the mail?  It was probably long ago.  If you got one now, would it make an good impression on you?  Do you think a potential employer might pull your resume out from the pile for a second look after receiving a handwritten thank you note in the mail?  We bet they would.

A thank you note provides one more opportunity for a potential employer to remember you and leave a lasting impression.  Even if you don’t think you will get the job you could be on their mind for another one.

Here are some other tips for making an impression with a thank you:

-Be sure that the envelope and message inside is all handwritten.  No labels or typing, it definitely loses impact.

-Start with “Dear” and how you addressed them in the interview.  Usually you can’t go wrong with Mr. or Mrs. Last name.

-Always thank them for their time and the opportunity to interview for the position.  Express how interesting the organization and the job sounds and that you are looking forward to hearing from them soon.

-End the note in a positive and friendly tone, like “Thanks again!”

Drop the thank you note in the mail just after the interview.  It really could make all the difference!

Do you send handwritten thank you notes?  Please comment about the opportunities they have given you.

Three qualities of great employees

Man guesturing to call

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Looking to up your game?  Want to make your boss love you?  If you possess or can incorporate these qualities into your job you can become the “go to” person in your office.

1.  Take copious notes and keep track of them – When you have been given a task be sure to take notes as to what is expected.  Then be sure to diligently track the progress and report on it.

2.  Over communicate – Be sure to explain fully and keep everyone in the loop.  Articulate a plan with specific steps and instructions so that anyone reading it could understand it.  Follow up regularly to anyone that has a piece of that process to keep things moving along.

3.  Double check – Before you submit an email, report or entry double check it.  Carefully check for understandability and yes, spelling.  If people see lots of spelling mistakes they will believe you are not detail oriented.  Details matter!

These three qualities can propel an average employee into a great employee.  Give it a try.  It might even lessen the stress of the job by being better organized and prepared.

What other essential qualities of a great employees can you share in the comments?

Words make a difference

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

How you phrase things with your employer is very important.  If you chose the right words it can motivate instead of deflate.  Always think about how the information will be received before you send it.

When problems arise, focus on solutions instead of complaining.  It is easy to complain or blame, but that usually doesn’t end with a workable solution.  Instead focus on the expected outcome, then make a plan to reach it.

Listen closely.  In fact, rephrase what you have heard.  It will show that you are listening and understanding.  Many people instead of listening are planning their response while the other person is talking.  Just listen.

Be helpful.  As Zig Ziglar always said, “You can have everything you want if you just help enough people get what they want.”  Some good words to use in this situation is “How can I help?”

Could you share some other words in the comments section that would make a difference?

The almighty Google has spoken

Man looking through binoculars at .com

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It is not that important where you went to school, what your grades were or even if you know how to do the job, according to Laslo Bock, Head of HR for Google.  They are only indicators.  It really boils down to your resume.

The interesting article is titled “Google’s Head of HR: It Doesn’t Matter Where Candidates Went to College” on Entrepreneur’s website.  There are however four key qualities that Google seeks when hiring:

1.  Cognitive ability, or basic problem-solving skills

2.  Emergent leadership, meaning a willingness to step up and back as needed

3.  “Googleyness” — the company’s term for a cultural fit

4.  Intellectual humility

Many applicants have tried gimmicky strategies to get noticed but really, Bock says, “Just put your best work on your resume and we’ll take a look at it.”

Google has been named the “best place in the world to work” by GPTW.  Do you feel you work at the best place in the world?  If so, please comment about your workplace.

Transition time! From school to work

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at

For most of us the transition from student to worker is quite an adjustment.  Instead of hanging out with classmates all day and night, you will be taking a walk out of your comfort zone into the work place with a bunch of new people who most likely will have been working in that field for a long time.  They know the ropes.

One of the fastest ways to get familiar with your duties is to find a mentor.  Even though you spent years in school learning the theory of your work, there is a lot more to learn on the job.  Continue to be a student and soak up as much as you can by those who are top in the field.

Healthy work habits can help you excel as well.  Most companies have regular work hours, so staying up late as you might have done when you were in school might make it difficult for you to be productive.  Eat well, exercise, get enough sleep and find a healthy work life balance at the beginning of your career so the next 40 plus years are happy ones.

What were some of the challenges when you transitioned from school to work?

Stop, write, and roll

Image courtesy of think4photop at

Image courtesy of think4photop at

Do you ever feel like your boss gives you too much work at once?  You can’t focus on what needs to be done because there’s too much to do.   Your mind swims and you jump from one fire (urgent need) to another. As a result, nothing gets done.  How do you sort it all out?

Stop, write and roll…. 

1.  Stop what you are doing, take a deep breath and clear your mind.  This will give you a clean slate to start from.

2.  Write all of the work down in a list.  Get it onto paper where you can evaluate each one and prioritize based on urgency and importance.

3.  Roll through the prioritized list one at a time.  This takes focus and discipline.  There will be phones ringing, emails coming in and instant messages that will pop up.  If need be shut all of it down so you can focus and go into what we call “the cone of silence”.  Make sure there are no distractions taking you off your task.

When each task is complete, be sure to cross out or check them off.  Make it a game and project how many items you will finish by lunch or by the end of the day.  This will give you something to strive for.

Even if you aren’t passionate about your job, there is satisfaction knowing you put out a bunch of fires and your boss will be grateful for it.

Please leave other tips on how to handle work overload in the comments.

Save the commute

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at

Teleworkers in the north east should be grateful after the extreme winter that is coming to an end. Working from home is great for self motivated workers whose jobs can be done remotely. But telecommuting isn’t for everyone.

If you enjoy getting out of the home and having “face time” with your co workers, it may not be for you.

For those who can and want to, teleworking is awesome! The commute is non existent, which provides for more time to focus on interests outside of the office. This time savings can lead to more time for exercise, healthy eating choices and family time. Some monetary savings will be recognized on gas, parking, public transportation costs, auto repairs and maintenance. Even if you can work just a few days a week at home, you will see a significant savings, if you can give it a try!

Please comment additional benefits of teleworking.

How much life are you planning for?

Image9 courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image9 courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Hopefully retirement comes to those who want it. But are you ready for it? According to the Social Security website a man and woman who reach 65 today can expect to live on average until 84.3 and 86.6 years respectively.

Check out the website to calculate your own specific life expectancy using the life expectancy calculator. This is an important number to ensure there are sufficient funds to help you live your life comfortably. Start planning when you would like to retire and deduct your life expectancy age. Then you know how many years to plan for.

Carefully project your income from all potential sources, like social security, pensions, and 401K plans etc. Also hopefully there are some other assets in your portfolio, including some sort of real estate, business or stock holdings from which you can drawn on if needed.

After this analysis, are you ready? Or do you have more planning to do? Please comment.