5 Ways to Ask for a Raise

You work hard, you have a proven track record of success, and you think it’s time for a raise. Convincing your boss of the latter can be a bit tricky. You don’t know what other business-wide factors are at play that could affect the decision. Perhaps your boss is thinking of adding a new position and has committed extra funds for that. Or perhaps there’s a new product launch coming up that’s making her really nervous, and now is not a good time.

While you can’t read your boss’s mind, you can tailor your ask for a greater chance of success. These five top ways to ask for a raise are time-tested. While they may not work every time, they’re best practices because they’re not threatening and they won’t pollute the relationship should your boss decline your request.

1. Do Your Homework
What are others getting in your geographical area that have the same job title? Websites like glassdoor.com or onetonline.org can help you do this homework. If you’re receiving significantly — or even slightly — less, this is a strong case for a wage increase. When comparing wages, factor in the company size. If you work for a small business with 10 employees, your boss won’t be able to compensate you the same way a Fortune-500 company could. If you have facts and figures to back up your request, and are paid less than colleagues at other firms, this can help your boss see that it’s time for a raise. This strategy works because it’s not personal, it’s based on the position. You’re asking for a raise to compensate you at the current market rate for people with your title, not on your merit. This makes it difficult to deny your case.

2. Pick the Right Time
While you won’t know everything that’s on your boss mind, you can get a feel for the office temperature by paying attention to what’s coming down the line. If your boss is overwhelmed or distracted, she may not be fully listening to you. If the company’s had a bad quarter, she won’t want to spend. Picking the right time makes your boss the most receptive to your case, which is why this strategy works. Another part of this tip: Set up a meeting with your boss to discuss your performance, instead of asking on the fly.

3. Focus on Your Accomplishments
If you want a raise, demonstrating increased responsibility or project success over time makes a strong case. Accepting a raise implies that you’re also accepting more responsibility. If you can’t follow through or haven’t accomplished anything great, this might not be the right time for you to ask. Employees who have a proven track record of success are much more likely to get a raise than those who are average or under-performing, which is why this technique works so well.

4. Remain Reasonable
Before you ask, prepare yourself to be turned down. This can help you remain reasonable during the conversation. If your boss says yes, that’s great. If she says no and explains the reasons why now is not the right time, listen to her. Threatening to quit will get you a bad reputation around the office. Likewise, stay calm if you’re turned down. Avoid crying, yelling, and other outbursts of emotion.

5. Practice
Before you ask for that raise, practice your pitch. This advice works because it helps you hone your speech and become comfortable with talking up your accomplishments and making your case. Consider asking a friend to role-play with you, taking the boss role. Advocating your case can make you more prepared — and confident — for the real day, boosting your chances to net that rais

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How to Find A Job Using LinkedIn

Learn how to use LinkedIn to expedite your job search by using the Advanced Search feature to connect with decision makers at the companies that you would like to work for.

Check out this informative video on how to use your first degree connections to get introduced to hiring managers that work for the companies on your list of targeted employers by clicking on the link below.

How to find a new job using LinkedIn?

Best wishes in your career endeavors!

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Get the Magic Back in Your Career with a Master’s Degree

The New York Times recently wrote an opinion piece entitled “What is a Master’s Degree Worth?” Apparently, a lot more than a bachelor’s degree. But why? It’s called degree inflation, and while there are plenty of bachelor’s degree graduates running around trying to find a job, those who are getting a master’s degree are waiting out the recession in school, gaining a more distinguished degree for a future career. That’s the important thing to note. Graduate degrees provide students with more advanced knowledge, which always looks better to an employer. For those who already have a bachelor’s degree and are currently working, a master’s degree could mean a higher position with more benefits and pay. It could also mean doing something that you’ve always wanted to do and getting paid for it. That’s another good thing about master’s degrees. You can get a master’s degree in almost anything if you have an undergraduate degree in a similar field—or even a subject that’s just a tad related. It all depends on how hard you are willing to work for a graduate school acceptance letter and what your goals are with your career. So why should you go to graduate school? Here are some big reasons that it’s probably the best choice right now.

Career Advantages

Many professions actually require a graduate degree, such as law, health care, school administration, engineering, research and even teaching. State licensing boards actually require that these professionals have a master’s degree. Recent statistics show that now more than ever, employers want to see a master’s degree on the resume, and it’s not hard to see why. Graduate degrees help students improve their training and knowledge. They develop their own theories and gain more skills than someone with a bachelor’s degree. Many students also have worked with professors who also contributed to their specific industries in monumental ways, such as judges, scientists and doctors.

Relationships with Faculty

Graduate students get some pretty amazing perks simply by forming personal relationships with their professors and administrators. Graduate classes are smaller and more dedicated to specific subjects. Relationships with professors are different at the graduate level. There is more discussion and dedication, and you’re expected to put in a greater amount of work. There’s also some trade off. Graduate professors also can admire your work, help you find more opportunities and include you on high profile projects. You will also form connections with other classmates.

Advancing Your Education

By passing on grad school, students really give up a chance to do something more with their education, especially when the job market has little to offer recent graduates. Why stop halfway? Students can actually do more while in graduate school, learn more advanced principles and study specific interests more clearly. They develop their own projects and work one-on-one with professors. While the studies do take more time, you’re also more likely to be around those who are passionate about their education as well and studying just as hard. You can develop a greater passion for your career or change into something completely different that you’ve always been interested in.

The Graduate Management Admission Council recently showed that employers are looking for leadership and communication, but that recruiters are only finding these in graduates with a master’s or doctoral degree. It’s important to realize that the compensation can only go up if you have a higher degree, and that those students who earn the prestige also have the capability of transitioning into job categories that are in desperate need, such as the health care and teaching. You can vastly improve your current career with a master’s degree. All you have to do is realize your interest and pursue your passion.

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The 21st Century Workplace

How will tomorrow’s workforce differ from today?

For most of history, until the early 1900s, people worked until they died.  Today, the average American retires at age 62.  During this century we will lose the concept of ‘‘retirement’’ and replace it with a more flexible view of work, mixed with periods of leisure throughout all of adulthood.  Today, 34 percent of all U.S. workers say they do not plan on retiring.

What kind of jobs will tomorrow’s employers be looking to fill?

Jobs that are inherently meaningful and interesting to each employee; work that enables individuals to exercise their own personal capabilities and strengths. People who love their work invest more of themselves in their jobs, perform better, improve more, and stay longer. Typically, the best employees like to learn, teach, improve, invent, and serve.  Although technology will be paramount in tomorrow’s workforce, employees will seek out employers who advocate individuality.

What skills will tomorrow’s workers need to fill those jobs?

America’s youth is always “plugged in” and many are going into the “technology” field… there will be no shortage of techies in the future.  However, we are still in need of skilled tradesman.  According to Gary Garczynski, a past president of the Home Builders Institute, one of the most pressing problems facing his industry today is a shortage of skilled workers.  Contributing to this shortage is the dwindling interest in the skilled trades among America’s younger generations.  While the characteristics of the workforce are changing, the significant advances in technology are driving the way our businesses operate.  Nevertheless, it takes more than technology to build houses or install plumbing it takes people.

What can we do now to be sure that we are ready when tomorrow arrives at our doorstep?

Focus on people.  Companies must put the same energy into optimizing the relationships with their employees as they have invested in optimizing technology in the 20th Century.  Having people do what each individual is good at is now the key.  Lining up the elements of the employee experience including style of management, nature of the job, and forms of compensation, with each other and with the employees, is essential for a productive workforce.  The ability to compete effectively in a growing global marketplace has always been tied directly to our most valuable natural resource—the men and women of our great nation.  Our workforce has always been the backbone of our economy.  That needs to be the promise of the 21st Century workplace.

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Job Search Blue Print: The Electronic Age

Need to know the most efficient way to conduct a job search in this new electronic age?  Well you have arrived at the right place. Today, we will share our job search secrets by providing you with an easy-to-follow job search blueprint that you can use to land a job in half the time. So stop beating your head against the proverbial brick wall and follow along with us as we take you through these five easy steps.

Step One – Establish your job target.

Just like in business you need a plan that is going to help you get from where you are now to where you want to be. In order to create a plan you need to have a clear goal in mind.  The first step is to decide what kind of job you will target.  For some, this is very simple, they want to continue on the same career path.  For others, like college graduates or career changers, this can be more challenging.  If you need help in this area spend some time at ONET using their free career assessment tools.  These tools can help you narrow the field and focus in on your job target.  If identifying your job target on your own is too mind-boggling, you should consider working with a career coach that can help you in this area.

Step Two – Polish your resume.

In Step One we discussed the importance of establishing a job target.  As we progress through each step of the Job Search Blue Print, you will begin to see how all of the pieces come together.  The reason that we have you identify your job target first is so that you can make sure that your resume has the proper keywords in it to get you noticed by perspective employers.  Spend some time reviewing job advertisements for the types of positions you are targeting. Within the job requirements or qualifications section, you will begin noticing the same types of words running though many different job descriptions, thus the term keywords.  To find more resume keywords, research industry trends and visit professional association Web sites.  Once you have identified the keywords specific to your search, sprinkle them throughout your resume. If you don’t have the time to conduct the research necessary to identify the proper resume keywords, consider hiring a certified professional resume writer to help you.

You see, when you apply for jobs online your resume will typically wind up in what is called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).  An ATS is a database where companies store resumes they have received from applicants for the various job openings they have advertised.  When they are ready to begin the screening process, they simply search the database for applicants that match their hiring criteria. This is done using a keyword search, much like you search Google when you are looking for a specific product or service.  If your resume has the proper keywords for the job position you are targeting, actual people will review your resume. If not, your resume will remain in the proverbial black hole forever.

Step Three – Establish or update a LinkedIn account.

In Step Two we discussed how to make sure that your resume has the proper keywords in it for the types of positions that you are targeting, so that it comes up in keyword searches when employers are looking for someone with your qualifications.  But applying on corporate Web sites and job boards is not enough. Remember that there are quite possibly hundreds of other qualified professionals vying for those very same jobs. The absolute best way to find a job is through networking to uncover hidden jobs that you otherwise would not have known about.

Approximately 80% of recruiters today, use LinkedIn as a primary tool for sourcing qualified candidates. That said, if you do not have a presence there you are missing out on an important part of the hidden job market. LinkedIn is also a great place to reconnect with people and catch-up. Yes, that’s right, we have now ventured into word-of-mouth marketing, the very best way to find a job.  The truth is people really do love to help, but first they need to know that you are looking for a job.  A word of caution here, make sure that your LinkedIn Profile is just as polished as your resume, and 100% complete, before you enable it for public viewing. If you’re not confident with your profile consult a professional for assistance.

Step Four – Distribute your resume.

In Step Three we touched on the value of LinkedIn as an important part of your networking strategy so we’ll round out the discussion with another very important tool known as resume distribution.  Resume distribution is a process whereby a job seeker is matched to hundreds of member companies based on their job function, industry, and geographic preference.  This approach will save you countless hours of research time in creating a similar list.  In addition, resume distribution can add tremendous value to your networking strategy by gaining access to unadvertised jobs that many recruiting and staffing firms boast.  Lastly, you can have your resume in the hands of hundreds of recruiters and hiring managers in as little as three days.  Now that’s what I call fast!

Step Five – Brush up on your interview skills.

In Step Four we talked about an incredibly fast way to get your resume into the hands of hundreds of decision makers.  Now it’s time for the telephone to ring with invitations to job interviews.  By now you will have invested a great deal of time effort into ensuring your success at landing a new job.  Question is, “Can you talk the talk?”  Proper preparation really is the key to excellent interview skills.  For some it comes natural, but for others their nerves can get the best of them.  If you have experience interviewing and feel pretty confident, practicing with friends and family members could do the trick.  On the other hand, if you are inexperienced or nervous about interviewing then you may need professional interview skills training to win the job you want.

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