Sunday, August 9, 2009

In Summary...

It was once told to me that when someone says "to summarize" (or something to that effect) you typically get 30 seconds of absolute focus. I honestly hope it's not because my presentation or discussion was so boring that they started mentally composing a list of items to get from the grocery store on the way home. But I digress...

Someone recently asked on LinkedIn how one can effectively negotiate a job offer, so I immediately responded that you need to communicate your value to the company as a basis for any negotiation. My answer started the gears in my head that perhaps a summary of some of the points that I've made so far in previous blog entries would be useful.

@You: don't think the following is a 30 second read, but "in summary" here are some things to consider when establishing a baseline of your value to a company.
  1. Stay relevant. I used the "@" sign not because I have a Twitter account (my wife says I will be the last person on Earth to sign up) but because it makes me look like I'm 23 and not that I have 23 years of experience. (Okay, 21 but what's 2 years among friends?) In all seriousness, you have to be on top of current trends in your areas of expertise so that you can have an intelligent conversation.

    Not too long ago, Delta sent me a notice that a minuscule number of miles were about to expire. What did I do? I applied them to subscriptions to Forbes, Fortune, Money, Fast Company, Inc, Entrepreneur and a few other related periodicals. I may not get to read them all every week but using the bathroom is now a much more educational experience. [Laughing]

  2. Businesses operate on the principle of value. In other words, no one cares what your job responsibilities were in previous positions. What were the results of your fulfillment of those responsibilities? That is what they want to know because ultimately the answer to that question can be translated into dollars and "sense."

  3. Your network is your best friend. When you've accumulated 15+ years of experience, unless you've had absolutely zero vertical movement in your career, 60-70% of the jobs that you'll get will be through connections you've made through the years. Many people that I once worked with are now C-level executives (or equivalent). You can bet your bottom dollar that I canvas my network in a huge way before I even consider visiting LinkedIn's Jobs section, Dice, HotJobs, etc. However, if you neglect it all of that "muscle" will turn to flab and you'll get little response from them; so be sure to reach out to the movers and shakers once in a while just to say "hi."

  4. No one can sell you better than someone else. The reason why you need to stay on top of your network is so that you can get your references in line. Choose quality references that not only can speak about your accomplishments and skills but can also rapidly establish their own credibility. For example, the references that I use are all C-level executives (or equivalent).

    Before you give out their contact information to anyone requesting it, send them a note and include the version of the resume that the potential employer is viewing; a brief description of the job you are seeking; and what you've told them so that they can corroborate (and even add to) what you said.

  5. "Amateurs practice until they get it right, while professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong." Use every opportunity to rehearse answers to anticipated questions during an interview. It should be like "muscle memory" when the question is asked, i.e. no hestitation. "Just do it!" to quote Nike.

  6. Do your homework. Before you meet with anyone about a potential job, ensure that you've googled the company, refreshed your memory on any job concepts that you may need to know, etc.

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