3 Situations Where You Must Negotiate Salary

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Ever get a feeling that the job search process is one that’s custom-designed to chip away at your confidence? From sitting in waiting rooms with dozens of other candidates, to the grueling gauntlet of pre-interviews, interviews, tests, and negotiations, is it any wonder that the first emotion we feel upon receiving an offer is relief ? This is what underpins the findings of a recent study conducted by CareerBuilder, which found an astonishing 49% of U.S. working professionals never attempt to negotiate salary; we feel so lucky to have been offered a position that we’ll do anything not to jeopardize it.

If salary negotiation isn’t an expected part of your job search, you are willingly sacrificing both money and future prospects. In their paper, “Who Asks and Who Receives in Salary Negotiation” researchers Michelle Marks and Crystal Harold found that employees who negotiated their salary increased annual pay an average of $5K. Assuming a 5% average annual pay increase over 40 years, that’s an extra $634K in earnings over a lifetime versus a non-negotiator. Sure, negotiating can be awkward and fraught with tension, but is it really six hundred thousand dollars awkward?

Here are 3 situations where negotiating salary is a must:

1) You Have an Offer In Writing

Ask any salesman and they’ll tell you the deal’s not done until the money’s in hand. The same principle holds true for a job search. All the great conversations about compensation and benefits mean little until an employer is willing to put it down in writing. Once they do, however, you have leverage. You know that they want you, and at this point it would be easier for all parties involved to finalize. Carefully evaluate every aspect of the job offer, and if something’s really off, address it in a thoughtful counter-offer.

2) You Can Demonstrate Added Value

Value equals compensation. If you’re not happy with the salary being presented, it is imperative to make a case that centers around the value you’re bringing to the table. An effective resume can play a key role in this, as it can crystallize the unique qualities which set you apart, and serve as a blueprint for which aspects of your career to elaborate upon. Whatever you do, don’t try to negotiate on the basis of need. No employer cares why you need more money. What they need to know is what they’re getting for the additional investment.

3) You’re Seeing Potential Red Flags

If you’ve received an offer but have serious qualms about non-negotiable elements like the corporate culture, the career advancement track (or lack thereof), or your superiors, then you need to push for a better one. Big picture problems carry more risk, and more risk needs to be offset by more rewards. Americans now spend an average of 4.6 years at a job- take a stand for what you need to make those years happy and fulfilling ones!

Anish Majumdar is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Founder of ResumeOrbit.com, a consulting firm that specializes in Resume/CV Development, LinkedIn Profile Development and Executive Bio Letter Development for senior and mid-level professionals. 

3 Ways to Improve An Executive Resume


By Anish Majumdar, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). For senior-level professionals, figuring out what should and shouldn’t go on a resume can be a daunting challenge. The problem is magnified by how varied a career you’ve had, because the fact remains you somehow have to establish your personal brand and demonstrate value within the span of just a few pages…without going into excessive detail about any one thing. Many of the executives I work with have sought out my services after endless revisions to their resume have failed to yield results. In my experience, the culprit is rarely-if-ever a shortage of effort, but rather the lack of a effective strategy.

1) Align with Employer Needs

A resume is not an autobiography, but a marketing document meant to suggest excellent fit for the type of role you’re after. This concept goes double for executive candidates. Addressing the ways in which you can meet a company’s needs is a much stronger approach than simply describing goals and wants. If you’re currently using an Objective Statement or similar to begin your resume, I would recommend replacing it as follows:

–Evaluate the attributes and experience most frequently called out for positions you’re targeting. Job postings are helpful here. List the ones that come up time and time again which you’re proficient in.

-Now create an Executive Summary at the start of the resume, no more than a short paragraph’s length, which brings these in-demand qualities to the forefront. For example, a Chief Financial Officer candidate with a strong background in managing corporate acquisition & restructuring efforts, introducing effective internal reporting and analysis tools, and serving as the face of the company to lending institutions, VC firms, and financial markets would do well to highlight these attributes right from the get-go.

2) Think Big Picture When Describing Past Roles

At its core, all of the positions listed within the “Professional Experience” section of your resume need to answer the same question: how did my efforts leave this company in better shape than when I started? Don’t waste precious space describing responsibilities which are taken for granted at the executive level. A CFO doesn’t need to call out budgeting and forecasting skills. However, describing how he or she successfully led a company through a difficult liquidity period by transforming their business model and implementing targeted financial and accounting strategies most certainly merits mention.

3) Add Hooks

Due to the nature of filling executive positions, you’ll want to be conducting the bulk of your search through either networking and/or enlisting the services of a recruiter. This is why it’s important to list community involvement, volunteering, or any professional affiliations you’re passionate about. It’s amazing how many times clients have told me about a connection that was made, and a job landed, through someone sharing an affinity for an organization or aspect of their outside-work lives. It’s not necessary to devote a huge amount of space to this, but adding a few details in this area at the tail end of the resume can make a big difference.

If you’re ready to boost the impact of what you’re putting out there, I encourage you to apply these techniques and give yourself a solid advantage during the search.

Thanks for reading!

Anish Majumdar is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Founder of ResumeOrbit.com, a consulting firm that specializes in Resume & CV Development, LinkedIn Profile Development and Executive Bio Letter Development for senior and mid-level professionals.

4 Resume Killers (and How to Fix Them)



Developing an effective resume can be a daunting task. How do you summarize the most relevant aspects of your career within one to two pages? Which details should be included and which saved for the interview? How do you know if your document is really working or getting rejected out of hand?

The following four “Resume Killers” are common mistakes I’ve encountered in working with clients as a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). If your resume suffers from one of the following, I’d recommend a rewrite before continuing with your job search.

1. Lack of relevancy.

Some job seekers are so eager to demonstrate what makes them unique they forget a resume’s chief purpose: to underline your SUITABILITY for a particular position. Read through job postings you’re interested in submitting to. Which skills pop up time and time again? Which of these have you excelled at? These attributes should be the “theme” of your resume, touched upon in an opening paragraph and expanded upon within your work history. Above all, keep this in mind: the resume is where you demonstrate what a good fit you are for a particular job. The interview is where you demonstrate what sets you apart from the competition.

2. Missing career information.

The work history section of your resume needs to be structured in reverse chronological format, starting with your most recent position and working backwards in time to least. While it’s perfectly acceptable to consolidate older positions (those dating past 12 to 15 years) within an “Additional Experience” or similar section, leaving off crucial information for more recent positions sends up a big red flag in the eyes of recruiters and hiring agents.

Be sure every position detailed in your resume includes the following:

-Company name and location

-Exact Job Title Held

-Dates worked

While it’s perfectly okay to include a brief “Career Note” within your work history that addresses a time gap, fudging employment dates is not an acceptable substitute. Career Notes should be succinct and focus on positive results, such as any additional training you may have taken, etc.

3. Lack of quantifiable accomplishments.

While it’s easy to tout skills, actually backing them up with quantifiable accomplishments is another matter entirely. However, the latter is the SINGLE MOST POWERFUL STRATEGY you can use to get that phone ringing. Take the extra time to dig up career successes, checking documentation and reports, conferring with past colleagues and even contacting previous employers if it’s acceptable. Now create a “Key Accomplishments” section following every job listing them (in bullets).

4. Flashy resume formatting.

Be conservative when it comes to formatting your resume, steering clear of fancy logos, templates and colors. While these tricks do call attention to a candidate’s resume, they do so for all the wrong reasons, and constitute easy grounds for a rejection. Remember that a resume lives and dies on the strength of its CONTENT. Choose a simple layout and a standard font such as Arial or Garamond.

Anish Majumdar is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Founder of ResumeOrbit.com, a consulting firm that specializes in Resume Development, LinkedIn Profile Development and Executive Bio Letter Development for Executives & C-Level professionals.