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Need Salary Advice After 2 Year Job Search

by Lisa
(Tampa, FL)


I have been on the job market over the past two years. I've experienced several good interviews but not been selected. I initiated research to learn how to improve my resume and interview skills, and found your website to be extremely helpful.

While my previous resume format was not bad, I made a number of changes following your recommendations. Recently I was called for a first and subsequent second interview. The information from your website on questions and the analysis helped me to engage in a very positive exchange.

I am expecting a call on their final decision shortly, but regardless of the outcome I want to thank you for the quality of information you have provided.

By the way, you indicate that you know of no reason why an email follow up letter to an interviewer should ever be sent by an applicant. In my situation, I had an interview on Wednesday and was told that a decision would be made by Friday. As a result, the only way to put the impact of a thank you in the various interviewers hands prior to the decision was to use an email.

At this point I am waiting for the decision phone call. In preparation for that I went back to your website looking for advice on how to engage in discussions on salary, benefits, start dates, etc. I haven't been able to find these on your website and suggest you consider adding this component.

Again, thank you for your help.



Mike Comments:

Thanks for your email, Lisa. I'm glad you found value on my site and I appreciate your input regarding salary/benefit negotiations. I do touch on these on my site, but I'm planning to expand on it soon.

Here are a couple of links that may be helpful to you:

If the company calls you to extend a verbal offer, don't be afraid to accept it if it's a good offer. A lot of well-meaning candidates feel they have to negotiate like a car deal. This isn't true. Look at your offer like a wedding proposal. Many times companies will make you an excellent offer right off the bat. If so, take it.

On the other hand, if you're disappointed with the offer, thank them, but tell them you'd like to evaluate the offer based on the entire package (benefits, vacation, cost of health insurance, etc). Usually they will email to you all this information.

If you decide to counter, make sure you give them a reason why you are asking for this additional amount. In other words, sometimes companies get down on bended knee and extend to you a wonderful offer thinking you will be very pleased. Some candidates mistakenly believe that if they were given such a good offer, there must be more money on the they start haggling for more. I've seen this strategy backfire as companies will get offended if they gave you a dynamite offer and you don't have the good sense to take it. I've seen a few companies withdraw offers for ridiculous counter offers.

Then again, if you're extended a weak offer, don't sound deflated or ungrateful. Thank them and tell them you want to think about it in the context of the entire package. If you decide to counter, tell them why you are asking for this amount. Reasons might be:

  • You are currently making x and you want to stay whole salary-wise

  • The cost of their benefits are x dollars more than your current benefits

  • It's a much further commute

  • Lots more travel and time away from home

  • You currently have a bonus and they don't offer bonuses so your W2 earnings will be less

The reason you need to justify your counter offer is because no one person usually has the power to approve it. So whoever extended you the offer will have to go back up the mountain to get it approved by a higher up. The manager will want to know why you want more money. When you have good reasons for you counter offer request, it's easier for the HR person to sell it to whomever.

Also, if you decide to counter, only go back to them one time. Don't keep nibbling for more after they say yes to your counter. Be prepared to say yes/no to their counter offer, even if it is a little less than you asked for.

Lastly, your email thank you note was fine considering the time constraints. A standard type written thank you letter is more memorable and keeps the process moving if things are dragging. This isn't the case for you.

Hope you get the offer! All the best.

Mike Petras

P.S. If you, or someone you care about, has been unemployed for 6 months...or new book could provide you the breakthrough you've been praying for. Click on this link to read the introductory chapter and the table of contents: Why Don't They Call Me?-Job Search Wisdom to Get you Unstuck.

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