So, you believe that you are job-search ready.

But, have you considered the financial cost of this job change to you and your family?

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How prepared are you to discuss compensation or the cost of benefits for the new position or a promotion at your current company?

As you job search or interview for a new position, this thorny but not unexpected question interview question arises. A question that not everyone knows how to answer or has prepared for properly.
Answer it incorrectly, and you may receive an offer that you may be unable to accept. Or you may later recognize that you may have sabotaged an actual pay rise by compromising in the wrong area.

And, you may be left with the new reality of having to pay for items, tools, or transportation that your current company is paying for or subsidizing. At one interview during my powerlifting days, one manager gushed about the free gym in the building and excitedly took me to show off. The gym was well turned out and extra clean, but I was left to wonder inwardly:
1) Where were the real weights?
2) Would the two guys at the front desk be willing to dangle on either side of the straight bar so I could do my four-hundred-pound plus squats for reps?  
3) And who was going to spot me, maybe the guy doing bicep curls with the ten-pound dumbbells?
4) It was clear that this free gym could not be my gym, so there were no savings. But I digress….

Among the key areas to do comparative costs comparisons are the Bonus and Commission structure, and when they are paid, Profit-sharing distributions, paid time off (vacation days, sick days, and holidays), Insurance (medical, dental, disability, and life), Tuition Assistance, Childcare Assistance, Employee assistance programs that offer legal advice, gym memberships, retirement plans or career or health-related counseling and other services.

Many candidates make the mistake of accepting an offer because it is a pay rise, a perceived gym benefit, or the simple fact that the request exceeds their current base salary when the benefit-cost details a slightly smaller base from a company with excellent benefits may mean a larger take-home salary.

Do you truly know if your total compensation from the new position would satisfy, match, or exceed expectations before starting your job search? And, do you know what the benefit-cost details are before you accept an offer at the new company or a promotion at your current company?

Are you being hobbled by “decision fatigue?”

It is estimated that an adult living in an industrialized nation, averages about 35,000 decisions a day. Many of these decisions may be insignificant enough to be made while they barely register as decisions to us  – what to eat, what to wear, what to watch on television.

But noticeably as we are two plus years into a pandemic, a load of new, stressful decisions requiring unfamiliar forms of knowledge, biological or mathematical have arisen, and they are exacerbating the effects of decision overload.

While the choices we are making daily recently, may not themselves be obviously acute, they are nonetheless concerned with mortality. Is it OK to go to the gym? Can we pop into the corner store mask less, sine there are very few people in there, and we are just picking up one item. Which is safer, taxi or public transport?

Rather than trying to obsess about the regrettable decisions you have made, should rethink our decision-making processes. And if anything, positive can be learnt from making decisions these impactful times, it is the fact that we can choose to have less choices.

Read the entire article in the Guardian by Anouchka Grose – psychoanalyst and author:

Handling Gaps in your Work History

How prepared are you to respond to questions regarding a Gap in your work history? Being laid off or fired is infuriating, especially if you are dumped by an organization that you were thinking of leaving anyway.

Maybe the timing is terrible, but consider yourself rescued and liberated, PLUS you get to keep your “I am not a quitter badge”!

Is there is a plus side? Yes indeed!

You are being forced to reconsider your career options and proactively restructure the next phase of your career. If you got a decent severance package – HURRAH! You are being paid while you make this career upgrade.

Here are some recommendations for processing and handling the work gap in the initial phone call with a recruiter or hiring manager:

1)   Develop a concise non-emotional explanation for the gap. Was there a company-wide layoff, did your department fold, was there a personal health issue, or did you move to a new city?

2)   Do not fudge the truth. Do not change a full-time tenure at the company to a contract or temp role. Lying about your employment can be damaging. The wise among us realize that being dumped can be a good thing. So, evaluate what you have gained from working at the company that set you free.  

3)   One of the funnier moments in my coaching history is a candidate explaining that she was fired, but not really.

In response to my quizzical: Say What? She said that she was the only one laid off in her division, so she felt she was fired. Too much info…. Was the severance reasonable? I asked, she said yes. I suggested that we will call it a “dissociation.” It is incredible what language can do to improve one’s view of things!

4)   Explain what you were doing during gaps between jobs. Think hard. Did you volunteer, take classes to upgrade your skills, travel, or use the time to take care of a relative. Did you attend webinars take online courses etc.? In short, were you productive?

5)   Unless you are good at disassociation, try to subdue your maverick go-it-alone approach. Consider engaging a professional to help you sophisticate your resume and prepare for this and other tricky interview questions.

6)   Invest in yourself and your career, and above all, do not wait until you are at the interview itself to craft a response to what you have been doing the last three or six months. Above all, do not slime the people at your previous employer; they can be excellent sources for referrals.

Leveraging a referral to a Hiring Manager

Franklin Paterson Company Inc. Your One-Stop career boutique for resume writing, interview preparation and career strategy consulting.

Have you noticed that companies are beginning to list more jobs and the interviewing pace has picked up?

But, as mentioned in my last post, while there may be fewer job seekers on the market, the competition is stiffer, so a failure to follow the job application and interviewing rules is going to be far more obvious.

This is no time for the faint-hearted, budgets have been approved and the jobs that are available are part of a company’s long-term strategy, so there will be fierce competition.

You will also need to get by a natural adversary, the resume gatekeeper, whose sole purpose it appears is to decide whether your resume or your expected phone call will get through to the Recruiter or the Hiring Manager.

Here are a few tips that can help:
1. Do not address your cover letter, intro, or follow-up email with: “To whom it may concern”, the answer to that intro is – nobody. Use Dear Hiring Manager, Dear Recruiter, or the person’s name if available, or a simple: Hello, I am seeking a. XXX position (add the remainder of your cover letter here)

2. If you need to be a Confidential Job Seeker, please put somewhere prominent in your application an indication that you are actively seeking a new position. The word confidential can be off-putting, it may appear that you are not actively seeking a new position, so you must make the extra effort to alert the reader once they open your resume that you are actively job seeking immediately

3. When posting your resume on the job boards, follow the job application directions, before calling the person your colleague has referred you to.

4. If you have been directly referred to an HR person or to the manager, try to call from a place other than your desk at work or a noisy eatery. You cannot charm a busy recruiter, no matter how great your phone skills, if you cannot be heard properly.

Please call at the designated time and have your resume at hand. The company contact will do a better job interacting with you if you have forwarded your updated resume, and or created a job application in advance of the call.

If they should ask you to forward the document to them directly please enquire regarding the format they would prefer, please follow the instructions do not send a locked .pdf or a Dropbox file unless you are especially asked to do so.

Remember to ask your friend how the person’s name is pronounced, if asked to create an online application before the call or in-person meeting; please do so and do it properly and completely.

Follow up later with a phone call to give feedback regarding the call results. Hang in there… This could still be your year!!!!

Is there an Advantage to being Multilingual?

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The challenge for most people is to remember the point of speaking is to communicate.

Too often we put the onus of understanding what we are saying on the listener. And what we end up with is frustration and a “failure to communicate!”

As someone who speaks and thinks in four languages, (English, Spanish Hindi, and German) – there is always a better word, and sometimes the word spills out, and often it is not in the main language of the listener.

Our focus is to say our piece, to be heard, and not necessarily to be understood. Here are a few things that helps to be heard and understood:

  1. Pay attention to the silence or stare at the beginning, which means you have their attention, use the opportunity use it properly.
  2. Pay attention to the listener, let them know if you plan to take notes, in addition inform them when you have missed or misunderstood a point.
  3. Invite the listener to interrupt you if something you say is unclear. Be prepared to repeat yourself.
  4. Do not expect acceptance or agreement with your point of view.
  5. Know when to close and “get out of dodge” if the conversation starts going downhill.

My thoughts: Instead of thinking that I have the right to be understood, I simply think that there are four languages, in which I can get reasonably good verbal directions, as I am dreadful at following maps!