With Kyle’s announcement last week, among other chat about job changes in the twittersphere, I thought it might be timely to discuss job searching and negotiation.
Wage equity and negotiation have been an interest of mine for some time. I even co-chair a subcommittee at my institution that addresses these issues. (Before I continue, let me add the typical disclaimer that what I post here is not in any way representative from my institution or that subcommittee.)
To me, so many wage equity issues could be addressed in any workplace through transparency. In the absence of transparency, those of use who champion wage equity, try to level the playing field as much as possible where negotiation skills are concerned.
For those of you .eduGuru followers who may be early in your career, here’s some advice that can help you along:
- Do the math. We’re not just talking apples to apples. Compare salaries, flex and work-at-home time, budget for travel and professional development, and other benefits. If you find out you’ll have to choose between shelling out your own cash for personal travel or passing on valuable career-building opportunities, you may want to stick with a slightly lower paying position with a high travel budget. Try to find out what typical raises are. Are you close to time of year that raises are already calculated? If so, taking a 4% salary increase in a new position instead of a 4% raise at your current position may not be worth the move.
- Never accept a lateral move. By lateral I mean same pay and same level of resume-building experience. If the person making you an offer can’t offer you more pay, or a chance to give you more resume building experience, or some other benefit, why consider the offer? If you are tempted to take a lateral offer, you are either a) so desperate to get out of your current job you will take anything, or b) not experienced enough yet to be bidding on other jobs. If they say the salary is fixed, that’s fine; be prepared to walk away. Besides, you’d be surprised how many “fixed” things aren’t, or what other little perks you can negotiate if you can’t get the salary you want. How about saving on your commute with a work-at-home day?
- Build [Your Name Here] the Brand. Do you pay as much attention to your name as you do to your college’s site? When was the last time you Googled yourself? (Luckily I have have a very unique name. Google “Technology Training” and you get about 7 pages before you get to “Ashley Massaro”. Hmm, I wonder how many pages she gets before she gets to me…) Remember, potential employers can do this as well. Treat your name like it’s your personal brand, then market it accordingly. Keep a portfolio of work online, whether that’s in a single site, or scattered across the social Web in YouTube, slideshare, etc. If you can come to an interview and have your name precede you, then you won’t be the only one negotiating to get you in the door.