Words to the Wise

April 11, 2022

Renegotiating the Resume: Interviewing from a Position of Strength – April 12, 2022

Desperation has never been a very strong starting point for a job candidate. The white knuckle aspect of waiting for a reply from an organization is something most everyone can relate to. So is the idea that, should an offer come in, you’re always best-off taking it and worrying about the details later.

The hope for work/life balance can wait as long as the bank balance shows an improvement.

That’s not much of a negotiating strategy. Yet, that’s the way it’s always been, at least until the pandemic proved to many that flex-time and remote work—works. And also, that so-called “side-hustles,” i.e., the jobs between jobs, could actually cobble together a substantial-enough income that the feeling of desperation itself (and the sense of economic insecurity that goes with it) have come off the table for people in record numbers.

As such, there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of companies truly desperate for workers.

No-more an attractive starting point for employers than it was for employees!

The fact that wages in the U.S. have risen at their fastest rate in over a decade hasn’t made up for the shortfall on any end of the scale. Nor has the reality that a full-time job likely remains the most cost-effective path many have in securing healthcare coverage for themselves and/or their families. On average, large employers pay a little over 80 percent of premiums at a rate of more than $6,000 per year.

No doubt that makes for a convincing argument to find an open cubicle, but no longer enough in broad terms for millions of job seekers to accept the collateral damage from the additional stress, loss of sleep, poor eating habits, and lack of exercise in exchange. Think of it in terms of working so hard just to have insurance so that you end having to use it for what otherwise might have been preventable illnesses.

For the first time, as witnessed by the continuing Great Resignation, those considerations have become non-starters under the old rules as 44 percent of current workers report thinking about changing jobs. That said, it’s high time for new rules, which not-so-ironically can start being defined by reworking the resume as a personal brand document of professional purpose. Here are four examples:

  1. Shoot for the top-end of the pay scale. Remarkably, according to a survey by Salary.com, less than 40 percent of people routinely negotiate their salaries, with just under 20 percent saying they never do. The money is out there, but not going for it can mean losing out on more than $7,500 per year. The big change here is being the first to throw out a number. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you know you’re worth.

  2. Propose what you do and do what you propose. Whether an interview comes by way of a recruiter or through your own efforts, you should walk- or dial-in with confidence knowing that the invitation would not have been extended if there was a question about capability. Take care to layout the specifics of what you’ve done previously in resume form and refer to it in laying out the groundwork for what you’ll do next.

  3. Know when to walk away and when to run. Some are simply gifted at crushing their interviews. The downside is feeling obligated to accept an offer that you know in your heart is a poor fit. That initial bout of adrenaline doesn’t compensate for the effort and misery that come later. The gut is a great arbitrator for those navigating between what the employer is saying and what they desire for themselves.

  4. Share your passion for every touchpoint. Encapsulated in the elevator pitch, but documented in the resume, there’s no substitute for having a strong command over your talking points. Your work history, integrity, and accomplishments matter. They provide a framework for hitting the ground running and a mechanism for verifying how you intend to holdup your end of the bargain should you land the job.

Or, you might just find that your investment in a professionally rewritten resume has opened an entirely new perspective on self-employment. If your resume proves you’re good at what you do, where you do it next becomes a matter of choice.

That can be just the thing to help you take your first step to your next step.

Resignation or not.

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