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3 Ways To Ensure You Get The Salary You Deserve

3 Ways To Ensure You Get The Salary You Deserve

It may seem like an odd time to talk about salary with everything else going on. However, we believe that there is no wrong time to broach this subject and pursue your true value. That doesn’t mean that salary conversations are all smooth-sailing, though! You need to prepare ahead of time, and these three steps will give you the confidence to ask for the salary you deserve.

1. Know Your Worth

Whenever you’re searching for a new job, you should first and foremost know your worth. This is based on a variety of metrics, including your past salaries and experiences. Additionally, you need to do your research. Estimate and compare your salaries on sites such as PayscaleLinkedIn, and salary.com. Once you have collected a few different numbers, choose a range in which you’re comfortable. What is your preferred number? What is the absolute lowest you will accept?

Also, you should have a big picture view of your desired benefits. Sometimes, you may accept a lower salary for full health insurance, additional vacation time, or a matching 401k. Understanding what’s most important to you will allow you to make an informed decision when the time comes.

2. Be Prepared To Negotiate

There are few times that salary will be offered without room for negotiation. If the offer comes in a little less than you expected, don’t be afraid to ask for the salary you deserve. As mentioned above, make sure you have a solid list of non-negotiables and minimum requirements. If the employer is unwilling to budge or meet you halfway, and you feel that you have accurately estimated your worth, you can turn the offer down. Even in today’s tumultuous market, your work is still valuable!

3. Partner With A Recruiter

One of the best ways to ensure that you’re getting the pay you deserve is to partner with a recruiter. We have been trained to go to bat for you. We understand market trends and have built relationships with hiring managers. A recruiter literally lifts these burdens off your shoulders.

Are you ready to take the next step in your career and get the salary you deserve? Explore our open positions or collect more job search tips here.

Interview Question: Do You Have Any Questions For Us?

Interview Question: Do You Have Any Questions For Us?

What They Want To Know

Congratulations – you made it through the entire interview. Then suddenly, the hiring manager hits you with this question. Your mind is racing, trying to think of the right question that will sound intelligent and insightful. Don’t fret – your interviewer really isn’t trying to trick you by looking for some obscure, off-the-wall question. They simply want to ensure that you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision.

No matter how comprehensive the interview is, you must have a question at the ready. Avoid interview faux-pas’ such as asking about salary or time off. Instead, focus on questions that will enrich your understanding of the position or company. We typically advise asking something related to your success in the role or the interviewer’s experience at the company.

Example Answers For “Do You Have Any Questions For Us?”

“Yes. I know you’ve been working for Radius Consulting for five years, and I would love to hear about what you like most about working here.”

Or

“Should I be hired for this position, what could I accomplish in the first 30 days to ensure a successful and sustainable future with the company?”

Final Comments

Both of these answers show that you did your research and that you are invested in being successful in this role. Keep your questions short and simple, and most importantly, listen to the answers! As a bonus, your interviewer’s answers will most likely provide great content to circle back to in your thank you note!

(If you’d like to have even more interview questions in your pocket, check out this extensive list from The Muse!)

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Interview Question: Is There Anything Else You’d Like Us To Know?

Interview Question: Is There Anything Else You’d Like Us To Know?

What They Want To Know

An open-ended interview question like this can be intimidating, especially towards the end, when you want to leave off on a strong note. Hiring managers genuinely want to know if there’s anything they missed with their questions! It’s best to think of it as one final opportunity to sell yourself and give your closing pitch.

To prepare for answering this question, write out the most important selling points you possess in relation to the job you’re interviewing for. These can range from skills, personality traits, certifications, projects you worked on, even mentorships you’ve collected. When giving your answer, you only want to mention things directly related to the position. Bonus points if you can connect it back to something previously discussed during the interview. If you sincerely feel like all of those have been covered, give a brief overview of your collective qualifications and reiterate your interest in the job.

Example Answer For “Is There Anything Else You’d Like Us To Know?”

“Actually, I did want to circle back to the revitalization project you mentioned on the horizon. In my last position, I had the opportunity to consult on a similar revitalization initiative. It was an incredible opportunity, and I learned a lot about the ins and outs of that type of project. As a result, I really look forward to working on more revitalization ventures in the future.”

Alternative Answer: “I think we’ve covered just about everything, but I would really like to reemphasize my interest in this position. My past experience in managing large manufacturing teams for various companies would provide a lot of value to this position, and I believe I could offer unique insights to process improvement with my lean six sigma certification.”

Final Comments

Both of these answers provide one last overview of the candidate’s qualifications, adding value to their candidacy for the position. They are infused with calm confidence and will leave your interviewer with a positive lasting impression. Most importantly, you used the opportunity to sell yourself. The only wrong way to answer this question is, “Nope; I think I’m good!”

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

What To Do If You Feel Stuck In Your Job

What To Do If You Feel Stuck In Your Job

One of the worst feelings in the world is feeling stuck where you are. Maybe you’re yearning for a promotion, searching for a better company culture, or even pivoting your career entirely. It can be intimidating to let go of stability, the ability to provide for your family, and comfort. However, your choices aren’t just black and white if you feel stuck in your job: you either stay in a lackluster position for security or quit and dive into the complete unknown. Here are some concrete steps you can take to start discovering a fulfilling career, starting today.

Self-Reflect

You can’t get ahead if you don’t put yourself out there. Start by figuring out what you want your next step to look like. Is it the same role with more responsibilities and a more supportive team? Or do you want to do something completely different? Write out your must-haves, nice-to-haves, and must-avoids. Browse job boards and LinkedIn, taking note of what catches your eye. Is it a particular job title or perk (i.e., working from home)? Understanding your ultimate goals will help guide the rest of your career.

Research

You can’t move on to the next step if you don’t know what’s out there. Now that you know which direction you want to take, search for those jobs and skills. Keep in mind that a single job can have varying titles. While we’re not huge fans of “Data Analytics Wizard,” as a job title – it’s out there. So, keep an open mind!

Additionally, research your “dream companies.” Find out the types of roles they typically hire for, learn more about their company culture, and even connect with some of their employees on LinkedIn. Just because a company isn’t hiring for your ideal role now, doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. And it pays off to start building a foundation well before that door opens up!

Grow Your Skillsets

Whether you want to continue in your field or completely pivot to a new job, growing your skillsets is an excellent step for your career development. If you feel stuck in your job, it will expose you to your passions and help you discover what you truly love doing. Even taking free online courses looks great on a resume. It shows hiring managers that you choose to actively advance your career in your free time, and increases your skill toolbox. (Which can often result in a significant bump in pay!)

Connect With A Recruiter

One of the best ways to invest in yourself and your career is to build a relationship with a recruiter. Recruiters who work at reputable firms are an incredible resource for job seekers. It is their job to monitor the pulse of the market and identify the latest and greatest opportunities (many of which don’t even hit job boards!). They keep your search completely confidential and can purposefully pursue your dream companies.

When it comes down to it, you do not have to feel stuck in your job. As Karamo Brown recently said in an interview with LinkedIn, “you just have to, first of all, tell yourself that you deserve it and then believe that is out there. One of the ways I do that is by remembering the job that I’m in. At one point, I didn’t have, and I had to believe that this was here. So I have to go back to that mindset to believe that there’s another job out there as well that’s going to make me happy, to fulfill me, it’s going to bring me closer to my dreams.”

Are you ready to start the conversation about the next step in your career? Explore our opportunities or contact one of our recruiters today!

Is The Education Section Of Your Resume Up To Par?

Is The Education Section Of Your Resume Up To Par?

With the latest announcement that the United States government will no longer be prioritizing education over skills, many are left wondering what that means for their resume. However, your education section is not “one-size fits all.” There are different standards, depending on where you are in your career. But don’t worry, we’re breaking down the education section of your resume, whether you are a seasoned professional or a recent grad.

If You’re A Seasoned Professional

When you’ve been out of school for a while, the resume section of your resume loses its importance. Of course, it’s still important to include it, but you won’t need to add nearly as much detail. Things like GPA, academic achievements, and relevant courses do not need to be included once you are a few years past earning your degree. Simply use the space to note where and when you attended and the degree you earned.

Example:

EDUCATION

ABC University – Chicago, Illinois – May 2012

Bachelor of Science in Structural Engineering

If You’re a Recent Grad

When you’re fresh out of college, you may have less content and experience to include on your resume. This is where your education shines! Feel free to include details that highlight your qualifications for the job to which you’re applying. Significant achievements or awards and an impressive GPA help to show your self-motivation and accomplishments. (However, only include your GPA if it is noteworthy – 3.5 or above.) List out your relevant course work to showcase your experience in certain areas.

Because your education may be the most relevant display of your qualifications, recent grads can choose to move it to the top of their resume. Featuring the education section of your resume first will catch a hiring manger’s attention right off the bat and will be a bit more appealing than your summer job at GAP.

Example:

EDUCATION

ABC University, Chicago – Illinois – May 2020

Bachelor of Business Administration – Concentration in Marketing,

GPA: 3.8 – Achievements: Dean’s List 2019-2020, Senior Class President

Relevant Coursework: Marketing Research, Graphic Design, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Research

Overall best practices, no matter your experience, keep it simple! If you have a college degree, there’s no need to mention anything before that. And as a general rule, if you find yourself questioning whether you should include something – leave it off!

Now that you have the education section of your resume in tip-top shape give the rest of your curriculum vitae a refresh with our resume tips!

How To Get Hired In Today’s Job Market

How To Get Hired In Today’s Job Market

There’s no doubt that today’s job market is volatile. No one knows what to expect from day to day. And while that may be intimidating, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get hired. It does, however, require a bit of creativity when it comes to your job search. Follow our tips below, and you’ll be well on your way to your next position.

Give Your Resume A Major Boost

As employers start to reopen their doors to hiring, they will be on the lookout for self-starters. While millions of people were put in the same position during the economic shutdown, those who continued to work on their professional development will shine brighter than the rest. Take advantage of free online courses like the ones offered by LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Github.

Prepare To Pivot

The Coronavirus pandemic has permanently altered the way our world goes to work. Millions of jobs have been streamlined, and some won’t return at all. This means you may need to pivot your career path and try something completely different. The good news is that some industries are absolutely booming and are on the hunt for new employees. Explore LinkedIn’s Economic Graph for up to date data on which companies are hiring, the most in-demand job titles, and essential skills.

Put Yourself Out There

We have seen an extremely high number of people gaining employment from a simple post on social media. During challenging economic times, it’s incredible how people band together to lift one another up. Additionally, there are thousands of recruiters combing LinkedIn looking for qualified candidates. Chances are, you’ll be able to make a connection just from putting yourself out there. And the more connections you have, the more exposure you’ll have to opportunities.

Keep An Open Mind

The best thing you can do during uncertain times is to keep an open mind! Nothing is as we imagined it would be right now, and that’s okay. In the meantime, consider doing something totally out of your comfort zone to bring in income. Put your professional skills to use by freelancing. Squeeze your creative juices by opening an Etsy shop to make your favorite hobby profitable. Apply for a contract position to “test-drive” a new role before you dive in full time.

Can’t get enough job search tips? Check out more job search tips below!

Video: How to get a job in today’s job market

How To Get Your Foot In The Door With Your Dream Company

How To Get Your Foot In The Door With Your Dream Company

Everyone has a company that you dream of working for. Maybe they even inspired your entire career choice! And of course, rather than continue admiring them from afar, you’d like to get your foot in the door and make your dream job a reality. But where do you start? Begin by following these three steps. (Spoiler alert: you’ll want to get really friendly with LinkedIn!)

Learn everything there is to know

While “doing research” may seem obvious, we want you to take it much deeper than a brief skim of their “About Us” page. Follow them on social media, and do a deep dive into their previous posts. Keep an eye out for posts that allude to their company culture. Note key employees who are consistently featured. You may even be able to pick up on projects or causes that are particularly important to you! All of these things are important to store in your memory bank for networking conversations or interviews.

Find college alumni to connect with

College bonds typically run pretty strong, even if you’ve never met fellow alumni. It gives you a great conversation starter and highlights commonalities between strangers. Head to your dream company on LinkedIn. Follow the prompt to “see all employees on LinkedIn.” Once the search populates, you can filter further by schools. This will give you a list of any fellow alumni who currently work there. Send a warm connection request citing your alma mater and interest in learning more about their employer.

Don’t be afraid to send a cold email

It can be intimidating to reach out to a company without a prior introduction. However, if they have no current openings and you don’t have any existing connections there, how else would they know you’re interested? You never know if your message will reach someone at just the right time! Keep it simple and express your admiration and interest in the company and eventually working there.

“Hi {Company Name} Team,

My name is Kate, and I’ve always admired {Company Name} and your dedication to {cause.} I recently graduated with a degree in Business Administration and Journalism, and I would love to be a part of your incredible mission. I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and get my resume in your hands in case there should ever be an opening that fits my skills. I look forward to building a relationship in the future!”

While it may seem overwhelming at first, pursuing your dream company is actually a great way to build your network and grow your confidence. And besides, you’ll never know until you try!

Interested in more career advice? Subscribe to our Career Kickoff newsletter tailored specifically to those of you in the beginning stages of growing your career.

Here’s How To Write A Great Entry-Level Cover Letter

Here’s How To Write A Great Entry-Level Cover Letter

While some may believe the practice of writing cover letters is outdated, many employers are still requesting them. And as if it’s not challenging enough to write a full page about yourself to a prospective employer, how in the world are you supposed to do it with little to no experience? Just because you may be newer to the workforce, doesn’t mean you can’t write a great cover letter. In fact, it could be just the thing to set you apart from the competition and help you land the job.

Express Your Interest In The Company & Position

First and foremost, a cover letter is an ideal place to share your passion and excitement about the job you are applying to. Yes, this does mean you need to customize each and every cover letter you submit! It also means you need to do your due diligence on the company.

What is it about this job listing that initially caught your eye? Explain in detail to the hiring manager why you’re here. Furthermore, when you began to look deeper into the organization, did you see anything that multiplied your interest? For example, maybe the company volunteers once a quarter at the local animal shelter, and that is something you are passionate about. Be sure to include a sentence about your shared values.

Draw On Your Background

Just because you don’t have a wealth of professional experience in this field does not mean that you don’t have relevant talking points in your background! Think about the skills and knowledge you’ve amassed over the years. You’ve probably learned valuable lessons from being involved in athletics or volunteer programs. Did you have an internship in college? Even if it wasn’t in the same field to which you are applying, you surely gained insights that will prove beneficial to your career.

Paint A Picture For the Hiring Manager

Last, but most importantly, paint a vivid picture of why you’re an excellent fit for this position. Allow the hiring manager to imagine you as part of their team. Explain how you would contribute; share the traits that you possess that will allow you to succeed in this role. The better they can picture you on their team, the more likely they’ll be to make you an offer!

Don’t let cover letters intimidate you. While they may seem excessive, they can actually be a great opportunity to sell yourself to a prospective company! Are you interested in more advice on how to establish and grow your career? Check out our Career Kickoff Series or subscribe to our newsletter to get brand new advice delivered straight to your inbox once a month!

3 Ways You Can Advance Your Career From Home Today

Careers throughout the world have been altered forever by the outbreak of Coronavirus. Many have unfortunately found themselves unemployed, while others have been working from home in isolation for weeks. Regardless of your situation, this is an excellent opportunity to advance your career. Here are three things you can do today to get started.

Take online courses

There are thousands of online courses out there that you can take to advance your career. Whether you want to brush up on skills relevant to your day-to-day activities or add something completely new to your arsenal, you can find a course to match your goals. One of our favorite sites to do this is LinkedIn Learning (formerly known as Lynda.) With LinkedIn Learning, you can follow learning paths for almost anything, from CAD to Photoshop. Most courses come with documents allowing you to do hands-on learning, with the ability to take notes and review transcripts. And while LinkedIn Learning does come with a monthly cost, you may actually have free access. Check to see if your local library offers free access to LinkedIn Learning with your library card!

Grow your network

Ironically, social distancing orders have left people feeling more connected than ever (virtually, of course!). Professionals are open to networking and helping each other build the right relationships. It’s a perfect time to reach out to your current connections and see how they’re doing. You can also network with new professionals, although we recommend a strategic plan. Discover people who went to your same college, or are in the same field as you, and send them a personalized message about why you’re hoping to connect with them. Your chances of building a strong relationship will be much higher if there’s a solid foundation.

Volunteer

So many people are going through a challenging time right now. Is there any way you can volunteer your services while keeping yourself safe? Maybe you spend a lot of time scrolling Instagram. Offer to help your favorite local restaurant boost their social media presence surrounding their new takeout initiative! Do you have a great resume template that helped you land your last job? Share it with your connections who may have recently lost their job, or even offer to help give their resume a makeover. Not only will volunteering help boost your marketable skills and advance your career, but it will also make you feel so much better in this time of uncertainty.

We hope these career-advancing tips give you some peace of mind during this challenging time. And if all else fails, subscribe to our job search tips and tricks newsletter to get advice just like this emailed to you every single month!

Taking A Gap Year? Here’s How To Explain It To Employers

Taking A Gap Year? Here’s How To Explain It To Employers

It’s a very popular choice for new grads to take a year off after graduating. Whether you use that time to travel, help out family members, or just to figure out what your next step should be, it’s a perfectly fine choice to make. However, it is something you’ll need to explain to your future employers. Don’t be worried, though! With the right framing, a gap year can actually be a great asset to have in your arsenal. Just follow these three guidelines throughout the hiring process to explain (and even sell) your gap year to future employers.

Be Honest

The most important thing you can do when addressing your gap year is to be upfront and honest about it. From the start of your application – make sure to acknowledge it anywhere you can. Note it on your resume, explain further in your cover letter, and head to your interview prepared. Most hiring managers will ask about it during an interview, so be sure to craft a thoughtful answer that sells your gap year as an advantage instead of a disadvantage.

Use It To Your Advantage

So, how do you sell a gap year as an advantage? You’d be surprised at the value hiring managers may place on the experiences you had during your gap year. Some positions have hundreds of applicants, and a diverse skill set and background can be a great way to set you apart. Hopefully, you collected a few impressive accomplishments or life lessons throughout your time away. List those out and how they contributed to your maturity and world experience.

Relate It To The Position

Once you have a couple of great selling points in mind, think about how you can relate them directly to this position. Did you go on a solo backpacking trip throughout Europe that required you to plan ahead to book travel, hotels, and sightseeing? That kind of foresight could really come in handy for a project manager or account executive who needs to be incredibly organized. Did you spend a year working for your family business before you decided to jump in and follow your own dreams? What skills did you acquire during that time? No matter what, there are ways you can relate almost any experience to your dream position – sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of creativity!

In the end, taking a gap year after you graduate does not have to be determinantal to your career. In fact, it could be just the thing you need to set yourself apart from other young job seekers. It’s all in how you frame it. Interested in more job search tips specifically tailored to young professionals? Sign up for our Career Kickoff newsletter!