How to get what you want at your next job
MMillennials have long been at the mercy of economic events, from the Great Recession to crushing levels of student debt. But thanks to the Great Resignation that began in 2021, this generation is experiencing its first taste of power and opportunity in the job market.
Millennials are mid-career and have more bargaining power than when they started, says Carlota Zimmerman, who runs her own career coaching business in New York. That, plus a simmering job market — some 10.6 million open positions in November 2021, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics — is why exploring your career options right now is a smart move.
Before you start polishing your resume, here are tips from career coaches to be strategic in your job search, prepare for negotiations, and ask for what you want.
Clarify your goals
You may be ready for a change, but that doesn’t mean you should start applying right away.
Be clear about what you want before you start looking, says Zimmerman. List the pros and cons of your current job. What gave you satisfaction? What went wrong? This exercise will help you get a better idea of what you want the next job to look like, she says.
Next, explore the areas you have identified.
Suppose you’ve realized that you want more flexibility or a better work-life balance in a new role. Define what that looks like, says Dana Theus, executive coach at InPower Coaching in Alexandria, Virginia. Flexibility can mean working non-traditional hours, working remotely, coming into the office a few days a week, or something else entirely.
Once you’ve fleshed out your goals, turn to job boards to research what people are hiring for, says Theus. Write down the parts of a job description that match your goals and gradually build your ideal job profile. You may not find the perfect job, but it will give you the confidence to express what you’re looking for to people in your professional network as well as during negotiations, she says.
Enter the free space of negotiation
Before entering into a negotiation, know which terms you’re willing to discuss and which are absolutely off the table, Zimmerman says. “You have to have the courage to believe that what’s important to you is important to your business. If not, you will need to find another company.
Identify your non-negotiables, suggests Zimmerman, by asking yourself questions such as:
- Am I willing to accept a lower salary if it means I could have more days to work from home?
- Would I be okay with taking fewer vacation days if I could have a flexible weekly schedule?
Write your answers on index cards that you can keep handy during interviews, she says.
And before negotiations, silence your inner critic.
Karen Chopra, career counselor at ChopraCareers in Washington, DC, says women are more likely to negotiate with themselves about jobs and compensation. “Don’t go after what you think you can get,” she says. “Go for what you want.”
Do your compensation research by talking to people in your network and on websites like Glassdoor. Chopra advises women to build a broad and diverse network to get a better idea of salaries. “You have to ask everyone not what they earn, but what the range is for the job you’re looking for,” she says.
Plan your talking points
As you go through the interview process, virtually or in person, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Bring your conditions early
Don’t wait until the final interview to bring up your must-haves, says Zimmerman. You can raise the subject on your first call with a recruiter. When asked if you have any questions or concerns, repeat why you’re excited about the position, she says, and then mention that being able to work remotely is also really important to you, for example.
Explain how your request benefits the company
If you’re asking for flexible work hours, for example, Theus recommends confidently stating that you know flexibility allows you to be more productive. Then you can specify a benefit to the potential employer, such as, “I can commit more to being available in an emergency if I have that flexibility,” she says.
Don’t explain too much
Whether you’re asking for work-from-home days or flexible hours, don’t feel pressured to share your life story, Zimmerman says. “Your desire to spend time with your children, your partner, for health care, these are legal human rights.” If you have stated that your application allows you to do your job well and explained how it benefits the company, that is enough.
This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.
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