Salary Negotiation Series – Part 2 – How to Get a Raise at Your Current Job? Dress the Part!

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Click here to read Part 1 of the Salary Negotiation Series– How to Negotiate Salary After a Job Offer is Given  

I will never forget a guest speaker at a Management Honor Society Meeting I attended during college. She started off as a lowly receptionist that eventually became a manager and made more money because of one thing:

She changed her dress!

Things started changing when I started getting my clothes dry-cleaned. There was one specific professional blouse that I liked to wear when I knew upper management would have their meetings. Eventually I was asked to sit in those meetings. I really don’t think they would have let me take part in these meetings if I didn’t dress the part. Soon, I was asked to not only take a part in them, but to start running the meetings, then I became a boss!”

Are you at your job, making the same amount of money you were making last year? The reason may be because you’re dressing the same way you were dressing when you were first hired! Let’s face it, the coined phrase “appearance is reality” will not go away, regardless if you are the best person for the promotion or salary increase! So before you create your performance appraisal you want to make sure you are dressing as if you already have the raise! Let’s get started!

Scenario #1: The Telemarketing/Customer Service Employee

You’re on the phone all day with little physical contact with customers so there is a chance that your company may allow you to wear anything you want. You will see your co-workers coming to work with their pajamas, piercings, jeans, unpressed clothes and unkept hair. But if you want that promotion, you want to dress like you are the boss… Business casual! Why? Because:

1. You will have better posture when you are wearing nice clothes – I feel proud, professional, and in charge when I wear my business casual attire while the drones are wearing t-shirts and baggy jeans. I sit up with my chest out, shoulders back, and a smile!

2. Upper management will pay attention to you – your manager will notice that you are dressing like a manager and they will want to monitor you more often to find out if you meet the requirements for a promotion.

3. You will be invited to more decision-making meetings – or if you are in group meetings, you will look like the ace-beaucoup, next in line to be the boss.

4. At a group meeting, your ensemble is not complete unless you have a notebook – that includes bringing a notebook and being engaged in the meeting, regardless of how boring or short is. You will look so nice that they may ask you to be in upper-level management meetings instead of meetings with the other drones.

5. Your co-workers will begin to talk to you differently – Instead of your colleagues saying to you, “gimme some paper,” they will ask you, “Could I have some paper, please?”

Side note: If you are a woman: Wear make-up, if you’re not wearing any now. It’s been proven that make-up shows that you mean business! You don’t need to look like you are on the cover of Vanity Fair, but arching your eyebrows, wearing eye make-up paired with your favorite lip color MAKES THE DIFFERENCE!

Scenario #2- The fast food/retail employee – or Anybody Wearing a Uniform

Yes, even people at McDonald’s can get a raise! Dressing the part is a key in getting that raise and having people treat you more seriously at work! But how in the world can you set yourself apart if you have to wear a uniform like everybody else?

– Wear clothes that fit properly – Wearing clothes that fit properly give the illusion that you have either lost weight or not afraid to bend over backwards to help. Plus, it’s just more comfortable to wear clothes that fit!

– Press your clothes! – Even if you wear scrubs—even if you wear permanent press clothes, always look put-together. If that means waking up 30 minutes earlier, do it! The compliments that you get will build your confidence. Even if you work at a fast food restaurant, press everything! Have a crease in your pants, wear a belt, shine your shoes and try not to wear sneakers. If you wear black pants, wear black socks. Side note: Black Pants  ≠ White socks. Just…say… no! 😀

– If you wear a polo-style shirt – Tuck in your shirt and wear a belt. Again, this helps with posture and creating a gives that “appearance vs. reality” look!

– Wear leather shoes or good walking shoes instead of sneakers. If you must wear sneakers, be sure they are professional-looking as possible. The cow is dead anyway– you might as well wear it. 😀

Watch how differently customers will treat you when you look like the manager. They’ll talk to you better, they’ll think you are the boss. Your boss will see your posture and immediately say “Hey, that looks like my next assistant manager, or team lead!”

Giving the appearance that you deserve that raise sets you up for appraisal meetings resulting in a higher salary. Invest in yourself and watch your pockets get bigger! Part 3 of the Salary Negotiation Series will give personal examples of how I negotiated salary or earned a salary increase at previous positions. Good luck, and make that money!

How to Make the Job Interviewer Love You! Preparing For Your Job Interviews

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After sending in those awesome resumes that you learned how to make by visiting my first blog post on getting the job interview, it’s time to start preparing for your interviews, regardless if you have an interview scheduled or not. Before they call you for your interview (and they will call, because you are fabulous), I wanted to provide some tips that are often overlooked by most job-hunting assistance websites. These are honest, straight-forward tips to put you in the point-of-view of the interviewer.

When an interviewer calls to set up and interview with you there are a couple of assertive things that you should do so that you are not being set up for failure.

Appointment Time and Date

Refrain from appointment dates on Mondays and Fridays and afternoon appointment times . Why? Because, on Monday, interviewers are groggy and swamped with work that accumulated over the past week. They were probably having a blast on Saturday and Sunday, and probably aren’t thinking coherently (think about how you are on a Monday, BAM). They want the interview to be done– over with—so that they can actually do whatever it is that they do when they are not interviewing you. Also, I don’t recommend setting an appointment on a Friday. On Fridays, we all have that nonchalant “Whateverrr” attitude. On a Friday, the interviewer is not listening to you—they are thinking what they have to do after they leave from interviewing you—like going to the ATM and picking up the kids from school. They just got paid and want to go shopping!

The best appointment days are Tuesdays through Thursdays. The interviewer is most focused on those days. That way they can pay more attention to you so that you can make your awesome impression on the company. 😀

The time chosen for your interview is equally important. I strongly suggest agreeing to a morning interview. Why?  Because of something we call “The Itis!”

Dave Chappelle's diagram of what "The Itis" does to the body. “The Itis (pronounced “eye-tiss“) is something that is rarely talked about in the business world and I am unsure why, because it affects everything that we do after lunchtime. What’s “The Itis?” It’s that feeling you get after eating a meal filled with refined carbs, fried foods, and rich pastries. You feel full, sluggish, lethargic, sleepy. They can’t think well enough to actually take you seriously if they have “The Itis” so be wary of accepting an interview time after 12:00 p.m. (Youtube Link: Dave Chappelle actually gave the world a wonderful explanation of “The Itis” on his television show).

After negotiating appointment times, make sure that you ask them for more information about the location of the interview. Here are some of the questions I like to ask so that I can be prepared:

– What color is the building that I should be looking for? Are there any landmarks that can help me find the building quickly?

– What floor should I go to?

– Is there anything I need to know about parking?

– Who should I contact if I have any other questions or if I get lost?

It’s also a good idea go to your interview site the day before to be aware of any construction, delays, parking fees, etc.

Attire and Appearance

Note: This is for interviewees who will be in an office type setting. Dress like you already have the job. Dress as if you were doing the interview.

Macy's Kasper Suit, Notched Collar Three Piece Pencil Skirt Suit

Retail price of this suit is about $280.00-- I paid $7.99 for a brand new, similar suit at Goodwill.

The suit: The business suit is an investment. I do what I can to be sure I have quality business suits for interviewing. I’ve noticed that a lot of clothing stores don’t even have business suits, let alone business casual wear! Because of this, I’ve seen a lot of interviewees come to their interviews wearing just about anything (i.e., low-cut blouses with tight low-rise rayon pants).

If you have the funds, go to your nearest department store and invest in a business suit. Some stores like Burlington Coat Factory will even provide alterations for your suit for a nominal fee! If you don’t have a lot of money to purchase one retail, be of good cheer: I have found the best business suits at thrift stores—sometimes brand new, with the original price tags still on. I recently purchased a brand new business suit at Goodwill with a retail value of $178.00 for only $7.99! After purchasing my bargains, all I have to do is dry clean them and I am in “hiring mode!”

Ladies, please be sure to not have a high skirt—when in doubt, wear slacks. Gentlemen, a three-piece suit is not necessary but a tie is. The internet is awesome because they have websites available such as “How to tie a tie for your job interview.”

The "blazer" trick worked for Marge!

The "blazer" trick worked for Marge!

Wear a blazer. The blazer invokes authority… walk in it by always having your blazer on. This is a trick that I learned from the real estate industry and a guest speaker at a management honors fraternity meeting.  (Side note, notice that a lot of guys are wearing blazers with their tee-shirts and jeans at clubs, outings, music videos? They’re trying to boost themselves and look “authoritative.” lol).

Ladies: I totally recommend wearing makeup if you already wear it! I have read so many business news articles reporting that women that wear make-up end up making more money than the ladies that do not. I do not recommend the over-the-top items like shimmer lip gloss or full-false eyelashes. If you have long hair, put it in a ponytail or half-ponytail because you don’t want your hair to distract. Pantyhose or airbrush hose is a must, especially if you are wearing a skirt. Nails should not be long, and not be in outrageous colors or designs. I recommend wear closed toe heels/pumps for your footwear.

Always shine your shoes the night before, being sure that the heels are not worn and not in need of repair.

Everybody: wear no pierced jewelry other than ones in the ear, ladies (sorry, Gentlemen, no earrings please). Discreetly cover your tattoos. It is requested that perfume not be worn to the interview. We interviewers have sensitive noses. Chances are, we are going to be in a small room with you, closed off, and we need all the fresh air we can get because we’re nervous (see below). Don’t forget to use dental floss before going to the interview. It makes such a difference for your breath when you floss daily. If you smoke, try not to smoke before your interview.

Clean your car before your interview. This is especially important for someone interviewing for a position that requires travel. Put yourselves in the interviewer’s shoes again: “Why would I want to hire someone for a traveling job if they don’t have their personal items and lives in order in their own vehicle?” Get your car washed, clean it out, and put in a new air freshener the day before your interview. Little things like this boost up your confidence and have you walking to the interviewer’s door with the assertive demeanor guaranteed to get you the position.

Make the Interviewer’s Job Easier!

"The Scream" by Edward Munch

Interviewers are terrified at the thought of interviewing!

Interviewers are afraid of you! They’re scared—they don’t know what to expect. They don’t know what the acronym of their company name stands for. They don’t know who’s getting the next promotion. Interviewers are nervous too! So do your interviewer a favor by coming to the interview prepared. Search for website titles “Questions to ask during a job interview” and be sure to do your homework about the company, including a search for recent news articles about the company. Then tie all that in to how you can make the company even better (that’s what you’re going to be there for, right? 😉  ) You’ll be so comfortable and assertive that your interviewer will remember you. You just won’t be another resume on the desk. Congratulations, you’ve made your interviewer’s job easier by giving them what they want.

What to bring with you to the interview so that you can make your scared interviewer feel at ease:

MEAD CAMBRIDGE CITY TRIFOLD PADFOLIO, BLACK

Retail value this portfolio is $18.99. I purchased a similar portfolio for about $7.00 at my nearest Big Lots!

– Professional-looking portfolio to carry your documents 

– Pen & paper to take notes during the interview

– Hard copies of previous successes (certificates, transcripts, statistics of goals accomplished, etc)

– A list of references

Southworth Business Paper

Ask your local printing service to use "Resume Paper" or "Business Paper" to print out your resumes so that it can stand out from other resumes on your interviewer's desk.

– …and a few copies of your resume printed on heavy resume paper. Be sure to have one for yourself and least three additional copies (sometimes during the interview, they fail to mention that a panel will meet with you). This is how you can have your resume stand out from everyone else. Most of the time we interviewers see a dot matrix or non-formatted copy of your resume because it usually screened online first. Printing out your resume in a readable format, on heavier paper helps us know that you are taking the interview seriously! This is especially important for  federal job interviews. Make sure your resume has been proofread and revised to meet the objectives of the job.

Last, be sure to get a good night’s sleep before your interview. We can tell if you didn’t by looking at your bloodshot eyes, lol. Again, be confident, be assertive, and know pretend that you have the job before you have the job. You got this! God bless!

Phil 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.