Why I Don’t Work for Free – Real Talk!

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Working for free leaves you broke.This is my six year anniversary of resume writing, and I just completed my first year as doing it as a job and side gig. I make occasional posts on social media of my victories, which prompts family and friends to ask me to help with their resumes. At first, I helped for free with no issue but then…

Life got in the way!

I almost wore myself out! I had to begin to charge a fee for the service, even to my family and friends—sometimes actually having to decline to provide my services due to the amount of people that would request help. True colors came out and I got hate-mail for charging a fee. So I will explain in great detail why there is a cost for service.

1. I can’t give you quality service for free!

Resume writing and career coaching takes time, effort, and a lot of work on my end. Look at all the stuff that goes into providing a quality resume and job search coaching session:

1. I interview clients on what they want in a position, whether it is a new position, a promotion in a current industry, or if the client is using transferable skills to switch industries.

2. I edit resumes & cover letters, check for grammar, spelling, subject/verb agreement errors (and you would be surprised what “Spell-Check” does not pick up. 🙂 ).

3. I teach how to find positions without the use of internet job openings (keep in mind that over 70% of open positions are NOT posted online).

4. I speak with people daily on how important interview attire is; I discuss the importance of confidence, questions that the interviewer will ask and questions to ask the interviewer.

5. I teach follow-up tips: thank you letters, how to contact employers and how to record the job search to document all progress.

working_for_free

To give people, for free, the complete package so that they don’t come back running every time they need a new job for free is a disservice to myself, as there is so much energy that goes into getting you the results you want. It’s not just about making a resume pretty (although, I do that too, for a nominal fee).

I work a full time job doing all those things listed, plus I do career coaching on the side. It sometimes takes up to 19 hours of my day. So, time = money!

2. I do not want you to have sub-par quality work or to not have the work done at all.

For example: Sally wants me to do resume, However, I have 4 resumes to edit at work, 3 resumes with my side gig (and they are actually paying me), plus personal things to do (yes, in the midst of saving the world, I do have a personal life). Guess what gets put on the backburner? Yep, Sally’s resume.

3. Resume writing and career coaching takes time, effort and a lot of work on YOUR end.

Looking for a job or trying to switch careers is a full-time job! Not only do job seekers have to scour the internet for job postings, but since 70-80% of all open positions are not even posted online, much of the leg-work involves searching for companies in certain industries. I would say that more than 90% of job seekers that I meet do not even do this step due to not knowing that they can apply for unlisted positions or opt out of this step just out of laziness.

Resume writing and editing takes a lot of work!

Since it’s important to have a different resume for each job you apply for, making them takes a lot of time! Someone who strategically applies for positions by changing their resume to meet the needs of the employer has a better shot at a job than someone who aimlessly applies for 60 positions online by using the same resume with no cover letter. You have to put in work and

your time = money too.

4. A job search in itself is an investment!

Look at all the stuff you have to buy to have an effective, successful job search:

– Resume paper

– Interview attire (outfits, shoes)

– Faxing fees

– Postal mail fees (stamps, envelopes)

– Transportation fees (gas, public transportation fees, taxicab fare)

– A portfolio to hold all your documents

– Books and publications that teach how to search for positions successfully.

If you are a job seeker not making an investment to purchase the bare minimum to have a great job search you won’t get the job of your dreams!

5. You won’t put in effort when you don’t put value to it!

Do people read free books? Most of the time, NO. It sits on the shelf, especially if it is a book in which they are not interested.

At one time, I did request to view resumes for free… What would happen? Sometimes I wouldn’t get the resume at all when I asked for them. It would almost be like pulling teeth for the person to send back the resume corrections or to let me know if they made their list of 35-50 companies to research and make attempts to contact them.

It’s so much easier to teach people how to find jobs on their own than to have them come to me every time they want a new job. It’s like the “teach a man to fish” proverb. 🙂

So there you have it!  Quality work = quality time = quality money. If you read this post carefully, you’d know how to save money by reading my tips and great books on how to find jobs (actually reading this post teaches exactly how to revamp a successful job search plan).

Habakkuk 2:2- “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.”

Salary Negotiation Series Part 1- How to Negotiate Salary After a Job Offer is Given

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The possibilities are endless, it's up to you how much money you want to make!

I get a ton of questions about salary—and with good reason too: the gender/income gap employee, the new graduate/entry level employee, and the seasoned-in-the-field candidate all want to know when and how they can make more money! Can you negotiate if you are in either situation? The answer is always yes!

In all three scenarios, most of the time, the reason that these three candidates did not get a higher salary is answered in the best-selling book of all time:

James 4:2 “…ye have not, because ye ask not.”

Yep! Your salary isn’t higher because you didn’t ask for it to be higher. Eight times out of ten, a newly hired employee will not attempt to negotiate salary because:

  1. They don’t know they have the opportunity to negotiate
  2. They are afraid that the offer will be recanted if they ask for more money
  3. They’re so eager or desperate to work that they will take any offer given to them.

I rarely hear women negotiating salary, yet they wonder why the salary/gender gap is so high. Ladies, pardon mon francais, mais, we are going to have to man up, LOL! I rarely see black men negotiate too. Well… look no further because I am here to save the day and I don’t need a Lincoln Hat!

Interviewing and Negotiating

Your best bet is to work on your salary negotiation tips before you are offered the position so if the opportunity to negotiate arises, you will be ready!

Q: When do you negotiate salary? Do I talk about salary during the interview?

A: You discuss salary negotiations after you are given an offer. Do not discuss money with your interviewer or recruiter until you are given an offer. By the time you are in that interview chair or in your phone interview, you should already know the possible salary range you should be given.

Always negotiate salary. Always negotiate salary. Always negotiate salary. Can’t stress that enough!

Q: What if they bring up salary during the interview, even if I don’t bring it up? What should I do?

A: If you’re in that interview chair, your research on how much you may be making should already be done. Check www.salary.com or www.glassdoor.com for all the salary range information you need. During your initial interview with your recruiter/prospective employer, it’s best that you not give a number at this time… because you haven’t been given an offer. Go ahead and use the Socratic Questioning method:

-“Are you providing an offer for the position since you are considering a salary for me?”

-“I am also eager to begin working also, but does this mean you are offering me the position?”

Yep! Put them in the hot seat! This shows that you don’t care about the money—what you care about is being hired and making the company money!

So let’s make a scenario. You get a phone call from one of the many jobs for which you interviewed and you are given an offer of $X per year. What’s next?

You Have to Negotiate Rather Than Demand!

Table 14-1 Negotiate Rather Than Demand!

 Ultimatum or Demand (Don’t do!)   Negotiating Questions (Just do it!) 
Thanks for your offer, but I need a much higher salary and reimbursement for my moving expenses to take the job. I am so excited about the possibility of contributing my skills to this organization. But is there any flexibility or wiggle room in your salary offer and could your office help cover my moving expenses?
I appreciate your offer. But I’m afraid that compensation might be a deal-breaker. I’m excited about this job. I’d like to work out an agreement that would make both of us feel great. Would it be possible for you to raise your salary offer? I think I deserve consideration on this because…
Table Excerpt from the book, How to Land a Top-paying Federal Job

And you better come correct with the reasons why you deserve a higher salary too! 😀

Another rule, don’t give your recruiter just one salary number. Give the recruiter a salary range. Remember, you are negotiating, not demanding!  Check out this dialogue for a great example on negotiating:

Interviewer: We would like to congratulate you on getting the position! Your salary is going to be $X K a year.

You: That is excellent news! Thank you so much for offering me this position! But is there any flexibility or wiggle room in your salary offer? *pause!*

Interviewer: What salary were you thinking about getting?

You: Based on my ___________ *give them 2 or 3 reasons why you are the best candidate, not the reasons why you deserve or demand a salary increase* I believe a salary range of $X+Y to $X + (Y+ 3) is sufficient.

Now prepare for the answer… most of the time, the recruiter is not in charge of your salary, especially if the position is for a large company. They may have to contact their manager or someone in corporate to find out if you are approved for a salary increase; also they may need to check their budget to find out if they can afford you (because you’re so awesome, professional, and amazing)!

Remember that salary range that you gave them? If you gave them the salary range of $X + Y to $X + (Y+3), chances are the company is going to be cheap and give you the lowest number in your range. Look at my FUN equation, hee hee:

X =  Original salary offer

X <  X+Y

BOOM! Even though you didn’t get the top number in your requested salary range, you just made more money than your future colleagues. But wait… there’s more! Look at all this other stuff you can negotiate!

Example of what you can negotiate

Benefits That May Be Negotiable
Salary

Student Loan Repayment

Relocation Bonus and or moving expenses, if you are moving to take the job

Recruitment bonus

Accelerated vacation accrual rate

Start Date

Alternative work schedule or telecommuting options

Tuition reimbursement, if you want to take job-related courses or earn another degree

Parking, if you drive to work

Access to childcare facilities

Date of your first review

Salary advance

Table Excerpt from the book How to Land a Top-paying Federal Job

For example: wouldn’t it be nice to have a fun 2 WEEK paid vacation? Or 12 weeks maternity leave? Ahhhhhh… 😀

As you can see, my favorite book on this subject is Lily Whiteman’s How to Land a Top-paying Federal Job. Please read that book for the best tips on salary negotiation!

Part 2 of my Salary Negotiation Series is going to cover my personal tactics and examples of how I negotiated salary—some of which are… awkward, embarrassing, downright unconventional, but they worked. Part 3 of the Salary Negotiation Series will discuss how to get a promotion at your current job—a must-read for everyone! STAY TUNED!

My credentials?

1. I have been helping people find employment and (make more money) for over 5 years. I’m professionally trained in career coaching, resume writing, and personal development. I actually do this for a living, 😀
2. I have been successful in negotiating my own salary and promotions for over 6 years.
3. I like grapes. Grapes are fun.