Salary Negotiation Series – Part 3: Playing Russian Roulette


Read Part 1

Read Part 2

negotThanks to a Negotiation class taken in college and the book, “How to Land a Top-Paying Federal Job,” I am automatically programmed to attempt to negotiate salary for every position offered to me.  After receiving a job order, I go on auto-pilot and immediately go into salary negotiation-mode. Last year, I received an employment offer from a well-known company with full benefits and a competitive salary. Regardless of the offer, I still attempted to negotiate salary with the recruiter—however, this time, it nearly backfired on me. Check out this telephone conversation about my Russian Roulette game.

Recruiter: Congratulations! You have been hired by our company. We offer full benefits and your salary will be $X per year.

Aceey: Thank you! I am excited about this new position, however, is the current salary negotiable?

Recruiter: Well, I would need to speak with Corporate and your manager to determine that. Let me give you a call back.


Recruiter: Aceey, I spoke with Corporate and they gave me a mouthful. You have three choices:

1. You can choose to keep your current salary offered. This amount is guaranteed if you do not attempt the negotiation process.

2. You may choose to begin a negotiation process and there could be two outcomes:

a.) You may be awarded the salary amount requested.

b.)You will not be awarded the salary amount requested, AND the job offer will be forfeited.

TIMEOUT! At this moment I had already received one other offer from another company and was awaiting an offer from a 3rd company. You need to have 3-5 simultaneous offers from companies so that you can pick which one is best for you (salary, culture, location, etc.,).

Another reason why you want so many job offers at one time is when you run into situations like the one above! Always negotiate salary. If they recant the job offer, NO WORRIES!

I chose to not negotiate this time, not because I was scared, but because I planned on negotiating salary for another position. Plus I knew my other offers would guarantee a higher salary. I gave this company a break (something that I actually do not recommend but I was tired that day, lol)….

Aceey:  Thank you. I am choosing to recant my request for salary negotiation and will accept the salary amount previously provided.

A couple of days later, the third company gave me an offer that I couldn’t refuse. What happened after I recanted my offer for the particular position above is a WHOLE DIFFERENT STORY!

This ends the Salary Negotiation Series! Read books on salary negotiation and talk with recruiters and employers in your chosen fields! It will advance not only increase your pay, but may also enhance your career! Be blessed!


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


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!

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


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 or 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

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.

Grabbing Those Job Interviews!


Aceey with her "Work" gameface on.

After gaining countless interviews in the past 5 years and improving my resume skills training in several career fields, I’d thought it would be helpful to post some tips on how to get more interviews from online job postings so that my friends can get in on it too. These skills could turn your $8.00/hr job into a job that can get you out of debt in a year! Even if you have a job, it’s always good to stay marketable in the game. It does not matter what kind of economy we’re in, you can still get job interviews! (If you want a federal job, I will post tips on that too, in the future).

Step 1 – Search for positions in your area.
If you’re not the best at networking, go to and click “Advanced Search.”

  • Choose option “Show Jobs of Type – Full Time” or pick whatever type you’d like.
  • Choose the option “Show Jobs From – Employer Sites Only.”
  • Choose option – “Exclude Staffing Agencies.” Staffing Agencies are great! However, you want to skip the middleman because eventually you WILL be hired and you WILL ask to negotiate salary. (I have faith in you).
  • Choose your location. For me, location is everything because I don’t like long commutes or sitting in traffic. Example: I would choose a radius within 5 miles from a zip code. The zip code doesn’t have to be your own. If I wanted to work in the financial district I would search for the area on a zip code map and search only in that specific zip code. And yes, I have had job interviews in my own zip code before!
  • AGE: Choose “Jobs Published Since Yesterday.” You want to get the most recent jobs posted in your face. If not enough jobs pop up in this option, choose “Within the past three days.” You don’t want to choose “Anytime” because the list would overwhelm you. Make sure you display 50 jobs at a time sorted by date. You want to grab the jobs that are the newest! Be the first person that the interviewer sees and try to make them see that you are the best candidate so they don’t have to waste time to interview more people.
  • Save the jobs you see that are relevant to your job experience and qualifications. Don’t apply for them just yet!

Step 2- Make a different resume for every job you apply for.
Sounds tedious, unnecessary, and boring right? I know, but it’s very important to tailor your resume to fit the job description and qualifications. WHY? Because 95% of resumes that are submitted online are read by a computer program that only reads keywords. After the computer program deletes the resumes that do not have the keywords needed, a human comes into play.

For instance, I saw a job posting the other day. Here’s a snippet:

Job Posting: Associate Career Services Advisor – Atlanta, GATracking Code 11611-1343

Required Skills

  • Ability to respond to common inquiries or complaints from students, regulatory agencies, or members of the community
  • Ability to write speeches and articles that conform to prescribed style and format
  • Knowledge of Word Processing software; Spreadsheet software, Database Software and Contact Management systems

Required Experience

  • Associate’s Degree required, Bachelor’s Degree preferred
  • Minimum 1 year work experience in relatable field or equivalent combination of education and experience

Wow! Basically, anyone with a degree can apply for this position. Doesn’t even matter what degree it is! And if you don’t have a degree, if you have experience doing stuff on a computer (hey, if you found my blog, you know how to use one) you can apply for this position! If you want the interview for this position, add all those keywords in your resume, provided that you meet the minimum requirements. Example:


Associate Career Services Advisor Tracking Code: 11611-1343


  • Previous Work Experience In Secondary Education Administration– Ability to respond to common inquiries or complaints from students, regulatory agencies, and members of the community. Familiar with job searching techniques and interviewing skills.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing– Emphasis on Business Communication, Marketing Research, and Personal Selling.
  • Proficient Computer Skills– Knowledge of Word Processing and Spreadsheet software, Database Software and Contact Management systems; average typing speed: over 65 words per minute. Detail oriented with solid data entry and analytical skills.
  • Excellent Verbal and Written Communication and Grammatical Skills– Ability to write speeches and articles that conform to prescribed style and format. Experience in answering high traffic telephone lines; skilled in communicating with clients in a fast-paced environment.

*Items are bolded, italicized and colored, to emphasize I’ve taken it verbatim from the job description.

-Adding the job name and the tracking number/job ID not only proves that you read the job description and took time to make a resume for the position, but it will also automatically go in the “IN” resumes that would be eventually read by a human being. Do what you can to make it easy for the HR person to choose you so they don’t have to waste their time reading other resumes.

-Of course have your functional/chronological resume section handy and be sure to use action verbs. Add volunteer experience if it’s relevant. For instance, for the job posted, if I assisted refugees in finding a job or shadowing them on their first day at work, I would most certainly add that in my resume.

-If you are unemployed, find something to make the days go by! Volunteer at a nearby non-profit, volunteer at your kid’s school (trust me, teachers need a ton of help, and the PTA does too), gain more skills. When I was unemployed, one of the first things I did was take an online course for a software database for college campuses. I also purchased a Pharmacy Technician Trainee License (you can do this too, depending on the state) and started studying for the Pharmacy Technician License while looking for work. Adding that on my resume proved that I did not let grass grow under my feet while I needed a job. While unemployed, I began working out—it built up my confidence and gave me a better incentive to purchase more business suits!

Step 3- Start Applying… one opening at a time.

-Be honest in your job history. However, if your last job didn’t last more than 6 months, I don’t recommend you adding it to the application.

-If there is a cover letter section, fill it out! Check online for cover letter tips.

Be sure to save a resume that is specific to each job that you apply for. Don’t count the applications, MAKE THEM COUNT! It’s better for you to apply for 3 jobs in one day that you know you’re going to nail the interview for than applying for 27 jobs a day just for the heck of it. I think of the Apostle Paul when he mentioned “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air (1 Cor 9:26).” Be specific in your approach and don’t shadowbox your way in your job search. And even if you don’t get the job, getting a call for an interview is a confidence booster!

You can do this! By the way, I applied for the above job posting in my state and immediately received a call for a phone interview … then nailed the phone interview… then received a call for a face-to-face job interview and knocked the job interview out the box. You got this! God bless!