Negotiating salary can be a challenge for many people. It is the topic of many books, seminars, blogs, etc. You can give yourself an immediate advantage right out of the gate however by having an excellent resume and by being prepared. Of course, the resume is only a part of the hiring process, knowing how to interview is the other part, which is a topic for another day.
Your resume gives the reader a first impression of who you are and what you can bring to the organization. This first impression can act as an anchor, framing the mind of the reader to think you are at the low, mid, or high end of the performance and professionalism spectrum. Obviously, you want to anchor the mind of the reader to think that you are on the top performing end of the spectrum. This is where you can have leverage.
So how do you make a strong first impression with your resume? Let’s look at some key components.
Demonstrate your achievements and the value you bring
It is very important to highlight the career achievements that are most relevant, relatable to your target job, and that they are clear to understand. In many cases we include a “career highlights” or “notable achievements” section near the top of a resume so it grabs the readers attention. Further, you need to clearly understand and define your bottom line message of how you can help the organization you are wanting to work for. Answer this question: “What can you do, and what can you offer an organization that no other candidate can?” In order to answer this you need to know yourself well and clearly understand your target job positions.
Move beyond the job descriptions
It is important to create context in your resume by letting the reader know what you did in your past or current role. But what is critical to this is that you explain to the reader what the results were of your efforts. In other words, you want to provide statements about what actions you performed and what the positive results were for the organization. Knowing how your actions impacted the organization you work(ed) for will also communicate to the reader that you are not just in it for yourself but for the good of the organization as well. Resumes that are only a job description will give you no leverage for negotiating salary.
Showing your experience
Before writing your resume, you want to completely understand the job positions you are targeting. This may be no big deal if you are making a lateral job change, but if you are making a vertical jump, you need to be prepared. A key part of being prepared is by understanding the experience that the hiring manager will be looking for and effectively communicating that you have that experience in your resume. One suggestion is to read the job postings of your target job, make a list of the key areas of experience the organization is looking for, and then write down some examples of relatable experience. Do this before you write your resume to give yourself some framework.
If you can concisely capture your accomplishments, define your value, show the results of your work, and relate your experience in your resume in an eye-catching document you will have a leg up. Your resume will now be working for you. During an interview or salary negotiation you can reference your resume, for example: “As you have read in my resume I have extensive experience managing ABC while improving XYZ to accomplish LMNOP, this combined with my ability to EFG is why I feel I am the top candidate for this position.”
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