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The Insider's Guide To Job Search

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A Low Salary Offer - Improving Your Position

by Kevin T Buckley, CPC

Even though the market has been improving and employers are beginning to hire again, being unemployed can sometimes bring you face to face with a potential employer who believes that offering you less than what you are worth is acceptable. This happens occasionally to employed people as well for different reasons and the question becomes how to factually justify negotiating upwards to arrive at an agreeable figure. There are several things to do when surprised by an offer below your stated expectations. The key is to be informed and prepared with information from reliable sources to back up your counter-proposal.

Research What The Salary Levels Are:

1) Research what other people earn in your position in the marketplace at one of more these sites and compare results; how similar are they? Select the geographic region or city for the most accurate information rather than just the national average. Different cities have varying cost-of-living factors. What applies to Toronto doesn't often hold true for Winnipeg.

http://www1.salary.com/Executive-and-Management-Salaries-2.html http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Country=Canada/Salary http://www.canadavisa.com/canada-salary-wizard.html http://www.wowjobs.ca/salary.aspx http://www.worldsalaries.org/canada.shtml

Capture a screenshot of the salary graph/s from these sites that support your objective for a higher salary range and past one or two of them with a link back to the page in question into your summary page.

2) Research recruiters who specialize in your field. If they have been in business long enough, they should be aware of the general salary ranges for your position. Look for firms that have an associate membership in a leading industry association in your sector as a good place to start.Many associations will have an Associate Membership listing of service providers in their sites.

3) Google for salary averages and salary surveys that may already exist as benchmarks. Use specific search terms: salaries+sales+manager+Toronto. There are sites that you can pay to receive a personalized salary report, or a report covering an entire industry. The costs can range from less than $20 to hundreds of dollars for a full survey report. Choose the mid-range or median point in a salary graph as your starting point.

Identify Clearly The Key Selling Points Of Your Experience, Skills and Qualifications In the course of the hiring process, the obvious reasons why to hire you often slips the attention of the hiring manager as the focus turns towards negotiations. The objective narrows down to getting the deal done and this process can be rushed because it is uncomfortable for some people to talk about money. They just want you on-board with the minimum of fuss. You need to remind them with a one page itemized list of what you bring to the table:
- Degrees
- Industry education and recognized credentials/accreditations
- Specialized courses related to the position
- Awards, Honours and Recognition from Industry Associations


Create one or two-line bullet-points of the most important work
achievements that had real impact in each of your positions and that are directly or closely related to the demands of this job.

Promotions received and the time-frames they were achieved in and why they were granted
Revenue increases or cost reductions/savings realized for key
New ideas conceived and implemented that are impressive and
benefited the company


A short summary, 3 to 4 lines which clearly expresses in the minimum amount of text why they should hire you.

Example of a Salary Support Document:

Respectfully submitted for your review.

- B.A. Degree, U of Anywhere
- Certified Practitioner of Anything
- Six sigma greenbelt
- Presently studying towards M.A., Industrial Relations, part-time
- Practitioner of the Year, 2009
- Assoc. of Industry Leaders
- Opened 3 branch offices in Western Canada in 2 years,
  achieving profitability in under 6 months in each location
- Developed a new reporting system that saved XYZ 1.2MM 
  in operating costs
- Implemented new computer processes that saved 22% in costs
- Achieved Manager of the year, countrywide for 2008 and 2010

I have 15 years of management experience in Eastern and Western Canada and have consistently met and exceeded revenue and profit targets for each of the last three years. My references attest to my ability to generate new business which is profitable and cost-effective. I am well known to major customers in the XYZ industry sector and have mentored and coached staff who have moved upwards in their own careers.

It is more difficult for an employer to justify a lower salary range when the proof is presented as to the salaries that apply in your position on paper from recognized and authoritative websites that focus in this area. Just preparing this type of salary support document is doing something that the majority of the candidates you are competing with won't think of doing. If you present this information factually, not subjectively, you stand a greater chance of having this data taken into consideration and the salary level re-visited.

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