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4 Stunning Statistics People Ignore When Job Searching and Negotiating

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How to Negotiate Salary: The Negotiation MindsetOn a warm summer day in 2012, I sat with my friend Chris in Republic, a bustling Asian-fusion restaurant in Manhattan’s Union Square. He and I had previously worked at the same large company, although did not cross paths often. Chris was now looking for work, and I was able to connect him with several people in my network.

As we finished up, the waitress brought the bill and I reached for it, but he got to it first. “You’re out of work,” I exclaimed, “Let me get this.” Chris refused. “I’ve got it. You helped me out a lot today with strong leads. Besides. It’s on the lunch fund.”

As I gave him a confused look, he went on to explain. “I know how important networking is during a job search, so when my wife and I sat down to tighten our budget after getting laid off, that was an area we didn’t want to cut back on. Therefore, we allocated a certain amount each week that would be specifically used to take people to lunch for networking purposes.”

As someone that helps others negotiate their salary and navigate this new economy, it was refreshing to finally hear someone that gets it. As you can guess, Chris wasn’t job searching for long. However, that can’t be said for thousands of others who ignore 4 stunning statistics.

1) The job search: Up to 80% of jobs are found through networking

While the numbers vary from study to study, one report from ABC News showed that up to 80% of jobs are found through networking. Despite these overwhelming odds, it’s amazing to me how many people spend their time doing exactly the opposite during their job search. On college campuses across the nation, I constantly hear of students working countless hours on their resumes, sending them out shotgun style.

When I present to these graduating seniors, I tell them “the good news is, what this means is that for every day you spend scouring, you should spend 4 days partying.”

Tip: Along with Chris’ lunch fund, he set up a networking schedule. Mondays are for meeting with a friend, Tuesday are for old co-workers, Wednesdays are for Meetup groups, Thursdays are for industry groups, etc.

2) The interview: 75% of recruiters are required to do online research of candidates…

…and 70% report that they have rejected candidates because of the information they found. This New York Times article says that Social Media History Becomes a New Job Hurdle, while Mashable cites a study showing as high as 90% of recruiters look at social networks of a candidate.

Many job-seekers are finally aware that they should be locking down their privacy settings on Facebook, and even the college seniors have been taught to delete the keg stand photos. However, what if there’s a photo or article floating around that is not flattering? While it’s not always easy to remove something bad, it’s fast, easy, and inexpensive to create your own web presence and boost your rankings. Seriously, it takes about 15 minutes and costs a whopping $1 per month.

Time and again, I ask job seekers… “What happens when someone Googles you?” Here are the most common results:

  • Facebook or LinkedIn come up. OK, while this isn’t a bad thing, it’s fairly generic.
  • My name is popular… nothing comes up. Once again, while not a bad thing, it’s not a positive experience either.
  • Something bad comes up. This is not helping them with their job search.

I could count on one hand the number of people that told me, “Well, I know that recruiter will Google me, so I built a quick personal website to highlight my skills and enforce my brand.”

Tip: While this Guardian article tells you WHY everyone should register a domain name, I am so passionate about this topic that I made a site that shows people HOW to register a domain name.

3) Negotiating an offer: Only 7% of women negotiate their starting salary…

…while 57% of men negotiate theirs. While research varies and that percentage might be low across all female job-seekers, this particular number came from a negotiation study of Carnegie Mellon MBAs, and has been quoted by Sheryl Sandberg in her TED talk. The truth is, far too many people – men and women – fail to negotiate their salaries when receiving a job offer. One reason I’ve found is simple; no one teaches you how.

  • Your family rarely teaches you negotiation skills.
  • Most colleges career centers don’t teach negotiation.
  • Money is often a taboo subject among friends, so it’s unlikely they will share details.
  • Your supervisor certainly isn’t going to help you with tips on making more money.

The good news is, it’s a topic that can be taught. The first step is getting in a salary negotiation mindset. A LinkedIn survey has shown that 39% of US job seekers are anxious when it comes to negotiation. I say, don’t be anxious, be excited.

Knowing your worth and making a counter-offer is not only accepted, it’s expected. Think about the last time you were on a used car lot. The salesman came up and told you the price of that rusty 1999 Toyota Camry with 135,000 miles. Did you just accept his first number and hand over a pile of cash? No! You dug into your research, knew the value of the product, and made a counter-offer. The same can be done with a job offer.

Tip: When pressed for salary during an initial interview, use my “right back at ya” method, deflecting the question and turning it back on the interviewer. Example:
HR: “So, what were you looking for in terms of salary?”
You: “Well, I’ve done my research and have a good idea of my value on the market, but I found that it varied based on several factors… what kind of range were you thinking?”

4) Getting a raise: Apple has sold 100,000,000 iPads

Wait, what does Apple announcing 100 million iPad sales in October 2012, or the fact that they sold 3 million iPads in 3 days have to do with getting a raise? Stick with me here:

1) When asking for a raise, a lot of people simply TELL their boss what they have done. That’s fine. But top performers that get raises aren’t like everyone else. They’re memorable. They get it. They care about things like presentation and design.
2) So someone that is memorable doesn’t talk about accomplishments, they SHOW their accomplishments. They engage their audience. They tell compelling stories. They illustrate with words, photos, videos, images, charts, and statistics WHY they deserve a raise and HOW they contribute to the bottom line.
3) A great way to tell a compelling story is through a portfolio. Once the realm of only designers and photographers, I feel that just about any employee can put together a portfolio of accomplishments that will impress a boss.
4) Most of our lives have gone digital… our photos, our videos, our music, our movies… why have so few people adopted a digital portfolio?
5) With more than 100 million iPads and other tablets on the market, why not be memorable and put together a killer presentation to impress your boss and get that raise that you deserve.

In fact, in the New York Times, Tony Wagner, a Harvard education specialist felt that it should start even sooner, saying “All students should have digital portfolios to show evidence of mastery of skills like critical thinking and communication.”

Tip: From the first day on the job, start collecting and saving data points such as key wins, budget savings, sales records, etc that you can use in a portfolio and then as ammunition during your review. I had fun creating templates – What would George Washington’s digital portfolio look like? – to get people started.


Getting the job you want at the pay you want is difficult enough… use stats to your advantage and you’ll not only have a lunch fund, but also a new car fund, a beach house fund, a retirement fund, a yacht fund….

Guest Post by Jim Hopkinson, author of “Salary Tutor: Learn the Salary Negotiation Secrets No One Ever Taught You.” Jim has recently launched two fantastic online courses. Use coupon code DaveSentMe60 to receive 60% off How to Negotiate Salary: Negotiating a Raise or Promotion (expires April 30). Be sure to check out his free course How to Negotiate Salary: The Negotiation Mindset — 500 students signed up in 3 weeks.

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