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Tips on How to “Cold Call” a Distance Contact

“Cold Calling” anyone is never easy. I had to learn it early in my career. A year after college, while working for McKinsey, I had to “cold call” competitors of our client to find out about their expansion plans in China. I was shocked when I first got the assignment. I remember thinking “how am…

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4 Ways to Make an Outstanding Resume

How to makes your resume outstanding? First, I think a resume must have the basics to just stay in the competition. See my post on top 10 effective resume tips first. Assuming you have done that already on your resume, then an outstanding resume is one that is TAILORED t to the job you are applying. Yes,…

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We can all learn from a 1 year old!

My daughter is 1 year old and just started walking. I am amazed how relentless she is at learning how to walk. Every day she would fall down many times and then get right back up again to try again. Her face is full of excitement as she takes more steps and now only after…

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Seven Career Killers

I came across a great article on Yahoo Finance called Seven Career Killers. I highly recommend it. #2, 3, and 4 are especially good points. Many MBAs from top name schools experience #2, a sense of entitlement. Just because you have experience and have a good MBA doesn’t mean you have a right to be…

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The Perfect Candidate

You may think “wow, I wish my resume or experience is more perfect. Then my job search would be so much easier” Well, think again. One of the top six pet peeves for recruiters today is a “Perfect” candidates – someone with all successes on their resume and often times can’t see any more ways…

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Salary Negotiation Tactics – 6 Practical Tips

Perhaps it’s because I am Chinese or because I loved my negotiations class in business school, I firmly believe no matter what the circumstance is for your initial job offer, you should negotiate for more (as long as you do it right!).

It does not matter whether the economy is booming or not, once you get a job offer – negotiate. Just two months ago, a friend got an 20% increase in his contractor rate after he negotiated. In this case, his client low-balled him as many would do during the recession because it’s an employer’s market. Many people are so thankful that they were offered anything that they forget to ask for a fair compensation. It’s still smart and okay to negotiate even in a tough market.

Here are four salary negotiation tactics that have worked for me and my clients over and over again.  There are also two tips on what not to do during salary negotiation.   Being tactful is key.   You do not want to end up with the results like this cartoon.

Four salary negotiation tactics 

  1. Be creative with what you negotiate. Your compensation is much more than just salary. There is also signing bonus, performance bonus, moving expenses, car stipend (if you have to drive far for work), 401K matching, title, vacation time, or pay grade. For example, even if the company can’t pay you a good salary now because of caps set in place due to the economy, if you have a higher pay grade setting, then your future salary and increase could be higher.
  2. Be specific and reasonable – tell the company what you actually want (a 10% increase, a guaranteed 5% bonus based on performance, a VP title, etc…) and make sure it’s not ridiculous. I was hiring someone who actually asked for 30% more in her salary when I know she was already getting a 15% increase from her last salary. We almost rescinded her offer.
  3. Tell them at least one and preferable two plausible reasons why you are negotiating for more. It’s no good and could even be offensive if you just said you want more money and can’t say why. Some good reasons are: 1. you have a better offer (whether you want to bluff about this is up to you as just like Poker, there is a chance they won’t call you on it); 2. your market rate is higher (meaning the average paying rate right now for this level is X% higher than your offer); 3. your current offer is a big step down from past compensation; 4. sometimes the sympathy card could even work and say “I have a new baby and I am just trying to make sure I can get by and 10% more could really help!” You would be surprised at what you can leave on the table if you don’t ask
  4. Express your enthusiasm to work for the company when negotiating. No employers wants to give you more unless they know that you are almost certain to take it if they agreed. Also, it doesn’t hurt to convey that you have very good reasons (other than compensation) why you want to work for the company.

Two things to avoid during salary negotiation

  1. Don’t ever give an ultimatum – or anything that could be construed as an ultimatum. Salary negotiation is an art form and takes practice. Don’t ever back yourself into a corner because you most likely still want to take the job if they said no.
  2. Don’t be arrogant or an A__ when negotiating: Remember the person you are negotiating with is mostly likely your future boss or someone who can influence your future boss’ opinion of you. This salary negotiation should be a good experience for both sides.

More people have been surprised at what they can get when they used the right salary negotiation tactics.  It doesn’t hurt to ask if you do it right. With that said, there is no guarantee anything will change with your offer. If the company declines your proposal, be sure to thank them for their consideration and make your decision on whether to join based on existing offer. Either way, you would have gained more experience on how to approach negotiation in the future.  We will change jobs many times in our careers.  The experience you gain in mastering these salary negotiation tactics will pay off again and again in the future.

Good luck out there!  I am always in your corner

– Lei

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“When should I go to Business School?”

Timing is everything and this is true as well when you think about when the optimal time to go to business school. Most people go after having 2-8 years of experience. If you work in consulting, anytime between 3-5 years is optimal. If you work in corporate, it really depends on your experience and how…

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Should I go to Business School?

It is not a simple answer. It depends on where you are in your career and what you hope to achieve with a business school degree. Business school is a huge investment of time and money and your reason for going should be more than just all my friends are applying or have a MBA…

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Business School Advice

A friend visited me today and said he is applying to business school. I told him I would be glad to give him some advice if he needs it. This made me realize that I actually have a lot to say on the topic of business school. Should I go to business school? When is…

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