AP – Millennials have long been at the mercy of economic events. But this generation is experiencing its first brush with power and opportunity in the job market.
Millennials are midcareer and have more negotiating power than their early days, said Carlota Zimmerman, who runs her own namesake career coaching firm in New York City. That plus a hot job market is why exploring your career options right now is a smart move.
Before you start polishing your resume, here are tips from career coaches on being strategic with your job search, preparing for negotiations and asking for what you want.
GET CLARITY ON YOUR GOALS
You might be ready for a change, but that doesn’t mean you should start applying for jobs right away.
Be clear about what you want before you start searching, Zimmerman said.
List the pros and cons of your current job. What gave you satisfaction? What didn’t? This exercise will help you get a better idea of what you want the next job to look like, she said.
Next, drill down on the areas you identified.
Say you’ve realised you want more flexibility or a better work-life balance in a new role.
Define what that looks like, said Executive Coach Dana Theus at InPower Coaching in Alexandria, Virginia. Flexibility could mean working non-traditional hours, working remotely, coming into the office a couple of days a week or something else.
After you’ve fleshed out your goals, turn to job boards to research what people are recruiting for, Theus said.
Write down the parts of a job description that match your goals and gradually build your ideal job profile. You may not find the ideal job, but this will give you the confidence to articulate what you’re looking for to people in your professional network as well as during negotiations, she said.
GET INTO THE NEGOTIATION HEADSPACE
Before entering a negotiation, know which terms you’re willing to discuss and which ones are absolutely off the table, Zimmerman said. “You have to have the courage to believe that what’s important to you is important to your company. If it’s not, then you’re going to need to find another company.”
Identify your non-negotiables, Zimmerman suggested, by asking yourself questions like:
– Am I willing to take a lower salary if it means I could have more days to work from home?
– Would I be okay taking fewer vacation days if I could have a flexible weekly schedule?
Write your answers on index cards that you can keep handy during interviews, she said.
And before negotiations, silence your inner critic.
Career Counsellor Karen Chopra at ChopraCareers in Washington, DC, said women are more likely to negotiate with themselves on jobs and compensation. “Don’t go for what you think you can get,” she said. “Go for what you want.”
Do your research on compensation by talking to people in your network and on websites such as Glassdoor. Chopra advised women to build a broad and diverse network for a better idea of salaries. “You have to be asking everyone not what they make, but what is the range for the position that you are looking for,” she said.
PLAN YOUR TALKING POINTS
When you’re going through the interview process, virtually or in person, here are tips to keep in mind:
– Bring your terms early
Don’t wait until the final interview to bring up your must-haves, said Zimmerman. You can approach the subject as early as your first call with a recruiter. When asked if you have questions or concerns, reiterate why you’re excited about the position, she said, then mention that it’s also very important for you to be able to work remotely, for example.
– Explain how your request benefits the company
If you’re asking for flexible work hours, for example, Theus recommended confidently stating that you know flexibility allows you to be more productive. Then, you can spell out a benefit for the potential employer, such as, “I can be more committed to being available in emergencies if I have this flexibility,” she said.
– Don’t over-explain
Whether you’re asking for work-from-home days or flexible hours, don’t feel like you have to share your life story, Zimmerman said. “Your desire to have time with your children, your partner, for health care, these are legal human rights.” If you’ve stated that your request allows you to do your job well and explained how it benefits the company, that’s