Salary Negotiation Begins with Your Resume

Have you ever felt shortchanged by a job offer, but were afraid to ask for a higher salary? If so, you’re not alone. Many people avoid salary negotiation out of fear, but even among those who are willing, it’s a common misconception that the process starts with a job offer. What if we told you that salary negotiation begins much earlier in the job seeking process — with your resume? While this might be a surprise to some, it’s also great news for those who risk undervaluing themselves for fear of asking for a better salary. Believe it or not, compensation is often negotiable. The key is to make yourself irresistible to the employer. In this age of cost cutting, having a good resume can help you command a better salary without having to ask. What does your resume need to accomplish to set the stage for more money? Read on to find out.

Make An Outstanding First Impression

Surely you’ve heard the old adage, “You never have a second chance to make a first impression.” A resume provides a fitting example that this maxim holds true. When employers read your resume, they are sizing you up, making assumptions about you and placing a value on your abilities and experience. All of this before they even meet you. Your resume holds the power to preset a higher value.

Your resume as a whole will set the overall impression. While it’s most important to articulate your experience, abilities, accomplishments and education in a concise and compelling way, it’s just as important to ensure that there are no spelling and grammar mistakes, and that the layout and formatting make it easy to read and follow. Button up your resume and increase your chances of getting a reason to button up your best interview suit.

Demonstrate Your Value

We cannot stress enough that the core of your resume should be accomplishments and results. A laundry list of tasks tells the employer what you know how to do, but competency is an automatic expectation for anyone applying for the job. What the employer wants to know is how well you do those tasks, how you added value to your prior places of employment, how you helped to improve them and how you helped them make or save more money. The more you can clearly demonstrate a reliable history of results, the higher the chances an employer will be willing to place a premium on you and your abilities before you even meet. This sets you up to be in a place of great negotiating power.

Make Them REALLY Want You

A winning interview is the key to becoming the top choice, but first you have to get one! Your resume must convince the employer of the value you brought to prior positions so they believe you have the potential to do the same for them and want to discuss that with you.

Make sure your resume is relevant to the employer by tailoring it to them and the job. Read the job description very carefully and ensure that your resume clearly connects the dots between the position’s requirements and your skills and experience. Employers will not spend the time making this connection for you, but they are often willing to pay more for the “perfect fit.” Is your resume tailored or frumpy?

Avoid Throwing The First Number

While the actual salary negotiation process is a separate topic, we do have another bonus tip for you. When possible, avoid being the first to name a salary number. You could shortchange yourself if you provide a number below the employer’s budget. As any good sales person knows, when the price is high, you want to avoid disclosing it until you’ve had an opportunity to describe the benefits. Try to save the salary discussion until after you’ve wowed them in at least one interview. One approach is to explain that your salary is negotiable depending upon learning additional details of the position and the overall compensation package. If you must provide a number, try checking market value with professionals in closely comparable positions (those salary websites can be inaccurate) and provide a range rather than one specific amount.

Salary negotiation can be an intimidating process, but a stellar resume can help set the stage for a better salary. It’s not about being greedy, but knowing your own value. Respecting your own worth also adds value for the employer because better job satisfaction for you usually translates into better results for them.

Are you sending out tons of resumes but not getting interviews? If your resume is not getting you the results you want, we can help!

Capstone Resume Services’ certified resume writers with recruiting and hiring backgrounds create affordable resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles that get results. Learn more here.