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How Low Do You Go?

A sluggish economy. A tight job market. Tons of competition. Recruiters overwhelmed with resumes. How can you get any attention under such difficult conditions? Will you be forced to take a lower salary just to get back to work? In this job market, when salaries are slipping, your salary expectations should have some flexibility. But you don’t have to give up everything just to get a job. It’s all about how you market yourself.

Think Like a Recruiter

If you were in the recruiter’s shoes, you’d need a quick answer to this question: What makes you perfect for the job? Answer it in your cover letter. Make it obvious by spelling out exactly how your skills and experience match the job. Address each specific area of responsibility. Use the same phrases and terms as the job description wherever possible. Just don’t put specific salary requirements in your cover letter—wait until you’re in a face-to-face interview to discuss money.

Point Your Resume in the Right Direction
Grabbing a recruiter’s attention isn’t all about the cover letter. A dynamic resume is critical to getting the recruiter’s attention. Focus your resume to market your strengths, and make sure that all the company’s requirements are answered. According to ResumeEdge, “Any job seeker who places the company’s needs first is making a powerful statement and will get noticed.”

Prepare Plan B
If your chosen field is in so much trouble these days that jobs are either nonexistent or hiring salaries have been slashed to the bone, it’s time to look elsewhere. Research careers in various industries to determine what else would fit your skills, experience, and interests. As you search for a new job, don’t limit yourself to one field, one job title, or one industry. Keep your options open to expand your chances of landing a job with decent earning potential.

Gather the Evidence
No matter how bad the economy gets, employers can’t afford the luxury of thinking everyone is available at below-market prices. Before you enter into salary negotiations, use a salary calculator to find out how much you’re worth. Take the salary you were offered and compare it to other similar jobs in your industry and geographical location.

Now you’ve got hard evidence to show your prospective employer during a salary negotiation. This makes it easier to back up your argument that you’re worth just as much as anyone else doing your kind of job. When you know how much you’re worth and can prove it, you’re much more likely to get an offer you can live with.

Use Your Head
If it’s been a while since you worked regularly, you might be feeling a bit desperate. But if your first offer comes in at rock bottom, don’t let desperation overshadow common sense. Never go so low that you can’t live on what’s offered. No job is worth your getting behind on the bills every month. Toughen up those salary negotiation skills before your next interview. Do your homework, know your value, and hold your head high!


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