Career E-News: February 2012 

Monthly Newsletter for Executives, Managers, and Professionals in Career Transition / Written and Published by Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin, The Career Success Coach

In this issue:
Don't Lose Job Offers Because of Bad References
Handling Salary History and Requirements in Online Job Applications
Is It Time to Partner with a Career Coach?
Quote of the Month: On "Self Esteem"
Client Landings Applause - Clapping
Congratulations to Laura Niforatos, CPA, who landed a lucrative consulting assignment, assisting a Chicago-area CPA firm with preparation for Peer Review, mandated by the IACPA. She attributes attracting this position to using skillful networking strategies at her job club.   
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Greetings!                              Joellyn Headshot 2009 

Happy February! Hope you had an enjoyable Valentine's Day, whether you celebrated on February 14 or the weekend before. My husband and I decided to forgo the crowded, expensive restaurant scene, in favor of a cozy, home-cooked lobster-tail dinner and his famous crème bruleé for dessert. We also can't believe the gorgeous, almost spring-like weather we're having here in Worcester; very little snow compared to the zillion inches we had in 2011, including the surprise snowstorm on Halloween.    


As 2012 continues, I'm pleased that the job creation cycle is still on an upward trend. A recent Associated Press article reported that after US jobs jumped to a near three-year high in December 2011, 243,000 jobs were added in January, and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent.


In a previous article, I wrote about how to choose good references:  people who will speak favorably on your behalf to prospective employers. But if you are losing job offers because of bad references, you need to get whoever is unfairly bad-mouthing you to "cease and desist." For help with this, turn to Allison & Taylor Reference Checking Service, a trusted and well-respected resource. Scroll down for more information. 


A salary negotiation strategy I advocate is waiting to discuss money until a job offer is on the table; and it's certainly okay to agree on a salary range, in preliminary negotiations with hiring managers. But online job applications are another story:  you have to disclose salary information to get your foot in the door, before negotiations even begin. In my new article: "Handling Salary Histories and Requirements in Online Job Applications" I offer strategies for providing salary information without selling yourself short. 


Want to get a jump-start on your career transition plan for 2012?  A Career Action Planning (CAP) Session may be just what you need to get a fresh perspective on your situation as well as new strategies to help you move forward. 

Enjoy this issue and I look forward to connecting soon! 


~ Joellyn
 ReferenceDon't Lose Job Offers Because of Bad References


Today, more than ever, companies check references of prospective employees VERY CAREFULLY! 


* Do you know what your past boss / company will say about you?


* Did you have a great interview?


* After you provided your list of references, has the potential employer suddenly grown cold?


* Have the hiring managers stopped returning your calls?


Find out now what your former boss / company will tell a new employer about you. Do Not risk that new job offer!


Allison & Taylor offers 20+years of experience in the field of professional reference checking and can help stop former employers from ruining your chances of securing gainful employment. Visit their website, to find out how they can help you!  
SalaryHandling Salary History and Requirements in Online Job Applications  


Clients frequently ask me how soon they should disclose their salary requirements or histories. Typically, I advise them to hold off on revealing these numbers and to postpone discussions about compensation, until there's a job offer on the table. This guidance is "Salary Negotiation Rule #1" advocated by one of my mentors, veteran career coach Jack Chapman and author of Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute.


Jack's declares that it's in candidates' best interest to avoid talking about money too soon, because it can weaken bargaining power in negotiating a fair compensation package. He says that if you talk money first and if the number you quote is too high, you may be disqualified; if you quote a number that is too low, you'll run the risk of settling for the lower end of the salary range of the job, if offered to you.


Despite these wise words, jobseekers are stumped about how to handle this issue when completing online job applications. "Current Salary" and "Desired Salary" are required fields in most cases; and there's usually no option to quote a salary range or to select "Negotiable." If these fields are left blank, the application can't be submitted. So you are either forced to put in these numbers or forgo the opportunity.


The question is: how can you apply for the job as a qualified candidate without putting yourself at a disadvantage by talking money first? Here are some ideas:  

  • Determine if the job is the right fit before you apply. The salary might be attractive, but if the job would not be the best use of your strongest skill sets, you are better off passing up the opportunity.
  • Submit a well-researched "desired salary" figure for the job. Some excellent resources for salary research are, and
  • Factor your "ideal range" into your "desired salary". In his book, Jack Chapman talks about the importance of knowing your Ideal (highest), Satisfactory (acceptable) and No-Go (unacceptable) salary numbers; your "ideal range figure" should be the average of the "Ideal" and "Satisfactory" number, leaving room to negotiate up.
  • Be truthful about your salary history because these figures can be easily verified for accuracy. Employers disqualify applicants who submit falsified information, which is a far more serious issue than quoting a desired salary that may be too high.
  • Look for additional ways to communicate. If the application allows you to submit a cover letter or commentary, you can explain that your "desired salary" is negotiable, which you'll be glad to discuss further when appropriate.

Nick Corcodilos, a.k.a. "Ask the Headhunter" has other insights about handling salary info online. In a recent blog post, he said: "Ignore the application and "find a better way in the door..." He also cautions that companies who want salary figures upfront may be reflective of a "herd mentality" culture. "If you don't cooperate [by refusing to submit your salary info online] the company has plenty of other applicants who will do what they're told, and destroy their ability to negotiate... It wants cows, not people who think and act outside the box. Join a company like that...and soon you'll be looking for yet another job."


Salary negotiations can be tricky, especially if you have to reveal your salary history and requirements when applying online. If you skillfully use the strategies above, you'll get your foot in the door and be able to negotiate your best compensation package - after you get the interview and are offered the job


Like this article? Please post your comments on my blog.


© 2012 Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin, The Career Success Coach. All Rights Reserved

CAPIs It Time to Partner with a Career Coach?
  • HourglassDo you work hard on your job search but seem to get nowhere fast?
  • Are you burned out with your job, but don't know what other career(s) might satisfy you?  
  • Do you have trouble understanding how your transferable skills can be used in other professions?
  • Do you apply for jobs online, only to get "thanks but no thanks" responses?
  • Does it seem like your network can't help you with your job search the way you'd like?
  • Do you have difficulty "sealing the deal" at interviews?  

Is it time to take a risk -- a giant step forward -- to end the pain once and for all? You may surprised: the problem might not be what you think and simpler to overcome than you thought possible.


Regardless of the issues you face or what you may be frustrated or confused about, I can provide the clarity, creative thinking, objectivity, and perspective you need to get your career and job search moving in the right direction.  


Let's get started with a Career Action Planning (CAP) Session to help you figure out what's working, what needs attention, and what the next steps are to efficiently navigate your transition and land the job of your dreams!  


 Go to my website to learn more: 

About "The Career Success Coach" 


Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin is a Certified Career Management Coach who runs a private career coaching practice serving executives, managers and professionals in career transition. Since 1991, Joellyn has helped countless clients across multiple industry sectors find perfect career paths which are fun, fulfilling and financially-rewarding. She uses a proven, 8-module career coaching program to help her clients efficiently navigate their career transition to land the job of their dreams. Her program starts with a Career Action Planning (CAP) Session to first determine where clients are getting stuck, stalled or confused in the process of making their desired job and career transition. 


Joellyn will be happy to discuss your situation on a free call. Contact her at 508-459-2854, 

or visit

Quote of the Month: On "Self-Esteem" 


"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."


-- Eleanor Roosevelt 

© 2012 The Career Success Coach

 All rights reserved.