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Top tips from business blogs

By Katharina Kunze — November 18, 2012

There are so many fantastic business blogs out there that it can sometimes be difficult to keep an overview of the best posts. Here, I’d like to summarise some of the best postings I’ve found on three essential business topics:

  1. Pay negotiation
  2. Job interviews
  3. Emailing technique

1. Pay negotiation

In the currently weak economy we sometimes hear how “lucky” we are to have jobs. Employers also at times use the macroeconomy as an excuse for low or sub-average pay rises. Nonetheless, as a top performer your value-add to a company is likely to justify a pay rise independently of the economic cycle, commensurate with your performance and contribution to the company’s bottom line.

Ramit Sethi, author of the blog Iwillteachyoutoberich.com – not a scam despite the site’s sound! – has perfected a script for successful salary negotiation. As Ramit describes in these videos, his strategy is to make sure you are a top performer and to set clear performance standards early, which your employer agrees would warrant a pay rise.

Ramit recommends:

  • Letting your employer know ca six months in advance that you would like to reassess your pay
  • Agreeing on a set of specific targets with your employer, which are achievable to top performers and would warrant a pay rise
  • Making sure that you outperform on the targets you agreed. This helps make your compensation request a “no brainer”

Ramit’s script for a perfect pay negotiation can be found under this link (private list, so not found on google!): http://privatelist.findyourdreamjob.com/high-performance-high-pay/ and in this public video:

Ramit’s strategy also works for job starters. To beef up your starting salary and make sure you progress, financially and otherwise, at your company, part of your salary negotiations should be to ask for clear goals that would trigger faster salary rises than during the usual review cycle. Setting specific targets also allows you to know exactly what you are working for and what you are assessed against. Ramit speaks more about entry salary negotiation in this video:

2. Nailing job interviews with the briefcase technique

As most of us are still in one of our first full-time jobs, many of us continue to contemplate a switch to another sector which may be better suited to our talents, our preferred working style, or our lifestyle priorities. To succeed in interviews for your new position, Ramit recommends using the “briefcase technique”. In addition to making sure your CV is perfectly tailored, matching up your experience with the job specifications using specific examples, and presenting yourself as a perfect cultural fit, Ramit’s technique gives you an extra edge by demonstrating that you already have a road map for how you will complete a new job.

Specifically, Ramit suggests that during your interviews you whip out a plan detailing the steps you intend to take in, say, the first three to six months on the job. This will speak volumes about your motivation and make you stand out positively as:

  • You are reducing the employer’s risk of hiring you by showing on paper and actionably that you understand his needs and what the job entails
  • You are giving your employer a set of actions and targets to hold you accountable to
  • Your preparation of the work plan will distinguish you as one of the best organised and most driven candidates

To give a better idea of how to implement this technique in practice, Ramit’s videos here and here explain and demonstrate the technique in a mock interview situation.

3. Emailing successfully

Whether you’re job searching, finding business partners or promoting side projects, networking is a core part of business. Women at Eyedea are already establishing genuine friendships and providing value to others in areas they can contribute in. But how about cold-emailing someone you don’t know and want to meet, or even need something from? As some of us are shy about that – or simply haven’t had good results – Scott Britton at life-longlearner.com has written some excellent posts on email etiquette and technique, basically explaining “how to email important people”.

His advice, and that of other networking gurus, essentially boils down to:

  • Establishing a connection early in the email. This could be showing that you have something in common such as being alumni of the same university, and helps the recipient trust you and be interested in helping you
  • Additionally/alternatively provide something of value to him, for example feedback on his start-up or a speech he gave. This should be specific, so as not to appear like an empty compliment
  • If you are writing to request something, keep the request short and end in a question. This ideally gives the busy person you are emailing the opportunity to respond in just a “yes, fine”. It also means they know exactly what you are asking for, rather than requiring them to wade through an email to figure that out
  • Make clear that you are aware of how busy they are, and give them a way out by indicating that you fully understand if they are not able to accommodate your request for time or any other reason. This produces both good will for this request, and makes it easier for you to reach out to them again at a later point if they are unable to respond this time

Some more of Scott Britton’s best posts on emailing are:

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