Win, Place and Show in the Rat Race
Onoce there, I received two shocks: one, the "workshop" is actually a series of five workshops, one taking place each morning all week (something we hadn't been told in the orientation, as confirmed by several other people there -- good thing my mornings are free this week...) and two, that it wasn't going to be the idiot waste of time I thought it was going to be. The last was a very pleasant surprise, as the workshop instructor -- an extremely knowledgable lady -- has already clued me in to several items I hadn't previously known about*. She's going to take a look at my resume for free. I can't wait to see her recommendations.
The other participants aren't a bunch if dummies, either. Many have degrees. Most of us have been on the business end of a termination or a downsizing. One has a criminal record. I'm pulling for this guy -- he seems to earnestly want to get himself back on track. He asked the most questions of anyone there. Another lady has been at her job nearly 20 years and is seeking a career change. I secretly envy her; I can't claim to be on most of my old jobs for more then twenty months.
Unfortunately, the workshop brought home one sobering fact: It doesn't matter what you know or who you are or your status within a company. You can be fired/downsized/outsourced/sidelined/boned in an instant. Keep your eyes and ears open, and if you love your job, fight for it like you would your spouse. I wish I had, but that's a tale for later.
*For one thing, did you know that on a job application, where it says "salary desired," if you don't know the typical salary for your industry, you can use not only the venerable "open" or "negotiable" responses, but "will take market value"? I didn't. Also, a common trick interviewers use to screen you out of the job is to listen carefully to your answers to their questions. If you use "uh," "er," "well," or otherwise stammer, that's an excuse to screen you out becuase they think you're hiding something or hedging your response. Trouble is, most people do it. I guess that's why they say always rehearse your interviews.
By the way, what happened to your ads, I don't see them at all.
Now, as for this "What to write in the Salary Requirements" field on a Job Application form... NEVER, and I mean NEVER, write in "Negotiable", "Open" or "Will Take Market Value" when asked what your salary requirements are. NEVER!
First, let me tackle the "on the surface" flaw in this approach...
1) Will Take Market Value - Really? OK, what's MV? $40,000? Well, since I have 4 other possible candidates that are only asking for 35K I can filter this guy out. Or, maybe if he's willing to work for MV than maybe he's willing to work for peanuts...
2) Open - Good, because I'm going to low-ball this guy if he's really good so I can get more for less, and if he's not so good then it doesn't really matter how Open he really is.
3) Negotiable - That's great! We were willing to offer up to $35,000 a year, but since he's willing to negotiate even LOWER than that...
Think you can put a positive spin on these three examples? If anybody feels the urge to try, then do so... Just understand that if you reply with anything that you can think of that "proves" that you would come out a winner in this situation it will defy logic, common sense and intelligence. You'll also be the same person that thinks I'm arrogant! Which leads me to the second flaw in this methodology...
99% of those looking for a job think and feel that they NEED the job they are interviewing for while 99% of interviewers think and feel that you are NOT the right person to fill that position. So, as the potential candidate you start off at a disadvantage. The company holds ALL of the cards and you're just lucky to be watching the game from a distance. The interviewer has ALL of the facts, knowledge and experience of the company, position, culture, needs, budget, etc. You know that you need this job! Yeah, you might have researched the company, but that and a dime will get you a cup of coffee. So how does one go about screwing themselves even further? Well, not only do they come across as desperate for a job but now they'll work for LESS than we were willing to pay!