Your Self-Worth Is Not Your Net Worth, with Lauren McGoodwin

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Find Your Dream Job, Episode 142:

Your Self-Worth is Not Your Net Worth, with Lauren McGoodwin

Airdate: June 6, 2018

Mac Prichard:

Hi, this is Mac of Mac’s List. Find Your Dream Job is presented by Mac’s List, an online community where you can find free resources for your job search, plus online courses and books that help you advance your career. My latest book is called Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. It’s a reference guide for your career that covers all aspects of the job search, including expert advice in every chapter. You can get the first chapter for free by visiting macslist.org/anywhere.

This is Find Your Dream Job; the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your host and publisher of Mac’s List.

I’m joined by my co-hosts, Becky Thomas and Jessica Black, from the Mac’s List team.

This week, we’re talking about why your self-worth is not your net worth.

Money gives you flexibility and choice, both in your career and your life. Money can also cause stress and disrupt relationships. This week’s guest expert is Lauren McGoodwin. She says too many people let their net worth determine their self-worth.

Lauren says a better approach is to pay attention to our mindset about money, especially when negotiating salaries at work. She and I talk later in the show.

You probably know about applicant tracking systems. Often just called an ATS, employers use this software to review and rank resumes and other materials. Becky has found an article that explains how an ATS scores your application. Follow the article’s recommendations and your resume could move to the top of the stack. She tells us more in a moment.

Almost everybody gets nervous in a job interview. In fact, one survey found that at least one thing stresses out 92% of Americans in a job interview. What can you do to make yourself less nervous when talking to a hiring manager? That’s our question of the week. It comes from listener Doug Boxford in Anaheim, California. Jessica shares her advice shortly.

Let’s start, as always, by checking in with the Mac’s List team.

First up is Becky Thomas, who’s out there every week exploring the Internet on your behalf. She’s looking for those tools, books, and websites you can use in your job search and your career. Becky, what have all your explorations uncovered for our listeners this week?

Becky Thomas:

We’ve talked a lot on past episodes about applicant tracking systems and I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed, personally, by all the possible challenges that job seekers face when they apply through an ATS. Some systems rank resumes one way, some systems remove text formatting, some systems recognize plurals of keywords and others don’t. It goes on and on. How are we supposed to know what to do when applying through an ATS? Become experts on all 200+ software systems employers use for applicant screening and tracking? No.

Mac Prichard:

That’s a big number, two hundred.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, there’s more than two hundred different softwares and they’re all slightly different so it’s like, “How are job seekers supposed to figure out what the ATS is looking at?”

Mac Prichard:

Do you have a shorthand guide for us?

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, this week’s resource does help pull down that curtain a little bit. Although, it only tackles one specific ATS software. It is one of the most popular softwares. This resource is from Jobscan, which is a tool that helps you match up your resume text with the text in a job description, which is one of the best ways to make sure you’re prepared to submit through an ATS. This one is a simple guide that outlines key functionalities of Taleo, which is a very common ATS. It’s called “Taleo: 4 Ways the Most Popular ATS Ranks Your Job Application

As I mentioned, there’s tons of different ATS software options. Why do we care about Taleo? Because it’s the most common ATS out there. It’s got nearly 20% of the total market share. Most of the big companies use it. There’s actually a list of all the companies that use Taleo and they’re all super recognizable organizations. As the article says, Taleo is “one ATS you have probably encountered (whether you realize it or not)” and there are these 4 specific things that Taleo does – if you know them before you apply, you can at least act more strategically when you do apply and have a better chance of staying in the running for the job.

I’ll go through those four things really quickly:

Number one is: Tiered scoring for “Knockout questions”. Knockout questions are typically pass/fail questions for things that are required for the job. Like, for a delivery driver job, the question is “Do you have a driver’s license?” and all of the “No” answers are screened out because you have to have one to do the job. But Taleo offers recruiters the option of more than just yes or no answers. If you encounter a question that has more than two answer bubbles available, if there’s a range, you can guess that each of those answers has a score attached to it. For example, years of experience,  and there’s three or four bubbles with different ranges. That’s probably not a yes or no, but it’s more tiered that they’re going to give you more points the more experience you have. That kind of thing.

Number two is: Bonus points for resume keywords. Recruiters can add bonus points to a skill or qualification that would be a differentiator for a candidate within the ATS . These are probably listed as “nice-to-have” items in the job description, so keep an eye out for those, and if you have them and you can get them in to the text in your application gracefully, you might get a bump in the ATS scoring system.

Number three is: Automatic resume scoring. One of Taleo’s core features (and most ATS systems have this as well), is resume scoring. They call it Req Rank, but it’s basically an algorithm that gives your resume a score based on how well it matches the text in the job description. This is why everybody is always telling you to put keywords from the job description into your resume! We talk about it, but this is how it actually works so I thought that that was really interesting.

Number four is: Boolean searches. Taleo, and most other ATS, has search functionality that’s pretty bad on its own. People talk a lot about how you can’t use different variations of the words in the job description, you have to use the exact word. But internal users, like the recruiters that are using Taleo as their ATS,  can use Boolean search queries (meaning you can search for different combinations and exclude certain words, using “And, or, or not”.) In order for your application to show up in these searches, your text has to match what they’re searching. This underlines how important it is to try and mirror the language that you see in the job description as closely as you can and hope that recruiters are searching for different combinations that support what you’re trying to send them.

That’s the summary and while this article might not be a simple step-by-step guide to a perfect ATS friendly job application, I don’t think something like that exists, because it’s just a complicated thing to begin with. It is an insightful look at how ATS works behind the scenes. There are screenshots, etc. so you can see what Taleo looks like from the other side. You can get a sense of what the hiring manager is doing on their end. There are a couple tips in the article that could help you make a difference between getting kicked out of the process and actually getting an interview or getting a call back. Check it out.

Jessica Black:

That’s really interesting.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah.

Jessica Black:

I like what you said about the fact that we talk about this a lot but it’s really interesting to be able to have almost a case study of exactly how it’s being used and how employers are using it. The functionality of all that, that’s really cool. Hopefully… I feel like that’s helpful just for us as people who talk about it, to have a deeper understanding. I think the same thing with job seekers, being able to just understand why matching keywords is important. When you don’t know why it’s useful, it’s hard to actually move forward with that and make it part of your routine. I think that that’s helpful.

Becky Thomas:

I think that’s where a lot of the frustration comes from the job seeker side. They’re like, “Well that doesn’t make any sense. Why?” It’s just that the software isn’t perfect and it is what it is and you just have to do your best to work within that system. It’s better to know the system than to not know it.

Jessica Black:

That’s right.

Mac Prichard:

I love the fact that this article includes a list of companies that use this particular software. If you are a job seeker who’s interested in opportunities with those organizations and you see that, you’ll want to spend even more time studying this piece.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, totally.

Mac Prichard:

Alright, well thank you, Becky. If you’ve got a suggestion for Becky, she would love to hear from you. She loves exploring the internet, but sometimes she needs a break.

Jessica Black:

Don’t we all?

Mac Prichard:

Get her out of those nooks and crannies for a week or two and write her. We’d love to share your idea on the show. Her address is becky@macslist.org.

Now let’s turn to you, our listeners, and Jessica has been poking around the Mac’s List mailbag. She’s got an answer to one of your questions. What’s our question this week, Jessica?

Jessica Black:

Yeah, we have a question this week from Doug Boxford, from Anaheim, California. He emailed his question as well. I’m going to read it here for you. Doug says:

“I hate interviewing. I get so nervous and start rambling on and on with my answers. Any tips for how to ease my anxiety during the interview?”

This is a great question because Mac, as you said at the beginning of the show, everyone gets nervous in interviews and it’s one of the most common parts of adding to fear in the interview process. Having to be put on the spot and having to have succinct answers and appear very polished, while you’re also scanning your brain for all the possible pieces of information.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, we might include that survey in the show notes because it broke down particular kinds of anxieties. I think it’s a list of a dozen things that people fear in particular about a job interview.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, but I think that it’s a very common experience to be very nervous and also to worry that you’re rambling on and on. Everybody wants to put their best foot forward in an interview so that adds to the stress and anxiety.

Doug, one thing I would say, this is one thing that resonated with me again, is that I am not keen on public speaking and that sort of thing either. A lot of people do get nervous with public speaking and even though interviewing isn’t, it’s more interpersonal, but I think it’s still classified as public speaking because you are giving a presentation of sorts. You’re presenting yourself in a way and again, like I said before, it’s very stressful.

One thing that I would recommend is just practice. Honestly, that sounds basic and not very helpful but that’s really the best way to get over this fear and anxiety is to practice. Public speaking doesn’t come naturally to everybody but if you use the muscle of public speaking and just getting comfortable with being in these types of situations that give you anxiety, you’ll get better and it’ll get easier. I’m not saying that you won’t be anxious about it, but you’ll be better prepared to be in those environments.

Networking events are good ways to practice that.

I’m going to back up for a second and just say another thing that can help is also being very clear with what you want to say. The preparation that it takes to know what your main points are, being very clear about what you have to offer and the main points that you’re trying to make. That will also help in that respect, because they give you that preparation and those tools to be able to be in these impromptu situations. Then also practicing and being able to be in those situations many times.

Like I said, networking events are great opportunities. Very low pressure situations, even though sometimes it feels high pressure, it really isn’t it. You’re not in an interview situation and you have a lot of opportunities to be able to practice those conversation points. You can really use those to hone in on what lands well and what you maybe want to polish a little bit more. You also just have a casual space where you can make those connections and be able to have real conversations. That’s always helpful.

I would also say that if you really feel like this is a space where more public speaking experience would be really helpful (I think that that often does help), I would recommend finding a local group like a Toastmasters or I know there’s other opportunities. Different meetups and  things like that that you could practice those skills. Probably meetups if they have mock interview type of conversations and things like that where you can go and practice. I am in a local Toastmasters group and I have found a lot of value in that, of being able to just get really comfortable both speaking in front of people, because they are small groups of your peers, but it’s still terrifying even though it’s very low pressure. But every time you do it it gets a little bit easier. Toastmasters is also really great because the feedback that you get is always very positive. There’s never moments when it’s like, “You did that terribly, don’t do that anymore.” It’s always in the form of, “Here’s what you could do better to improve. That was great but here’s what you could do differently to keep improving your skills.”

There’s also a focus on getting comfortable with impromptu conversations. In Toastmasters, it’s called Table Topics, where it’s not a prepared speech; you don’t come in already prepared, but you get to practice responding to a question on the spot. That has helped a lot just being able to be comfortable in those moments of preparing your thoughts after you’ve been asked a question. To not just freeze up and be like, “I don’t know”, but be able to get some tools to be able to ponder that question while you are still appearing very confident that you are not losing any energy in that relationship.

I would say that those two things would be really great opportunities to practice.

Again, just know your keys points of what you’re trying to convey. Like we’ve talked about before, taking the time to write down, even doing a reverse ATS system where you’re analyzing the job description and pulling out some of those key words and bringing them into what you’ve used in your experience to be able to match the skills that  you want to convey. That way you’re not on the spot trying to make up an answer, you already know what you’re trying to convey.

One more thing before I invite Mac and Becky’s expertise, is be okay with silence. Also be okay with “failing”. Not every job interview is going to end up being a job offer. That doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. That just means that it wasn’t the right fit and that’s okay. Job interviews are also, we’ve talked about this before, an opportunity for you to find out if the job is right for you as well.

Knowing what you’re trying to convey, being confident in what you have to offer, and being okay with silence, and just practicing a lot is what I would recommend. Good luck. I hope that’s helpful.

What do you guys have to say?

Becky Thomas:

I think that all of that is really good advice. The only thing that I’m going to add is Doug mentioned that he starts rambling on and on with his answers, so I think that thinking through what the common questions might be and practicing the specific answers you’re going to give.

Mac Prichard:

That’s a great suggestion.

Becky Thomas:

Think about the timing. You’re probably going to have to practice that answer several times. If you start to ramble, think about what you need to cut, write down what you want to avoid saying, and just remember the three key points that you want to give in that specific answer and don’t go beyond that.

Jessica Black:

That is great.

Becky Thomas:

I think that’ll help him a lot just to feel confident and prepared, and not trying to figure out on the spot what he needs to say. “Oh here’s another thing that just popped into my head.” I think that that’s where the rambling comes in.

Jessica Black:

Absolutely. That is excellent advice. That’s also why I mentioned the being okay with silence. I think that people ramble because they’re afraid of just sitting in silence. I think that making your points, knowing what points you’re going to make, making those, and stopping your conversation. If the interviewer doesn’t jump in right away, then it’s okay. They may also just be thinking about how to respond. Silence is okay. I think that’s a really good point, just knowing your key points and sticking with them. Thank you.

Becky Thomas:

Just practicing and writing things down helps me a lot.

Jessica Black:

Same.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, you know there are three to five questions that are going to be asked in every interview: “Why do you want this job? What can you do for us? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?” Develop your material, practice it, and do it with a friend, a colleague.

Jessica Black:

Say it out loud to yourself.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I did exactly that, I had a friend, I was going out for an interview out of state and he said, “Well, how are you practicing on Saturday?” I didn’t know anyone and he said, “Just go through the questions looking at the mirror.” It’s very effective.

Jessica Black:

That’s great. I didn’t know you were going there with that, sorry, I jumped in.

Mac Prichard:

No, that’s okay.

Your point about silence is a good one. I mean, Becky, you’re a former reporter. I work in public relations, you work in the media. We both know that one way to get people to talk is to ask them an open-ended question and then just say nothing. People are uncomfortable with silence and if you’re trying to get someone to go on record for a new story, people rush to fill that silence with something.

Becky Thomas:

Absolutely.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, it’s okay to not fill it. Just reiterating, know what you’re trying to say and practice saying those things. Stop when you need to.

Mac Prichard:

Good. Excellent advice, and thank you, Doug, for that question. Thank you, Jessica and Becky. If you’ve got a question for Jessica, send her an email. Her address is: jessica@macslist.org. You can also send an old-fashioned snail mail; we do have a mailbag. We’d love to add your letter to it.  Or you call the listener line. That’s area code is 716-JOB-TALK. Or post your question on the Mac’s List facebook group.

Now if we use your question on the show, we’ll send you a copy of Land Your Dream Job Anywhere.

We’ll be back in a moment. When we return, I’ll talk with this week’s guest expert, Lauren McGoodwin. She’s going to talk with me about why your self-worth is not your net worth.

Even when you love your job, you still want to get paid well for what you do. But most candidates and managers say little about salary during a job interview.

Instead, both parties perform a dance. Each side probes the other for information. And nobody typically puts all the cards on the table. This not only frustrates job seekers; it can lead to a lower salary that affects your future earnings for years to come.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve created a new guide, How to Talk About Money in an Interview. In it, I explain how to know what a job pays before you meet a hiring manager and I show you how to talk to an employer about money, benefits, and office culture.

Plus, I give you an answer to one of the hardest questions of all, “What are your salary expectations?” That will help you negotiate better pay.

To get your copy of How to Talk About Money in an Interview, visit macslist.org/moneytalk.

Now, let’s get back to the show!

Now let’s turn to this week’s guest expert, Lauren McGoodwin.

Lauren McGoodwin is the founder and CEO of Career Contessa. It’s a career site for women.

Previously, Lauren was a tech recruiter at Hulu and wrote her masters thesis on millennial women and career resources. Career Contessa launched in 2013 and now helps more than one million people with career development every year.

She joins us today from Los Angeles, California.

Lauren, thanks for being on the show.

Lauren McGoodwin:

Hi, thanks for having me.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, it’s a pleasure. Now our topic this week is why your net worth isn’t your self worth and I want to talk about the mindset behind that, as well as get to salary questions, because that’s a big part of both money and mindset.

Let’s start, Lauren, by talking about people’s relationship with money. Why is it important for listeners to reflect on that in their career and when they’re doing a job search.

Lauren McGoodwin:

Yeah, money is a tricky relationship. It is the thing that probably keeps the wheels turning in your life; meaning paying for rent, making sure there is food in your refrigerator, having a life, etc. It’s also how our employer’s showcase their appreciation for us. They compensate us for our work but it’s a really tricky relationship because no one’s really talking about it. It’s the thing that’s probably at the forefront of your mind on a somewhat regular basis but is also off limits when it comes to conversations. Especially at work, many people, when they are given their offer, they’re even told, “Hey, you can’t tell anybody at the office how much you make.” They want you to sign some kind of confidentiality form.

I think that the relationship with money for a lot of people is it’s always present and yet never verbalized.

Mac Prichard:

It has a big effect, doesn’t it? That relationship, on what kind of salaries we negotiate, the raises we ask for, and other changes that we seek in the workplace.

Lauren McGoodwin:

Yeah, absolutely, and I think that there is a relationship for many people where their self worth and their net worth ride on the same rollercoaster ride. If they’re making a lot, they might feel like they’ve got some sort of higher status. If they’re not making enough, maybe they need to compensate in other ways because they now feel inadequate. It’s definitely tricky for sure.

Mac Prichard:

Now on your blog you write about how there’s a mindset about money that affects the things that you were just describing. Tell us more about that mindset and why it matters?

Lauren McGoodwin:

Absolutely. If your mindset is that you’re good enough when your net worth is high enough, that’s a losing game and I think it’s really important that people separate those because even when you go in for a negotiation, you’re really negotiating on the what the market value of your skills is. What are you able to bring to the table and not your personality or how much your employer likes you.

When you have the mindset of, “My net worth represents my self worth”, or, “As long as I’m making a high salary then I’m of value here”, then you’re really linking the feelings of salary and success and that ends up being hardwired into you and it can be a losing game to get back to that whole self-acceptance.

Mac Prichard:

Does that also affect your effectiveness as a negotiator? For example, Lauren, if you think that you deserve a certain figure because it’s an important part of your identity…does that make it harder for you to negotiate that number with your boss?

Lauren McGoodwin:

I think so. I think negotiations are hard no matter what, even not trying to complicate it. I think negotiations work best when you stick to the facts. When you start to throw in feelings of self-acceptance and your worth and feel like it’s very much personal to you, I think that yes, it definitely complicates it.

Mac Prichard:

How can our listeners shift that mindset? What suggestions do you have for them?

Lauren McGoodwin:

Yeah, one of the things they can do is find examples in their life that are not related to money that make them feel good about themselves. Maybe you want to make sure to share those moments with your family and friends, or even write them down, because the goal there is to start associating your self-worth with feelings and experiences that deserve it and are not related to money.

Money once you identify a theme and the activities that support your new mindset, you can create more evidence of those activities. For example, if volunteering your time helps you shift your mindset, maybe you’ll want to seek out more volunteer activities. Maybe you’ll want to talk to your friends and family about your volunteer activities and include them in it.

Another thing you could do is, they say, “Your vibe attracts your tribe”, so you want to spend time with people whose views on money are different and support your new mindset. Ditch that friend who’s always talking about how much money she makes or flaunts her newest online order because she makes so much money. Women especially, can get into that comparison game more than men, so for women especially, I think it’s important for them to hang out with people who are making them feel good about what their money mindset, or what their self-worth mindset, is.

Then you can create a healthy money mantra that you say every day or you post to your refrigerator. I have one and it says that, “My self-worth does not equal my net worth.” It’s really important that I keep that in mind because if I have a bad day and we lose money or we don’t make any money, as an entrepreneur I can’t let that affect my self-worth because being affected like that might affect my decisions as a manager or future decisions in terms of business that I might make.

Mac Prichard:

Earlier you said that it’s important when thinking about your net worth to understand what our market value is. Can you tell us more about that?

Lauren McGoodwin:

Absolutely. I think what’s happened with negotiation tips is, a lot of people say, “Ask for your worth.” That gets misconstrued into again, thinking about your personal worth, but really, what is the market value of your skills? What is the monetary value of what your skills are able to bring to your workplace that help the business goals of your company? Whether that’s you are an email marketing manager and your company’s main revenue stream is by selling things via email, you can start to understand, “Okay the market value of my skill is that I help sell products through email for this company, the company makes this much in revenue, this is what we spend here…” You can start to put a value on, “Okay, this skill is probably pretty valuable to them.

Even when I was an admin assistant, I recognized the market value of my skills. Maybe I wasn’t in a revenue generating position there, but if you’ve ever had an admin assistant or been an admin assistant, you know that the whole office runs because the admin assistant keeps it organized. I was able to filter all the phone calls and emails to the right people so that they could then move forward. I was working for a university, so it was enrolling in school, paying tuition, and things like that.

That’s what I mean by the market value of your skills. What is somebody willing to pay for that skill set to come to their company?  There’s a variety of ways that you can find that out, either through online tools or talking to real people, but at the end of the day, figuring out what companies are willing to pay for those skill sets. They essentially set the market value.

Mac Prichard:

What are the benefits to listeners of understanding what their market value is? How might that help them either in a job search or a negotiation for an offer or if they’re in a position right now and they’re up for, say, a promotion and a raise?

Lauren McGoodwin:

Absolutely. I think that knowing what your market value is and maybe how to be compensated for that will really help you go into that negotiation or that job offer and say, “This is the range I would like to be compensated for”, and be confident when you ask. I think that a big piece of negotiating a salary is being confident in the ask that you make. When you can say, “I’ve done research via these online methods. I’ve talked to real people.” If you’re interviewing, maybe even have a couple different offers and you can come up with this range that’s very much justified and not just something you picked out of thin air.

Mac Prichard:

When we started the conversation, you talked about how people are uncomfortable talking about money in the workplace, particularly with peers about their salaries. I know you’re a big fan of salary transparency; tell us more about that, Lauren.

Lauren McGoodwin:

A really good place to go with salary transparency is start by understanding what are the best practices of your employer. How are they coming up with those numbers?

Now that we know what salary transparency is, I’ll talk about why I think this is actually a really great thing for the workforce.

For starters, transparency can bring equality to the workplace. There is still a lot of inequality among wages between men and women, mothers and fathers, and really why that’s happened is because no one talks about money. They’ve been able to pay people unequal for the same job and nobody has been able to say anything about it.

The other reason why I think salary transparency is so important to the workplace is that it can create a place of trust. When you feel like your employer is paying you fairly, and you understand how they’re coming up with that number, your employees are going to be less likely to feel like you’re hiding something from them or maybe paying them unfairly. That means they’re not going to look for a new job and that means you’re not going to lose an employee and have to pay, I think it’s like 1.5 times their salary to replace them. Salary transparency actually has a lot of perks that employers, I think, don’t think exist for them, which is why they don’t want it. But if they do it the right way, I think that it can be really successful.

The other thing about transparency is, transparency in general is something the population is starting to really embrace and expect. My view on salary transparency also is that companies that don’t jump on board with salary transparency in some way, shape, or form are going to be playing catch up in the future.

Mac Prichard:

What’s your best advice, Lauren, for listeners who are either looking for work or in a job now and they’re getting ready for perhaps an annual review or to chase a  promotion? How can they apply these principles that you’ve described about salary transparency to their next job search or their next conversation about moving up?

Lauren McGoodwin:

Absolutely. So the first thing I would do is do a little online research. At Career Contessa, we have a  tool called The Salary Project. It’s an anonymous salary database that you can go on for free and check out what people are making in your same city, your same job function, your same age, location, there’s a whole bunch of data on there. You can first use that to give you an idea of, “Okay, am I underpaid? Am I paid fairly?”

Don’t stop there; people always want to stop there because going on the internet and not having to talk to anybody if you feel uncomfortable is always the easiest thing. But what I would encourage you to do is to use that to come up with maybe an idea or a range. Let’s say you use a tool… Glass Door and LinkedIn also have some great salary tools as well. Once you go on those tools and you find out, “Okay, I’m making $40,000 a year, but it looks like most of these people here are making $52,000. I definitely need to do a little bit more research.” The next thing I would tell you to do is go talk to three women and three men. The reason why you want to talk to men and women, especially if you are a women, is that there is a wage gap. On average, women make about twenty percent less than men, so if you talk to men and women, you can make sure that whatever salary range you come up with, it’s accounting for that wage gap.

When you talk to them, and people have different opinions about this, I think that most people will be helpful as long as they don’t feel like you’re trying to be nosy. Pick someone in the company who’s maybe in the same department, or the same role, or even pick someone who’s a mentor, who’s higher up in a role than you and say, “I’ve been doing a lot of research on my salary. I am coming up on my one year review and I want to make sure that I’m being responsible about what I ask for. Here’s the range that I’ve come up with. Do you think this is appropriate?” That’s what you might say to your mentor. To someone who’s in the same department, you might say, “I’d really appreciate you sharing your range with me in order to help me make sure that this range that I have isn’t completely inaccurate.”

I think if you give them some context and it doesn’t sound like you’re just going around the office saying, “ How much do you make?” That’s really important. Also recognize that people are going to be uncomfortable with that and they might not share. If they don’t want to share, you have to be cool with that and say, “Thank you so much.” Or, you have to be comfortable with, if they share their salary with you, you might have to share yours with them. Just be ready for those to potentially come up in the conversation.

The point being is that you’re going to use online tools and real people to come up with a range.

Then the next thing, number three, that you want to do is, really look back on the last year or maybe the last job and write out what have been your big accomplishments. What have you done at this company that is going to make them want to give you a raise? Maybe you worked on some really great projects that have yielded some amazing results. Maybe, like again, when I was an admin assistant, I was able to showcase that I had made some processes more efficient. Whatever it is, make sure that when they say, “Okay, you’re asking for a ten thousand dollar raise. How do you come up with this number?” Not only do you tell them that but when they say, “Okay that may be how you come up with the number but what have you done for us, or what do you plan on doing?” Think back on what you accomplished and your future with the company.

We also have a really great script on Career Contessa for asking for a raise, under downloads. If people are looking for a word-for-word script, they can also check that out there.

Mac Prichard:

Good. It’s terrific advice. The principles that you just described, about asking for a raise. I could also see you applying those to a negotiation for a job offer as well.

Lauren McGoodwin:

Absolutely. Yeah, they work in both ways. What I have found about negotiation, whether it’s in the same job or a new job, the more you negotiate, the more comfortable you will get with it. The other thing is, practice this. Say it out loud, practice with a friend, get comfortable. The first time you say your negotiation script that you’ve decided you want to go with, the first time you say it out loud should not be with your boss. Practice it beforehand.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, great. Well, thank you, Lauren. Now tell us, what’s coming up next for you?

Lauren McGoodwin:

Yeah, absolutely. The next thing we have coming up is a productivity powerhouse, an online course. One of the things that we’ve heard from our users, and it makes sense, we’re all connected to our devices, so work starts to feel like it’s 24/7. While we’re able to do work all the time, we’re not as productive as we’d like to be. We created a new online course and people can sign up for the waitlist to get on that. If you’re on the waitlist, you always get special goodies when it launches and it’s called Productivity Powerhouse.

Then we are always adding new downloadable sources, like the Salary Script that I just mentioned, to our site. If you go to CareerContessa.com, on our downloads page, you’ll find all of those great, free tools.

Mac Prichard:

Great. Lauren, thanks for being on the show today.

Lauren McGoodwin:

Thanks so much for having me.

Mac Prichard:

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio with Becky and Jessica. What were your reactions to my conversation with Lauren?

Becky Thomas:

I really liked her focus on disconnecting your salary from the way you think about your success.

Jessica Black:

Absolutely.

Becky Thomas:

I think that we talk about knowing your worth and asking for your worth, so when you don’t get the money that you ask for you think, “Okay, am I worth less now?” I think it’s really healthy to separate your own personal sense of self from your paycheck.

Jessica Black:

Absolutely, that’s a good point.

Becky Thomas:

Also, it just helps you get the emotions out of salary negotiations, and just being like, “Here’s my market value. Here’s what I’ve been able to do. Here’s all of these facts and here’s what I’m asking for.” It’s not about whether or not I’m deserving, it’s about, “Here’s what my market value is for the skills that I have to offer.”

Jessica Black:

Yeah, definitely.

Becky Thomas:

It puts you in a really powerful position, I think.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, and I really liked her point about how important salary transparency is. To be able to get some of those data points of what your net worth is. Because I agree with you that separating your salary from your confidence about your job and your abilities is really important. But you don’t always know what your net worth is. Sometimes it can really be…depending on what kind of job you have…sometimes it’s very clear, but other times it’s a little bit more…Especially we’ve talked about this, with companies that have clever, and fun, and innovative job titles, there’s not a way to look up what the market value is for that. You can do some digging of, putting in the different types of things that you do in your job, to figure out what the equivalent would be but it still makes it a little harder to get an accurate data point.

I really liked her focus on talking to people that are in those same positions and her focus on talking to men and women.

Mac Prichard:

That was a great point.

Jessica Black:

I love that and her reiteration about women often getting paid a significant amount less, which is a reality that we’re still facing that I think the salary transparency will really help. Again, I liked her focus on, when you’re having those conversations and trying to develop that transparency with your coworkers, with the people in your same job titles, giving context about why you’re asking those questions, rather than just asking out of the blue. Or sounding like you’re digging for information. Giving that context of, “I am just trying to make sure that I am on the right track of this”, is really helpful because people will be more likely to want to help you in that context rather than trying to be more private and that’s the thing that’s going to happen if they think you’re just asking out of curiosity or envy.

I think that that’s a really good point. Utilize it in the way, “I’m trying to make sure that I’m being paid at the level that I should be being paid and that I’m on the right track with what I’m asking for.”

I think she gave really great actionable points about all of that and I really appreciated it.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, we’ve had other guests talk about the importance of doing research before having a salary negotiation.

Jessica Black:

Oh yeah, it’s huge.

Mac Prichard:

She’s the first, though, that I’ve heard talk about the importance of employers doing the same kind of research to set the ranges for the positions that they’re either hiring or staffing. There are two parties in a negotiation. Sometimes, I talk to other employers and many hiring managers don’t put in the effort that we expect candidates to put in to research in setting those numbers. When she was talking about a salary transparency culture, I like her emphasis on both parties doing that kind of leg work.

Jessica Black:

Honestly, I think that’s where the equal pay comes into play. That’s how we’ll be able to achieve that, is if it is both job seekers advocating for that, but also employers making sure that there is some sort of consistency in the salaries that are given for the job, not for the person who’s being hired for the job. I know Becky and I have talked about this a lot.

Becky Thomas:

Yes. Passion points.

Jessica Black:

Yeah.

Mac Prichard:

Agreed. Because changing the law isn’t enough; it’s illegal to discriminate against anyone’s salary based on gender, but we have to change the culture too.

Jessica Black:

Absolutely.

Mac Prichard:

Terrific. Thank you both, and thank you, Lauren, for joining us this week and you our listeners, for downloading today’s episode of Find Your Dream Job

Now, don’t forget to check out the 2018 edition of the Top Career Podcast Guide. You’ll discover 78 podcasts that can help you get hired and have a great career.

Get your free copy today. Go to topcareerpodcasts.com.

If you’re looking for more information about salaries and to get the salary you deserve, check out our new resource. It will help you research and prepare for important conversations when you get that job offer or you’re up for that promotion.

Download our resource, How to Talk About Money in an Interview today. Visit macslist.org/moneytalk to get your copy.

Join us next Wednesday. Our special guest will be Añuli Ola-Olaniyi, founder of HEIR, a social enterprise created to give young women the skills they need to build a career. She and I will talk about how to handle job search rejection.

Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job.

Connecting salary and success can be a losing game. Don’t equate the amount of money you make with how happy you are in life. Instead, know that your self-worth is more than your net worth. And when you do negotiate for salary, focus on understanding the market value of your skills and ask for the pay that compensates the type of work you do.

About Our Guest: Lauren McGoodwin

Lauren McGoodwin is the founder and CEO of Career Contessa, a career site for women. Previously, Lauren was a tech recruiter at Hulu and wrote her masters thesis on millennial women and career resources. Career Contessa launched in 2013 and now helps more than one million people with career development each year.

Resources in this Episode: