Hallie Crawford is a certified career coach, author and founder of halliecrawford.com.
We recently checked in with Hallie to get her insight on career transitions and negotiating salaries. Here’s what she shared:
How have the way careers progress evolved since you started your business? What has had the biggest impact on the way American workers navigate their careers?
People change jobs more frequently and, although you don’t want to be seen as a job-hopper, this is more acceptable than it used to be. People are wanting, and feel like they can have and ask for, greater fulfillment from their jobs than before. It’s no longer just to punch a time clock. they want to get a sense of reward from their career beyond a paycheck and they will move around more (to a different organization, for example) in order to get that. People are also being more strategic about their careers, asking for and making changes to their role in order to craft their jobs they way they want them to be long term.
Why is having set goals so essential to a successful, fulfilling career? Where should individuals start when defining those goals?
Having goals are critical because it can be too easy to get complacent about jobs, get distracted by other things in life, and stay in a position that’s not a fit for you for too long. A good place to start in order to define the goals is to ask yourself 1. What does success mean to you and make a list in order to get ideas on qualities you’d like to have in a job to get a sense of what to set for goals, and 2. to determine what fulfills you, identify what your career values are to align your work environment, tasks and role with those values.
When should someone consider changing careers? What considerations should they make before taking the leap? What types of planning should they do ahead of time?
If your job is not honoring your career values, if the work environment is not a fit for you or, if you’re not using your strengths on a regular basis, you should definitely consider moving on. Before changing careers, make sure that you don’t just need to take a different job within your current industry. Perhaps a different work environment or position within the same industry would be enough to make it a fit for you.
Also, consider whether you can adjust your current job to better honor your career values, in some cases you can – in others, it’s not possible. To plan in advance, take the time to determine what the right fit would be, don’t just make the leap without careful consideration of what would be a fit. Then before you make the change, do your homework – research the roles and organizations you’re considering online (on websites such as www.onetcenter.org) and conduct informational interviews with professionals in those roles as well to find out what they are really like, to make sure they are the right fit.
What are some of the most common challenges facing individuals who are transitioning careers?
They feel stuck, they aren’t sure they have what it takes to start over, they’re concerned about, understandably, how to take care of their family and bills and they don’t know what the right job would be for them. As a result, too many people don’t make a change soon enough.
What advice do you find yourself repeating over and over to clients who feel stuck in their careers?
The greatest risk in life is not taking one. Without risk, there’s no reward. You can have a job you truly enjoy and it’s worth putting in the time and effort to find it and make it happen.
How do you advise your clients on making themselves more valuable to their employers and to prospective employers?
Determine your soft skills (things that can’t be taught) and which ones would be the most valuable in the role you want. Highlight those skills, as well as your past relevant experience, with examples and measurable results. Take a class on your own to gain the skills you need and to show your initiative. Work on your leadership skills and emotional intelligence in the workplace as well.
What advice can you offer on approaching salary negotiations? What are some dos and don’ts?
First off, schedule a few informational interviews with others in the industry and similar jobs to determine what is the norm and what you can ask for. Conduct your research on salary sites as well to understand what a reasonable range is.
If you are entering a new industry, realize you may not be able to ask for as much as a seasoned employee, but do focus on your transferable skills in order to get as close as you can to what you would like. In addition to salary, find out what benefits the job offers. This could be vacation time, health insurance, daycare, education, etc.
You may find that it’s worth it to accept a lower salary in exchange for these benefits. Also, ask what opportunities are available for career progression. For example, if you start out at X amount, what could your salary be one to three years from now? Is there room at the company to keep advancing?
What are your clients’ biggest concerns or frustrations about dealing with salary negotiations? How do you help them overcome these concerns?
Feeling uncomfortable with talking about the subject in general. Worrying that they will undercut themselves by asking for too little. Visualizing how they want the process to go, doing their salary research and homework in advance, preparing their case for why they are worth the salary they are asking for.
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