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Asking for a payrise
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That's one of the most difficult things you can do, is ask for a pay-rise. Another one is resigning, that's a difficult thing, but focusing on asking for a pay rise I think, firstly you've got to have information about:

How did you perform in the past twelve months, in your role?

Did you have KPI's? (Key Performance Indicators) against which you performed, and how you fared against those;

What you're looking for, in the future, with the organisation.

So you don't just go in and say "I think I'm worth more money." You actually sit down and think objectively about the work you've done in the past 12 months, how you went, what you're looking for in the next 12 months.

And then, if you're clever, you get on the Internet and you'll come onto to something like LinkMe, and you'll compare yourself to other people in similar jobs and you'll have a view, an objective view, to talk to your boss about. About where you compare with your peers, doing similar sorts of jobs, what sort of money they're looking for.

You can look in the newspaper, look at job advertisements for the similar role that you're doing now, and see what salaries are being offered. So, if you're with a small company, and they're offering salaries similar to yours in small companies, but they're offering more money in medium or larger companies, you can get a perspective on where you sit in the job market.

Another way, before you ask your boss for a job, is to go to a recruiter and talk to a recruiter about what you're doing now and what you might be able to get in the next move you make, or if they moved you in the same role, what sort of salary you would be getting there.

So, in other words, plan and think objectively.

Show your boss that you've understood what you're doing now, what you want to do in the future, and you understand your value, and so you are confident.

I always say, information is knowledge, knowledge is power. So when you talk to your boss about getting more money, be professional about it. Be objective. Give him, or her, information to allow them to make a decision to say yes for you, because most bosses are nervous about "Oh, I know I've got to give you an increase, and we'll make it CPI - just a cost of living increase". But you should say, ok - cost of living is 5 percent, but I think I've performed over and above most people and these are the reasons why, and this is what I think I should be getting.

So, make it easy for your boss to give you a salary increase.

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So you've found an ad for your dream job and submitted a thorough and thoughtful application. What's next?

If your application makes it through the screening round, the process of securing the job is likely to involve a series of interviews, initially on the telephone, followed by a number of in-person, face-to-face meetings. Many people underestimate the importance of the initial telephone conversation: the recruiter's goal is to determine your suitability for the role, so if you don't make a great first impression, you're unlikely to proceed to the next round of interviews.

Most of the time, you'll receive a phone call from the advertiser (this could be a Recruitment Consultant or someone from the company's HR/Recruitment team). There's usually no warning of the call, so be prepared to shift into interview mode quickly. If you happen to miss the call, it is common courtesy to return the call promptly (which is also likely to help your application).

While the phone interview is relatively informal, this is still an interview. A few points to consider:

1. Be proactive. You could consider contacting the advertiser proactively - either from the details in the advertisement or through your own research into the company. This leaves no doubt about how keen you are about the role. Not all advertisers encourage this approach, particularly for roles which are likely to attract a large volume of applicants. Be prepared to be told to apply online and don't be overly pushy if this is the case.

2. Don't rush. You won't be judged for taking the time to consider the question and answer it properly. Stay calm, composed and think your answers through. If you've reached this stage, it means the recruiter genuinely wants to understand who you are and discover why you're suitable for the role. This means that even if you have a lot to say, the recruiter is unlikely to hang up on you and you don't need to worry that you're wasting their time.

3. Be direct in your answers. Being cagey or not giving the full answer doesn't help your cause. Remember that you are competing with other candidates and will likely to be asked the same questions as they are. Listen carefully for clues about whether your answer is on the right track. For example, if the recruiter needs more detail or is confused about your response, she may try to ask the same question in a different way.

4. Listen. As the saying goes: "You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice more than you speak."

The conclusion of the call will usually be close when the questions end, and either a description of the role or being asked if you have any questions comes up. Simply enquiring about the next stage or a couple of questions about the role itself (team size, how this position fits into the team, etc.) will also be a good way for the interviewer to determine how keen you are and serve to leave them with a good impression. Both of which are key in hopefully securing your first stage interview.

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