Why You Should Be Job Hunting – Even If You Already Have a Job

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Many people feel that consulting job hunting resources and looking for a new job are things that only people who are unemployed should be doing. It is often assumed that the only time you need to be aware of what jobs are on the market and the opportunities that are available for you when you don’t already have a job.
Quite the contrary. Experts agree that it is a good practice to always keep an eye out for job opportunities, as well as the average rate of pay for jobs you may be interested in. Of course this isn’t something that you’ll want to do every day, but staying in the loop with jobs and salary changes in your industry could eventually help you move up the corporate ladder.
By keeping apprised of trends in job openings and salaries in your industry, you can ensure that you’re getting the best salary for your value, and that you are aware of changes in skills and experience needed for certain jobs. In addition, this knowledge could also give you great bargaining power when the time comes to negotiate your next salary increase!
While you may be happily employed today, we all know that with our country’s current economic situation, people are still continuing to lose their jobs everyday and are finding themselves actively searching for a new job. Job hunting doesn’t have to consume a lot of time, you just need to keep your resume current with your most recent employment history and achievements, know the best job search resources for your industry, and be willing to network with colleagues and friends in other companies who may know of opportunities for someone with your skills and expertise.
Being prepared for your job search will result in a a more effective, targeted search, and ultimately success!

Every year experts in their respective fields talk to employers, look at statistics and then take their best guess about what will happen in the job market. Of course 2011 is no different. People want to know if there will be more college graduates hired, will salaries go up or go down and is there a chance employees will see an increase in their performance reviews?

According to available information the job market has begun to look up and there are hopeful signs everywhere. Unemployment rates have held steady at around 10 percent, so it’s good to see some kind of recovery start to take shape.
Recent College Graduate Outlook
The good news is that recent college graduates may have better luck finding jobs. The National Association of Colleges and Employers released their Job Outlook 2011 Fall Preview survey and employers expect to hire at least 13.5 percent more new college graduates from the 2011 graduating class compared to 2010 college graduates. Of the participating employers, nearly half of them expected to increase hiring, where about 40 percent expected to maintain the same level of new college hires.
However, some college degrees still pay more than others. Particularly those college students with engineering degrees still have the highest level of being hired out of college. In fact, all engineering degrees are expected to see growth.
Salary Projections and Increased Salaries
For those that are not recent college grads, but still want to know their job prospects and salary projections for 2011, there is a small flicker of sunlight on the horizon. Projected salary increases for 2010 were thought to be around 2 to 3 percent and the outlook for 2011 is a little bit better. The projections for 2011 are that employers will be able to raise their budgets enough to work with a 3 percent increase in salary according to Plan Sponsor.
That does not mean that each and every employee and job seeker will receive a 3 percent salary increase just because their employer’s budget increased, so don’t go in expecting the increase to hit suddenly. Annual salary increases usually work by creating a pool of cash, which is set aside for each independent department, so that it is the equivalent of 3 percent of that department’s salaries. The pool of money is then divided between employees based on seniority and role within the company.
So as experts begin to predict growth for the 2011 job market there creates good news for soon to graduate college students and those who are still looking for work. Things are looking up but it still might take some time to fully recover. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your financial security and job prospects won’t be either. Keep your ear to the grindstone and start pounding out connections because you never know when that dream job will be right around the corner.

How/When To Ask for Salary Raises

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Throughout your career, you are definitely going to encounter a situation where you feel entitled to a salary raise but have not been offered one. Learning how and when to ask for a raise is the first towards taking control of one’s future and career. Unfortunately in these tough economic times, raises are not always freely given, in fact sometimes we feel like we are fighting for it. Capitalizing on successes and highlighting your ability to make a difference can often be parlayed in to raises. The trick is to know when to strike.
First, decide just when to ask for a raise. This can be tricky. Many employees opt to only ask for a raise on a yearly basis, but it is possible and sometimes even suggested, to ask for raises on a more frequent basis. When trying to determine the best time to ask for a raise, consider the following:

  1. Is your employer financially secure? Even if your company announce it’s earnings from the rooftop, it is generally possible to determine if they are secure or experiencing cash flow difficulties. Obviously asking for a raise when a company is strapped for cash is not a great idea.
  2. Has your employer recently won new business, reached a sales goal or other milestone? If so, it is often best to ask for a raise as soon as possible – especially if you contributed to the success.
  3. Have you recently done something to change your company in a positive way? Finishing a large project, winning a new client or developing a helpful program for the company can make you shine and is the best way to successfully ask for a raise.

Once you have determined the perfect time to ask for a raise, you next need to learn how to do so in an appropriate manner that is professional but also persuasive (minus the chocolates and sucking up). Remember to keep all communications regarding your request positive, and be prepared for a ‘no’ or an offer that is less than you expected.

When asking for a raise, remember that your best weapon is your record of successful accomplishments. Properly documenting and presenting them is critical towards a successful request. Carefully and concisely outlining your accomplishments as well as your growth is the first step towards asking for a raise.
Finally, always remember that professionalism is key. Because of this, it is vital that an employee not ignore the management structure of their organization. Every employee should first approach their manager or supervisor with their salary raise increase request. Jumping ahead is little more than stepping on the toes of the manager and will likely not result in a raise.
If you are not satisfied with cost of living or non-existent raises, don’t be afraid to approach your manager about your needs. An employee who recognizes their strengths and contributions and is willing to learn and grow is an asset to any organization – raises simply make sense. Find the best time to present your request and documentation and you will likely see your salary increase.