• Akeel Kazmi

Tips on securing your next role, pay rise or promotion

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

So we're in the middle of the pandemic, with a second lockdown in the UK imminent, not that you needed reminding. Amid an economic downturn where unemployment is high – how can you stand out in an already crowded market?

Depending on your predicament, you may be looking to secure a new role or dare I say it is asking for a pay rise or promotion. You may be close to your year-end review; however, you might convince yourself now is not an opportune time to ask for a raise or that promotion you were promised at the start of the year by your manager - even if you've met your yearly objectives.  

Climb that career goal
Climb that career goal

You could argue that you should be grateful that you are still in employment considering the circumstance; however, your employer should not be taking advantage of the situation. We should always be thankful for work irrespective of the economic cycle.

Considering Upskill Professional Development prides itself on adding value and upskilling our clients through training and coaching – we have put this article together to add some practical tips that you can utilise in any given situation.

Firstly, remember just like you would not delegate an estate agent to choose a house for you to purchase or a travel agent a holiday destination – you should not delegate your career development to your manager, recruiter or executive coach. You need to take charge of your career development and drive it forward.

Natural survival instincts of fight or flight, i.e. a response to a perceived harmful event or threat to survival, we may go into survival mode, which is a fear-based way of thinking especially with winter coming.

Now, this may be a perfectly suitable strategy and would make the most sense, however, if most of us are thinking like this, then that gives us more of an opportunity to go for that promotion or ask for that pay rise – assuming it is justified.

'Fortune favours the brave' – i.e. courageous action is often rewarded, and you have to be a little audacious to ask for a pay rise or promotion in the current climate.  

So without further ado, here are the practical tips that you can apply in your next job search, pay rise or promotion negotiation.

Applying for a new role

Firstly, you need to stand out amongst your peers – in all 3 scenarios, whether you are vying for a place in an interview, asking for a raise or promotion.

How can you go about this?

By making an initial good impression.

Job search

  1. Network - Speak to family, friends, neighbours, ex-colleagues, ex-managers about any opportunities – they may not have any opportunities within their team, but they may know someone who does

  2. Set your LinkedIn profile pic to #OpentoWork – get that visibility and awareness within your network – remember LinkedIn is a social media site for securing employment!

  3. Sign up to some job boards

  4. Sign up to agencies – build rapport

  5. Reach out to people for advice with help for your CV, mock interviews, etc. Don't be shy, with 2020 more people are learning to be empathetic. If someone contacted me, I'd be happy to spend 5-10 minutes checking their CV, but obviously, make sure it's in a decent shape and doesn't have spelling mistakes etc. 

CV stage

A good impression can also be made before submitting when submitting and after you've submitted your CV.

  1. Build rapport with your recruiter and identify what key attributes the company is looking for in their ideal candidate. What are the critical challenges so you can highlight how you can address those in your CV?

  2. Make sure your CV is ATS friendly (Application Tracking Software). Standard practice is to ensure essential keywords, standard job titles, relevant qualifications, no tables and simple bullet points.

  3. Use Grammarly, they have a free version to check for spelling mistakes etc. 

  4. When applying for a role, make sure your LinkedIn profile is consistent with your CV – more than likely the recruiter will take a look at it, and if you get the interview (fingers crossed), then the interviewer will also take a look.

  5. You should reach out to a recruiter either before or after you have submitted your application and confirm that they have received it. If you didn't get an email response then trying calling them or leaving a voicemail. 

Interview stage

If you land the interview, then you need to be prepared. 

  1. Do your research, find out what are the key challenges the company is facing in the industry and how you can help solve them. 

  2. When answering your questions, use some structure, use the STAR method which stands for Situation + Task + Action + Result – Google some examples and think about scenarios where you can answer some common scenario-based questions around a daily task, teamwork, innovation etc

  3. Make sure you have a bunch of questions to ask the interviewer at the end to show your enthusiasm about the job even if you might be doing it to pay the bills. 

  4. If you get stumped with a difficult question, relax, breathe and have some water next to you so you can drink a sip and buy yourself some time valuable time to collect your thoughts – feel free to ask the interviewer to repeat the question. 

  5. Always ask about next steps, thank them for their time and make sure you follow up with an email.

Now we probably need a separate article about how to make that eye-catching CV, or how to ace your interview, but this is general guidance. Let me know if there is a demand for it, and we can look at adding more content in the future.

Asking for a raise

Remember if you don't ask, you don't get and what is the worst that can happen? They will say no?

However, before you ask – make sure you have met most of the below criteria:

  1. Find out from your boss what are the priorities and what you're being measured against? or even what they will be measured against or as a team?

  2. Make sure you have met all your goal/objectives that your manager has set out for you, and ideally, you're going above and beyond.

  3. Highlight to your manager with concrete examples that you have gone above and beyond. You told me to do x, but I actually did x and y, e.g. sales target was £5,000 I reached £6,000, or you told me to reach out to 3 clients a day I have been reaching out to 5, and these are the results etc. Your results need to be tangible and measurable.

  4. Make sure your stakeholders love you and can vouch for you, i.e. you are delivering for them and should be compensated for them. Try to get something in an email and make sure they consistently give feedback to your boss or his or her boss of the beautiful job you are doing.

  5. If your job duties have increased due to an increase in scope or other team members have been made redundant, then you should be compensated for your additional workload. This is a fair and valid justification.  

Asking for a promotion

All of the above for criteria for asking for a pay rise, but the additional

  1. Demonstrate that you are operating one level above your pay grade – identify what is expected for that role and start incorporating those aspects in your role

  2. Demonstrate your value proposition, i.e. what you bring to the table, your strengths and how much more value you can provide by stepping into this promoted role

  3. Improve your communication skills as you will more than likely need to deliver presentations, or present your ideas/recommendations in a team meeting or have powerful conversations with stakeholders. I'd suggest joining a local Toastmasters club as they do a fantastic exercise called Table topics, where you need to think on your feet and get conversation practice in.

I hope you found some of the tips practical, please let us know what you found useful (key takeaways) and tag a friend who may find this article helpful.

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.  

Thanks for your time and reading.

To your continued success.

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