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When was the last time you asked for a raise? For me, it always feels like an awkward conversation to ask for more money. I don’t want to come off as greedy or not happy in my current job. I just want to make more! Often you need to ask yourself, when will you be happy with your salary? If you are always looking for more money every year, you most likely should go into sales or become a doctor.

Being a sales leader, I often hear employees complaining about money or passively asking for a raise without any thought. Sometimes it is done publicly and sometimes it is in 1:1s that are unplanned and unorganized. In this blog post, I will break down some best practices on asking for a raise.

Now, I hate to break it to you but if you are looking how to quickly get a raise this blog post is most likely not directed to you. Unless you have already been doing the below things for over a year. Then you are ready to ask!

6 Months to 1 Year in Advanced:

1. Take on more responsibility

Being in sales now for over 10 years, people never want to take on more responsibility before they got the raise. This is the biggest downfall most go through is thinking you deserve more money before taking on any new tasks. Often this is the opposite, I never have received a raise by doing my standard job.

I am not advising you to take on new responsibility if you are not excelling at your current responsibilities. There is a process, take time to get really good at your job and when you are a little faster, a little better, start adding additional tasks to your job because you have time to do them. If you had more responsibilities and you are currently not ramped in your job, it will have the opposite affect.

2. Discuss Goals/Objectives in every 1:1

Every time you have a meeting with your manager, have your short terms objectives and goals ready to discuss and how you are doing against them.

Most employees don’t take this initiative, they wait until their manager follows up on the things you mentioned in your career development session or your quarterly business review.

3. Ask for Feedback

This ties into the tip above, during your 1:1s its important to ask how you are doing against your goals. If you only wait until your career development sessions or your end of year review you might be in for a shock when you hear feedback. It’s hard to ask feedback; the ones that can ask for it are further ahead in their career.

4. Demonstrate your Accomplishments, wins and value you have in the business

Now I recently posted on Instagram that no one is going to announce your wins and hand you a seat at the table.

You need to continue to be your biggest champion. The most important thing that you can do is consistently exceed expectations. It is an accomplishment to do your standard job but it is more of an accomplishment to do your job effectively as well as go above and beyond

5. The Meeting

Set up a specific meeting about 1-3 months prior to when typical pay raises are issued. You want to come prepared and have all your accomplishments noted down for your discussion. Practice!Practice!Practice! I know it sounds silly, but most of the time people are not comfortable having this conversation. The best way to get better is to practice with a friend, spouse, in front of the mirror. Ensure you are confident, you know exactly what you are going to say and prep objections that you may hear from your manager.

After doing the prep work, your conversation with your manager will feel a lot easier!

Good Luck out there! If you don’t succeed, ask for feedback and figure out how to fill the gaps.

-Jess

Now that the world has been completely turned upside down since March 2020, according to stats at Miro, over 40% of people are working from home, and remote positions are on the rise (article here), which means more and more remote interviews in the future. I even believe when offices open up again, we will still have remote positions and remote interviewing. Just for reference, my last three job interviews I have done in the last three years have been remote.

1. Test Your Technology

Nothing is worse than jumping on an interview right at the start time and your technology is not working or your internet is down. If you have the luxury at home to have one or more devices. Set up a second device in case the first one doesn’t work.

Go ahead and pre-download the software on your computer, if its webX, zoom, teams, etc, get well acquainted with how the software works and any features you may want to use.

2. Dress for the Job

This one is quite straightforward. Depending on what type of job you are applying for, you want to dress for the role and if you were going into the office. I would suggest business casual, the ones that wear a suit to me or a blazer always stand out to me.

If you are going to wear sweatpants or shorts with your outfit thinking that no one will see it, ensure you don’t need to stand up for the entire interview. I have seen people’s children come in or doorbells ringing, and they stand up, and the magic of you wearing business casual is gone!

3. Make sure you are early

This goes hand in hand with testing your technology. If you were interviewing in person, you would most likely arrive at least 10 minutes early. I would suggest joining the call 8 minutes early due to the software’s loading times, and you want to make sure no one is waiting for you.

I am a big stickler for time and hate when people arrive late to any meetings.

4. Make Eye Contact

I have spoke about this in my other youtube video, is how to look good on zoom. You want to ensure you are front and centre of your camera and connecting with the interviewer as much as possible.

Its very hard to connect to someone’s side of the face or head.

Here is the video here: How to Look good on Zoom

5. Remove all Distractions

I can get easily distracted, whether it is a notification on my phone, my cat entering the office or the door bell ringing.

Ensure when you are in your interview that you keep all distractions outside of the room. If you have a smart home speaker, I would suggest muting this device or unplugging it all together. Nothing is worse than answering a question in an interview and losing your train of thought due to a distraction.

6. Have your CV near by or as your virtual background

Typically in an in-person, you would bring at least a few copies of your CV/resume. Ensure you have your CV open on your desktop, and for those super creative, you can even add it as your virtual background.

You can take this approach, you can also share your screen but most likely the hiring manager will have it open on their side as well.

7. Prepare and rehearse key questions

Pick an honest friend and schedule some time to rehearse your interview. Since we live in a remote world, it is effortless to schedule a quick 20 minutes with a friend and go over your questions.
Ask that friend for their honest opinion and get feedback from them on how it sounds.

8. Research the Company

I can’t stress this enough!!! Since we are remote, we can absolutely have notes on the side of our screen regarding the company you are applying for.

Having the hiring managers Linkedin open to understand who they are, and having some notes such as the companies objectives, results, what their mission and vision are, is so important. If you find you don’t align with the vision and mission, it also might not be a place for you to work.

9. Have a digital presence

Now, this requires you to do some pre-work. Having a digital online presence in Canada is so important. What this means is to clean up your social media profiles. In Canada, LinkedIn in business is heavily used. Ensure your latest achievements and education are updated on this tool. However you decide to use Linkedin, make it consistent. If you only post once a month, then do that. If you never post and suddenly you are looking for a job, it may take time to build a credible brand presence.

10. Break the Ice

I have some people execute this really really well. You could start with a joke, talk about coffee/tea, weather, what your day is looking like. What new hobbies you have started, etc. The point here is to pep up your energy, add different tones to your conversation because the interviewer at this point is trying to figure out who you are!

Have you participated in any job interviews remotely? How did they go?

“How to tell your employer you’re pregnant,” doing some research, I realized this topic is not super popular on the web, unless you go to specific “mommy” websites or pregnancy forums.

Being a woman in technology, I have heard all the phrases from “Better not get pregnant yet” to “when are you starting a family, don’t take too long.” These are all really great opinions but to be honest, these phrases women hear in the workplace are just not needed. It makes it even harder to communicate you are pregnant when so many people have an opinion on when you should have children.

The most alarming statement I have read thus far from Catalyst (article here) and the reason it gives me anxiety is below.

Women aged 25-34 experienced a 48% drop in wages in the first year of having a child in 2016.36

I still haven’t found how to prevent this, but I’m not too fond of 50/50 odds. Now let’s jump into it; if it still makes you uneasy about announcing your pregnancy, here are some steps you can take!

How to tell your Manager you are pregnant?

Now, I wish I had a quick recommendation on the exact words to say to your manager, but I don’t. I know from experience that you can have loads of emotions about when is the right time, overthink how your boss will react, and have the right words. Some people will recommend you to wait until at least 3-4 months, where other people are just too excited to announce the news. By law, when you start your maternity leave in Canada, you need to give a minimum of two weeks’ notice. I highly recommend in Canada that you don’t give your employer only two weeks.

Below I have broken it down in four tips on how to tell your employer:

  1. Set aside the time: Don’t tell your boss in a morning scrum session, where they will be caught off guard. Schedule an appointment to meet so there is no additional business talk or distractions. If you are working remotely and the time is not scheduled for this specific topic, it is very easy not to have a moment to talk about this.
  2. Accentuate the positive: If you are super excited about this news, please don’t start with an apology when you tell your boss. For a lot of you, this is the best news in your life, be happy about your pregnancy and confident in your ability to work and raise a family. Everyone is doing it!
  3. Be Flexible: Now, you might already have a plan in your mind, what you want maternity leave to look like, when you come back, etc. Most likely, your manager will be more than happy to brainstorm with you what options are available. There is not much compromise on this topic in Canada, from an employer’s standpoint, as there are laws set in place for parents to utilize. My recommendation would be to communicate as much as possible how you are feeling about when you want to come back to work.
  4. Get it in Writing: Once you have told your manager that you are pregnant, I would highly recommend sending a summary email just as a reminder/time step that this was discussed for your records and theirs. This will prevent any if any future confusion.
Helpful links when living in Canada for Maternity Leave Details:

Canada Maternity and Parental Benefits

Alberta Residents

British Columbia Residents

Manitoba Residents

New Brunswick Residents

Newfoundland and Labrador Residents

Northwest Territories Residents

Nova Scotia Residents

Nunavut Residents

Ontario Residents

Prince Edward Island Residents

Quebec Residents

Saskatchewan Residents

Yukon Residents

Now it’s 2021, and I want to point out there is an advantage of being on video calls with customers or your employees. The last few weeks, I have been on numerous team calls and customer calls, and it seems that people are either tired of being on video or never got used to it.

I am not all about changing who you are to look better on zoom. There are, however, a few tricks to enhance/make yourself more visible on camera for the viewer. Whether you are prepping for a large webinar, an interview or just day to day meetings, I believe these four tips can help you!

Four things to Keep in Mind on Zoom:

Lighting:

If you know anything about photography, lighting, I believe, is the one thing all photographers say is needed. I know if you plan any family photoshoots or headshot sessions, you are either surrounded by studio lighting, or the photographer needs natural sunlight to get a good shot. This goes the same for web conferencing. The most flattering light will be from in front of you and not from behind or an above spotlight.

Also, if you have three different light sources, this can make your appearance look unflattering. Stick to one source. If you have a bright enough window, turn off the light in your room until needed. I explain more in the video!

Angle

Angle!! This one is huge, especially when you are presenting or speaking at a meeting. If your webcam is currently stationed on your laptop, you should either center your laptop in the middle of your desk or sit in the center of the webcam when participating in online meetings.

The most flattering angle will always be front and centre and the camera higher than your head; as I was not blessed with an amazing pointed chin, I don’t feel comfortable with the double chin angle.

Dress Code

In early 2020, most people landed on wearing Pajamas or sweats to work. There is no problem with this, and who knows what type of bottoms I am wearing when filming this video. The point is, one day, when we do start to travel for work again, you still want to have some consistency with your brand. If you are more of a casual person, I would continue with that dress code. Just match what you would typically feel comfortable wearing to an office.

Background

I was doing an interview recently, and one of the most awkward things for me was to see the candidate’s bed in the background. I know we are facing a pandemic, and most people don’t have the luxury of having a home office. In this case, I would utilize a virtual background to block out any intimate things that could be lurking in the background.

If you think this is not important, every single week, I have at least one person commenting on my background on how clean it is or asking what something is. Covid-19 has brought some intimacy in meetings for better or worse, so if you don’t want someone to see into that part of your life, clean it up.

*BONUS*

Watch the end of this video for a bonus item on how to touch up your appearance on zoom.