Careers, Job Search, Personal Branding, job seekers, linkedin, personal brand management

Your Job Search Secret Weapon – Your Personal Brand

Mary Rosenbaum | November 21st, 2016

When you think of popular brands you automatically remember the specific value that manufacturers focus on when talking about their products. Whether it’s Volvo and safety, BMW and performance, or Tesla and innovation – the focus is on the differentiating qualities and the value those qualities provide. And yes, they all get you where you want to go but that’s not what all the noise about. It’s about HOW they do it and the value they provide and that’s what distinguishes them from each other and from the competition.

The same holds true for you as a professional. Your personal brand is like a fingerprint – no two people bring the exact same qualities to completing the task at hand. How you do what you do – whether it’s the specific experience you bring to the table, the innovation you are known for, the ability to engage others to work with you – is very important in distinguishing you from your competition.

Here are some important lessons to be learned from those people who are masters of creating solid well-known brands;

1. Never present yourself as a jack of all trades – because you will be mistaken for a master of none. Generalists are not memorable and therefore not easily remembered. Identify those skills/talents/experiences that enable you to provide the unique value a prospective employee needs to be successful in the position for which they are recruiting. And then find the stories that back up the claim. If you can’t claim value that distinguishes you from the competition you will be thought of as a commodity – and pricing rather than value will be the differentiating feature.

In the example I used above, the cars I mentioned would never be considered commodities – although pricing may be a deterrent for some, their target audience makes the purchase based on perceived value, not on pricing. You’re not JUST buying a car; you’re buying a specific brand known for the qualities you want.

2. Know what your selling points are and make sure all your collateral materials (resume, LinkedIn, bio, etc.) reflect and validate these points. For example, a common mistake is to make your resume a comprehensive listing of every responsibility and task you ever completed throughout your career.

Companies with strong brands keep hammering home the points they want you to remember, to connect with, and use as part of your purchase decision. They don’t give all the details of their product because that would dilute the message they were trying to convey and make it harder for you to remember what they deem to be the strongest selling points.

A resume that has too much information is as bad as one that has not enough. A resume filled with more than what’s needed is asking the reader to pick and choose what he/she deems important. Instead a resume that highlights the skills and talents you want them to see puts you in charge of how you are viewed. The focus should be on the job you want, not the one you had 5 or 10 years ago. So take control of what they think, point them in the direction you want to go, and the odds of being singled out increase.

3. Never underestimate the value of a cover letter. A cover letter is another opportunity for you to hammer that message home – that you have the skills they need and want.

A cover letter is your opportunity to link your skills, experiences, successes, and abilities directly to the job for which you are applying. It’s not a rehash of what’s on your resume – it’s a time for you to show personality, showcase your writing capabilities, illustrate the knowledge you have of the industry and of them, and tell them something that would be relevant to the job but not fully fleshed out on the resume. This is an opportunity to let your differentiating qualities come through and let your personal brand be more visible.

In my days as a recruiter I always read the cover letter and if it was one that would be able to connect the dots for my clients – show them how this candidate might fit well with their needs – I always forwarded both the resume and the cover letter. After all, the candidate was making my job that much easier.

So don’t bury your personal brand in favor of being all things to all people. Instead highlight your secret weapon and use the resources that are in your control to spotlight the differences.

Whether you are in a job or looking for one, strengthening your personal brand is vital to your success. Need help?  Contact me.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigital Photos.net


Success: Is it all about WHO you know?

Mary Rosenbaum | October 19th, 2015


Is it all about WHO you know and not WHAT you know? The answer is yes and no. WHO you know can help get you in the running for that promotion, that job, that piece of new business. WHAT you know will help you turn possibilities into reality.

Studies over the past couple of years have proven that larger, diversified networks have a significant impact on your career and your earning capability. The relationship between network size, quality and expected wages is positive. The results of studies over the past 20 years reinforce the fact that wage rates of the most well connected are 15% to 25% higher than those with few connections.

The importance of growing your network cannot be overstated. But the value of your network lies not solely in the numbers. The quality of its members is a vital component. Two of my past posts focused on growing your network and building your tribeBut what about the quality of your network?

Your network consists of two categories of members: those with whom you have close ties and those with weak ties.

Close ties are those relationships where people know you well and understand what you do. You already know many of their contacts and the type of information they can provide. Generally, you travel in the same circles, belong to many of the same social groups, and may even work in the same company or industry.

Weak ties are the opposite. You know them but are not close. You don’t travel in all the same circles therefore you are not familiar with their networks. Because they are not in your immediate circle, they have information and contacts that may prove to be valuable for you, your career and your business. In fact, it’s through weak ties that the majority of leads are disseminated regarding employment and business opportunities. In short, weak ties enable you to reach populations and audiences that are not accessible via strong ties.

Not to confuse things but “followers” on social media networks do not generally fall into the category of weak ties. Although the broad definition of weak ties may fit, you still have to have some form of relationship built on trust, contact, or experience in order for there to be any form of information and contact sharing that extends beyond the superficial. Unless you build a relationship beyond 140 characters your followers cannot be considered weak ties.

What can you do to increase your network in a purposeful way?

First and foremost, ensure that you continue to deepen your close relationships so that you can each act as brand ambassadors for the other. Although they may have more limited resources to share it’s always valuable to have people who are “in your corner.” Their role as advisors, supporters, and cheerleaders is vital to maintaining your confidence and continued professional growth.

To grow your network of weak ties, seek out opportunities where you can meet people from different backgrounds:

- join organizations not related to what you do

volunteer at nonprofits outside your immediate community

keep in touch with former colleagues since their network will be different once they leave

strengthen relationships with “followers” and LinkedIn connectionsso there can be more meaningful reciprocity in sharing information and contacts

attend events that interest you and are outside your immediate sphere of influence

take new classes and expand your horizons

Grow WHO you know with purpose so you can showcase WHAT you know.

What other ways do you grow your network?

Want to discuss this in person? Contact me.


How To Create A Memorable Elevator Pitch

Mary Rosenbaum | March 9th, 2015

What type of reaction do you get when you introduce yourself at a conference, meeting or networking event? So much has been written about the elevator pitch yet most people still have a hard time making it sound compelling, authentic and memorable.

I attended an event a few weeks ago and was surprised at how people described themselves when asked about their job or business. It was as if they had memorized a speech – not a long one of course because this was their elevator pitch, but they sounded canned and well rehearsed. Needless to say, they weren’t memorable.

If you are doing something you enjoy and are good at, describing it to anyone else should be easy; it should flow. And even more importantly, it should excite or create interest in the listener. Instead these descriptions sounded as if they were reading a label describing the contents of some packaged food product. Even worse were some of the catch phrases like – “problem-meister” – cute but could be off-putting to some.

When deciding on what to include in your introduction, think in terms of what you want them to remember about you. Here are some ideas you might want to include.

Your Introduction Should Answer These Questions

- What you do?

- Who you do it for?

- What are your deliverables (the pain points you eliminate)?

- Why should I hire or use you?

You Want To Tell Them Why

Adding some insight into who you are and why you do what you do provides an excellent foundation for connecting with other people. We always look for some commonality when we meet someone new. Sharing a passion or interest, especially if it relates to what you do opens the door for further conversation. So answer:

- What am I passionate about?

- How does my work help me feed that passion?

- What makes me feel good about what I do?

Give Them Results – Validation

- How has my experience enabled me to be successful in the work I do?

- How does the work I do satisfy my clients’/company’s needs and goals?

Be Genuine

Authenticity is magnetic. If what you say is genuine, this will elicit further questions not only about your service or work, but about you as well.

Mix It Up

Whenever I introduce myself, I have a different way of saying it each time. Although there are points I want to make, by not memorizing a script it’s more authentic and can be geared specifically to the audience I am addressing. By trying out different introductions I get a much better sense of what resonates with my audience.

Now give it try and put more of yourself into your introduction or pitch.

Need help strengthening your brand positioning? Whether you’re looking for a job or seeking a promotion, and you want to take control of your career, let’s talk about how I can help. Contact me.


Personal Branding: What’s So Special About You?

Mary Rosenbaum | January 12th, 2015

This question is top of mind of every recruiter, hiring manager, and current manager. When you are interviewing for a job or sitting down for a performance evaluation, you have to be able to articulate what makes you different or special as compared with others in your field of expertise. If you can’t, you won’t get what you want.

It sounds like a simple question but it’s much more complex than what you might think. Most people usually answer with what you would expect – a great definition of the skills necessary to do a good job in their current position. But the real answer would focus on those skills, attributes, abilities, and talents that enable you to achieve a result that makes you standout from your competition. How and why do your results surpass the competition? What do you do that’s over the top that enables you to be successful? Can you demonstrate that there is a correlation between those actions and your success?

The answer to this question is the essence of your personal brand – the something special you are known for, it’s the reason people hear about you, it’s why recruiters call you, it’s why you get the choice assignments and promotions and clients.

My friend Tamara is an outstanding insurance salesperson. She has built a unique business that she defines as client-centric. What makes Tamara standout is her ability to build lasting relationships with people across a wide variety of demographics in a genuine and committed way. Through her actions, Tamara demonstrates time and again that she wants to help her clients find solutions that work for them, not necessarily for her. This fits well with her passion for solving problems and puzzling out complex and unique solutions, not just for the sake of her bottom line. Because she delivers on her promise, her honesty and her sincerity are taken at face value.

One of the most telling examples of how she built her success is the blurring of lines of friendship when trying to distinguish between the professional and the personal. Tamara has a strong personal brand.

As you can see, I never mentioned that she has all the requisite skills necessary for someone to be successful in her industry because that’s a given. It’s the tablestakes without which she wouldn’t even be in the game. My focus is on what makes Tamara special – and as a result, makes her highly successful.

So how about you? What makes you stand out? Can you define the essence of your personal brand?

Do you need help positioning yourself? Let’s talk.


Resumes That Work

Mary Rosenbaum | September 16th, 2014

Do you believe that having a strong resume is important in landing a job or an interview? If you answered yes, then it’s time to rework your resume.

Although this post is geared toward job seekers, I believe that everyone would benefit from a resume redo once a year. Whether you are looking for a job or are content in your current position, it’s always a good idea to go through the exercise of writing your resume. Why? Because it’s important to you have a clear understanding of what you have to offer, what your expertise is, what successes need to be highlighted, and how to best represent yourself to others.

In reworking your resume think of yourself as the Product. And if that’s the case then your resume, along with your collateral materials, have to reflect your product’s personal brand. Gone are the days when your resume used words such as:

  • responsible for
  • managed
  • handled
  • led

Instead, your resume should be much more focused on your major accomplishments and the value you add for your employer. It should be skills focused and success oriented with quantitative results used whenever possible that demonstrate your impact on revenue generation, cost reduction, team building, problem solving, and relationship building.

Hard skills (years of experience, education) are what get you in the game. It’s the soft skills (accomplishments, how you work) that provide the differentiating factors when decisions are made between who to bring in for an interview and which resumes to delete.

Think of how you can “show” rather than “tell” your story. For example, if you led a team through a particular project, rather than state that you led a team on Project A, start with the result, the impact, and the benefit to your company.

A strong resume speaks to an employer’s needs and demonstrates how you can help them.

When putting together your branded resume, try to answer the following questions:

  • What are my assets? Hard and soft skills, job and life experiences, education, extra-curriculars.
  • What are my greatest successes? Quantitative examples should be used here to validate.
  • How am I different/better than my competitors? For example: language skills, international experience, awards, promotions, education.
  • What do I bring to the job/company that is unique? Brainstorm with others: co-workers, coach, managers, mentors.
  • What are the prospective employer’s greatest needs and how does what I offer help them? This is a great place to “show” by using examples.
  • What weaknesses or shortcomings do I have that might prevent me from getting the interview/job? How can I ameliorate them?

Your resume should be geared to the particular job for which you are applying. The more tailored your resume, the more time you spend customizing it, the better your chances at getting that call you’re waiting for.

Have any questions? Contact me.


Not a Born Negotiator? Ways to Create A Win/Win

Mary Rosenbaum | March 24th, 2014

Are you a born negotiator? Not many of us are. Even if you are good at it, how successful are you when you are negotiating for yourself in situations that are critical to you, your business, and your career as opposed to for your company or your clients?

I know as soon as the negotiation affects me personally, arriving at a compromise is not as easy as when I am arranging a new car lease or buying something from a street vendor. In each of those two situations, I can walk away. I will probably never see or deal with that person again. Neither my emotions nor my ego are invested in the results.

What about negotiations that deal with compensation, employment or client contracts, staffing an important project, or being part of a team? These are personal. The results can reflect on our ability to perform well. The results represent how we define ourselves and the value our employers or clients assign to us. How good are you in these and other situations that are more personal?

The definition of negotiation is a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. The best possible result would be an agreement that benefits both parties involved. But have you ever been involved in a negotiation where you felt that your “give up” was greater than the other side? If this sounds familiar, ask yourself:

1. Did I ask for enough? Whether it’s asking for increased compensation, a higher fee, improved benefits, more time, additional help, new title or promotion, sometimes a small voice in your head warns you of overreaching, asking for more than you can get or deserve. If this is the case, you have already lost the negotiation before you sit down at the table. Managing your expectations realistically are necessary, but just make sure that you are not limiting yourself because of fear.

2. Did I have enough information? Did I do enough research on my topic? If it’s compensation or fee structure, did I do my homework on comparables? Did I understand the firm psychology and culture? Information provides you with the bargaining strength you need to ask for what you deserve. It also serves as validation for your ask.

3. Did I know what I really wanted the outcome to be? What did I specifically ask for? You need to define what you are willing to give up. What is absolutely non-negotiable? When you walk into that room know how much you can give up without feeling that you are being taken advantage of.

4. Did I communicate my arguments effectively, did I make a clear case? Did I communicate how the other side can benefit if I prevail? Always try to see it from the other side so you can understand their position and make sure your pitch is designed so that their needs are taken into consideration.

5. Did I handle the objections well? Preparation is key to anticipating what the objections might be so you can come up with the right answers that strengthen your case.

Are there other ways you prepare for these types of negotiations? We would love to hear them.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Strong leadership means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Need help managing your career, contact me.


Job Change – When Is It Right?

Mary Rosenbaum | March 17th, 2014

How do you know when it’s time to change jobs?

When I was an executive recruiter I remember working with a particular candidate who was reluctant to make a job change. He had been in his position for over 5 years, had friends at work, felt he knew what was expected of him, knew the lay of the land, and didn’t want to “create any waves” in his life. He wanted to stay put even though the opportunity I presented would be more challenging, career enhancing, and to top it off, would pay more than what he was earning.

His reluctance to move stemmed from a normal fear of the unknown that blinded him to all the reasons why he should move.

Changing jobs is one of the top ten stress-inducing life events, right up there with death, illness, marriage, divorce, having children, and going to jail.

So it’s easy to understand anyone’s reluctance to change jobs willingly when there appears to be no real need.

Yet, there are often signs that go unnoticed just so we can maintain the status quo and not cause any ripples in our lives. And those signs, if they exist, often lead to a more stressful life situation as work becomes less rewarding – personally, professionally, and financially.

I am not advocating job change and in fact often counsel clients that changing their situation at work should be the first step in improving and taking control of their careers. If that doesn’t work, then a job change might be in order.

Reasons for considering a job change fall into two basic categories: Improving an already positive situation and extricating yourself from a limiting situation.

Improving an already positive situation:

As with my example above, you can be in a job and a company that seems to working just fine. But then along comes an opportunity that could shake things up. What do you do?

If you are successful where you are and have been able to hone your skills and talents, you may be able to leverage this experience and accelerate your career by moving to another firm or even another industry.  Companies look for talented professionals who can introduce alternative solutions for new and recurring problems. An outsider’s viewpoint can be a great way for companies to enhance their existing talent pool.

And oftentimes, it’s a great way for you to move into a more senior role faster than if you stay where you are.

Another positive reason to make a change would be to gain broader exposure to how other companies and industries operate – it expands your knowledge base and makes you even more marketable in the future. It’s a great way to move away from “we have always done it this way” to having a greater variety of options and skills in your toolbox.

In both of these situations, it goes without saying that this works best if you have specific skills and talents that have been developed over a number of years. Job hopping simply to improve your positioning without the requisite depth of experience will not prove to be a successful career maneuver.

Extricating yourself from a limiting situation:

Although it would be great if we could all decide to change jobs because we want to improve an already good situation rather than because we are unhappy where we are. But the reality so many of us find ourselves in situations that limit our career path and make us miserable at work.

Here are a few that should galvanize you into doing something:

- You have been passed over for promotions, choice projects, and other opportunities that would expand your area of expertise.

- You are no longer being challenged by the work – it’s feels more repetitive, less creative, and consequently you feel less motivated.

- You no longer enjoy the work you do – it doesn’t fit with your values or your interests, you no longer feel engaged and it’s harder to get up in the morning.

- You cannot deepen or broaden your sphere of influence – there is a lack of cross-functional exposure, it’s not a collaborative culture, there’s too much internal competition.

- Management does not provide adequate support for the work that needs to be done – staffing, systems, consultants.

- Management sets artificial deadlines as a way of managing their employees creating stress and an unhealthy departmental attitude.

- There seems to be no clear career path – there’s no budget for professional development, they often recruit from outside, there’s a lack of visibility with senior management.

Any of these situations should cause a red light to go off. Your first step should be to try to work on improving your current situation. If that fails, then it might be time to move on.

As for the candidate I was trying to place with my client – he ultimately took the job we were offering and I’m glad to say, he “lived happily ever after.”

Need help assessing your career? Contact me.

Let us know if you have any other reasons that changing jobs might be the right way to go.


What Do You Want Your Job To Look Like?

Mary Rosenbaum | February 25th, 2014

Are you looking for a new job? Are you deciding whether it’s time to look for a new job? There are important factors to consider to make sure the job you’re in or the one you take positions you for the career goals you set.

There are always tradeoffs but there are also a few non-negotiables you might consider before making any decision. Based on my years of experience as an executive recruiter and a career management coach, here are my thoughts.

1. Reputation. Whether you are a seasoned employee or someone in the early stages of developing your career, there is value to working for a company that is respected and successful in its industry.

What is the company’s reputation? How does it compare with its competitors? What is the company’s track record?

If the company is considered among the top in their group the chances are that they are ahead of the curve in how they do what they do. The learning opportunities are greater. The skills you learn and the knowledge you gain will be leading edge.

If they are at the top of their industry they are respected for their ability to succeed in a competitive environment. Unsurprisingly, a halo effect of that respect trickles down to their employees.

As a former recruiter in the financial services industry, I found that there were a handful of companies whose name on your resume greatly enhanced your chances for future employment. These companies were considered to be the “Harvard” of the financial services world. Their names always helped open doors. And companies like this exist in all industries.

At the same time, working for a company with a dubious reputation has the exact opposite effect. In my experience, it’s not unusual for a company that has problems, internal and/or external, to make offers and promises to potential candidates that are above what they might expect from more successful and well regarded competitors. Careful research into what those problems might be and how they could impact you and your career would be advisable.

2. Risk/Reward trade off. I’m often asked by clients whether they should consider moving to a start-up. Whether you are a seasoned professional looking for an opportunity to stretch your intellectual muscles or a young professional enticed by the new kid on the block, here are some things to consider.

If you are someone just starting to build your career you might be willing to look at opportunities in companies that are just emerging. Start- ups and young companies present excellent opportunities for professionals without a long track record. These companies tend to operate leaner with a more egalitarian approach to advancement based on success and performance rather than years of experience. They offer the ability to increase your knowledge and skills and move up the ranks faster than larger and more established companies.

If this risk doesn’t pay off, a younger professional has more ability to bounce back and secure a position with a more established organization down the road. Their “investment” in the startup could be viewed by a prospective employer as a skill building opportunity without any of the negative overtones.

Conversely, if you are a seasoned professional you would have to evaluate, aside from any financial considerations, how you could benefit from this move as you have a lot more at risk should the effort not pan out as anticipated. And just as important, you might consider what your exit strategy might be should you need one.

3. Impact/Responsibilities/Control. Any position should offer you intrinsic rewards that make you want to come to work each day. The following questions should adequately answer the “What’s in it for me?” question.

What impact will the work you do have on the company and it’s bottom line? Will you be able to expand your knowledge and skill set on the job? Will the company offer opportunities for you to grow professionally? How much control will you have over your day to day responsibilities? Will there be opportunities for professional advancement?

4. Culture. You will be spending most of your time at work and as we all know, work often occupies your mind most of the time regardless of where you are. Make sure you will be spending your time in a place where you feel comfortable and respected.

So ask yourself: What’s the company culture like? Will I fit in? Does my work ethic correspond with those I’ll be working with and for? Will the values I live by be respected? Can I be myself on the job?

4. Compensation. This is always a factor but not one that deserves the top spot. In most situations, compensation is largely determined by industry standards.  As I wrote earlier, an outsized offer is often a red flag that should be carefully evaluated.

If you are new to your career, compensation should play a much smaller role in the decision making process. Opportunity to learn, exposure to the industry, relationship and network building opportunities, and career building responsibilities should be the focus of any new position.

If you are a seasoned professional, the focus of your evaluation should be improved opportunities for advancement into leadership roles, the ability to leverage past experience into new areas of responsibility, increased visibility inside and outside your organization and industry, and increased autonomy and control. If you are the right person for the right job, the compensation will be commensurate with your expectations.

What other factors do you consider when making job and career decisions?

Want to grow your career opportunities and define your next role? Contact me.


Magic Bullets? No. Necessary Steps? Absolutely. Job Search Advice.

Mary Rosenbaum | November 21st, 2013

A job search, even in the best of times can take upwards of 6 months. And depending on the type of job, the job market and the economy, it can take even longer. The reality is, looking for a job IS a job and involves a lot of work.  Taking short cuts can only hurt you as you burn your way through contacts rather than solidifying them and turning them into connections.

Would you go into a meeting or presentation without the right materials, without knowing what has to be emphasized, without a full understanding of the topic you will be addressing? Of course not. Yet, many people go into a job search or into an interview without the right collateral materials, the right pitch, or even without a game plan.

Based on my experience as a coach and as a recruiter, I have listed some basics you have to have in place to run a successful search. These basics are not magic bullets nor is this list comprehensive. But if you can check them off, the search process will run more smoothly, will provide a better foundation for your career moves in the future, and may even shorten the time it takes to find what you’re looking for.

Here goes:

1. A branded resume that focuses on your successes and achievements, one that is written with your desired job in mind. This isn’t about providing a laundry list of each and every responsibility you had in your past jobs. It should be focused on your accomplishments, what you are known for, and how you want to be described.

2. A targeted networking plan. Who needs to know about you? Who can help you get in front of those people? Who can provide you with insight into the industry and the current employment situation? Who is well connected, not only in the industry but in general? Remember that second and third degree contacts are critical to expanding your network.

3. A few sentences that other people can use when describing who you are, what you do, the value you provide and what you are looking for. You have to brand these words into the minds of everyone you meet so they can then repeat them when describing you to others.

4. A great introductory email/bio/letter to send to those people that don’t know you. In as few words as possible, make what you write compelling enough for them to want to respond. I am not advocating sending out cold emails. In fact, I think that’s not a great way to go. This type of communication should be used when someone is lending their name to the introduction – that way, you have a better chance that someone will read it and respond to it.

5. Know what your “ask” is of every meeting, encounter, email. Connect the dots and don’t assume someone will connect them for you.

6. Create a follow up plan for every successful contact you make. This doesn’t mean you should make a pest of yourself but rather that you ensure that potential meaningful relationships don’t fall through the cracks and disappear.

7. Pull together your story of where you have been, where you are, and where you want to go so that it all ties together and lets the listener know that you are in control of your career and that each decision had a purpose.

8. Turn your current style of networking into a more forward thinking approach of building foundations for relationships that last beyond your next job.

If you have anything else you want to add or have some additional job search tips, please let us know.

Need help articulating your value and developing your plan, contact me.


Let’s Make A Deal: Keys to Negotiating Well

Mary Rosenbaum | March 24th, 2011

Are you a born negotiator? Not many of us are. Even if you are good at it, how successful are you when you are negotiating for yourself in situations that are critical to you, your business, and your career as opposed to for your company or your clients?

I know as soon as the negotiation affects me personally, arriving at a compromise is not as easy as when I am arranging a new car lease or buying something from a street vendor. In each of those two situations, I can walk away. I will probably never see or deal with that person again. Neither my emotions nor my ego are invested in the results.

What about negotiations that deal with compensation, employment or client contracts, staffing an important project, or being part of a team? These are personal. The results can reflect on our ability to perform well. The results represent how we define ourselves and the value our employers or clients assign to us. How good are you in these and other situations that are more personal?

The definition of negotiation is a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. The best possible result would be an agreement that benefits both parties involved. But have you ever been involved in a negotiation where you felt that your “give up” was greater than the other side? If this sounds familiar, ask yourself:

1. Did I ask for enough? Whether it’s asking for increased compensation, a higher fee, improved benefits, more time, additional help, new title or promotion, sometimes a small voice in your head warns you of overreaching, asking for more than you can get or deserve. If this is the case, you have already lost the negotiation before you sit down at the table. Managing your expectations realistically are necessary, but just make sure that you are not limiting yourself because of fear.

2. Did I have enough information? Did I do enough research on my topic? If it’s compensation or fee structure, did I do my homework on comparables? Did I understand the firm psychology and culture? Information provides you with the bargaining strength you need to ask for what you deserve. It also serves as validation for your ask.

3. Did I know what I really wanted the outcome to be? What did I specifically ask for? You need to define what you are willing to give up. What is absolutely non-negotiable? When you walk into that room know how much you can give up without feeling that you are being taken advantage of.

4. Did I communicate my arguments effectively, did I make a clear case? Did I communicate how the other side can benefit if I prevail? Always try to see it from the other side so you can understand their position and make sure your pitch is designed so that their needs are taken into consideration.

5. Did I handle the objections well? Preparation is key to anticipating what the objections might be so you can come up with the right answers that strengthen your case.

Are there other ways you prepare for these types of negotiations? We would love to hear them.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Strong leadership means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru