You Really Must Negotiate Job-Offer Salary!

The Muse offers these suggestions for negotiating the salary when you are offered a new position.  Read the article below:

Negotiations are often nerve-racking for candidates because they don’t want to ask for too much and have an employer withdraw an offer.

But I want to give you reassurance that as much as you fear losing out on an opportunity, companies also fear losing great talent (like you!) by coming in below expectations. That’s why companies and candidates often have an open discussion to meet somewhere in the middle.

With that said, what can you do if the job description clearly states a salary—yet you want more? Are you still even entitled to that attempt to find some middle ground?

If you’re applying to the public sector (government jobs), the pre-determined salary range is usually close to the final offer. However, if you receive an offer, it doesn’t hurt to ask for a number that falls within the range displayed. As with any negotiation, focus on objective facts of why you believe you’re worth more (for example, the job description asks for two years of experience and you have four).

If you’re applying to the private sector (non-government jobs), I would absolutely recommend negotiating despite what was displayed on the job posting. Most companies work with a compensation benchmark system and have a low, mid, and high end of a salary range. Typically, the salary advertised is the median compensation, so it never hurts to ask for more—especially if market research data shows that your title, skills, and experience are worth a higher salary in your geographical market.

Again, you will want to remain objective in your approach: What specifically about your background adds value to the company and justifies why are you worth more? You should use measurable and tangible facts instead of subjective, loose opinions.

It might also help to know that employers expect employees to negotiate. Employers typically don’t withdraw offers because a candidate starts that conversation. However, they do withdraw offers based on how a candidate asks.

If you demonstrate that you’re polite, professional, and perceptive, an employer’s often eager to consider your requests. It’s the requests that come off as aggressive, demanding, and non-compromising that breaks the deal.

That’s why it’s never a bad idea to practice several times before the real conversation to make sure you know exactly what you want to say. You can even run through it with a friend to confirm that you’re coming off the way you intended.

Finally, if the company says they have given you the best offer, remember there are a lot of other benefits and perks you can negotiate aside from your salary.

For example:

  • Sign-on bonus
  • More vacation days
  • Telecommute perks
  • Tuition reimbursement or ongoing education and training allowance
  • Timing of next raise
  • Stock options
  • Competitive commission structure (if in a sales-related role)
  • Relocation bonus (if applicable)

Negotiating might always make you a little nervous (that’s normal!). But, in the end, remember this: You won’t get what you don’t ask for.

Let me add my own comments.  Women are earn less than men doing the same work.  One reason is that men are far more likely to negotiate starting with the first offer while women tend to accept the first offer.  To close the gap, women must adopt negotiation as the first step in getting paid what they are worth.  As the article points out, HR expects negotiation.

If the starting salary is lower for women, each raise that is a % of current salary will also be lower.  The gap gets wider with each salary bump.  Close the gap by asking for what you want.

In addition to the perks listed as alternatives to a starting salary, you can ask for a 90 day review with specific benchmarks that, if met, entitle you to a raise.  You can also ask for a performance bonus, an extra check for meeting specific performance criteria.

If you’re a little hazy on what you’re work is worth, lets figure it out together. , 610-212-6679

Business Casual? What To Wear

Business casual is a puzzle that confronts each of us from time to time.  We worry most when dressing for an interview but the question also arises with regard to restaurants, networking events, parties, business meetings, or sales calls.

Know before you go.  Call and ask.  The reservationist at the hot new restaurant will tell you what most patrons wear and if there are specific requirements like a collared shirt or jacket.   Interview?  Call your contacts  or the secretary of the interviewer and ask.  If there is any doubt, look at the social media of the company, restaurant, your contacts there and any publicity shots.  Here are a few cues….

There is a rule of thumb that states that when making an impression you should be slightly more polished than, say,  an interviewer.  Show respect for the person, her job, the opportunity.  Dress for the position you want, not the one you have.

Is it OK to wear denim?  Yes, if its dark washed and paired with a blouse, shirt, sweater or other nice top and covered with a jacket, nice jewelry, and good shoes for women.  Men also wear denim pants with a button-down shirt, shirt and sweater combo, or perhaps a sport coat; include a nice watch and appropriate shoes.

Khaki and soft cotton are also good fabrics for trousers, dresses or skirts.  Linen is OK, too, although it wrinkles quickly.  Add a blazer and you will be good to go.  Under a jacket or dressy sweater, silk or up-scale T shirts pass muster; a crisp white cotton T from a  designer or JCrew is acceptable unless this is a first impression situation, (please, no Hanes underwear out of the  bag).

Give sneakers a rest and in a business setting leave sandals at home.  I’m not in favor of open toe  (or back) shoes for women unless they’ve had a pedicure the day before.  Its too easy to shove calloused feet with dry skin or chipped polish into sandals or backless shoes, a sight that says you are lazy and unaware.

Shoes should be appropriate for the outfit, clean, polished, and free of mud or street debris.

Update on footwear: an interviewer was asked what makes a LAST impression on interviewers.  The backs of the candidate’s shoes!  Polish out scuffs. Check for worn down soles/heels and sinking sox!

No matter what you wear, it must be clean, ironed, and fit properly.  No loose threads, missing buttons, uneven hems, lining extending out of jacket sleeves.  If you are layering, be certain that the top layer is big enough to cover what’s underneath without turning you into a sausage.

How do you build a wardrobe?  Set a budget and shop sales.  Begin before you are ready to network or job hunt.  Begin with a few pieces that can be worn in different ways with various other pieces.  A blazer, a couple of tops and bottoms that coordinate is a good place to start your casual wardrobe.  You might choose  a color pallet at the beginning and build around that.  Navy is good and coordinates with khaki, red, green, white, cream, yellow and light blue.  Consider pieces that can carry you through 3 seasons: fall, winter spring or spring, summer, fall.  Add one or two pieces each season.  Buy what you can afford; shop sales to stretch your dollars.  Avoid trendy pieces and impulse buying.

Accessories no longer need to match.  A smallish hand bag and a portfolio in which to carry your resume, business cards or other papers is just right.  Add a couple of statement pieces of jewelry, a pocket square, professional looking watch, clean well fitting glasses, to complete your look.

Below are two articles from The Muse on business casual for interviews.  Knowing how to dress before you leave high school will add confidence and polish to your college and internship interviews.

Want to talk about how to carry off the suggestions above?  I have great ideas that will help you pull together you own style.      610-212-6679.

U of New South Wales for Study Abroad or a Degree

Sydney, Australia is home to the University of New South Wales, a research institution that hosts about 1000 American study abroad students each year and many more who earn a degree from UNSW.

Ten minutes from a gorgeous beach and 15 minutes from the thriving business and cultural center, UNSW attracts students from all over Australia and the world.  Ranked at #45 on the list of top world universities, most departments are in the top 50 world wide.

American students can choose this university for their degree studies and spend their study abroad time at a university in the US (or anywhere else!).  Tuition plus room and board run about $45,000 US dollars.  Law and medicine are direct entry meaning that you can earn your degree in the 4 years that your  friends are doing undergraduate work.  Both degrees are recognized in the US.

There are 15 flights daily from Philadelphia to Sydney.  That amounts to lots of people going from here.  All of the Fortune 500 companies have offices in Sydney, just in case you’re looking for an internship.

Undergraduate degrees take 3 years with an optional 4th year which most students choose.

Australia has its own college admission test; scores determine which universities the student can apply to.  Students from the US submit ACT, SAT, or IB scores and a transcript without taking the Australian admissions test.  In order to welcome more American students, admission requirements for US students are not as stringent as they are for top US colleges, although they vary by area of study.  Engineering requires a 26/27 on the ACT; 1240-1290 SAT; IB 32-34, depending on the engineering program.  Bachelors of Medicine is 29 ACT; 1390 SAT; 38 IB.  Architectural Studies ask for 28 ACT; 1280 SAT; 33 IB.

Here’s a glossary of terms you’ll need to know to convert Aussie Speak into standard US college lingo.

Australian                    US

Faculty                           College (College of Arts and Sciences)

Program                       Major

College                         Residence Hall

Example: “I’m applying to the Faculty of Built Environment to study city planning or computational design although I’m still interested in interior architecture.  I’ll be living in Fig Tree Hall, an alcohol free college.”

Translation: “I’m applying to the college of Built Environments where I’ll study urban planning or computational design; I’m still interested in interior design.  My dorm is Fig Tree Hall which is a substance-free living space.”

Should you be interested in more information for admission or study abroad, I’ll give you the local reps name and contact information. or 610-212-6679

This Is The Way To Answer Interview Questions

The following excerpt comes from Alan Carniol’s blog, Daily Success Boost.  It’s a letter from one of his clients…..

[T]here was a job that I really wanted, and  researched their website, I researched their vision, their mission, their core values, their board, and every single sentence in their job description – as well as prepping every possible question on your interview formula program; and this is why what you say works.
When the director started interviewing me, I didn’t just answer her questions, I didn’t just tell her what she wanted to hear, I was able to relate everything I answered to something directly in their mission statement or their core values.
At the end of the phone interview, she was silent for a moment. And then she said, “I am just really moved.”
Because I was able to answer the question you warned me about in the best way possible… “Why should we hire you?” And when I was done answering, she said: “I’m really moved.”
Because I told her that I believed I was the ideal candidate not only because my skillsets fit A, B, C, D, and E, that you have listed in required duties, but because you and I believe in the same vision (listed in their mission statement): that information should not only be accessible and available to the public but that its access is crucial for our community and our social development as a society.
I then brought their attention to the fact that I had won a cultural preservation grant to publish my undergraduate research in cross-cultural studies to show how important cultural and informational preservation is for me.
After a 2-month process… I got the job.
Keep in mind that this formula is also used when you have a college interview!-  Stephanie

Juniata Summer Health Professions Institute

Juniata College Summer Health Professions Institute  2018

The Health Professions Institute provides opportunities for high school students to explore different areas of health care as a career discipline. Students will engage in lectures and labs with the College’s faculty. Additionally, participants will have many opportunities to converse with health care professionals including physicians, nurses, health care administrators, and research scientists.Topics could include: 

Alzheimer’s Research
Genetics/Data Analysis
Cognitive Neuroscience
Food as Science
Envir. Factors & Health Implications



Who should attend? 
Rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have expressed interest in working in health care and want to know more about health careers.


This experience will focus on career exploration, college immersion, and a variety of learning activities. By conducting lab work, traveling to local health care facilities, and working in small groups, students will prepare a presentation for the final day of the Institute.

For questions contact:
Colton Bright Office:814-641-3603

Should You Get On The Wait List?

High Point U

Colleges, private, public, Tier One, regional standouts and small liberal arts institutions across the country report record numbers of applicants this year.   The number of seats and beds in the first year class of 2022 isn’t growing leading to more disappointed applicants.  Princeton accepted less than 3% of the regular decision pool for the class of 2022.

Now that all of the college notifications have been made, you may find that your favorite college has offered you the option of being on the wait list for an opening rather than a yes or a no.

Wait lists are a way for admissions offices to tell applicants who aren’t admitted that they were admissible but didn’t make the cut.  The wait list is also used to fill openings in the class after the admitted students have sent a deposit to the college they will attend.

Who is selected from the wait list for admission?  With deposits in, the admissions office can see the shape of the class: demographics, geography, majors, personal interests.  At most institutions the choice is made to bolster some aspect of the class: gender, major, home town or another criteria.

Is it worth your while to get on a wait list?   How happy are you with the colleges that admitted you?  Are you willing to wait until mid to late summer to know if you will get in?  Do you have a plan B if you aren’t admitted and have turned down your other choices?

The chance of being cleared from the wait list varies from school to school but is usually rather low.  If you accept the wait list, stay in touch with the admissions office, add new information to support your application; be certain to let the admissions office know how much you want to come.

Know that after May 15 a list is published of colleges that are still accepting applications.  You still have opportunities for going to a great college when you choose to apply to one of the hundreds still looking for students!

Hot off the press: Wait list information on 307 colleges  from Princeton Review

Lets talk about your chances of being cleared from the wait list or for finding new choices where applications are still accepted. or 610-212-6679.





Student Over 18? Your Need to Know Isn’t Your right To Know

As a parent, you may be familiar with FERPA, the Federal Education and Right  To Privacy Act.  This piece of legislation ensures that parents have the right to see their student’s school records and have explained to them anything in the records.  It also prevents schools from disseminating information about your child without your permission.

When the student applies to colleges, she will find a question on each application asking if she waives her FERPA rights.  Checking the box permits the high school to send her transcript and other identifying information about the student.  Every student must waive their rights in order to complete the application.

So, you’ve delivered your newly eighteen year old to college.  You’re paying the bills, even borrowing money.  Can  you see the grades?  No.  Can you find out if the student is attending class?  No.  Can you ask if he has paid the tuition from the account you’ve set up? No.

College related issues can be addressed by having your child sign a waiver to FERPA upon arriving on campus.  With a couple of phone calls before orientation you can learn whom your child should speak to and where the waiver will be held in case you need access to the signed document later. (see final paragraph)

Signing the waiver is something to consider.  Teens handle some of their own money but rely on parents to take care of the major transactions.  They may not be punctual in paying rent, college bills, recognizing overdrafts on accounts or understanding credit card bills.  If, among other issues,  you think that your help may be needed in financial matters or in persisting in a college environment, the waiver is probably a good idea.

Your student has been taken to the hospital.  What information can you get?  None.

HIPAA prevents anyone in the college medical center or a hospital from talking to you without the patient’s permission, even in a medical emergency.

There are a few things you can do to have permission in place to participate in your student’s medical care.

A signed HIPAA Authorization form, which can be found on the internet, doesn’t need to be notarized.  The student can place limitations on the type of information they wish to keep private.  Parents will gain permission to talk to treating physicians, and understand the nature of the medical problems.

Medical Power of Attorney  (POA)  This is the same authorization most of us have given to someone to make decisions for us if we are unable to make them for ourselves.  You could be called upon to evaluate treatment options or give permission for surgery.  Laws governing POAs vary by state; some require a witness and notarization.  Some include the HIPAA Authorization within the POA.

Consider also a Durable Power of Attorney.  This POA appoints someone to act on the individual’s behalf; it can be granted with a specific time limit.  If the student plans to study abroad this might be a good document to have.  It can give access to bank accounts so the bills can be paid, tax forms or leases signed, college and scholarship forms submitted.   A durable power of attorney grants more power to the holder; be certain everyone is comfortable with the arrangement.

In some states the medical power of attorney can be rolled into a durable power of attorney.  As each state defines its own processes, check with your own state and the state where your student will be in school.

If your child attends college out of state, fill out all forms in both states so that there is no confusion about the legitimacy of the documentation.

When you have chosen the options that meet your needs and have the signed, notarized (if needed) documents in hand, scan them into your phone so that they will be available if ever needed.




FERPA HPPA and medical emergencies

How To Sell Yourself Without Bragging

How to talk about yourself without bragging!  Diane Carver 8/9/17 Career Enlightenment

If you are in a job search, wanting to move ahead at work, or trying to get clients for your business, you have to learn to talk about yourself in a way that informs people authentically about what value you create. I like to think about this as educating people on what I do best, what I want to do, and why.

Elevator speeches are not for me

I’ve never liked the concept of an elevator speech because the last time I was in an elevator no one spoke and no one dared make eye contact. So I don’t do elevator speeches, and no one can make me.

There does however come a time when you must talk about yourself and you need to know what to say & how to say it. Here’s my process: authenticity, brevity, and passion.

Be honest about the value you create

Just be honest about how you create value. I like to think about this as educating people on what I do best, what I want to do, and why.[ Reread your]performance reviews, survey your clients, or ask people who would tell you the truth. Take a few days & make a list without editing anything – just keep the flow going. Be sure you focus on what value you Fromulaing your  create because no matter what you like to do, you have to find a buyer.

Keep it simple, keep it brief

Let the fun begin and start editing. Get some help if you need it. Think about finishing this sentence, “I’m at my best when…”

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it – not true

Well, actually it IS what you say … and it’s how you say it. Think about how you would talk about what would motivate you to get up every day and do that thing you do so well. What will you say to inspire others to ask you for more? What will you say to help them remember you?

It’s the thought that counts … and the gift

You’ve put a lot of thought into what you do best and what would motivate you to do it every day. Think of what you say about yourself as a gift you give to others. Your message is sincere and content rich, and even inspiring. Paint a picture for people so they see you succeeding. Also, if you need help, people need to know how to help you.

Want an example? Here’s mine:

I am a career coach. I’m at my best when I’m helping people connect their strengths, values and passions with the organization or business. I use a creative process to help them get really clear about what they want so they’re motivated to take action. Our careers affect every component of our lives; I consider it an honor to help people find work they really enjoy and make a positive impact.


Talking About Your Accomplishments  

by Alan Carniol  10/21/17

Let’s talk about accomplishments.

Earlier in the week, a Daily Success Boost reader emailed me with an interesting question. The gist of it is this:

Bragging about your accomplishments is easy if you worked in a revenue-generating role, like sales or marketing. But what if you worked in an “overhead expense” role, like administration? How can you brag about “streamlining office procedures” or “creating a file system” without it sounding trite?

This is a good question.

And the answer is quite simple, though not necessarily easy.

In a sense, just about every role in an organization – especially a commercial one – is “revenue-generating”. Why? Because every organization has a limited amount of resources with which to achieve its mission – and no organization can afford to employ people who do not create value.

That’s the key word, here: “value”.

Every role you ever had was a “value-creating” role. And if you were successful in those roles, then you must have created value in some way.

So, you didn’t “streamline office procedures”; you “saved an estimated 40 team hours per month by optimizing procedures for time-intensive tasks”.

You didn’t “create a file system that eliminated the need for duplication”; you “reduced the amount of paperwork your boss had to manage by 64%”.

These accomplishments created value.

But here’s the rub: value is a subjective notion.

If you want to make your accomplishment sing when you list them on your resume (or talk about them during an interview), you need to understand what the hiring manager values – and you need to communicate your “brag” in a way that talks to this value.

 Me again,

Did you recognize Diane Carver’s personal example as an elevator pitch?  It is!

Whether you are looking for an offer from a college or from an employer, you need to be clear about your value and know how to talk about yourself with confidence, not braggadocio.  I can help you discover and highlight what your target wants to find in you.  An exploratory session with feedback can be exactly what you need.  For an appointment call or text 610-212-6679 or email me at

You Don’t Need To Read Beowulf To Get A Job in Michigan

I’ve talked positively about technical education in the past.  Getting certifications isn’t less than a 4-year college degree.  Its OTHER than: another way to become educated and employed.

Most of the unfilled jobs are in technical fields, principally computers and health care.  I talk to students everyday who are looking for a college where they can study computer science or a subject that leans heavily on data analytics.


Why not take the most efficient road to job security by beginning with a certificate in one of the computer sciences?  Or in radiology?  In two years you can be earning the same $35,00 salary (or more) as the guy with a 4 year college  degree who is racking up $10,000 in debt each year!!

Technical education leads to jobs in green industries, jobs in clean rooms, jobs that require flexibility, persistence, and problem solving.

You can complete your Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree when you have the time.  Or the money. Or the motivation. Or your employer pays you to do so.

Please read this article on what’s needed in Jackson, Michigan to fill 1000 jobs, a drop in the 150,000 available in Michigan. Jackson is west of Ann Arbor in west-central Michigan.

Call me if you are one of the smart students who is looking for an education with a job waiting and little or no debt getting there!

Stephanie Welder,                                                                                                                            Access College and Career Consultants, LLC                                                                     610-212-6679                                                                               


Comparing Financial Aid Letters

When you lay out your financial aid letters you may find it impossible to figure out what it will cost at each of the colleges.  The organization and terms on each letter can be very different and few will give you a bottom-line cost.   Try this plan to come up with a real cost analysis.


For each college calculate……

Cost of Attendance          Hopefully, you saved the Cost of Attendance numbers from your pre-application research.  If you didn’t, add the tuition cost per year to the room and board cost.  You may not know the R&B cost until you deposit and choose a residence hall and room type; use the figure on the website as a ballpark number.  Add $500/year for books and supplies unless studying art, architecture and perhaps, engineering as the cost of supplies will be higher.  Next, figure out how much it will cost to travel to and from college, specially if flying is part of this expense.  Consider how much spending money the student will need.  Add it all together.

OK, now you are ready to attack the award letters.  For each award letter…..

Your EFC          From the Cost of Attendance you calculated above, subtract the Expected Family Contribution.  The resulting figure is the “Need“, the amount of money you hope the college will cover above the amount you must pay.

Merit Aid          Need can be met in various ways.  If there is one or more merit scholarship or grant offered, Pell or other grants, subtract those amounts from the Need you calculated.

Work Study          Look at the letters for Work Study.  Work study is a campus job that can be funded federally, by the state or by the college.  Subtract from the last Need figure calculated above.

Loans          Now we come to “Self Help”, ie, loans.  There will be federally subsidized and unsubsidized loans totaling $5500.  This is the maximum for first year students.  You may also see Parent Plus loans in the financial award.   These are loans parents take out in their own name and are in addition to any loans taken to fulfill the EFC.  Use this link to find more information on loans                                                                        

The Gap          When  you have subtracted all of the funding from the Cost of Attendance, you should  have a zero (or close if you’re estimating room and board).  Unfortunately, not all colleges meet all of  a student’s financial need and leave families with a Gap.

Your total commitment          Your commitment is the sum of your EFC,  servicing on-federal loans and the gap between the aid package and the Cost of Attendance.  Compare the  amount you will have to pay out of pocket for each college to find the one that is closest to your projected budget.

Scholarships from outside sources can reduce the pressure.  There are scholarships for all kinds of students and scholarships with application deadlines in every month.

Outside grants and scholarships          Students can begin to apply for college money at age 13.  The awards are held until the student matriculates in college.  These scholarships do not appear on financial aid letters from colleges.  Upon learning of the additional funding, most colleges will reduce the loans in the financial aid package, but there are some that reduce institutional grants.  When the FAFSA is filed for the student’s second year, the outside scholarships are condsidered student income when calculating the new EFC.If you will be borrowing to be able to meet the EFC,  outside scholarships can reduce the total amount of family debt.