Negotiate a better salary
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Could your CV help you get a better salary?

5 Jan 2017

You might think your salary doesn’t come into the equation until you’ve been offered a new job, but is there anything you can do to give your new employers an early indication of how much you are worth?

Salary negotiations in your current job are messy enough without having to negotiate them in a new job.

Not only that, but it’s the last thing you want to have to think about at the application process. However, there are a few tips and tricks you can implement at the CV submission stage that will indicate to the employers that you are a valuable candidate.

The first step to put you at the top of the salary scale for that particular job is to make sure your CV is specially tailored to the job itself. Look at the job description and see where you can sub in the language the company uses for your own.

Be sure not to directly lift lines from their job description – they’ll be able to spot this a mile away. Instead, make sure you’ve clearly addressed each and every requirement in your CV. Use your practical experience to demonstrate the skills they’re looking for.

Mike McDonagh, director at Hays Recruitment also suggests looking at the priority of tasks in the job description. “Reorder parts of your experience to reflect the importance that the job description puts onto different parts of the role.”

Where possible, make your achievements quantifiable. This can be difficult for confidentiality reasons, but if you were able to reduce costs, increase sales or save money for your previous company due to decisions you made, say so and use percentages for relevancy.

McDonagh says quantifying skills and demonstrating direct results this way will “stand out a mile from other candidates who use glib lines like ‘excellent team player’ and ‘outstanding communicator’, which are much harder to prove on a CV.

‘Some candidates would be uncomfortable doing this due to confidentiality with previous employers’

However, when using this trick, McDonagh warns candidates to tread carefully.

“The problem with trying to put all achievements in terms of a monetary value is that some candidates would be uncomfortable doing this, due to confidentiality with previous employers.”

He also says because it’s all relative when it comes to figures, even black and white figures might not prove your monetary abilities, especially if you’re coming from a smaller company.

“A 20pc increase in sales for a company making €2m in sales is a massive achievement, whereas a €2m increase in sales for a company making €2bn is not as significant, so sometimes the cash comparison can’t be made.”

If you can demonstrate money-making or cost-saving abilities, it could start your employers at a good jumping-off point for your initial salary discussions. Outside of financial figures, any quantifiable achievements should be clearly outlined rather than generic statements.

Once you get an offer, McDonagh says, “If the employer doesn’t value the experience that the candidate can bring to their organisation, the candidate (particularly in this market) can decline the offer, negotiate or consider alternative options.”

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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