It’s seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. Posted salary is too low, but I should apply anyway?
An executive assistant position, reporting to the CEO and board of a nonprofit organization, has been advertised. I’m very qualified for the position, but the salary range they’ve listed is, at the high end, 30% less than I’m currently making; I can’t take that much of a salary cut. Should I apply for the position and, if offered, try to negotiate the salary up, or is this wasting everyone’s time?
Wasting everyone’s time. They’ve been clear about the salary they’re offering, and it’s dramatically below what you’d accept. It’s one thing if it was just a little bit below; then there might be room for negotiation. But it’s highly, highly unlikely that you could ever negotiate the salary up 30% higher. They listed the salary up-front for a reason; believe their ad.
2. Why hasn’t my promotion been announced?
I recently was promoted at my job (from analyst to senior analyst). I’m one of six people in my department. The promotion went into effect in the very beginning of August — both in my pay and also in our company listing of titles. When you hover over my name in Outlook, senior analyst comes up.
About two times a week, our company intranet announces all new hires and job changes/promotions for salaried employees (I am salaried). No announcement has been made here, nor has one been made in our many, many departmental meetings since the time of this promotion. As I mentioned, this is a tiny department. So far, everyone has noticed my Outlook title and taken me aside to congratulate me.
I’ve been hesitant to update my email signature or my LinkedIn title since no announcement has been made. I’m wondering if I’m supposed to keep this under my hat until such announcement is made, but at this point I think that won’t ever happen. I finally updated my LinkedIn but turned off the email blast that comes with, and updated my signature but stopped using it for internal communications. I’m sure I’m just being paranoid, but wanted to know your take on this. I want to be proud of my work and the recognition I got for it, but am left just feeling unsure of myself.
I would assume it’s an oversight and that it’s fine to update your email signature (since your pay and title changes have gone into effect and since no one has told you not to). But since you’re unsure, why not just ask your manager instead of wondering and worrying? Say something like, “Since my promotion hasn’t been officially announced to the staff, is it okay for me to change my email signature to the new title, or is there anything I should be waiting for first?”
Direct, straightforward, problem solved.
3. When should I tell an interviewer that I need to leave at 5 every day to pick up my child?
I am trying to get my foot in the door in a stable interior design company. I have been grappling with this for awhile: In an interview, when do I bring up that I must leave at 5-ish (not 6:30-ish or beyond) — every day. This is because I have the responsibility of being a mother (who must pick up her child and care for him at the end of the day). Also, it is really 5 pm, and unfortunately not much leeway because childcare itself ends on a strict schedule.
The kind of interior design firm I would like to work for is usually larger with projects that can suddenly have needs at the end of the day. (Ie., someone is leaving for out of town and needs x,y & z done by the next morning; meeting coming up, etc.)
I have gotten the impression from others’ advice that bringing up “kids” is almost a taboo word when interviewing for a job. I do understand why this may be the case, but it is a reality for me. I do find it hard to think that this should be an unwelcome aspect to me as a potential employee, but it is a very real one. Do you have any ideas as to how this should be brought up during an interview?
Well, first, don’t bring it up until you have an offer — because at that point they’ve already decided they want to hire you and may be more willing to make concessions. But second — and maybe more importantly — it sounds like the type of firm you’re targeting (ones with projects that have sudden end-of-day needs) might be incompatible with the schedule you can work right now. You might need to look at other types of companies that are more likely to be able to accommodate the schedule you need; otherwise, you might just be setting yourself up for hearing it won’t work.
4. Talking about an employer’s mission in my cover letter
I graduated with an MS almost a year ago and am still waiting to get an interview. I learned that writing about the company’s mission in your cover letter impresses them. I think I’m making a mistake by reading the mission statement oon the company website, and summarizing it as best as I can in the first paragraph of my cover letter. Even after summarizing or paraphrasing, it still sounds like I just copied and pasted their mission statement. Is this causing them to toss my application? What can I do to improve my chances of getting an interview?
Yeah, don’t do that. They know what their mission is; they don’t need you to restate it for them. I suspect the advice you’re thinking of is that it’s helpful to talk in your cover letter about why the organization’s mission interests you — but that’s very different than simply regurgitating it.
5. My manager is pushing me to say when I’ll return after surgery
I’m having a personal surgery done. I told my manager the date of my surgery and told her I don’t want to get into it because its private. I told her a few months ago and she was fine with it. I just said I’d need a few weeks off. Now she is asking me the date I’m returning to work. How do I answer this when I don’t even know? My surgery is coming up soon.
Well, yeah, of course she wants to know when you’re returning; that’s completely reasonable. If you can’t predict with certainty, you need to give her a likely date, along with the caveat that you can’t predict with precise certainty when your doctor will say you’re able to return — something like, “I expect to return on October 15, but with this type of surgery, that could end up being off by a few days in either direction. Let’s plan on the 15th, and I’ll update you either way one week before.”
6. Did I come across terribly on my second day of work?
I’m 17, and today was my second day of work. This is my first job. My manager left work and left my assistant on the floor. When it was time for me to leave, I asked my assistant manager if I could go, and she told me to fold all the clothes on the front tables before I left and put them in size order. So I did and she came over and told me I didn’t fold the shirts right, and so she messed up all my clothes I had just done. Then as I was fixing them, she went to my previous table and she found that one skinny jean was in the wrong spot, so she told me to just go home. Now I feel like I really messed up and she is going to tell the manager I didn’t do my job. After I left the store, I got really upset because its only my second day and I didn’t mean to mess up.
People mess up on their second days; it’s normal. Don’t freak out. The next time you’re at work, make sure that you’re catching on to what they’re training you in, and if you feel like you don’t quite have it, it’s fine to ask to be shown how to do a particular task again. In the future, though, if something like happens, a better way to handle it is to say, “I didn’t realize I’d done these wrong. Could you show me how to do them correctly?” That shows that you’re interested in getting it right, and it generally will make a better impression than saying nothing. Good luck!
7. Should I confirm my new job offer (again) before I give notice?
I am putting in my two weeks notice on Wednesday so I can move to a job that I accepted three weeks ago. I did have the offer in writing. Since it has been a while, would it be weird if I check in with the new company to make sure nothing unforeseen has come up before I put in my notice? It feels a bit weird to me, but I’d hate to put in my notice and then find out an hour later that the offer is rescinded. I have no reason to think it would be; this is jusy me being paranoid!
You can absolutely check in with them. Don’t make it sound like you’re worried the offer might have fallen through, though; just say you want to confirm the start date since you’re about to give notice. I’d say something like, “I’m about to give notice to my current employer, and before I do I wanted to confirm that a start date of X is still looking good to you.”