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3 Ways to Self-Advocate

Master the Art of Self-Advocacy: Elevate Your Brand, Leverage Your Network, and Negotiate Like a Pro in Your Job Search


3 Ways to Self-Advocate in the Job Search Process


The #1 challenge my financial services clients have told me is how to show their best self. Since many clients are “stuck” in their head or just have a hard time talking about themselves, they need help representing their brand. The answer is learning to self-advocate since no one else will do it for you! You can break out of the “stuck” mindset and become the Porsche 911 you are.


Self-advocacy in your job search means you are advertising your brand throughout the whole job search process. Whether you're a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, knowing how to self-advocate in the process from Linkedin, resume, and networking through interviewing and salary negotiation will get you top compensation.


Today we’ll explore three effective ways to self-advocate during your job search. These strategies will not only help you stand out among other candidates but also ensure that you're in the driver's seat of your career trajectory.


1. Clearly Define Your Value Proposition


Why It's Important

I asked 50 of my recent financial services clients the simple question “What 3 things do you do better than most, if not all, of your colleagues? Not one could answer this question with tangible and demonstrable accomplishments or skills that employers are looking for.


How to Do It

  1. Learn How to Think of Yourself As a Brand: Watch Simon Sinenek’s “Start with Why” and you will start to really understand your value add proposition

  2. Write Down Your 10 Greatest Professional Accomplishments: Compare these accomplishments to what you learned from Simon’s video to identify your 3 greatest value propositions

  3. Conduct a Reality Check with Former Colleagues: Share your conclusions with those who know you well to get a reality check. I would not do this with a partner since they might not be objective

For example, if you are a banker at Barclays, your value add could be

  • Successfully negotiated more transactions with the credit committee than anyone else

  • Represented your firm’s culture since you participate in volunteer activities, etc.

  • Have a wider internal network of senior professionals than anyone else

2. Leverage Your Network


Why It's Important

Networking is often cited as the most effective way to find a job. However most of us do not know how to have a successful networking call. How do I start; how do I end; do I ask for a favor?


How to Do It

  1. Identify Key Contacts: Make a list of 20-40 people in your network who are in a position to help you. This could include former colleagues or industry professionals

  2. Reach Out: No matter how well you know the professional, you must represent your value add. if they understand what makes you, you, they can better help you

  3. Follow Up Frequently: Get in touch monthly on both email and LinkedIn. Minimize the “pest” factor by offering them something of value (like an interesting article)

For our Barclays banker example, he reached 30 connections with a very definitive message that he was looking for a move to Bigtech. He clearly enunciated his 3 value add propositions and spoke with authority.


3. Negotiate Effectively


Why It's Important

Negotiation is the final step in self-advocacy. Whether it's salary, benefits, or job responsibilities, knowing how to negotiate effectively can ensure that you get what you deserve.


How to Do It

  1. Know Your Market Value: Find university or former company alumni on LinkedIn who can give you an exact range for a base and bonus.

  2. Stress Your Value Add: Stress your value add from the beginning to the end of the negotiations verbally and in email exchanges

  3. Dont’ Move First: Never go first in providing an expected salary range since this is the responsibility of the employer. React to information rather than volunteer it.

Example

When my Barclays banker client started the negotiation process, he was asked to provide an expected compensation range. He politely declined and asked for one return. When the 1st offer came through, we kindly rejected it and cited his 3 value propositions in writing.

After 2 weeks of back and forth negotiations, always stressing examples of his 3 value propositions, he negotiated to the top of his range since he knew his market value.

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