By Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady
Contract vs Benefits Eligible Roles
When you're looking for work, it's important to know what salary range you have in mind. As you are initially searching for jobs, a key factor in deciding which jobs to pursue and which to pass on will be what you will earn.
If you are looking at contract positions, the salary you will receive is the same as your base salary. Usually, you are paid a set amount for each hour worked with no additional benefits. Consequently, contract positions often have a higher hourly rate knowing that each contractor will have to cover their health insurance and other additional benefits that may be included in other job offers.
However, If you are in a benefits-eligible role, you will receive additional value above and beyond your base salary rate. Let's consider what factors may be included in your total compensation package.
While I feel comfortable discussing various financial and insurance concepts, I do not currently hold a license or any certification that deems me inherently qualified to give financial advice. The information provided here is intended to be used for educational purposes only.
Sometimes, the core challenge is knowing how a system generally works, the terms used to describe what you’re asking about, and where to go for additional help. My goal for this article is to share information to guide you as you navigate the murky waters of job searching. I hope my personal experiences can help you cut a path through the wilderness as you try to figure out your next steps.
Feel free to take my recommendations or not. Whatever you do, double-check my facts--and everyone's purported facts, for that matter. This is your life, and you will care more about your financial and healthcare decisions than anyone else. Use this information as a starting point for further research as you ultimately decide what’s right for you.
Your Work Income
First, let’s look at a high-level, generalized overview of the money you may receive:
Employer Money For A Specific Purpose
In addition to receiving money in the form of a check or payment payable to you, you may also receive money earmarked for a specific purpose.
Benefits, At Least Partially Employer Paid
In the United States, many people obtain different types of insurance through their employers. Employers often pay administration costs of the plan and help cover some of the costs.
Access To Purchase Additional Benefits
Many employers offer the option for employees to purchase additional benefits. These can include vision insurance, short-term disability, long-term disability, enhanced disability coverage, supplemental life insurance, spouse life insurance, child life insurance, accident insurance, condition-specific health insurance, a legal protection plan, or orthodontic benefits.
Companies may also offer a variety of perks. These can include items you can purchase for a lower cost or resources you can take advantage of that you might otherwise pay for elsewhere. These could include an onsite gym, onsite daycare, free parking, entertainment discounts, stamps, bus passes, use of the company van, cell phone plan discounts, or reduced entry fees for area attractions.
Perks can also be anything that makes work easier, more engaging, or more pleasant. These could include shift bidding, flexible work arrangements, remote work, work-from-home days, summer hours, four-day workweeks, onsite flu shots, overtime opportunities, or company events.
Employers also often pay you for specific hours when you do not work. Here are a few standard categorizations for different types of paid time off: paid time off (PTO), sick time, vacation time, paid holidays, floating holidays, volunteer time, bereavement leave, jury duty pay, or military leave.
Instead of having a specific number of paid days available for sick or vacation time, some companies have unlimited time off policies. In most cases, instead of earning and then choosing to use paid time off, you work with your manager whenever you want to take off. In general, as long as you are performing your job to an acceptable level, you can take time off.
The Salary Question: Revisited
Remember, when a recruiter asks about your salary range, there is a lot more going on than just your base salary. Overall, I suggest giving a salary range instead of a set number to account for possible differences in company-offered benefits.
By Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady
Onsite, Remote, and Hybrid Work Implications
One challenge during my most recent job search has been the newly added focus on work location. Specifically, the following labels have become more standard on job listings: onsite, hybrid, and remote.
While there are, indeed, many remote jobs available, I discovered first-hand that companies and job search sites are not necessarily aligned on what remote, hybrid, and onsite work arrangements mean. Let's dig a little deeper.
Remote Job Clarifications
Overall, a "remote" job could mean one or more of the following are true:
Onsite, Remote, and Hybrid Roles in Practice
Regardless of the label, jobs may work differently in practice. Here are a few of the many possible scenarios:
Navigating Job Listings for Remote Roles
As a job seeker, knowing that companies may vary on how they list details in their job descriptions, here are a few strategies for navigating job listings:
Remote Work Implications: Locations and Pay
There are also a few other implications of remote work to keep in mind:
Strategies for Remote Work Salary Conversations
Given these variations on how salaries work for remote roles, be sure to think through your financial requirements and how you will address questions about your desired salary:
By Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady
Messaging With Your Connections
One of the benefits of having connections on LinkedIn is that you are able to directly send them messages. This is also a feature that I've seen used poorly on several occasions. Let's look at how to use LinkedIn messaging effectively to continue to build professional relationships. Let's also look at some guidelines for how to use this feature well.
The Value of Mutually Beneficial Relationships
To have successful professional networking relationships, make sure those relationships are mutually beneficial. Networking is about give and take. Make sure that you are adding value along the way. This includes sharing useful content, congratulating people on their accomplishments, and answering one-off questions when people are asking for advice. In short, be a good LinkedIn neighbor. If you give more than you take, your LinkedIn connections will be more likely to want to help you. This is the real secret to successful professional networking--make sure it's a two-way street.
Messages That Add Value
When you contact people directly, be sure your messages are not all you asking others to do things for you. Here are a few types of messages you can send to your connections that add value to the relationship and give more than they take:
Make sure you are not THAT PERSON who only reaches out when they need a favor.
Direct Asks For Help: Worst Practices
Asking for help is an art. First, you need to be willing to ask for help. Next, you need to craft your ask in a way that you have a higher likelihood of getting that help.
Here are the most significant issues I’ve seen with how people ask for job search help:
The Worst Asks
Even though I am, by nature, a helper, here are the types of requests I receive via LinkedIn messages that will not get much of a response from me.
Why are these not good asks? For one, these are big asks. These are also the types of requests that would require me to do a lot of investigation to be truly helpful.
When you ask people to help you, put in your work first. Then, when they know you are committed to being successful, they are much more likely to help you clarify details.
Direct Asks For Help: Better Practices
Here are a few better asks, but may only work with connections who you know very well and who you have helped in the past:
These requests are specific, which is better, but each is still a sizeable request. The first two may be time intensive. The next two involve me putting my reputation on the line to recommend you for a role. The final one requires a block of my time on my calendar. Depending on our interactions prior to these requests, my response may vary from “of course!” to no response at all.
Again, remember to make sure your asks are aligned with how well you know one another.
Direct Asks for Help: Best Practices
Asks are better when they are more specific and less time intensive. It’s also helpful if there is context. Here are a few asks that are more likely to get responses. The requests earlier in this list are more likely to get a response than the ones later on:
People Get To Say No
Remember, when you are asking for help, people will tell you no. More likely than telling you a direct no, they may just not respond. Ever. Keep in mind that job searching, like sales, means that you're going to hear a whole lot of no on the way to that one yes you need. When you need a specific thing, it's useful to ask multiple people for help to give you a better chance of getting a response. It's also not personal. We're each on LinkedIn using it to varying degrees and all trying to accomplish our own goals.
Making sure that you are making the relationships mutually beneficial will make it much more likely that people will respond to you and want to lend you a hand when you need it.
By Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady
Getting To Know Your LinkedIn Connections
Connecting with someone on LinkedIn is a great way to start a formalized relationship with someone in your professional network. While that is a great start, deepening those relationships is a helpful next step to get more value out of LinkedIn. Let's look at a few ways to do just that.
Interacting with Posts
Interacting with posts on LinkedIn is a great way to continue to build relationships with your connections and demonstrate your professional value. Not only is this a great way to build your credibility with many connections at the same time, it also gives you an opportunity to showcase your knowledge without having to choose the initial content for the post. You can also use your comments to interact with others and even use this as a starting point to invite other commenters to connect.
Adding Your Reaction
The easiest way to interact is by adding a reaction to a post. With a click of a button, you can like a post or select from the other available responses. When you react to a post, your name will be listed on the post as well. This is an easy way to have people see your name and affiliate it with the content you liked. Adding your reaction also helps more people see the original post.
Commenting on a Post
An even more valuable way to interact with a post is by commenting. Once you have connected with someone, reading and commenting on their posts is an excellent way to build on that relationship. This way, they are starting the conversation, and you are helping expand on that content by adding your ideas. In addition, you can comment on other people's comments and share additional value.
You can thank the initial poster for sharing the idea, add your thoughts, share your experiences, and illustrate how you have used the concept in practice. Commenting on posts also gives you an inroad to connect with someone else who is also interacting with that post. Commenting is a great way to interact with others in your profession, build credibility, and make more meaningful connections. It also helps to achieve one of your LinkedIn goals of showcasing your knowledge and also sharing valuable information.
If someone posts something of value to your connections, you may want to comment on the post itself and then consider reposting it with your comments. When you repost content, first, you'll see anything you typed, then LinkedIn will include the entire original post. This helps the original post get additional views and also enables you to share useful content with your network.
When I repost content, I usually include "Thanks [original poster] for sharing this information!" To include the original poster's name, include the @, then type the first part of their name, and choose their name from the options provided. (This is often called an "at mention." This will tag them in the post so they can interact with your new post, which will help boost the number of people who see the post.
Sharing Your Own LinkedIn Posts
Sharing content on LinkedIn is a great way to engage with your connections, add value to your professional relationships, and promote who you are and what you know. Unfortunately, very few people ever post anything at all--which is a huge missed opportunity to differentiate yourself from others in your field.
Another question that comes up is the frequency of posting. I recommend posting on LinkedIn no more than twice per day and posting one to four times per week. Use your favorite search engine for recommendations on the best times and days of the week to post to get the most views on your posts.
As for content, you don't have to write a lengthy, original manifesto to post on LinkedIn and make an impact. Personally, most of the content I share on LinkedIn includes some version of the following:
Once you make a post, be sure to like any comments other people make on your post and even reply to each comment. The more likes and comments you receive on your post, the more people will see it. This will continue to build your professional brand and add value to the networking relationships you are fostering through LinkedIn.
7-time layoff survivor Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady, waxes poetic on layoffs, job transitions, & career resilience.
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