Written and provided by Veronica Grant

For a long time, I felt guilty about wanting to make more money.

And even though I adore my dear alma mater {Go heels!), one huge mental block I picked up there was that making money=soulless job.

The idea that I could make a decent living doing what I love + contributing positively to the world was well beyond me.

I worked in an uninspiring law firm job, but made decent money + at a do-good non-profit that sucked my inspiration out because I wasn’t paid my worth.

For a long time, I thought these were the only 2 choices I had: a soulless job/good pay + do-good job/bad pay.

It slowly dawned on me that I didn’t have to make that choice.

That’s a huge reason why I decided to start this business.

Whether or not you have your own business, the #1 thing you need to do if you want more money is to own your value.

You are worthy to be paid your value.

This means to have a job that fulfills your dharma + pays your bills. Especially among women, money, and especially wanting more of it, is often uncomfortable + clouded with a nasty stigma. But I’ve got another way for you to think about money.

Money is a value exchange.

It’s nothing sleazy. Think of it as 2 entities exchanging value. If you value the service or product someone else has, you happily pay for it.

For example, in my business, I have the knowledge, tools, and experience to a problem: help women reach their ideal weight without dieting.

If solving that problem is valuable enough to you, then you pay me + I help you. I can live my desired lifestyle + help others solve this problem too + you get your problem solved.

It’s the same thing when you want a higher paying job or more money in your current job.

Show’em your value in your cover letter, resume, and when you negotiate.

It’s not about bragging or an inflated ego, it’s about knowing what skills, knowledge, and experience you uniquely have that will help your company solve a problem or need that it has.

Only your value can get you your dream job + the salary you deserve.

Your passions, your interests, or the neat fact that you backpacked solo across the Middle East is way less important.

It’s harsh. But it’s so true. This was especially a hard pill for me to swallow as a former idealistic nonprofit employee.

Don’t get me wrong, your passion, interests, and fun facts are important, and I hope you are seeking work you are passionate about + interested in.

Your passion, interests, and unique experiences are great stories to bring up in an interview to exemplify YOU.

But to get the job + salary you want, your cover letter, resume, interview, and negotiating has to answer this question: What’s in it for them?

My friends discovered a few years ago that I had quite a knack for editing cover letters + resumes. Today, I’m sharing with you the most common 9 edits I made when I reviewed them.

If you want a better job or salary, pull out your most recent cover letter + resume, and take some notes.

{I’ll wait.}

 

My most common cover letter, resume & negotiating edits

 

1. Use $1 a word over a $10 word.

If you do not vocalize the vocable in your conventional existence, you ought to not undergo its use.

AKA..

If you don’t say the word in your normal life, you probably shouldn’t use it. If a $1 word works where you have a $10 word, use the $1 word.

Clarity is ALWAYS more important than cleverness. Period.

2. Write how you talk.

Now look at the sentence structure. Read your cover letter + resume out loud. How does it sound? Does it sound like you? Would you talk like this to your current boss or at a networking event? If the answer is no, change it. This usually means less words, shorter sentences, and more $1 words.

3. Make every word earn it’s place {ie, drop most of your adjectives}.

Go through every single word on your resume + cover letter and ask, what is the purpose of this word? Do I need it? If I took it out, will it change the meaning or idea I want to convey? This is tedious the first couple times you do it, but it’s so worth it.

Nobody likes wordiness. It’s unprofessional + no one has that kind of time. If a word does not serve a specific purpose, cross.it.out.

Specifically, only use adjectives when it would truly change the meaning of the experience if it weren’t there. Consider the difference between the bullet points on my resume:

“Led after school fitness programs in elementary schools.”

and

“Led after school fitness programs in underserved elementary schools.”

“Underserved” completely changed the idea of my experience. If I just said I led fitness programs in schools, that could mean anything. But by telling my reader specifically that I led fitness classes in underserved schools shows a completely different + unique experience.

4. Be wary of overused words + phrases.

This goes along with tip 4. I’m not saying you can’t use words like “passionate,” “driven,” or “strong work ethic,” but use them sparingly, and again, refer to tip 4. Is it fluff or is there a specific idea you want to get across?

5. Say what you mean to say.

You know when you listen to someone speak,  it sounds good when they are talking, but when your friend afterwards asks you what the lecture was about you’re like, “Uhhhhh?”

While the words sounded good during the speech, you realize afterward that it was just a bunch of fluff.

You don’t want your cover letter or resume to sound like this. And this happens all the time. Not only should each word have a purpose, each phrase + sentence should too. If you or someone else can’t easily + succinctly summarize your cover letter + resume, it probably has a good amount of fluff.

Make each sentence tell the reader a specific fact or idea.

You have two options with this: take it out {often the better option} or make it specific.

6. Shorten it up.

I’m gonna bet your cover letter is too long.

If your cover letter is a full page, I challenge you to cut it in half. That’s right. Half a page. This will be easier when you really dig into tips 1-5. Once I cut my cover letters to half a page, {This includes the heading, the salute, and the closing!}, my interview rate soared.

This is where I find the most resistance + rebellion when I help my friends with their stuff. But this is important. Don’t skip it.

Why does this work?

Your cover letter’s job isn’t to get you the job. Its job is to get the reader to look at your resume. Your resume’s job is to get you the interview, YOU get yourself the job in the interview.

Save your stories + your personality quirks for your interview. Don’t use all your good stuff up front.

7. Drop the ME ME ME.

You’ve got to cut out the, “My passion…,” “my goals…,” “this job will help me…” This is a hard pill for many to swallow, especially those who want purpose-driven work. I’m not saying that you can’t have purpose-driven work. You absolutely should. But your cover letter + resume are not the place to talk too much about it.

Yes, your opening sentence + your closing sentence in your cover letter can convey your passion + interests. You can have an objective statement on your resume {very optional}, but that’s about all you get. Everything else has to be about how your strengths, skills, and experience {ie, your value} can directly benefit the company {their value}.

8. Not enough numbers + statistics.

Miss your adjectives? Use numbers instead.  Compare the two versions of this sentence from my own resume:

– Developed and executed a field plan to register new voters and knock on doors to help increase voter turnout.

and

– Developed and executed a field plan that registered 5,200 new voters, knocked on over 40,000 doors to help increase voter turnout by 2.65%

Which sounds like someone you’d want to talk to for a job you need to fill?

9. Don’t give poor excuses for wanting more money.

Finally, once you are in the negotiating process, or you want a raise, don’t stop communicating your value. Here’s a list of poor excuses I’ve seen to ask for a raise:

– I live in an expensive city.
– My student loan bills are huge.
– I think I could get more money if I went to work somewhere else.
– I think X makes just as much as me, but I have more experience/degrees/whatever.

These will almost always backfire. If you use the excuse of an expensive city or student loans, what happens when you want to treat yourself to a vacation?

I believe you should be paid enough to treat yourself to vacations. But don’t use a B.S. excuse to get more money, otherwise you’ll feel guilty when you ask your employer for time off, and it could raise eyebrows.

And never, ever, speculate or threaten, unless you have another offer on the table. Even so, that conversation still comes from a place of value. It can go something like this:

“I’ve done A for company B, and I’ve loved seeing the company grow as well as my own professional growth. I wanted to let you know that company C offered me a position and has agreed to me pay me D. My allegiance first is to you because I see how my skills can continue to help company B reach its goals. So I want to discuss with you the possibility of increasing my salary here so I can stay + continue this important work. If that’s not an option right now, I will need to do some thinking about my own professional + financial goals to figure out my next steps.”

There you have it! This isn’t easy, and I’ve seen a lot of women put this off because they haven’t really owned their value.

If you know you want to make a change in your career, what are you waiting for? Until an opportunity falls into your lap? Maybe that will happen. But there’s a better chance that it won’t. Closed mouths don’t get fed.

Whatever you do, don’t wait on the weight. If you want a new job or more money, what are you waiting for? If you drown your job or money ailments in ice cream or wine most nights, then really, you have no time to waste.

Get a game plan together to take your next step, and in the comments below, let me know exactly what you are going to do to make it rain in your own life.

 

Need help executing this? Give Family Strengthening Network  a call to speak with a Family Advocate you can walk you through this. Because we are a nonprofit, all services are free! Give us a try today.

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