Bowman, whose company, TTG Consultants, provides career transition advice to laid off workers like Jim Bertges. Bowman says telling a prospective employer what you used to make is a bad idea.
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"You'll either over-price yourself, in which case, 'Thanks for coming in, Jim' and you're out the door. Or you're going to leave money on the table, and that's not very smart to do," said Bowman to Bertges.
Bowman conducts mock videotaped interviews with job seekers in an effort to prepare them to be grilled by a future boss.
Salary is just one negotiating tool, but worker benefits like health care, a 401 (k) retirement account, vacation time, even free parking, are all part of a financial package.
Bowman says not revealing your salary history can give you the upper hand in negotiations.
"And may I suggest that rather than spending perhaps 45 minutes of our valuable interview time talking about my old package ... can we maybe talk about what you have in mind and how I can fit into that?" said Bowman to Bertges.
David Bowman says one important factor in salary negotiation is discussing your past accomplishments. Secondly, you should find out the payscale range so you can try to get hired at the upper-end of that range. Finally, Bowman says you should make sure you "overlay" your accomplishments onto problems that exist in a new organization. That means your skills and talents can help solve issues faced by this future employer.
"And then say, 'I understand you're doing this, and so that kind of mirrors my career. Let's talk about it. See where I can maybe help you,'" said Bowman.
Jim Bertges recently lost his job at New Line Cinema where he worked for 15 years.
The Simi Valley resident, who loves to collect and build sci-fi and horror film models, wants to stay in the entertainment field, and knows he faces tough challenges.
"You feel like, 'I've got to get a job. I better take what they're offering me.' But, if you think about it, you know that you are worth something more. You have to build your self-confidence a little bit," said Bertges.
"You make your own career. You must take charge of your own career. You have to take charge of it and manage it like the business that it is," said Bowman.