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Tips For Salary Negotiation

After weeks of interviews, finally getting an offer from a company that you’re excited to work for is exciting! But not many unemployed candidates prepare for what’s coming next. Is the offer you received everything that you’re hoping it to be? While salary negotiation is a daunting process, it’s also necessary to ensure that you’re getting what you deserve & what you’re worth. After successfully negotiating my offer package with my new employer, I’m ready & eager to share my tips for salary negotiation.


Sites such as Glassdoor & Payscale will give you a good idea of the salary range of your role based on your years of experience & location. This will give you a good idea of the expected salary. If you’re given salary ranges from other companies in similar roles, make a note of it to better understand the current compensation market rates.

Use your initial offer as a starting point to negotiate. If the initial offer you’re given is outside of your range, use that as a green light for further negotiation. It’s a general rule of thumb when changing companies to aim for at least a 10% base salary increase when moving laterally. If taking on new responsibilities, aim for 15-20% base salary.


Most employers don’t publicly list their salary budget. So to get the most lucrative salary range, ask for the company’s salary range first. For example, if the recruiter or hiring manager asks for your salary expectations, simply turn the tables back onto them.

Say this: “I expect to be paid reasonably considering my work history & years of experience, so my salary range is flexible. What’s your current salary range?” Once they provide their range, if it’s far below your expectations, ask: “Is there any flexibility with that range?”

If there’s not, inform the recruiter or hiring manager that you don’t want to waste their time by continuing. If the salary range provided is within your expected salary range, you can respond with: “Ok, great! The higher end of that range works for me.”

This way, you’re getting the salary that you need to live comfortably. Don’t waste your time or the company’s time continuing through a hiring pipeline that you’ll reject at the end of the day.


While your base salary is an important part of your offer, other benefits are equally important. Are you being given equity in the company? Are you getting great health, vision, & dental benefits?

My new employer offers great parental leave & even fertility support. Our company has mental health recharge days, generous PTO, cell phone reimbursement, & even a learning & development stipend. All of these additional benefits & perks were like a cherry on top of a delicious ice cream sundae.


If you receive an offer, know that everyone that you’ve interviewed with thus far likes & wants to work with you. Use it as a confidence boost. As someone who the team is already eager to have join, they won’t shun or rescind your offer for wanting to negotiate.

Approach negotiation as a collaboration to create an offer that you & your employer are happy with, rather than “being greedy”. Even if you’re in other hiring pipelines or have other offers on the table that pay more, emphasize that you’re not just driven by the cash component of the offer. Reassure them that they’re your number one choice & ask if they’re open to discuss where in your offer there is more leeway or wiggle room.

Using my tips for salary negotiation above, I was recently able to increase my base salary by 18%! While salary negotiation can be daunting, it’s a necessary part of your job search. Most companies expect future candidates to negotiate salaries. By not negotiating, you might unknowingly be leaving money on the table that they already had ready to give you. Take charge of your career & ensure that you are getting what you’re worth!

XO Denise

turned on silver imac with might mouse and keyboard

How I Survived Being Unemployed Post-Pandemic

When the San Francisco Bay Area announced the COVID-19 stay-at-home order last year, it honestly was a blessing in disguise for me. My consulting contract with Adobe was set to officially end on March 25th, 2020. So with the world shutting down, I was in a panic, unsure of what was coming next for me. Luckily, due to new extenuating circumstances, including a necessary hiring freeze, Adobe was able to extend my contract until July 2020. July turned into December 2020. Then December turned into March 2021. Until March, when I received my official contract end date: June 25th, 2021. July could have been a struggle for me mentally & financially, but I enjoyed the month without work as FUNemployment instead. Here’s how I survived being unemployed post-pandemic.


My Savings has always been the primary way to keep myself afloat. When I am employed, I deposit 10% of every paycheck into my Savings to use for emergency circumstances, such as unexpected medical expenses, car maintenance, sudden job termination, etc. I encourage you to always keep three months, or even six months if you can manage it, worth of your fixed monthly expenses in a Savings account. Then, once you have more than enough money in your Savings account, pretend that it’s not there. Do not continue to dip into your Savings to spend on non-essential, frivolous things. Your Savings isn’t extra cash you find laying around.


It’s important to keep your LinkedIn up to date. Recruiters scour LinkedIn every day looking for new potential candidates to fill their open roles. Be sure to keep your work history up to date, & update your profile picture to #OPENTOWORK. I worked with a few amazing recruiters during my job search last month, & I found amazing new job opportunities through my network.

Your resume is also important to keep up to date. While you may have had the luxury of not needing to apply to a new job for the past XYZ years, you want to add your most recent role & any relevant job, intern, or volunteering experience to give your future employers a sense of your career growth over the most recent years.


It hurts to be blindsided by a sudden job layoff or termination. I was fortunate enough to have my end-of-contract day given to me three months in advance in March 2021. I immediately started applying for new job opportunities; only to be unsuccessful in my search. While I found & interviewed for many great roles in my particular area of expertise, the salaries for many of the roles I interviewed for were very low. With the rising cost of living in the Bay Area, there was no way I could justify taking a $30K pay cut, even if I was excited for the role.


Unemployment will always be unpredictable. I started looking for a new job three months before I became unemployed, & I still had to continue to look for a new job for a whole month without any income. But through lots of applying, interview prep, prep calls with Recruiters, & Zoom interviews, I finally found the perfect next role for myself with an amazing team, a substantial salary, stock options, & a variety of benefits!

If you are actively job searching, don’t give up hope! I survived being unemployed post-pandemic, & you can too. Unemployment is a struggle that many of us will experience at least once throughout our lifetime, but if you stay hopeful, prepare yourself, & put in the work to find the best new role for yourself, your next job offer will be here before you know it.

XO Denise

laptop on desk near lush houseplant

How to Prepare for a Job Interview

After three amazing years as a Social Media Support Consultant for Adobe, I’m officially saying goodbye on June 25th, 2021. I want to invest in my blog, my YouTube Channel, & continue to help people through my intuitive card readings. But I also need to be rational & keep a stable primary income. I am actively applying to new career opportunities & keeping an open mind as opportunities come to me. The end of June is coming up quickly, but with my approach to job searching & prep for interviews, I’m eager & hopeful. With several interviews under my belt & my experience as a Hiring Manager, here’s how to prepare for a job interview.

Set Interview Goals

I am a very goal-oriented person, so I do everything in life with a goal in mind. Looking for a new job is no exception. I always set at least three goals for myself before an interview. The goals I set are always role-specific & highlight my strengths. By interviewing with goals, I get the most out of my time & put my best foot forward. I proactively find ways to emphasize my talents, even if my interviewer doesn’t directly ask for them.

Here are some examples of my Interview Goals:
  • Show that you’re a Creative & Strategic Storyteller
  • Highlight your Entrepreneurial & Solutions-focused Mindset
  • Share your Love of Learning & how any new project is an opportunity to learn & grow

Do your Research

Learn everything you can about the company you’re interviewing with, & read the role description that you’re interviewing for. Find an About page on the company website, & read every single word of it. What is the company’s mission? Do you agree with that mission? What are the company values? Do you agree with those values? Is the job description clear? Is it something that you can actually see yourself doing every day? Don’t forget that you’re also interviewing this company, & take note of any of your own concerns!

Look for a Team page on the company’s website, & find the person you’re interviewing with. Familiarize yourself with who they are, their role in the company, & how Teams are currently structured. How big is the company? Will the interviewer be your direct manager? Are you having a phone screen with a recruiting coordinator who reports back to the role’s actual Hiring Manager? Keep these things in mind.

Have the Answers Ready

Most interviewers will use the standard Top 10 Interview Questions, or they may use similar variations of the same interview questions. Think of your interview prep as studying for a test. Have the answers ready so that you’re ready for any question asked of you. For an onsite interview, I compile my resources & create a cheat sheet in a notebook to use during the interview as well as take notes.

For phone calls or Zoom interviews, I always use Evernote. I personally love Evernote, & I use it for everything, from Interview prep to Travel Itineraries. After scheduling an interview, I create a New Note, & I fill it with all the information that I’ve compiled. This way, I feel well-prepared, & I have all the answers neatly organized, just in case I lose my train of thought. Instead of awkward silences as I’m trying to gather my thoughts, I glimpse at the bullet points of my Evernote, & I pick up right where I left off. Here’s an Example Interview Prep Evernote Template.

Have Questions for your Interviewer

As a former Hiring Manager for IPSY, the worst way to end an interview is to not have any questions for your interviewer. When someone doesn’t have any questions for me at the end of an interview, I take it as they are either: 1. Not very interested in the company or the role or 2. Not very concerned about if our company is a good fit for them.

Take advantage of the opportunity to get to know your interviewer. I often start interviews telling potential employees that I may be their future boss. If this is your only opportunity to get to know your interviewer on a deeper level, as well as get the inside scoop on the company you could potentially be working for, take it! Have questions ready to ask your interviewer, so that when the opportunity for you to ask questions comes, you’re ready. I am always more inclined to want to work with someone who’s ready to challenge me.

Here are some of my favorite questions to ask:
  1. What would a typical day in this role look like?
  2. Is there anything that concerns you about my background for this role?
  3. Assuming a person performs well in this role, what career growth opportunities are available to them in the future?
  4. What can you tell me about the company & team culture?
  5. What are the next steps & timing of the hiring pipeline?

Key Takeaways

Being well-prepared for an interview is the first impression that you make with a company. In order to make a good impression, you want to demonstrate why you’re the best candidate, but you also want to show that you’re testing to see that they’re a good fit for you too. If a typical day in this role is not something that you’re jumping out of your seat to do, you can take it as a red flag that you should keep searching. If you’re applying to an entry-level position & hope to move into a managerial role one day, you’ll want to ensure there are opportunities for growth.

You need to take control of your career & decide what is going to be the best choice for you.

Even after several phone screens with recruiters & Zoom interviews with potential colleagues, hiring managers, & even startup Founders, I’m still searching for the perfect role for me. I may have the luxury of having until the end of June to find the right role, but if you’re currently unemployed, I want to express the importance of not rushing the process. Don’t accept a role that you’re not excited about, take a significant pay cut, or choose to work at a company whose culture doesn’t align with your own beliefs, goals, values, & definition of hustle.

You deserve to have a career that you love, so don’t settle for less!

Wait for a job offer that pays you well, because you know your worth. There’s no reason to take a $30K pay cut in this economy. Find a role that makes you excited to get to work every day, & truly find joy in your career. If you keep these things in mind when you prepare for a job interview, you can’t go wrong. Good luck!

XO Denise