Evaluating Your Real Compensation Package

Knowing what you're worth can helpsecure your family's financial future

if the assignment was abroad.

What do the experts say? Partee is right on target. Says Scott Walker, an executive recruiter with Egon Zehnder International in the Atlanta office: “He’s imminently qualified. His next job could be COO, CEO, or president of a division. With his skills and experience, specifically his international experience, and the demand for diversity, he would be highly sought after.”

McMillan agrees, “African Americans with these credentials can write their own ticket.” The salary could be handsome, with a base of $225,000 to $300,000. And there’s good news on the perk front, too. In addition to those Partee mentioned, executive health and life insurance packages, five weeks vacation, and home office PC automation packages are within the realm of possibilities, says McMillan.

What will help him get where he wants to go? “Positions at the level he’s looking for are often filled by a recruiter. He should seek out and get to know as many recruiters as possible, even several at the same firm,” says Walker. He calls this active career management.

Though he’s just beginning his job search, Partee has already adopted a multipronged approach. He’s contacted recruiters and is using the Internet on sites like Chiefmonster.com, which is targeted to senior executives. He has also set up a database to track his networking. He can tell you whom he called, when and about what, as well as whom he needs to call or e-mail to say thanks for a contact, for example.

With his previous experience and salary, Partee realizes that he has the luxury of time because there’s no economic pressure to find anothe
r job. “I’m realistic. I know it will take more time to find what I want. I have patience,” he says.

Although everyone does not have Partee’s résumé, his advice about being realistic and patient speaks volumes when beginning the negotiation process for your real compensation package. While there’s been a chipping away at some of the goodies, all the money and benefits haven’t vanished. “Focus on the possibilities,” says Andrea Kay, a career consultant and author in Cincinnati. “If a company wants you, they may do everything within their power to get you. Despite the economy, ask for what you want.”

Whether you get the type of compensation you want will ultimately depend on your negotiating skills. Even if you think you’ve got it down, here’s a quick refresher course:

If you’re obsessing about how much the gig is going to pay and what kind of benefits you can walk away with, take a deep breath, and settle down. “You shouldn’t talk about money and benefits until you get the offer, otherwise you weaken your negotiating power and lose some of your leverage,” says Kay.

Research your potential employer. What you can ask for will depend on your experience level, the size of the company, its policies and procedures, and culture. How does the company portray itself on its Website and brochures? Are they touting themselves as family

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