Revealing Your Personal Power in the Workplace

1. Brand-Building Treasure Hunt

  • Ask 5 people you trust to tell you what they think your three greatest professional strengths are, and then ask them what three to five words come to mind when they think of you.
  • Choose One Word that best represents you and create a story that demonstrates one of your greatest strengths using this word. This can become a powerful networking tool for you.

2. Develop a “Me File”

  • If you’re employed, track your achievements, kudos from your superiors, projects you’ve worked on, ideas you’ve generated into fruition, programs you’re proud of, employees you’ve developed into leadership roles, and more. This will aid you’re next performance evaluation, next promotion or next career.
  • If you’re not currently employed and want to return to the workforce, track your volunteer achievements, leadership roles, fundraising events, and related activities. These can turn into valuable, marketable skills for your job search.

3. Get Paid What You’re Worth

  • Do your homework on your company.
  • Find out about your company’s competition.
  • Keep track of your achievements, projects, and other “outside the scope” of your job activity.
  • When documenting, be specific. List quantifiable results.
  • When the performance review is set, let your boss talk first.
  • Present your case diplomatically.
  • Don’t take maybe for an answer.
  • When given a time/date for the raise or “consideration” to kick in, follow up.

4. Acknowledge co-workers, customers, etc. positively for their contributions.

  • Go deeper with your compliment, instead of “Great job!” Try, “Your enthusiasm and proactive solutions will be an excellent contribution to our project.”

5. Have solutions prepared BEFORE you talk to your boss about a problem.

6. In staff meetings, actively participate, take notes, listen closely, provide ideas or solutions, and ask questions. Be visible.

7. Build your personal brand and your internal networks.

  • Who needs to know about you? Communicate your value in a positive, authentic way.

8. Smile when you speak on the telephone so the caller can hear the enthusiasm in your voice.

9. Dress professionally and carry yourself with confidence.

10. Develop your own personal sound bite (a 30-second commercial about yourself and/or your business) to use when meeting new people or at networking events, conferences, or other social gatherings where people ask, “So, what do you do?”

11. Always communicate positively, powerfully, clearly, and concisely.

© 2002—2020 Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

How to Get a Raise in Today’s Economy: Start with a “Me File”

In my coaching practice, I recommend my clients start a “me file” when they land a new gig.

Part of this recommendation comes from the fact that when we work together on the “get a new gig” process, they’re wracking their brains to come up with quantifiable achievements we can use on their career docs, like resumes, and on job interviews.

A Me File is something you can use throughout your career, not just when looking for a job, but to maintain the one you have AND move up the career ladder.

First, decide how you want to track your information (creating the Me File). I recommend storing the information in something you can take home with you nightly. This is your personal information. Should you want to discuss a raise or explore a new career, you’ll want to have all of your information in one place, so you can take it with you and not have to rush around at the last minute and try to find it. Or worse yet, be escorted out the door, with no documentation at all.

My clients have used the following to store their Me Files: notebook on hand to document projects as they go; iPhone, entering items as they arise; folder or large envelope to store print versions; spreadsheet; Word file. 

I recommend printing hard copies of kudos from clients and your management team, this ensures you have a copy and can find it, should you leave. And it’s nice to have hard copies for a performance review as well. 

Use a tracking method that works for you. Again, this is your personal info, hence my recommendation to take it home with you nightly.

What to track for your Me File: This will vary, depending upon the level and type of position you hold. A good rule of thumb is to follow this staffing CEO’s recommendation to job seekers (and this holds true for career maintenance, lobbying for a raise, etc.):

“Put a BENEFIT STATEMENT into your resume – something that speaks of how you 1) made the company money, 2) saved the company money or 3) streamlined procedures. Years of experience is immaterial and may indicate that you are just ‘old.’ Companies want to know what kind of contribution you can make to their success – not how many years you’ve been working.”

While the statement is a bit harsh, it is true. Your Me File will help you communicate your value to your colleagues, coworkers, and managers as well as future employers, networking connections, etc. Learning to communicate your value also helps you realize your value and increase your confidence. Suze Orman, financial guru, said, “When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.” Strong words.

Let your Me File help you realize all that you bring to the table. Here’s what to track (again, this varies based on your title, level, etc.):

1. Your sales – what were they last year, what are they now (or projected to be)?
2. New clients you’ve brought in – how many? Name names AND how much money they’ve brought to the firm (including how much they are projected to bring in).
3. Sales increases over time (example: grew sales from zero to $300,000 in first year)
4. Marketing ideas, those implemented, and the RESULTS quantified (example: initiated social media program netting 15,000 unique visitors to website in first week)
5. Compliments from your boss
6. Kudos from your clients
7. Productivity enhancements (saving your company money by streamlining procedures)
8. Cost cuts (negotiated discounts with key vendors, etc.)
9. PR you landed for the company – and name it (example: featured in Milwaukee Magazine’s “Best Of” issue) – and, if you can, the sales or leads resulting from it. Provide the numbers.
10. Ideas you have, which are implemented, and either: bring in money, save money or increase productivity in some way. Document the results after implementation or projected results, if your idea has not yet been implemented.

Use the Challenge, Action, Result formula to document your projects for the Me File. Here’s a sample:

Challenge: Company needs new business
Action you took: Created social media action plan, and set up 20 networking meetings per week
RESULT (always the MOST IMPORTANT): Generated 20 new clients in first three months totaling X in annual revenue.

This is a start. As one client told me, he wants to start his new gig off right. Begin tracking your awesomeness now! Even if you’re in mid-career or a long-term employment situation, start now! This can help you snag your next raise.

Check out my client Linda’s story on my home page:

And please, do share your results! Wishing you HUGE SUCCESS.

PS: Want more tips to get paid what you’re worth? Here’s a link to Get Paid What You’re Worth  and there are even more tips in my newsroom. Enjoy!

© 2011 | Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

Looking to Move for a Job?

Here’s What You Need to Know

Kathryn Glass,FOXBusiness

Relocating for a job can certainly jumpstart your career, but it isn’t always the best way to build up your bank account. In fact, moving to another city can be more expensive than it looks, and if you’re not careful you could be forced to significantly downgrade your lifestyle.

Large cities tend to be expensive, and while salaries are generally higher in those places, the increased pay doesn’t necessarily make up for the difference when compared to the lower cost of living in a smaller city.

I tend to think that when you move to a place like New York or L.A. or San Francisco, you’re moving there to establish your career and you probably will be in almost a deficit situation to establish that career,” said Bert Sperling, head of Sperling’s Best Places, a city and demographics analysis publication. “After that, it’s either move up the food chain, or head out for some place more livable.”

But what bigger cities lack in affordability, they make up for in perks such as public transportation, cultural events and an urban lifestyle, said Al Lee, director of quantitative analysis at, a Seattle-based Web site that helps job searchers find salary information in cities across the country.

Top 5 Cities

Source: Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau

No. 1 Denver, Colo.
With a median annual household income of $62,500 and the median home price at $305,000, Denver tops the list as an affordable place to live and work.

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Slideshow: To help make your job search a little easier, we asked Sperling’s Best Places to identify the top five cities for living within your means while advancing your career.

Lee said that for some careers, moving to a larger city or a desirable, warm location can occasionally work out to be a better-paying scenario.

“The cost of living is considerably higher in Hawaii and most jobs there probably don’t pay enough to make it equal to your salary if you were living in, say, the Midwest or the South. But if you’re a nurse and you move to Hawaii, you can get a 20-30% increase in pay because there are a lot of retirees and there’s a real demand for health care,” Lee said. “So there’s one scenario where it might be better to move to a desirable location.”

Indeed, job sector has a lot to say about whether or not your move will be profitable. Wendy Terwelp, a career coach based in Milwaukee, Wis., suggests using the cost of living difference as a basis from which to negotiate a little more pay.

“I always encourage people to lobby for more money, even if you just talk them into a performance-based raise or an evaluation after six months,” Terwelp said. But before making the move, you should research the company, the employees and its leaders. It has to be a good fit so you won’t need to change jobs after you get there.

Andy Vogel is a client of Terwelp’s who works in advertising. He has moved from smaller communities to larger cities on several occasions and negotiating was a crucial part of every transition.

“I’ve always been really good at negotiating,” Vogel said. “I’ve always been really good at getting good packages based on how much I’m willing to accept at variable pay, so I’ve got a lot of confidence.”

But before you start bargaining with a potential employer, experts say you should find out what the salary range is for your job in the region in which you’re planning to relocate. That way you’ll have a better idea of how much you’ll be able to negotiate.

Note: Original post found here: