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Ask-A-Recruiter: Getting A Full-Time Salary After A Part-Time Career

istock_000005168521xsmall1.jpgContributed by Caroline Ceniza-Levine of SixFigureStart

I have been working for the past six years on a part-time consultant basis (as a corporate communications specialist) and want to get back into full-time. How do I land that 6-figure job?

I have the experience for sure: newspaper reporting, financial writing, sales, 5 years off to have children, then consulting and teaching as a university adjunct and now 6 years in marketing/public relations as a part-time consultant. I have a Master’s Degree in Corporate Communications. Where do I start?

There are two questions here: how do you go from part-time to full-time; and how do you get the salary commensurate with your role and experience?

Regarding the full-time shift, given your relevant work experience and advanced degree, this should just be a matter of getting in front of the decision-makers at your target firms. Ones that have progressive childcare policies will be most empathetic to your time off, but given that you’ve been back for six years, don’t limit yourself to family-friendly places. Focus on your extensive and varied experience. Highlight your advanced degree. Have specific projects that you can talk about in a compelling and engaging manner that demonstrate your expertise and seniority.

As for the salary, this is trickier, only because past salary is a very strong anchor for the hiring employer. Even though you’ve been working part-time and this is completely different than full-time, the employer may factor your part-time salary into determining your value. Some people take less money than the full-time equivalent to work part-time so your salary may be artificially lower. Part-time roles may require less management responsibility so your salary may now adequately reflect your seniority. Therefore you need to take the focus off of what you were making and put it back on what you should be making based on the new role.

Know what the market pays for people in the full-time role you are seeking. Know what people with your years of experience and educational training typically make. Make a detailed case for the value you will bring. Keep the emphasis on the current role and keep the discussion focused on the business. This is not about what you need. This isn’t even about what you deserve. This is about what is best for the business. As much as employers use past salary as an anchor, they also want what they want and are willing to pay market rates (and even more sometimes) to hire who they want.

Get serious about your career with personalized, 1:1 coaching from SixFigureStart (www.sixfigurestart.com). Caroline Ceniza-Levine, co-founder of SixFigureStart, has recruited for Accenture, Booz Allen, Citigroup, Disney ABC, Oliver Wyman, Time Inc, TV Guide and others.