Salary Negotiation. Let’s talk about it.

Hello Peeps,

I hope you are all thriving. Over here it’s been a great summer thus far, despite the wildfires, unfortunately and sadly, blazing through our beautiful Canada. As the haze over Vancouver does not allow for any cycling adventures, I am back this week to talk about a very touchy subject — salary negotiations.

Over these past (almost) seven years of coaching and career advising newcomers to Canada on how to put to practice efficient career management strategies, one of the most common ‘deer in the headlight’ look I get is always when the topic of salary negotiations comes up. To get us started I want to share some of the most typical reactions I often get when I ask people if they have or will negotiate their job offers:

‘What, negotiate it? ‘What if they rescind the offer? Isn’t that disrespectful? I will take whatever they are offering. I just can’t do that, I don’t have the confidence. I can always negotiate later.’


So let’s start demystifying these, shall we? Here are a few thoughts, in bullet form for objectivity:

  • Yes – negotiate it. You ARE the chosen candidate, so they WANT you. Remember that about 95% of companies in Canada will have a salary range for each and every position. #trustme
  • No one will rescind an offer. I have witnessed, in 7 years, ONLY 1 job offer be rescinded. The reason was solely due to the candidate’s unprofessional and rude approach to negotiating.
  • In reality, it is expected from the best candidates that they will ask to review (negotiate) the offer. It is not disrespectful in any way. In reality, many hiring managers will be surprised, in fact, some may be even disappointed if their chosen candidates do not negotiate their job offer. It is NOT DISRESPECTFUL unless you are RUDE when doing it. #respect #EQ #benice
  • Let’s recap it. You spent time (you should’ve) customizing your cover letter and resume. After that, you went through at least 1-2 interviews. FYI – the average job posting attracts (according to Glassdoor) 250 resumes. After all these hours you have proven that you were the best candidate for the job. So yes – it is time to review (negotiate) the offer, you should not take whatever they are offering. My experience shows that those that do not negotiate their initial salary offer leave between $5-7K on the table. #neverapplicants per job
  • No, you can’t negotiate later. If you do that you will miss out on your best opportunity when an employer wants you the most. Statistics show that in a stable market like Canada, a vast majority of professionals will only receive the COLA* annual salary adjustments, ranging from 1-2% at most, yearly. REMEMBER your best time to negotiate better conditions is when you receive the offer and before starting the new role. #keepthatinmind

Now that myths are down, it’s time to keep in mind (and put to practice) these three golden rules for successful salary negotiation strategies:

  1. Be professional. What that means is that you have to be respectful and cordial and approach the conversation naturally – it is not a battle. Don’t ever approach it as a YOU vs. THEM. Remember, you will spend lots of time with your future employer, so you want this relationship to remain respectful and cordial. #beprofessional #winwin
  2. Know your Market Value. Do your research, know your value proposition, your experience, skills and why they chose you. Knowing these will make you well equipped to assess and negotiate your job offer.
  3. There’s more than $$$$$$. More than ever before organizations offer the most different and varied range of benefits. Know what’s important to you before you talk to your employer to review your job offer. Sometimes, it is best to negotiate an extra week vacation than $$. Here are a few examples:
    1. Vacations, Phone, Travel Discounts, Gym Memberships, Parking, Gas, Personal Days, Professional Development, Telecommuting, to name a few.

Well – I hope these help you. One final reminder if I may. Achieving a win-win salary negotiation does not depend on one’s citizenship, it depends solely on YOUR research, career strategies readiness, EQ, and how you treat others. Image of two young businessmen using touchpad at meeting

Are you ready? #beready #talktoacoach #coachrod_vancouver

I look forward to hearing about your successful salary negotiations.


Rodrigo |

*COLA – Cost of Life Adjustments. In 2018 salaries in Canada will be adjusted, on average, 2.3%. Source BIV –

How (not) to network…

Hello Career Enthusiasts & Friends of CoachRod!

How have you all been? I hope life’s been treating you well and you’re maximizing your career plans, and at the same time, enjoying some quality time with your loved ones.

It’s been some time since I have had a chance to write a post given everything’s that has been going on, and I missed you. Well,  life has given me a tiny break and I REALLY wanted to share this (REAL) story with you. I hope you enjoy it.

Let me know your thoughts after you read it and I hope this helps all of us to learn ‘How to (not) Network’.

And, to do that, here is a true story which happened to me last week. Of course, I will keep all names and dates fictitious so that I can preserve the anonymity of all the involved, except me.
Last Wednesday I received the following message via LinkedIn:

‘Hello Rod,
How are you? I am reaching out to you as I see that there’s a job available at your company and I am a perfect fit for this role. For the past six months, I have been living in Vancouver and am looking for a job so that I can settle here. Could you share with me any insights you have about the team and the position, and possibly connect me to the hiring manager? Many thanks!
Networking Genius’

Now I must pause to give you some context. Here it is:

This person approached through LinkedIn 16 months ago to ask me company (the organization I work for) related questions. As I always do, I take time to answer all these types of questions and to point all individuals to the right resources on the website (always do what you wish others would do for you, right?). So after a couple of back and forth messages back then (16 months ago), the individual thanked me and ‘went on’ his way. Since then I have never heard from this person again until the message ‘hit‘ me on LinkedIn last week. Now back to the story and some thoughts that occurred to me as I reflected how to best reply to his request:

  • You were living overseas when you messaged me. If the company I work for is on your ‘target list’, why did you not reach out to me before when you moved to Vancouver to start building a relationship?
  • Maybe you did not have time to strategize your job search as you have been overwhelmed with getting settled in Vancouver for the past six months. I get it. But how about trying to get some ‘face time’ so that you build a relationship and then assess the potential for the referral question?

After reflecting on how to best answer his message for 24 hours, I decided to write back. Here’s what I wrote in my reply:

‘Dear Networking Genius,
Thank you for your note. I did not know you had relocated to Vancouver – welcome to Vancity! I hope life’s going well.
Re your question about the role and the hiring manager, unfortunately, this position is with a team that I rarely interact with and therefore, I would not have many insights to share, or I know who the hiring manager is. Sorry about that. In case you are interested in learning more about the company and our culture, why don’t you come to campus sometime in the next week or so and I would be pleased to meet you for coffee to share my insights.
I hope this helps. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Well – that’s when my chin dropped, please take a look at his reply:


Thank you. That’s too bad. I was hoping you would know more about this role as I know I am a perfect fit for it. I am not sure I could come to campus and meet you. Unfortunately, your work location is a bit far out which makes it difficult for me to go and meet you.
Thank you.
Networking Genius’

At this point I gave up. There was not going to be any more messages from me. That’s the story I wanted to share with you with hopes that no-one makes these same mistakes ever again. Here’s how it felt at my end. This person was only interested in being referred to the hiring manager, and it was not even willing to take the 44 bus to campus and meet me for coffee to do an informational interview. #entitled #poornetworking #really #pizzaorder #maketheplan #worktheplan #noshortcuts 

The art of building relationships (aka networking) has to be genuine and building connections takes time and effort, don’t assume people will share job insights and connect you to a hiring manager if you have spent time getting to know  them (and vice versa). Referring someone to a job is ‘serious business’, and it should only happen when we can really vouch for the person’s skills and fit within an organization, right?

When people are looking for the ‘transactional networking approach’ you may luck out here and there, but trust me when I say that in the long run you will find yourself isolated and alienating people.

Makes sense? What would you have done if you were in my shoes? Let me know via email to Also feel free to suggest other career-related topics you would like me to write about it next month.

Rodrigo | CoachRod

Will I get a job in Canada?

As I approach the 6th anniversary of launching my career consulting coaching for newcomers, CoachRod, I feel the opportunity is right to address the number 1 question of anyone who is considering immigration to Canada.

Will I land a job in Canada? Will I land a job that aligns with my career expectations, history, academic and professional credentials and experiences I have attained over my career?
What is it about ‘Canadian Experience’? What is it about being ‘over-qualified’?


Well, each case is singular and particular. And as such, there is, nor there should not be a ‘cookie-cutter’ answer to all these questions above. With that said, I want to share with my readers a matrix I have developed and implemented in CoachRod’s practice this year and one that has delivered significant value to my clients.

The Employability Assessment Score.
Developed after analyzing many, many clients profiles, success and unfortunate stories, I have designed an assessment criterium that, in 97% of the cases, has empowered my clients to objectively know and be better prepared to launch or enhance their careers in Canada.

Conducted in 45 minutes, with pre-requirements being an updated resume, this 1:1 assessment interview will consider three angles and provide you with a 0-10 employability score. Clients that have scored in the 8 or above range have (97%) successfully launched their careers in Canada. #gotajob

Those who scored lower, are now fully aware of their ‘blind spots’ and working towards enhancing their appeal to their targeted employers and desired regions in Canada.
One of my favorite quotes is this one from Arthur Ashe, and it goes something like this:
‘One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.’

Are you ready? Reach out to CoachRod and discover about your employability score. Remember, don’t trust fate, make your fortune with reliable information and research. #maketheplan #worktheplan #talktoacoach

*photo credit – @SMProfit (twitter) 

Target Markets list – how to?

We all know that conducting a job search or career move is hard and can be overwhelming. One of the most common reasons for not achieving one’s goal is not having a clear strategy and focus. To mitigate that I encourage my coachees to create a ‘target markets‘ list. Having such a list of your top employers of choice will help you with your research and staying focused while also keeping your eyes on the prize (aka the desired job). BullsEye_300_290-180x180
Here are three quick tips to help you get your list ready:
1. Assess who the dominant and fastest growing players in your industry are;
2. Know your strengths and review the top lists from places like GWP and Best Employers in Canada, find the synergies;
3. Review your existing, current and former, professional network. Vendors, business partners, and clients that you have interacted with could be potential employers and align with your values and needs.

Not sure how to create your own ‘target markets’ list? Reach out to CoachRod and learn more about our strategies to achieve career success.

Also, check this LinkedIn article to add to my top 3 tips above.


Rodrigo Porto | CoachRod

Thank you, the lost art of a follow-up note…

Hi Everyone,

Today’s brief blog post is about follow-ups and thank you notes. I have closely observed my clients over the last 6 months and have come to one, sad conclusion. A thank you and follow-up email or card is a lost art in today’s busy, and social media world. #thankyou

The most common feedback I have received from employers and my business contacts during these last six months is how very few people follow up with an email, either thanking one’s time during a job interview or following up on a recent informational interview and that professional’s time. According to my research, close to 90% of these interviewees do not follow-up, 90%!!!. The reasons are beyond comprehension, and from what I was able to gather simply come down to a lack of organization skills and professionalism. Guess what – the most common answer I received from those that did not follow-up was a mere ‘I forgot’ or ‘I was too busy and forgot’.

This is unacceptable and in today’s ‘1 degree of separation’ job market, Not sending a professional follow-up email note is as close to one can get to committing network suicide. With that in mind, here are my key tips to help you to avoid this common mistake and show up well before your contacts and professional network:

Follow-up thank you note after a job interview

  • In case you are interviewing for a job that requires superior client or BD skills – make sure to send your thank you note within 24 hours. It will show your potential future employer that you will value their clients as well and that you ‘get it’.
  • If it is not a BD/Client focused role – plan for the next 24-48 hours.
    • Include: reminder of a key moment during the job interview with a re-impression of your interest for the role and the value you would bring. Important – not more than 100 words. Close by thanking them and offering to provide any other required information or clarification as necessary.

Follow-up thank you note after an informational interview:

  • Send your email (or handwritten card) within 48 hours.
    • Include: A genuine thank you for the person’s time and insights shared during that 1:1. In case the conversation included a discussion around hobbies and activities in common, make your note more personable by mentioning one of those that will remind your contact that you share similar interests/ activities. Also offer to help, and make yourself available to return the kind gift of time that person’s granted you. Important – not more than 150 words.

Let me know your thoughts and comments. If you have a question – reach out to CoachRod via email @

Thank you!



Job Interviews are… Fun!

Yes – Job Interviews can be…. Fun!

These past couple of weeks have been a great roller-coaster for me. very busy times between my role as a Manager, MBA Careers at the Sauder School of Business-UBC and my career coaching consulting CoachRod. And a couple of weeks ago, after 2.5 years in my current role coaching hundreds of MBA students I raised my hand for a portfolio change. Luckily enough, change was happening within my business unit at the Sauder School of Business and an opportunity opened up. A new role had just been created for an Assoc. Director, MBA Careers to provide leadership and strategic direction to ensure the success of employer recruitment and career development programs for MBA students, full-time and part-time.

Long story short, wrote a cover letter, updated my resume and applied for the job. Waited, and then.
Secured the first interview. Time to get prepped.
Here’s where the fun starts. And let me know if, after you read the next paragraphs won’t you agree that job interviews can be fun after all?

  • An opportunity to revisit our successes (yes – we all have them);Image of two young businessmen using touchpad at meeting
  • Learn more about other people’s backgrounds and career paths (do your research);
  • Connect the dots – between your experience, your strengths, vision, and even your weaknesses (story tell);
  • Ask questions – question the status quo (turn it into a working meeting).

Yes, I know. There could be external factors that bring more pressure to an interview. Finances, family, plus many others. For now, put those aside and roll with my career coach and interviewee perspective. It will help you. And let these be friendly reminders to not let the pressing external issues influence how you approach interviews. After all, I get nervous too – but following this approach has helped me take charge and control my nerves. Did it help me succeed? Read till the end…

Job Interviews should be learning platforms to catapult your success, enhance your self-awareness and allow you to make powerful connections with other people.
Trust me, at the end of the day, it’s all about making strong people connections, telling great stories, with facts and a structured approach. Well, aren’t those are all fun? #owntheroom #jobinterviews #smile

Thanks for reading – and yes, I did get the job.
Start this Monday, November 2nd – 2015 now as the new Assoc. Director, MBA Careers at the Business Career Centre, Sauder School of Business-UBC. Looking forward to engaging with you with your comments, on Facebook or through CoachRod.

Happy Halloween!


Rodrigo Porto

CoachRod | CoachRod on Facebook

7 Golden Rules for Cover-Letters by CoachRod

One of the most common requests I get from my coachees is about cover-letters. What to write, how to write, and so on.

So find below my 7 Golden Rules for them – Happy Reading! 

1. It’s not you, it’s them. Bear in mind that a job opening is a business problem for any organization. Make sure your first paragraph shows how much you understand this and know about their needs. #putyourselfintheirshoes

2. Connect the dots. Now after you have shown them how much you know and understand the company’s needs it is now time to connect those needs to your experience and skill-set. Interpret their key needs and match with key accomplishments from your tool-box. #whymecl1

3. Less is More. An effective cover letter does not look like a ‘wall of words. Make sure yours does not fit into this category as I can assure you people will not read it. Plan for four paragraphs, and don’t hesitate from using a couple of bullets to replace a chunk of text. Highlight what’s vital! #writesmart

4. Don’t get cute. Avoid slangs, and gimmicks to attract attention. Be professional – keep your letter polished, professional and visually appealing. #beprofessional

5. Get Personal. Prove how much you want this job by addressing the cover letter to the proper person. Do your research, pick up the phone, and find who that person is. As that may be what they expect of you. At least do not address your letter to ‘hiring manager’ or ‘sir or madam’, simply don’t! And whenever possible, drop in the name of a common connection, make sure to ask them first. #referrals #champions

6. Strategies pay-off.

If you did your homework, by the time a job opening comes up you should have a couple of connections into that company to explore. Perhaps as a touch-base to gain new insights, or even to serve as champions! Plan ahead, be strategic and know your target markets! #networking #earnyourchampions

7. Flawless. 

It still amazes me that in today’s day and age over 20-30% of job applications go to the garbage bin because of errors. All sorts of errors. Wrong name, wrong company name, formating, different fonts (and sizes), and of course – spelling and grammar. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot, this is the one occasion in which you have to be perfect! #reviewyourletter #perfection

Want to know more about winning career strategies? Contact CoachRod and take control of your job-search. Stay tuned to a new webinar coming up: Cover Letter Strategies, and follow CoachRod on Facebook for updates! 

Good Luck and write smart!

Rodrigo Porto

7 Golden Rules for Job Interviews by CoachRod

1. Know your value proposition Remember, if you have an interview – they already think you can do the job!!! I mean it! So connect the dots between your experience and skill-set to their needs and close the sale!! Do it in an engaging way, concise and to the point. The key here is to leave them wanting to know more. #tellmeaboutyourself

2. Engage Nothing annoys any recruiter or hiring manager more than a robocop interviewee. Remember an interview is 70% about fit. Use people’s names, be strategic about your body language – lean in when necessary, emphasize key points with your hands and make eye contact – and most importantly – show appreciation and understanding about their needs. #helpmehireyou

3. Story Telling Yes – this is important. Super Important! Remember we hire for fit and hire for skills as well. So any recruiter/hiring manager wants to see EVIDENCE of what you have done and most likely will also do for them! So use a framework – give details, and do it in a compelling way. #CAR #itsallaboutyourstories

4. Research I am still surprise (and annoyed/disappointed) with the number of interviews that end up going nowhere because of a lack of preparation from the candidates. How can you struggle with questions like: ‘What do you know about us? | Which product interests you the most? What do you know about our CEO?’ and last but not least – ‘Why do you want to work for us?’. Remember – in today’s era – The Era of Concepts and Ideas – we want to see candidates making use of the information and going above and beyond to showcase how much they want to join a team/company. The only way to do that – is to show your knowledge about the company and their needs. #research #showmeyouwanttoworkhere Image of two young businessmen using touchpad at meeting

5. Never, NEVER Bad mouth your previous employer/colleagues – show negativity… Don’t go there… 9 out of 10 times it will backfire… Also do not share confidential information, ever period. #dontshootyourfoot

6. Ask GOOD questions My advice to all clients is to turn this opportunity into a working discussion/meeting one. Do not ask questions about on-boarding process, mentors, support, benefits – DON’T! Ask questions that allow for feedback on your performance, skills – and even about any reservations on your resume. Time to be assertive and show how much you want the job! #bebold #wantthejob

7. It’s all about peeps So very often forgotten…. Jobs are about people. Companies are nothing without people… we are SOCIAL BEINGS… So smile, and make a human connection! You would all be overwhelmed with the amount of feedback I receive from employers about candidates who did not smile nor appeared ‘human’ enough in an interview. #domockinterviews #asmileopensdoors

Learn more about CoachRod here

Being humble | Carreiras no Canadá | Jobs for Immigrants

Know yourself, know your target markets, promote yourself! Accept learnings, but don’t approach the job market from a position of inferiority! In my view and CoachRod’s mission is be humble…. the right way.

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to be a panel speaker at The BC Immigrant Professionals Conference. Being a part of these events allow me to share my experiences and motivate new immigrants and that inspires me. That’s when I hear time and time again from fellow speakers and even immigrant counselors that immigrants have to be humble, take their time, after all it’s okay to reset their careers. Well – I beg to differ.

And once again, as in several other events I had a feeling my advice was going against the tide and telling my fellow immigrants exactly the opposite:

It is not okay to reset your career!

What I propose and the mission of CoachRod is to empower others to take control of their careers and make their own luck, by learning always, but never feeling their experience is less important than anybody’s.

This is my mission: To empower newcomers to achieve success by approaching everything they do with drive, preparation, research and a strategic mindset.

But before this gets too controversial please allow me to go on record and say that it is okay to be humble and take every opportunity to learn. This is what makes us humans and pushes us forward.

What is not okay is to approach the job market from a perspective of inferiority as that will definitely put you in a tough spot – and that’s what’s NOT okay about being humble in your job search in Canada.

So avoid these pitfalls by strategically marketing your brand, knowing your target markets – and if then, only then you feel you have to go back to your Plan B or even C – that’s okay – but not because you did not put up a fight.

Ask CoachRod about how to better prepare yourself for the Canadian Job Market – either in loco or remotely. Be prepared and create your own success path.

Rodrigo Porto |   CoachRod on Facebook

Networking? Info-Interviewing? Como fazer isso no Canadá?

Afinal – o que é networking e coffee chats no Canadá?

Networking, informational interview – how to go about?

These are a few of the most common questions I get asked from clients – regardless of where they are from originally. But hardly ever anyone takes the time to explain what that means, and how someone who’s new to the country should go about? Is networking = a business card hunt? The more business cards I get, the more successful I’ll be? Definitely not. It’s all about rapport, and building relationships!

The most common mistake job seekers make is to seek for the short cut, the transactional networking, the express order; and that – i am glad to say it will not work. After all – why should it? Do I know you?

Remember – business decisions are made by people. Hiring decisions are made by people – and more and more companies are looking for the right fit, values, and that strong alignment that works both ways. So that’s what networking and informational interviews are all about – building relationships, developing trust and finding champions who will be great ambassadors of your most valuable product:
Your Brand.

So don’t focus on how many people nor business cards you meet/collect. Focus on having 1-2 solid conversations every week, and really committing and dedicating yourself to building those into solid relationships. That’ll work – I guarantee!


Here’s 5 rules that’ll help you to create rapport:

#1: Remember people’s names;
#2: Ask questions about spelling, pronunciation, or the meaning of names;
#3: Balance the asking and the telling;
#4: Look for things in common;
#5: Listen, truly listen.

If you’re interested in learning more about networking and info-interviewing best practices, ask CoachRod.