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It's an odd labor market. 'America's top career coach' has advice on how to quit, get hired, move up and negotiate right now

Should you give notice? Reveal your vaccination status? How do you ask for a big raise? And what do you say when they ask for salary history?

DALLAS — There is a record-setting number of jobs available nationwide—almost 11 million of them. Many employers are desperate for workers. Yet, layoffs are still happening, says Robin Ryan, a renowned career counselor and best-selling author who has directly helped thousands of people land jobs.

“In fact, just this week I talked with five different people at all levels that had lost their job," she said.

That’s just one of several trends Ryan is seeing right now. The rate at which Americans have been quitting their jobs this year has spiked tremendously several times. Typically, we assume people might be leaving their jobs in search of more money or new, exciting opportunities. But Ryan says here’s something that bosses should take note of, especially at companies where turnover is high.

“People leave managers. That’s why people leave their jobs.” 

Getting a promotion and making more money may require a jump, even if your employer needs you right now

Of course, people also leave to climb the career ladder. But if your current workplace has a lot of openings above your position, now might be an especially advantageous time to ask to move up. But beware: Ryan says she is seeing people get bigger job titles, but not the bigger paychecks that should go with them.

“I say take the promotion, it will look good on the resume and immediately start job hunting. Because if you are going to have to work harder and take on more responsibilities, you need to be rewarded for that financially."

If you are looking to make significantly more money, she says, be ready to jump.

“The biggest salary increases happen when you quit your job and move to a new employer," Ryan said. 

But even if your employer is short-staffed, she warns some people are trying to give notice but are being told by their employer to leave immediately.

“You go tell your employer, 'Hey, I got a new job—I want to give you my two weeks’ notice,' and the employer looks at you and says, 'Hey, today is your last day, give us your laptop, give us your phone. No need to go to your office, Mary will pack that up and you can just wait at the front door'...I have had so many people say, 'They kicked me out the door and I really needed that paycheck for those two weeks.' If that happens, go to the new employer, and tell them, 'They said I was done, would you like me to start early?'"

So how should someone approach the tricky process of giving notice? 

“Pay attention to what they have done to other people. There’s usually a history here. And so, if they typically kick people out as soon as you give notice, wait until it’s close.” 

Should you offer your vaccination status up front?  

With some workplace vaccination mandates already in place, and more such mandates likely in the months ahead, there is advice out there that if you are looking for a job, you may want to consider advertising it to a potential employer if you are already vaccinated.

Ryan says: “Absolutely not…only if you’re asked by the employer." Ryan says to ask the potential employer what their COVID-19 policies are instead.  

If you are among the many job switchers, what do you do about the salary question?

Many job candidates stammer when they are asked the dreaded question by a potential new boss: What is your current salary or salary history? Here is what Robin Ryan suggests: 

“I have a trick, and my trick works really well. You go to payscale.com and you look up your job title and how much experience you have. You can look in your region, and it’ll give you a range. So, let’s say you are a project manager, and the range is between $75,000  and $150,000. And then when the employer says something about what you're current salary is or what you're looking for, you don’t answer. 

"Say, 'According to payscale.com the salary range for this position is between $75,000 and $150,000, and I am within that range. Now, I haven’t learned enough about the job and what you are going to require to determine an exact figure, so how about we table that until I am really clear about what you need and if this is going to be a good fit for me.'"