By Editor Morten B. Reitoft 

New year, new job!
Supply and demand define your value on the job market, and with many open positions in many industries, including the printing industry, it's a seller's market! On LinkedIn, you often see your connections changing jobs. For most people, it's an exciting new time ahead with new colleagues, new responsibilities, a new company, and, of course, new products.

Your value, of course, depends on your role, the size of the company you work for, your career, previous results, and your network. Your network is, obviously, the people you know, but more and more, your network on LinkedIn also defines you. If you only start your LinkedIn journey the day you start looking for a new job, you almost appear desperate. LinkedIn has also become the defacto international network, so for our German-speaking friends, who believe Xing is good enough, sorry, it's not. Networking is not a job-seeking exercise (only) but has become a natural part of your professional life. Keep your profile updated, choose who to follow, and use LinkedIn to connect with customers, vendors, other professionals, and build a knowledge-base boosting your value to future employers.

Salaries are, of course, also an essential part of your value. Higher salaries are by most seen as you being more valuable. The salary compensating your work depends on your position, which relates to your responsibilities and very much where you live. Salaries always reflect the value you bring to your company - or at least should! I know it's not always easy to see, but the perceived value is what both parties buy into. CEOs are typically compensated much more than most others in a company, as the CEO is responsible for the entire company - but also because supply and demand insist that there are fewer qualified CEOs than regular workers. You can argue whether this is true for some CEOs, but nobody should pay a higher salary than the value. Can you be a good CEO if you can't deliver growth? Or can you be a good CEO if a company's share price keeps falling? Or can you be a good CEO if products and the company aren't aligned with the future of an industry or customer demand?

Salaries are also depending on the corporate culture and standards. Again depending on your role in your company, salaries range from union-agreed salaries to individually negotiated wages. Many salespeople are compensated with a mix of fixed salaries + incentives. The 'higher' you move up in positions, the more your merits and abilities to 'sell' yourself define your value!

Sometimes your value is worth your wage requirement, but still, the employer will not accept your request. This is often because the company also has to consider general compensations not to create 'inflation' within the company!

The most important thing you can do to increase your value is understand what the company needs. I was once in a job interview (for a job I didn't apply for), and they asked about my wage expectations. I said $150,000 a month, and the CEO I was talking to blinked and said that I had very bold expectations and that it was expensive. I said that my high requirements (which was meant as a joke) depend on what I deliver. If I could provide revenue and profit aligned with my compensation, the 'price' is only about belief in me or any person and whether the company can afford it!And that is the critical perspective with everything. Can you afford the salary asked? And do you believe the person in front of you can provide a higher return?

I can easily, however, point at many executives that for many wouldn't be worth anything despite their current positions and salaries, so everything needs to be aligned - but that you, of course, already know!

Now you have got a new job, then what? 

You have to deliver, and in my mind, one of the most important things is to align expectations. Suppose you and your new employer have agreed on deliverables. In that case, it's difficult to criticize your performance if you delivered what was agreed, so this is both a way to secure yourself and align with your management.

Set goals. Always underpromise. Always overdeliver!

If you are in a senior position, I expect you to define your role yourself but align with your management. If you are in a management position, it's about having the right people, motivating the staff, and defining the results. The apparent tools are minimizing cost, minimizing administration and bureaucracy, optimizing production, increasing sales, automating as much as possible, and optimizing profit. So easy to say, challenging (for most) to do!

Too many managers, however, don't understand their products and customers, mainly managing using a spreadsheet. I don't know if it's true, but I and some friends spoke about whether industry knowledge is measurable looking at the top 100 companies in the industry? I am, however, almost sure that companies managed with executives with product/marketing backgrounds from print are better positioned than companies without.

If you are not in a management position, I would see myself as part of a bigger machine and ensure that I maximize the value of my work (and the company I work for) - and‚ of course, remember to be recognized for this. I worked in a printing company that merged with another printing company. The project managers and print operators in the company I worked for were hard-working, creative, and team players! The employees at the larger company acquiring us the work-moral was so low that I couldn't believe it. The print-operators never tried to optimize their work but produced just about to the specifications and never tried to improve speed, quality, etc. Bad morals by workers but most likely initiated by incompetent management not able to motivate and inspire. The new company had some estimators, and when I accidentally placed an RFQ in the wrong colored file folder, it wasn't processed for a week since I "had to learn it the hard way."

I wasn't the victim. The company lost the customer!

The company was Denmark's second oldest company. Of course, the company doesn't exist anymore - and would I ever employ any of the people from that company if I had the chance? No - never!

From time to time, we hear about companies laying off many people - particularly in the US in recent years, which has a massive influence on your value. As I wrote in the beginning, wages are also a question of supply and demand, so when supply suddenly gets bigger, the price of labor falls. Be aware, when companies lay off many people, they, of course, do it to balance cost with demand for the products they sell, but it's also a way to get rid of low-performing people on all levels - or people, who have got a bit lazy for the price they are paid. As hard as it is, the mechanism balances things and ensures the companies and the remaining employees. It also pushes the remaining employees to work harder, smarter, more efficient, etc. - or at least that's the theory. Often the opposite happens for a period, and often the best employees use the mass-firing to sell themselves at a higher price to new employees stressing that they haven't been fired!

The ones with good results, hard-working, and superior networks are the ones that more easily will get a job - I believe!

Test yourself. If you are about to hire a person - and you get two evenly qualified candidates for a job - one has been unemployed for 6-8 months, and the other is still active - who will you pick?

If your answer is aligned with mine - I am sure you will agree that an active profile on LinkedIn wouldn't hurt, or?

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