Advice & insights: masterclasses from industry leaders

Unlocking Your Salary Potential: A Conversation with Melissa Carvalho

Melissa Carvalho

Melissa Carvalho

Career Coach

Key Takeaways

  • Research to Know Your Worth: Understand your value by researching industry standards and salary ranges based on experience, education, and market demand.
  • Strategic Salary Inquiry: Utilize creative strategies like deflecting to understand the budgeted salary range from potential employers during negotiations.
  • Preparation is Key: Avoid common mistakes by thoroughly preparing for negotiations, understanding your ideal outcomes, and being ready to discuss more than just salary.
  • Negotiate Beyond Salary: Remember to negotiate for benefits such as PTO, 401k contributions, remote work opportunities, and bonuses which are equally valuable.
  • Making an Interview Impact: Show proactive problem-solving skills and personalize your interaction by researching the interviewer to make a memorable impression.
  • Post-Interview Engagement: Send a personalized thank you note within 24 hours, highlighting key discussion points to stay on the employer’s radar.

Effective Salary Negotiation


Many professionals struggle with finding career fulfillment and effectively negotiating their salaries, often feeling undervalued and stuck in their career progression. This common challenge can lead to a sense of dissatisfaction and uncertainty about how to advocate for oneself in the workplace. Enter Melissa Carvalho, a seasoned career coach with a wealth of experience in guiding individuals through these very obstacles. She offers a roadmap to not only recognize your monetary worth but also to master the art of salary negotiation and achieve job satisfaction. Through Melissa’s expert advice, you’ll learn the importance of preparation, strategic negotiation, and continuous learning, enabling you to align your professional achievements with your personal fulfillment. Her proven strategies promise to transform your career path into a rewarding journey of growth and success.

“What this means is what is your value based on your experience and the market. “I’m worth a lot” doesn’t mean anything unless you can bring value to this. Researching the salary and knowing the worth based on industry, market, experience, education, etc. will give you the worth you then compare to yourself based on those criteria’s, and yes this can mean you then go for the higher end of the salary as long as you feel good about that value.”

“I like to do multiple searches, one place is salary.com the best source for salary information. The next I do a search of other companies around that potential area and search my position at those companies and try to uncover salary. Normally salary will be in similar ranges. 

Another way I like to salary research is to ask! I typically find people I can speak to through LinkedIn that maybe have held the position previously or are in a competitor company.

During the negotiation process through, I like to figure out the salary through deflecting it. So I ask the question right back. “I defiantly have an idea based on my background and qualifications for the role but I would love to know what you currently have budgeted” 97% of the time you should get the response of the actual salary.”

“Not doing any research at all and not knowing exactly what you want best case scenario, acceptable scenarios all of that is important because you leverage this during the salary negotiation speech and conversation.”

“Our benefits such as PTO, Vacation, 401k, remote opportunities, bonuses, scheduled hours are a few great potential negotiation aspects that don’t get as much attention as they should.”


Interview Preparation Techniques


“Ask what is taking up the interviewers time the most then mention as an employee you would love to get those things off their plate to allow them to focus on what’s important to them. A great way to show you are there to problem solve. 

Also success on making an impression memorable is researching the interviewer and finding something that you admire or have in common and incorporate that during the interview.”

“I once led a high-stakes project where the team faced numerous challenges.



We were tasked with implementing a new system that would significantly improve efficiency, but the tight deadline and technical complexities made it a daunting task. In the initial phases, we encountered unexpected obstacles that threatened project timelines. Instead of panicking, I took the initiative to reevaluate our strategy, collaborated with the team to identify alternative solutions, and implemented a more streamlined process.

During this time, I demonstrated strong leadership by keeping the team motivated and focused on the end goal. I also leveraged my communication skills to keep stakeholders informed about the challenges and the revised plan. Despite the initial setbacks, we not only met the deadline but also exceeded performance expectations. This experience taught me the importance of adaptability, effective communication, and collaborative problem-solving in high-pressure situations.”

By framing your past experiences as stories, you provide the interviewer with a more vivid and memorable account of your skills and achievements, making a stronger impression.”

“Tell me about a time you… (failed, made a mistake, weakness). This is a negative question. Interviews have to be positive, even if an employer is putting you in a place where they are talking about the bad qualities. Always answer with showing how are you working on it right now. They don’t care that you have that quality, they want to see that you recognize it and that you’re working towards ensuring its not truly “negative”.”

“Breathe. We often forget to breathe during moments where we are nervous and anxious. I also think that to truly have less nerves you have to set a goal to just feel good at the end of the interview. We often measure out success by making it to the next round, but then we bring in more pressure to ourselves and increase expectations that way.”

“A personal thank you note 3-4 short paragraphs sent 24 hours maximum after the interview advices on 3 main topics that’s important to the employer you discussed and why you have those value points needed to meet the employer’s needs.

Bonus points if you fed ex a thank you note that’s personally written. Not used enough but a great way to stand out and get noticed.”


Career Fulfillment


“Fulfillment is loving with you do. It’s enjoying the work, being able to grasp the work easily, waking up happy to log into your laptop at 9am on Friday. It’s connecting your life purpose to your work, which usually goes back to what did you want to be when you grow up.

We should care about it because it’s what keeps us performing our best every day, it creates longevity. We won’t be board and wanting to leave 6 months later. We create a balance for ourselves.”

For someone feeling stuck in their current role, what’s your advice for pivoting towards something more fulfilling?

“Think about what did you want to be when you grow up what did you enjoy doing. Start there, even the times we loved “helping people” can connect to the now. Also in more present times. Think about your roles what did you like, and what didn’t you like. Very important to understand if we may consider a transition to something different yet still fulfilling.”

“Extremely important. It’s part of our worth, if we want to increase our value. Most employers will teach you the hard skills based on their structure, but they won’t teach you the soft skills. Gaining the soft skills or general fundamentals from LinkedIn Learning or Udemy look great on a resume.

Any course you do take should have a purpose, don’t just do it just because, it should though serve something for your future goals.”


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