Career Warrior Podcast #278) How to Get Recognized at Work, Build Presence, and Ask for the Raise | Sonja Price
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I’m so excited for this episode, and it is my guarantee that if you listen carefully, you will take something home today that will advance your career.
We’ll cover some great questions:
- How do you get recognition for what I’m doing at work?
- What are some ways I can boost my presence online?
- How and when do I ask for the raise?
Today, I brought on Sonja “Dynamo” Price.
Yes, so good that she’s joined us twice!
…And with over 15 years of experience in Career and Leadership consulting, Sonja has worked with a wide range of clients including Amazon, Facebook, Google, HBO, and numerous other organizations.
Sonja has a Master’s Degree in Leadership and Organizational Development and is a Certified Career and Executive Coach.
She trained with Al Gore to become a Climate Reality Leader and is actively engaged with the Seattle Board of Conscious Capitalism.
She is passionate about empowering professionals to accelerate their career success, to become financially free, and to make a positive impact around the world. In her downtime, she enjoys skiing, playing piano, and geeking out over strategy board games.
Chris Villanueva 0:04
Welcome to the Let’s Eat, Grandma, Career Warrior Podcast. And welcome to the Let’s Eat, Grandma Career Warrior Podcast where our goal is not only to help you land your dream job, but to help you live your best life. Today we’re going to talk about how to get recognized at work, build presence and ask for the raise. I am so excited for this episode. And it is my guarantee that if you listen carefully, you will take something home today that can advance your career. We’ll cover some great questions such as How do you get recognition for what I’m doing at work? What are some ways I can boost my presence online? And how and when do I ask for the raise? Today I brought on Sonya Dynamo Price Yes, so good that she’s joined us twice. And with over 15 years of experience and career and leadership consulting. Sonya has worked with a wide range of clients including Amazon, Facebook, Google, HBO, and a numerous other organizations. Sonya has a master’s degree in leadership and organizational development and is a certified career and executive coach. She trained with Al Gore to become a Climate Reality leader and is actively engaged with the Seattle board of conscious capitalism. She is passionate about empowering professionals to accelerate their career success to become financially free, and to make a positive impact around the world. In her downtime, she enjoys skiing and playing piano and geeking out over strategy board games. You can learn more about her at Dynamo careers.com. And we will of course link that within the description of this episode. So let’s launch right into it with this episode of the career warrior podcast. Sonya, welcome back to the show. I’m so glad to have you.
Sonja Price 1:47
Hey, Chris, I’m so excited to be back. Thanks for having me here again.
Chris Villanueva 1:51
Yes, we’re gonna have a fun conversation today. And I love that we’re doing this episode, I was just prepping up some of the questions here doing my research. And I think there are a lot of people out there that are just not happy with where they’re at right now, job seekers, perhaps active or passive job seekers. So I think by doing this episode, we’re going to steer people away from saying, How can I hope and pray that, you know, the perfect job or lifestyle situation will just come my way towards the implicit way? How can I empower myself to grow and to build myself up for the future? So let’s set the context here. I’d love to get your take on this. What do you usually tell clients who are not happy with their situation? Or at least those folks who just want more?
Sonja Price 2:33
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there’s so many statistics out there these days about how engaged or disengaged employees are. And I’ve actually seen some stats that like 70% of the global workforce is passive talent, meaning that they’re not actively engaged in their work with the remaining 30%, who are actively seeking jobs right now. So there are people who are obviously engaged in their jobs. But for those who aren’t, this is the podcast for them to listen to. Right. There’s also been a growing trend. I don’t know if you’ve been hearing about this, Chris. But there’s a big theme that I keep hearing about now, about quiet quitting.
Chris Villanueva 3:15
This been a big one, I don’t know much about it. But it keeps seeing it on LinkedIn and being like, What the heck is going on?
Sonja Price 3:22
Yeah, I love that we have this term to actually describe it now. And this is for folks who, you know, they’re just not that engaged in their job. Maybe they’ve actually already quit their job. Like they’re actively working in their job. They’re collecting a paycheck, they’re doing the bare minimum to get by or to coast, but not actually that exciting.
Chris Villanueva 3:42
That’s what quiet quitting is. It’s folks who are within their jobs. And they’re doing just the bare minimum to get the job done, essentially,
Sonja Price 3:50
Yeah, just coasting, but have probably already pretty much mentally checked out. So, you know, when I think about this, you know, I really advise clients to or professionals in general, like make a conscious choice about what is it that you want in your career? And the job that you have right now? Is it actually serving you in your best interest? Do you know what you want to be doing now? Do you know what you want to be doing in the future? And is your job actually preparing you for the future? Is it giving you those exciting or engaging or challenging roles and projects that give you a reason to get up every day, that gives you a reason to get excited to go to work for me how I think about it is that it’s like if you’re unhappy at work, that disappointment and frustration is going to carry with you throughout all areas of your life. And so if you’re noticing yourself being, you know, upset, anxious, depressed, like, ask yourself why, you know, it doesn’t stem from your job. And if you actually had a more engaging job, might that actually help you have a more satisfactory experience in life as well?
Chris Villanueva 4:56
That makes sense versus the opposite? which would be just to let life kind of take you on a ride, whether it’s good or bad, and you don’t really know whether your job is sapping your energy, and instead to make the conscious choice, which I really love. So what about the job seekers who have already made that choice to say, Okay, I want something better whether it’s a promotion at my job or a new job altogether? I’m not really happy with the situation I’m in right now, what is the first step that you would tell for these clients who do know they want to make some sort of change?
Sonja Price 5:30
Yeah, well, you know, either find a way to make it worth your while to stay. So if you want to stay in your current job, find a way to make it worth your while, find a new project, find a new role internally, talk to your manager, talk to your co workers see what else you can do to make it more interesting and engaging. Or if not seek out greener pastures, you know, there’s plenty of fish in the sea. So go find another job elsewhere, they’ll actually be more serving to you, where you could probably, like make some sort of upgrade in your career. At the same time, maybe there’s a better title that or level or better pay that could be available to you as well.
Chris Villanueva 6:07
I love that. I feel like you’re always just pushing people to grow versus stay within their comfort zone. I follow the I’ve seen your brand. And I’ve heard you obviously on your last podcast episode. So I love the encouragement. I think people need to step outside their their comfort zone. So you’re speaking to the right audience career warriors here?
Sonja Price 6:24
Absolutely. Always be in a growth mindset. Right?
Chris Villanueva 6:27
Yep. Okay, so the first thing I want to talk about is personal branding, and our presence at work, how to get noticed, stand out those sorts of things. So the first thing I would like to ask you on that topic is, what do we mean by building your presence? Like, what are we talking about when we talk just conceptually about the importance of building our presence as career warriors for job seekers,
Sonja Price 6:53
I think this is actually really important. And I think it’s something that doesn’t usually get as much attention or energy as it may need in a professionals, life professionals journey. So when I think about building your presence, I really think about how does an individual build their internal network in a way where they can get the exposure needed for the good work that they’re doing. So it’s not simply enough to just do good work. And I think sometimes we sit back and we think, oh, we’ll be recognized by our merits will be recognized by the good work that we do and the projects that we completed. And if you have a good manager who’s looking out for you, yes, they will recognize you for those things. But we need to be singing our own praises. And part of that means that we need to find the right people who need to know about who we are and what we’re up to and what we’re doing. So it’s not enough to simply do good work. Good work is very important, causing results is very important. But we also need to make sure that we’re getting exposure with the right people. And the right people typically means it could be your manager, that’s certainly an important component of it. But we also need to be thinking about who are the key influencers and the key decision makers internally into the organization that you really need to be making sure that your work gets seen by because that’s when decisions get made about who gets promoted, those are usually people who are part of that overall decision making committee of who’s going to get promoted, or who’s going to get the more interesting projects. And so you need your good work to be seen by those people, right, so that good stuff can happen for you, and you can continue to advance your career
Chris Villanueva 8:34
path. I love that. And so I want to think about how to get recognition for that work. And Sonya, I don’t know if it makes more sense to you to partition it between getting recognized at work by my own company or to get recognized externally by, you know, recruiters or other companies who I might want to make a switch to or a pivot. So perhaps just broadly open ended. Lee, how can I get recognized for my work? If I’m doing a good job? Just let’s assume that first of all,
Sonja Price 9:06
well, I don’t think there’s actually such a thing as getting too much exposure. Okay, you know, so it’s like, if you’re doing good work, like, let people know about it, whether it’s internal or external, because, you know, if you really want to advance your career path, sometimes that’s going to happen internally. And sometimes you’re going to need to go externally to help make that happen. So when I think about building your network and getting your work seen by the right people, I mean, I guess it really depends on what your overall strategy is. But I don’t think that there’s any harm in letting like the more people who know about it quite often, the better because then they can actually present more opportunities to you and then you have more of a choice of what you actually want to be working on where you want to go. And, you know, I’m a big proponent of helping people make more money. And oftentimes, you can make more money if you go to a new organization versus staying where you’re at, because even if you stay in your current organization, if you get a promotion, usually it’s a percentage increase of your base pay. Versus if you go somewhere else, it’s kind of like starting over. And you can negotiate based on current market rate or whatnot, right? So get exposure anywhere, and everywhere you can,
Chris Villanueva 10:21
I love it. I want to go to LinkedIn and a second are ways that we can externally showcase that we’ve done these amazing things. But first, I want to vouch for the company here, or perhaps for somebody who wants to stick within that company, let’s say that I’ve, you know, been a project manager or whatever position and I’m looking for a promotion within my company, because I like the company, what would you recommend for that person to gain that sort of recognition exposure internally in order to advance within that company?
Sonja Price 10:51
Yeah. So you can certainly start with where you’re at right now. So if you think about, you know, what is the org chart look like within your current role, and who are the higher ups from where you go. So you can think about your manager, your managers, manager, and also your managers, peers. Because if there does become a decision point about getting promoted or giving out new projects within your department, that’s typically the committee that’s going to come together to make those types of decisions. So you know, first blush, those are definitely the people that you’re going to want to make sure that they know who you are, the good work that you’re doing, and also what you’re capable of as well. But you don’t always have to stick to just that group of people. Because depending on how big your organization is, there may be opportunities for you in other workgroups, other departments. And, you know, if I think you have to go back to what your goals are, you know, and if you want to work on certain types of projects, well, where do those projects typically live inside of the organization? Or if you’re looking to get promoted into a higher level role? Are those roles even available within your current team? Or, you know, might you need to kind of shift teams to go find that type of opportunity?
Chris Villanueva 12:02
Right? I love that ask that question. Because I’m always tons of empathy for folks who want to stay within their company, and employers who want to keep their people because as a small business owner, myself, always thinking so optimistically there, but I really hear you on the opportunity to go to a different company, especially if you’re not seeing the right opportunities within the company that you’re working at right now. So listeners, you can check out our episode, the last one that we did about controversial title, why you should switch jobs every two to three years. And I think that’d be a really good one to check out. So anything else you’d like to add there?
Sonja Price 12:36
I have all kinds of stuff. I’d love to add there. I think yeah, definitely go listen to our previous episode. I think changing jobs every two to three years is a very effective strategy, whether you stay in your current company or you go elsewhere, just showcasing that you having forward momentum and progression throughout your career that you’re constantly taking on higher levels of responsibilities, or more interesting projects, or you’re developing your skill set and new and different ways that you’re staying, you know, on trend with what’s happening in the industry, like always changing, always growing, being part of that growth mindset and having the titles and positions to actually back that up so that when someone looks at your resume, they can see that you are constantly having that forward momentum.
Chris Villanueva 13:21
Let it so I want to talk about brand presence. And one thing that comes to mind for a lot of people, whether you’re a job seeker or not, perhaps mostly job seekers, is LinkedIn having a really strong LinkedIn profile to make sure that I do stand out. And I was just reviewing get a really great article with some tips on how to improve and Vamp up your LinkedIn profile. So what are some considerations that I should be thinking about when it comes to boosting my LinkedIn to get some good recognition?
Sonja Price 13:51
Yeah, absolutely. Well, a lot of the same rules are going to apply for your LinkedIn profile as they do for your resume. So that keyword optimization is so crucially important, and the keyword optimization happens throughout your entire profile. So in all of the various different sections, your headline, the about section, your past work experience, as well as the skill section. So you want to make sure that you’re really highlighting the core skills. And you want to be thinking about if a recruiter was coming to LinkedIn to try to find someone like you, what types of skill sets would they be searching for? Because LinkedIn is all about the search algorithms. So that’s what I would recommend first and foremost. But beyond that, you also want to make sure that your profile has that wow factor to it from an aesthetic perspective, when someone lands on your profile page, is there something interesting and engaging that keeps them there longer than they just read your headline and move on? So we have to know that there are very, very, very quick decisions being made that when someone comes to your profile, Mike are seconds, you know, like looking like it’ll look at it for seconds, and then maybe move on to the next candidate. So you can think about your headline, your picture, your banner, and your about section. Also at the very top, it shows what your recent posts are. And then they can get into your work experience. So you kind of want to take it section by section and start to look at like, Okay, does this have a wow factor? You know, if I was a recruiter, and I was to come and look at my own profile, do I look at it and go, Hmm, this looks interesting. Let me dig into this a little bit deeper. Let me look further? Or do you just kind of hit the page and, you know, bounce off, keep looking at other candidates who have similar skill set as well,
Chris Villanueva 15:41
right. And I want to pause for a second and ask you about your philosophy with the headline, because you said something brilliant, which is, you know, creators, whoever it may be, are quickly scrolling past candidates, and they’re making a decision whether or not they want to click into your profile, or view more of your profile. And I think the headline and the picture, of course, those are the first things that folks are seeing. So the headline, I think, is crucial. And I wanted to see, considering a lot of people just have their position, title, whatever they’re doing at their company as their headline. What do you think that people should make their headline? Yeah,
Sonja Price 16:17
so by default, LinkedIn will choose your headline for you. And they choose whatever your current title is that your current organization. So some people don’t even know that you can customize your headline, but it’s a great idea to go in, optimize your headline and think about, what do you want to be known for? Or if a recruiter was searching for someone like you? What would they be looking for? Would they be looking for specific titles, specific key words, specific industries, and you can come up with something really catchy, if you want to, but just make sure that if someone was to see your photo and your headline in a sea of search results, what’s going to stand out what’s going to catch their curiosity, what’s going to make them click on you versus, you know, the 50 other people that are on the same page. So think about the top top skills, what is a recruiter looking for, you know, if you’re a project manager, make sure that you say, project manager, but then maybe you put a catchy headline in there that says, manages, you know, $50 million projects that, you know, launch on time and under budget, or, you know, like, so just giving you an example there. But you can come up with something really catchy, that’s like, oh, this person is a results oriented individual. And they get it, you know, they know what I’m looking for. They know that results matter. They know the core keywords of what someone might be looking for, you know, if it’s like product management, you know, maybe put in something about managing the full product lifecycle from concept to roadmap to, you know, iterating different products, you know, through the entire like, go to market strategy.
Chris Villanueva 17:52
I love that, what do you want to be known for? That’s phrase I’ll hang on to I think that’s brilliant.
Sonja Price 17:57
I also think just to add on to it a little bit to this, I would play with your headline and your banner on your LinkedIn profile. So there’s a ton of free tools out there available today. But like Canva, if you you know, Chris, I’m sure you’re familiar with Canva. But Canva has these great options where you can go create your own custom LinkedIn banner. And so if you think about what do you want to have in your headline, and then also, maybe just choose a few key words or a phrase that you want to be known for, that you can put into your banner. And if you create a custom banner for LinkedIn, that’s going to definitely keep someone engaging with your profile much longer than the default LinkedIn banner. Or even you know, sometimes I see people will do like a beautiful picture of a sunset or a city line or something like that, which is totally fine. It’s always recommended to have something other than the LinkedIn default banner. But if you want to take it another step further, and really like to optimize your profile, and that overall wow factor, think about what might a custom banner look like for you? Yep. And what do you want that to say? And then how does that kind of play in with your headline, your headline will be searchable? Your banner will not?
Chris Villanueva 19:08
Right? Yeah, I was gonna say like, I think that could take somebody’s profile from like a 95%. All the way to 100% is having a solid banner. I’m a believer in that too. And I want to pivot to asking for a raise in a second. But I just have to ask because the picture is such an important part of brand in my opinion, it doesn’t matter what you do, I think you need a solid picture on LinkedIn. And don’t hide your picture. Privacy is not a really big thing for you. I really would vouch for everyone listening right here just to make sure that their picture is invisible because it just makes you a lot more trustable in my opinion. But I’m taking headshots tomorrow actually again for LinkedIn. Hopefully they’re turned out good enough to replace my current one. So do you have any advice for what my headshot should look like when I am including it on LinkedIn because I see so many job seekers who are just no one can see this because the podcast but there you You know, meanwhile, again, the camera or they’re, they’re fishing, they’re catching this beautiful bass, but it has nothing to do with software development. All
Sonja Price 20:08
right, or my favorite is when someone chooses a picture that you know, they took at a wedding or something, and then like, someone’s got their arm, their arm thrown around their shoulder, like the person’s head with an arm coming or like crawling around from the side. So here would be my top recommendations for a wow factor, LinkedIn profile photo, you should be the only person in the photo and I know you’re doing a photo shoot. So you probably will be, but you should be the only person in the photo, you should be professionally dressed. But know that, you know, it’s only you’re only going to capture the shoulders up, but try to wear like a collared shirt or, you know, whatever you feel most comfortable in or for women, you know, if you want to wear a nice necklace, or earrings or whatnot, you know, it’s like what’s going to give a little bit of that extra wow factor within that, you know, like two by two box that’s going to be around your head and shoulders. And then the things that I have seen as far as research goes is like, the most engaging photos is if you’re looking directly at the camera, so don’t be looking off to the side, look directly into the camera, and then have a really nice, engaging smile. And the research actually shows that people who have like an open mouth smile showing your teeth. Yep, that is much more engaging than like a closed lips smile.
Chris Villanueva 21:25
I’ve seen that does that apply to professional photos? I know that there’s all sorts of uses for photos like you know, arts and even like dating profiles and things like that. But you’re talking about does it work for professional too?
Sonja Price 21:36
I agree, I believe so you can do this research on your own, just go look at a bunch of LinkedIn profiles and see like, Who do you want to engage with? Who would you want to reach out to, and I like the photos that it’s like, people are smiling in such a way that it looks like they’re almost laughing, you know that it’s like, again, if you put yourself in the shoes of someone who’s going to be doing decision making based on your LinkedIn profile, aka primarily recruiters, or hiring managers, or co workers who would eventually be interviewing you as well. You want them to immediately look at your profile photo and be like, Wow, that looks like a really fun person that looks like someone I would love to work with this person. I can imagine myself having conversations with them on a day to day basis. And it could be you know, fun, interesting, engaging work.
Chris Villanueva 22:23
I love that. Thank you for those words of wisdom, Sonya. So let’s talk about asking for the raise. I think you and I had a great conversation earlier where it was mentioned that once you show it to the performance review, that’s way too late to ask for the raise. So how do we think about asking for a raise at work? What are some of the things that I should start thinking about? And when is the right time to ask?
Sonja Price 22:48
Yeah, absolutely. You know, I talked to so many people who are frustrated because the review cycle came and went, and they’re like, I was expecting a raise, why didn’t I get it? They you know, I don’t think they’re seeing my true value, or they only gave me a 2% Raise this year? And do they not know who I am? Do they not know what I’m doing that can breed a lot of frustration and potentially resentment as well. So this kind of goes back to some of the things that we were talking about earlier is like, you really need to make sure that your good work is being seen by the right people long before review cycle even begins. So you know, start sharing your wins now and make sure that the right people are aware of who you are, the results that you’re produced, and also what kind of work that you’re capable of doing moving forward in the future as well. Then you also want to do your research, you want to know like, what is a comparable rate pay for someone in my role with my position with my level responsibilities in this industry or this type of organization? Because then you know, whatever type of raise that they give you or don’t give you you should know, where should you be as it compares to the overall market rate?
Chris Villanueva 24:00
Yeah, I was gonna ask that how much question in a second, I know you have a resource available for our job seekers. But I just want to go back to like the logistics, I guess the preparation involved in it. I’m not going to just show up tomorrow and talk to my boss mean, like, Oh, I’m ready for a raise I’ve emotionally charged up after listening to the podcast, or maybe people are prepared. I don’t know. But how long does the process typically take to gather the information? How much preparation are we recommending our listeners take to ask for the raise?
Sonja Price 24:31
Good question. I guess you kind of have to know how things typically happen inside of your organization. A lot of companies will only do raises during review time, but sometimes people will do an off cycle promotion or raise. So you kind of have to know like what your company does and how they do it. And if you’re gearing towards the review time to get that raise or get a promotion. You know, I would start as Too early as possible, but probably, you know, at least, I would say probably at least six months before the process begins, just start when you can, right. As we’re listening to this podcast, we don’t know when the review cycle is going to happen, every company is a little bit different. So, but start when and where you can. And just make sure that people know about you, they know who you are, what you’re doing. And then also be aware of like, what type of raise you could potentially get. So this is oftentimes comes as a shock to people as well is that they think, Oh, my gosh, I did such great work this year, I should get a $20,000 increase, which you probably should, but companies will most oftentimes give raises in terms of percentage increases, unless you’re like up leveling, and you’re moving into a whole new level and title makes sense. So kind of the average raise for kind of a normal performer individual is probably between like two to 3%. And this oftentimes gets configured based on company performance for that year, as well as you know, your overall performance.
Chris Villanueva 26:04
And does that factor in the two to 3%? Already? Inflation? I know, that’s been a big talk. I’ve seen people posting about it on LinkedIn a lot when it comes to salary. But is that included within that? Or is that a separate discussion altogether,
Sonja Price 26:17
the company will make that decision of how much money can be allocated for raises. And so it kind of depends on how well that company did for that year. And yes, hopefully, inflation is incorporated as part of that conversation. And what we need to be thinking about, like right now at this moment in time, is that inflation has skyrocketed. However, you know, we also have a lot of the feds are increasing interest rates, and a lot of companies are actually starting to produce earnings reports where they’re not earning as much. So it’s going to be a little bit of a tricky time to see you know, how much money is available for raises. And then usually what happens is that a certain chunk of money will be made available to each team. And then the leadership team will decide how they’re going to allocate that bucket of money amongst all of the people in the team. So some people will probably get one or 2%, some people will get 3%, the star performers might get up to like 5%, maybe more thing, depending, right. So this is one of those reasons is like you want to be seen as a high performer, you want to be seen as a star performer. And you need to know exactly how that gets calculated or configured. Because some companies and teams are going to have like, pre calculated KPIs that, you know, if you meet these things, then maybe you’ll be seen as a high performer. Other times, it might just be a little bit more subjective based on the leadership team coming together and talking about, you know, the overall team initiatives, the key projects, who’s been doing what inside of those key projects, and that’s where you really need to make sure that’s like, ooh, do the right people know who I am and what I’ve been up to.
Chris Villanueva 28:02
Okay, that makes sense. I like what you said earlier about doing the prep time, like months in advance for asking for the raise, I think it does take some effort and thinking about past employees who’ve gone and even started a conversation with me months before, they told me they were going to ask I knew that they were going to ask and that was part of the conversation. So it mentally prepared me to think about, you know, their performance over the next several months. And it made things really smooth. And I know that they were putting in the effort to just write down notes for all of their KPIs and the things that they would work on that were project based, you know, what did they bring to the table for the company? And I think you made a really big difference.
Sonja Price 28:42
Absolutely. That’s great. I mean, I actually kind of like to think of it as that it’s like, pretty much every conversation you have with your manager and other leaders inside the organization is an opportunity for you to highlight your results, share what you who you are, share what you’ve been doing, the key employees that you’re talking about, I love that they are kind of like planting seeds before they even ask the question. And oftentimes, that can be very helpful. Because if you think about it, you know, if you go to your manager, and you say, Hey, I’d like to have a raise, very seldom are they going to be like, Yeah, I have the exact approval power to make that happen today. Usually, it’s a series of conversations that happens over time,
Chris Villanueva 29:23
right? And it’s not just them, they involve other people too. So they prepare
Sonja Price 29:27
Yeah, you know, usually anything that’s gonna get approved is probably going to go through their manager and probably their managers manager as well. So you know, that’s why starting early and often is very important. Probably planting some seeds is very important. Making sure that your results are well known is important. And also knowing you know, what the market rate pay is and understanding what’s going on in the organization itself to know like, Okay, if they do give me a raise, what could I feasibly expect, right? Because you know, if the cost But he’s not performing well, then they may just not have the resources to give you a big raise. Or if they’re performing extremely well, then, you know, hopefully they can find some additional resources to, you know, help give you the bump that you’re actually looking for.
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