March 15, 2018 by

Negotiating your salary is possibly one of the most nerve-wracking experiences you’ll go through before you step into a new role. You’re so close to sealing the deal that you don’t want to screw up the offer. However, it’s critical that you negotiate a salary that you feel you deserve, that makes you feel valued and keeps you motivated.

Unfortunately, not everyone negotiates their salary. In fact – 18% never negotiate their salary, period! Fear and lack of confidence are some of the main reasons for not making the ask. But what’s even more concerning is that these folks are almost certainly leaving money (or perks) on the table. Women are more likely to not ask for a bigger salary or a promotion, whereas most of men do.

Learn how to negotiate. Practice negotiating. Force yourself to do it even when you’re afraid. Whether it’s your first job out of college or your tenth, learning to ask for what you deserve may be your most important life skill. Read on to see how to do it.

Be prepared

Before you negotiate, you need to do your research and prepare yourself mentally. Your research may include investigating what your role, or similar roles, pay in your market. It may mean making a phone call to friends in similar roles or at similar companies to see what you can dig up and vet your thinking. It’s important to focus on what the role requires; that is, what your future role requires. The job you’re striving to get may have a mega boost in responsibilities. If so, that needs to be reflected in your salary.

Companies love to focus on how much you’re making now. But that’s irrelevant. Get mentally prepared to change the conversation to focus on what your hiring company needs, expects and what the new role will require. In fact, you should be covering these topics earlier in the interview process so that by the time you negotiate your salary, you’re prepared to explain why you’re the one who can achieve these things (and why you’re worth that big pay jump).

Finally, get mentally prepared. This means putting on a confident demeanor (even if your stomach feels like you just stepped off a roller coaster ride). Things like getting a nice sleep, knowing what you’re going to wear and taking down notes about the key points you want to touch on will help, too

The big ask

The biggest thing when you ask is that you need to know what you want. Exactly what you want. If you ask for too little, it’s going to be too late once you utter those numbers. If you ask for “too much” it may be a high starting point, but of course, your future employer can work you down, or candidly tell you, “No.” (And hey, is there such a thing as too much?)

What is your deal breaker? How much will you be truly satisfied with, versus disappointed in? What is the number that will do it for you; the number where anything less is just not good enough? In other words, know your line in the sand. And be willing and prepared to walk away if your future employer can’t meet your ask.

And remember, take the personal stuff out of the conversation. It’s not your employer’s problem that you have student loans to pay, or that you have childcare expenses, or that you are trying to save to buy a house. Keep it to what you’re worth and what you deserve.

Think about your answer

If your employer doesn’t meet your asking price, don’t feel like you’ve been boxed into a corner, especially if you’re told this information via phone. Tell them you need a few days to think about it. Stalling is okay to do, and it buys you time to carefully craft a script for a phone conversation or come up with an email response.

Being told, “No,” doesn’t mean the conversation is over. Reiterate your needs and try again.