By Shannon Houde
Talking numbers can be an awkward and nerve-wracking experience. But you need to roll those shoulders back and put on your brave face because — as you well know — once you are in an organization it is difficult to make a big jump in salary. That is why you need to negotiate your worth at the very start.
Knock-out your next stint in the hot seat with these 6 tips:
Don’t talk numbers until after the hiring manager offers you a salary. Just hold-tight. It’s best to wait so that you don’t ask for less than what he or she was prepared to offer. Recruiters will often pressure you early on to reveal your current earnings. You can give them a range and be a bit vague but prepared, just like they do to you. Something like…
“My current annual total comp ranges from $70-80K including benefits and bonus, however, I expect to be compensated at my market value which I have researched and know is more in line with $90-100K”
Keep calm by continuing to practice my top 6 Tips to loosen up and land the job.
2. Dream big
You do have some leverage: You’re the top choice. So, if you’d like to make $85k then ask for $100k. And if you’re feeling intimidated, consider that failing to negotiate effectively could cost you as much as $500,000 by the time you’re 60. That gets the blood pumping, doesn’t it?
3. Know your worth
But salary benchmarking is only the starting point — or rather, the bottom point — of the negotiation. It’s your minimum figure. Aim higher than the minimum to give yourself room to maneuver and prepare to sell your skills and track record. A good salesperson has conviction that what they are selling is worth it, so believe you’re worth what you’re asking for, and you’ll find others will believe it too.
4. Don’t be a typical “girl”
We know the stereotypes: Women appreciate relationships over outcomes, they are more willing to compromise, they don’t like confrontation, yada-yada.
Well, according to research cited in this article, there is a grain of truth in such stereotypes. Women are reluctant to negotiate in face-to-face meetings. They’d rather stick to money talk via email or over the phone. I say, best to prep yourself adequately and practice with someone before you have that live interaction.
5. Make it bigger than you
Imagine a family member or friend who would be proud or inspired to hear you stepped up. Consider how your negotiating can reinforce and revitalize the confidence of other women. If it helps, you can even take it a step further and pretend to negotiate on behalf someone else. This Harvard Kennedy School study showed that women who pretended to negotiate on a friend’s behalf asked for almost $7,000 more on average than if they negotiate for themselves:
“One big hurdle for me was just realizing: I’m not greedy, I’m not super aggressive, I’m not ungrateful for this job,” says Kristin Wong, a freelance writer and journalist based in Los Angeles. “If I want to level the playing field, I have to do something about it.”
6. Remember, you don’t have to take the job
Be confident in your worth and path to success, because “Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence.”
Shannon Houde is an ICF certified executive and career coach who founded, Walk of Life Consulting, the first international professional development advisory business focused solely on the social impact, environmental and sustainable business fields.
Image credit: Vitaly via Unsplash