Lisa, a program manager called asking for help on dealing with Salary Negotiations. She exclaimed, “I can’t do it! Robin I’m terrified of trying to negotiate for the salary offer.” It took a lot of coaching and some advice that she had nothing to lose if she followed the strategies I laid out. She did and was astonished that they concede quickly and she’s making $8,000 more than they originally offered and she also secured an extra week of vacation.
The largest raises you’re likely to ever obtain in your career come from quitting your job and going to work for another employer, but only if you avoid the minefield of mistakes people often make.
The Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) just released a rather shocking survey result. It noted that over the course of a person’s career, anyone who did not negotiate for a higher salary every time they started a new job would actually earn $500,000 to $1,000,000 LESS in lifetime income than an individual who was savvy when handling their salary compensation package.
These ten negotiation strategies will enable you to earn more.
Most women are afraid to try and by nature devalue themselves. They don’t recognize their full worth in the workplace and rarely demand it. The unemployed typically feel they sit in a difficult spot. They often need the job and the employer knows it. No matter what your situation is, you will increase your take home pay if you negotiate. My research has uncovered that the Employer’s first offer is typically not their best offer and significantly lower than the amount that employer is willing to pay for you to join their team.
Do some research to learn exactly what you should expect to be paid for your years of experience, education, certifications and any special training you possess. Try Glassdoor and Payscale.com both offer free salary surveys that offer detailed information to help you get an estimate on what you should be earning.
Begin your conversation with the hiring manager, by reselling yourself. Reaffirm the reasons they want you, the skills you’ll bring, and how you’ll solve their problems. Mention your key strengths and experience plus stress how quickly you will be productive. In other words, give them reasons to pay you more.
A solid way to bridge this negotiation is to say, “I’m really interested in the position. I was a little disappointed that the offer was lower than I expected, especially since I have this experience or these skills (note something specific) and will come up to speed quickly.” Smile, then be quiet and remain quiet while the employer makes the next move.
Cash remains king. Promised bonuses, raises, stock options, and reviews in a few months all have a way of never happening down the line. Every dollar you negotiate into the salary base is more money you can spend on things you and your family want. Work toward the extra money up front. These negotiations could give you in minutes what would take years to achieve with raises.
The employer may ask you what figure you have in mind. Know what you want and state it. Be willing to wait. The hiring manager may say he or she needs to go back and ask their boss to get the additional dollars. If they want you, they’ll be your advocate and almost always come back with more than they originally offered. Patience here almost always pays off.
More vacation can often be negotiated. This is easier for many employers to give out than money. Nicely make your request, stating how much more time off you want. You can reveal what you current vacation level is, and ask if they can meet it or at least offer more vacation than stated. Also, review the medical plan and the deductible and dependent costs. Many companies’ health plans offer lousy coverage with $5,000 to $10,000 deductibles every year. You can argue for a higher salary to compensate for switching medical plans because of these high deductibles. Many companies have been willing to add to salaries for this reason. Additionally, if you or a family member has a chronic illness, thoroughly check out the new company’s insurance plan so you know what is covered and what you will pay so you don’t get any expensive surprises.
Think through the negotiation interview. Visualize a successful outcome. Then ask a friend to role-play the interview with you. Defend why you are worth more money and additional perks. Did you convince them? Listen to their feedback. This preparation will decrease your anxiety and increase your confidence and success.
Only you can decide when the offer is too low. There will be other offers, but they may be weeks down the road. Never ever bluff. Offers can be withdrawn when a job hunter says, “$66,000 is as low as I will accept.” Be prepared to keep looking. Sometimes that is the right move for you. Decide on the lowest figure you can reasonably accept, one that will cover your bills and allow you to concentrate on succeeding in the job and not immediately start looking for another, higher-paying one.
You can offer to write it or the employer can, but be sure the employer signs it. This letter should outline all the terms of your employment, covering salary, signing bonuses, stock options, starting date, benefits, and particularly noting anything different from the organization’s normal policies. Too many promises are made and quickly forgotten once you start the job. Get the details in writing so there are no misunderstandings later. People who have failed to do so have suffered when the promised extra week of vacation was “forgotten” once they started. A written agreement protects what you’ve negotiated for. These letters are very common, and it’s wise – and necessary – to obtain one.
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Robin Ryan is a career counselor offering individual services including Interview Coaching and Resume Writing. She is a Speaker and the bestselling author of seven career books including 60 Seconds & You’re Hired and Over 40 & You’re Hired! She has appeared on over 2000 TV and radio shows including Oprah, Dr Phil, CNN and ABC News.