How To Negotiate Your Salary & Get Paid What You Are Worth
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Understanding the process of salary negotiations and following these five simple steps can pay you back many times over with higher compensation in your next position.
Salary Negotiations Tip #1: Know your value
and be able to clearly articulate the returns that an employer
can expect from hiring you. Never forget that as an employee
you are investment. When a company hires you, they are making
a financial investment through the compensation and benefits
that they provide you (as well as many other expenses involved
in hiring), and they are doing so with the expectation that
their returns on that investment (ROI) will be greater than
the cost. It is up to you to know what your worth is, to make
sure the potential employer is clear on what that is, and
to make sure that they pay you the best possible price for
Action Step: Document 6-12 of your most impressive
career achievements. Jot notes about the challenges and problems
that you were facing, the actions you took to meet those challenges,
and the results of those actions. Now quantify those results.
Dollar figures or percentages of increase or decrease that
represent dollar figures are often the most powerful way to
present results. But, even if you don't have dollar figures,
there are often other quantifiable measures that you can use
to express the value of your contributions and achievements
in the workplace. Now, review all your success stories and
practice until you have committed the details of each to memory
and are comfortable discussing all aspects of them. These
are the stories that you will use during your interviews with
companies, to establish and illustrate your financial worth
and your proven ability to deliver a strong ROI to your employers.
Salary Negotiations Tip #2: Wait until the
right time to talk about salary with a potential employer.
Wait until a job offer has already been made. When a potential
employer brings up salary prior to a job offer, it is almost
always for the purpose of screening you. Before the job offer,
if you answer a salary-related question with an actual dollar
amount and you give a figure lower than their range, believe
it or not, you are likely to be screened out. Why? Because
the employer may think that your low amount indicates that
you are not capable of handling the responsibilities of the
position. And sadly, even if you do make the cut and eventually
win a job offer, your salary offer will be held down by the
low-ball figure you mentioned too early in the process. If
you mention a figure that is too high, you will also be screened
out. At this early stage you have almost certainly not had
the opportunity to establish your worth and value to the employer.
So wait...postpone discussion of salary until you have a job
Action Step: Think of ways that you might
respond to questions about salary and practice saying them
out loud until you are comfortable doing so. You'll want to
find your own natural words for this, but here is one suggestion
for postponing when you are asked that inevitable question:
"Salary? If I'm the right person for the job I'm confident
that we can come to an agreement. Before we discuss salary,
let's make certain that I am the right person." Or, "I'm sure
you pay a fair salary, and I clearly understand that I need
to make you more money than I cost, so I'm sure that when
the time comes, we can come to a fair salary agreement." You
could soften either of these statements with a preface statement,
such as "I'm very interested in this position and I'm a little
concerned that a discussion of salary at this point could
screen me out or box me in..."
Salary Negotiations Tip #3: When you are
offered the job, and it is time to talk salary, let them talk
first. If you have been offered the job and have now been
asked about salary, just respond with a simple: "What range
did you have in mind?" If you have accomplished what you set
out to do and have clearly established your value and worth
during the interview stages, you should have a fairly easy
time getting the employer to state either a salary figure
or range. Now, put a look of thoughtful consideration on your
face, and restate the figure or the highest figure of the
range with a question in your tone. In other words, say something
like "Hmmm...$50,000..." - and then, just be quiet and look
Action Step: Prepare yourself mentally to
be comfortable with silence. Know in advance that the silence
is necessary and a key part of your negotiations. If you must,
keep tally quietly in your head for a count of 30. The most
likely outcome of your silence is that you will make the employer
slightly nervous that they will lose you as an employee and
all of the benefits that hiring you will bring them. Don't
be surprised if, in response to your silence and thoughtful
stance, the employer proactively raises the offer before you
even have a chance to say anything.
Salary Negotiations Tip #4: Be prepared with
market research. With the Internet, you have numerous resources
available to determine the salary ranges and all the related
salary statistics for people who do the type of work you do
in your geographic area. Use the resources available to you
and be armed with the facts when you enter salary negotiations.
The salaries that others are making are just one piece of
the puzzle, but these statistics are an important piece of
the puzzle. Having printed research from reliable sources
that you can reference to support your desired salary during
negotiations, and to help you realistically evaluate job offers
that have been made to you, will be invaluable at this stage
of the negotiation game.
Action Step: Go to the Internet now and Google
"salary research." Spend an hour or so researching, compiling,
and printing salary research relevant to your situation. Be
willing to pay for a comprehensive salary report. It will
be money well spent and it will give you the ability to respond
confidently to a job offer and associated salary offer with
a researched response. If the offer made is just what you
were hoping for or higher, go ahead and seal the deal. But,
if it is a little low, you now have the researched knowledge
to respond with a sincere "From my research, I estimate that
positions like this for a person with my qualifications pay
between X and Y. What can you do in that range?"
Salary Negotiations Tip #5: Remember that
monetary compensation in the form of a salary is only part
of the deal. What other benefits and perks might be important
to you? Once you have come to an agreement with the employer
on an actual salary figure, it is time to continue your negotiations
to win an offer complete with the benefits that are most important
Action Step: Take some time right now to
think about the benefits that would be important to you. Take
out a sheet of paper and list them so that you are prepared
to discuss and negotiate them when the time comes. Examples
may include sales commissions, performance bonuses, insurance,
vacation time, a flexible work schedule, professional memberships,
expenses for relocation, investment programs, use of a company
car, special training or education benefits, and company discounts.
resume writer and career coach, Michelle Dumas
is the director of Distinctive Career Services LLC. Through
Distinctive Documents http://www.distinctiveweb.com and her
Executive VIP Services http://www.100kcareermarketing.com
Michelle has empowered thousands of professionals all across
the U.S. and worldwide. Michelle is also the author of Secrets
of a Successful Job Search http://www.job-search-secrets.com
Published - October 2008
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