I wanted to write about negotiation and how to do it without as little pain as possible. I think for most of us, particularly women, there is a fear to negotiate. This fear can stem from not knowing how or when to negotiate. It is also part and parcel of putting qualifiers into our worth, our requests and who we are. Like, “Oh, I am just a teacher.” Or, “I think this but I could be wrong.” There is actually an “app” for that – an email add on I read about recently that will flag the sentences that look self-depreciating and offer edits to make it sound more powerful and less apologetic. If only we had that in real life for when we are speaking and negotiating our salaries and more...
Of course, the uncomfortable feeling of having to negotiate goes across all types of people but no matter what it is something women historically are known to have trouble with doing. It can be so hard to take a firm stance on saying what we do well and how well we do it and thus that is why we deserve to be compensated for it by XYZ.
Close your eyes and think back to the last time you got a job offer. Did you accept it as is? Or did you request more – more salary, a better title, a certain bonus for your work? If yes, congratulations! Also, did the world end when you did it?
If not, why didn’t you? The idea is that we can negotiate professionally and, in fact, we should be doing it because if we do not do it the only ones we are hurting are ourselves.
Whatever role you wind up whether your first or 10th job, this starting salary will be the salary that sets your next job and the ones after that. You will always have begun at this number; whatever said number is and when you are ready to move on or to be promoted, if you stay internal at your company, there are usually strict rules for percentages of raise that can be given at one time – of course, rules are meant to be broken but if you start your career too low you will always be playing catch up. Conversely, even if you leave your company to go elsewhere, a big part of compensation packages are offered based off of your previous company salary, proven by your W2 (tax forms in the US).
This is why it is so important to have as much information going into your salary / offer negotiation as possible. And yes, you should consider it a negotiation not just a yes/no answer. You are getting a job offer, no need to be flippant about it – if you are serious about both the company and your career, you can and should be ready to present industry facts and yourself in the best way possible to get the best package possible. Perhaps you would like to work from home on Fridays – for many millennials, having flex time is more important than money. Or maybe you always wanted to be closer to X salary – and you know the market and your skills could be getting that number IF you could just ask for it.
As I have mentioned in the past, most larger companies have salary bands. So each position has a salary range within a certain dollar amount of maybe say $10-20k between the higher and lower bands. You want to be as close as possible to the top of the band because this will help you be poised to be promoted if you do a great job as opposed to just getting a raise because the band is so wide and you are not yet at the top of it. It is hard to know this information though unless you have contacts and friends internally who can give you pointers on this information or if you can ask the questions professionally and with tact, perhaps your HR rep for the company can help you understand the bands and how the company compensates.
Quick tips on how to negotiate:
What do you think about my information around negotiations? I will be including some levels of this information in the college readiness seminar in terms of being women and focusing on life after college. It is an exciting time to be an entrepreneur for me as I prepare for my upcoming professional seminars and college readiness ones, too. Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen