Looking for a new Job? One of the things you should think about is negotiating your salary. As important as it is to look for a job you will love it is just as important to be prepared to negotiate your salary like a pro. Most people take whatever the job is offering for compensation, but I am here to tell you everything is negotiable. You should never take the first offer thrown on the table because every company is going to try to get you on board for as little as possible. They have a budget for sure, but when you go shopping you look for the best possible price in order to save right? Well, companies do the same thing.
Did you know that in a survey done by Indeed that 58% of respondents claim to never or rarely ever negotiate their salary? That is just insane to me. I want to teach you how to negotiate salary because you and the skills you bring to the table make you worth it. Many people may feel uncomfortable negotiating their salary for many reasons, but you need to push outside of your comfort zone to get what you want. Also when you don’t discuss salary and benefits it can negatively affect your lifelong earning potential. No one is going to hand you what you want you must fight for it. Plain and simple.
What makes me qualified to even be discussing this is based on real-life experience I have negotiated raises at a company I was with for 15 years. Then when it was time to move onward and upward I negotiated my salary and benefits. Plus I took it one step further and negotiated a raise after a certain time period of being with the new company.
You can check out my story about how I ended one chapter and started another End Of An Era and New Beginnings.
How to Negotiate Your Salary Like a Pro
The trick is to be prepared before you even start sending out your resume. These steps are here to help you negotiate your salary. So take a deep breath, put on your big girl panties, and let’s get started.
Know Your Industry
Know your industry… You need to understand the salary trends in your specific industry so you don’t price yourself out. This information will be your strongest ally when you negotiate your salary. A simple Google search can help you find out what you are worth in your industry. These are my top four picks when I was looking into what my position and skills were worth in the garment industry.
You can also search for jobs on websites like Indeed and Glassdoor, because these days most companies are being transparent about their salary. They give a range of what the salary is going to be based on the job posting. I know what you are thinking, If they are telling me what the salary is going to be right there in the job listing then I don’t need to negotiate. WRONG… You still need to do some leg work. Never take anything at face value. Do your research and write down what the going rate is based on your skills one salary does not fit all. In order to negotiate your salary you need to do the leg work ahead of time.
Factor in Perks and Benefits
After you have figured out your worth it is time to start looking. Know what you want. Do you want a 4 day work week? What kind of health benefits do they offer? How many personal and vacation days do they offer? Are they flexible? These are all very important factors when looking for a job. This is all about what you want and need. For example, I didn’t care about the health care benefits because I am under my husband’s insurance plan. However, I did care about the flexibility and time off. I am a working mother after all and flexibility is what makes my life as a working mom possible.
What’s valuable to you that would make an offer tempting enough for you to move forward? Sometimes a bigger salary comes at a price. You need to ask yourself how many hours do you want to work because with more responsibility comes longer hours. That’s just part of it. You also need to consider the future so don’t forget to consider the retirement plan benefits. A sign of a good company is when they match a percentage of what you put into your 401K.
Focus on the Future
The dreaded question “What are you currently making?” It is bound to come up during an interview. The question of what you are currently making. This is where many people get tripped up and stammer out what they are actually making at the moment. However, it is a big mistake to advise them about what you are actually making because you may be underpaid and undervalued at your current job. It happens all the time especially when you have been at a job for a long time. That old wise tail that you get paid for your loyalty is crap. People who stay with a company for over 5 years are more likely to be underpaid and overworked because people make the mistake of getting too comfortable.
I have seen it and lived it working crazy hours under the impression that if you stay loyal you will be rewarded. All that gets you is more work and a bunch of excuses as to why they can’t compensate you. So when you go for an interview and your current salary comes up the best thing to say is what your current market value is because in all honesty that is what you should be making anyways. Go from the middle of what the going rate is in your industry for example if you are currently making 55K and the middle industry standard is 75K you go with the 75K. Then you can only go up from there. No company is going to expect you to leave your current company to make the same money. Know your worth!
The goal here is to land in the higher range of the current rate for your industry. So when you say the middle is your current salary then it will be easier to negotiate higher and that is how you negotiate your salary. No matter what you believe you are worth it especially when you bring experience to the table.
Be Ready to Walk Away
You can’t be afraid to walk away from a job opportunity. If the company doesn’t meet your values and standards then respectfully decline and move on to the next one. This really comes into effect when it comes to negotiating your salary. You don’t want to drag out the negotiating process for too long because it just leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. If the company can’t meet your requirements after a few discussions then just respectfully decline and focus on opportunities that align with what you are looking for.
Get Everything in Writing
Once the hiring manager offers you the job, make sure you get everything in writing. This isn’t the wild wild west where a handshake closes the deal. Mostly because as we have evolved in society things slip through the cracks and are easily forgotten once you say yes. This isn’t just pertaining to the salary amount make sure the offer letter includes any special arrangements like your hours, vacation, and personal days, bonus packages, retirement plan, health benefits, job description, and a list of responsibilities. Some companies provide this automatically in the employee contract, but if not be sure to request it. Ask them to send you the offer letter.
Stay Positive, Not Pushy
When negotiating your salary it can be scary, you should always keep the conversation positive. Remind them what you bring to the company and how you plan to meet and exceed their expectations. Many people who are negotiating their salary forget that this is not fun for the managers either. If you have reached the point where they are negotiating a salary it means they want you at the company. So don’t just take whatever they are offering you. You have done the research and know what you are worth so don’t be afraid to ask.
There is a polite way to decline and counter their offer. You can say something like the below:
Dear Mr. Recruiter,
Thank you for offering me the sales position. I’m excited about Company Z and the contribution I can make here.
However, I would like to discuss compensation before I can accept the offer. While Company Z is my first choice, I have received other job offers that are offering me more compensation. In fact, the highest offer is $7000 more than the offer from here with four additional vacation days from Company Y.
I’m very interested in Company Z and I would happily accept if you could match what the other company is offering. I understand that not everything can be accomplished, but I’m willing to be flexible and find a good solution. I’m confident that I can make valuable contributions to the company, and I hope we can come to a mutual agreement.
Looking for a new job is never an easy task, but when you do your research first you will be able to go into that interview prepared to negotiate your salary like a pro. Be confident in your abilities and your experience because I have found no one undervalues you the way you yourself do. Most of the time we don’t see what others see in us and we are way too hard on ourselves. So know your value and worth before going to an interview.