Whether you’re searching for a new job and are deep in the interview process, or you’re far from a job interview and have been working for the same starting salary for quite some time now, it’s crucial that you know how to negotiate a higher salary.
That’s why I’ve used everything I’ve learned in my Bussines Psychology class, as well as experiences from my former jobs, to provide you with this in-depth guide on how to negotiate salary.
This is what you’ll find down below:
Let’s go and work on your negotiation skills and get you the higher pay you want!
Salary Negotiation Before You Start Working
Back in the olden days, not many recruiters would say what the pay scale was upfront during the hiring process. It was also considered rude to ask about a specific number during the interview.
People were even asking themselves, “can you lose a job offer by negotiating salary?”. And, of course, no one was willing to risk that, so it became an unspoken rule to just not mention it.
However, it was always a common practice for the hiring manager to have interview questions about your salary expectations. And, you’ve probably already heard that you should answer that question quite indifferently.
Well, things are very different nowadays. Job seekers have become way more open and direct about what they expect from the job title they’re getting, and more ready for negotiating compensation.
Because of that, it has now become unacceptable for the recruiters to not include at least the salary range or the average salary when they search for a new role in the company.
Of course, that process is not so simple, and you probably don’t feel very confident and need some salary negotiation tips.
What percentage of salary can you negotiate? What to say in a salary negotiation? Should you always negotiate salary? Should you accept the first salary offer?
These are all valid questions that are probably going through your head now, so it would be for the best if you continued reading and scrolling down because that’s where you will find all the points that you should think about when working on your negotiation strategy.
Why You Should Talk About Money With Your Potential Employers
Maybe you’re still used to the traditional way of thinking where you don’t see the point in going against what the potential bosses say. In the end, they are the people who are above you, and you are the person who’s there to follow orders, so why give off an aggressive impression?
Well, it might surprise you to find out that what you see as being aggressive actually isn’t anything negative, and it’s even something that the recruiters will prefer to see.
Being able to give a counteroffer and communicate directly what your needs and wishes are is called being assertive, and it’s very much valued in the business world.
Try to look at it from this range – if your potential boss sees that you’re straightforward, honest, and critical while also staying respectful and level-headed, they will know that you’ll be able to do the same thing when you’re negotiating something for that company.
These assertive communication skills are very much wanted among bosses and businessmen, and every career coach will tell you that that’s the first thing to work on.
However, there is another reason why you should try your best to be assertive and hold your ground during a job search.
If the potential boss finds it offensive that you are assertive, if they’re looking for someone who really does just follows every single thing they’re told and won’t object to anything, even in a respectful manner, then that probably isn’t a company that you want to work in.
Not only are these kinds of collectives more likely to pay only the minimum wage without a benefits package, as well as give no real vacation time, but it’s also suspicious whether your basic human rights will be respected during work hours.
Suppose you go for an initial offer like that. In that case, it’s very likely that soon enough, negotiating your salary won’t even be near your list of priorities, and it will probably be whether you’re able to go to work for another day without quitting and rather to have no salary at all.
Of course, it won’t always be that dramatic, but you will probably start feeling physically and mentally drained and not nearly fairly compensated. Obviously, the environment won’t be very welcoming to any kind of pay negotiation.
Basically, this is a very practical way to find out whether the company has some red flags that you should be aware of before rather than later.
Working Ahead – What To Put In Your Resume
Working on your resume is probably the first thing that we all start doing before we start the job hunt, so it will be best that you do that in a good way.
But, before I give you some tips about how to write your resume, so you’ll be able to make an offer negotiation, let’s consider some additional things that will be very useful for you, especially if you plan on working for a company that’s big on being active online.
I will assume that you know what LinkedIn is and how it generally works. But, just in case that you don’t, if this is your first offer for a job that you’ve ever gotten, or if it has never drawn your attention to sign up, here are some basic facts.
LinkedIn is a website, most commonly used via the corresponding Android and iOS apps, that kind of works like a professional Instagram or Facebook.
You’ll be able to make a profile on it, and you can list all of your credentials, references, and former job experiences. After that, you can follow pages of a wide variety of companies, everywhere from your small local businesses to large-scale companies like Microsoft or Coca-Cola.
There are also a lot of pages of different organizations that are probably relevant to your career as well as your interests, and you should follow them, too. Firstly, because that’s something fun that will make you go to the app more often, and secondly because that will give an even better picture of who you are as a person.
This is important because a lot of companies nowadays search for new employees via LinkedIn, and these things are more likely to make you stand out from the crowd.
Also, according to what you’re liking and following, the algorithm will make the decision about who to show you to, so if you put more things you like into the mix, the better the match will be.
Finally, you can make posts on LinkedIn, both short and long, you can make them in the form of a typical Facebook status, or you might work better with more of a blog format. You never know if some of your posts end up being viral, making you even more interesting to recruiters.
How does this correlate to wage negotiation?
Well, the more things you have to offer and show, the more reasons there are for you to give to the recruiters when they ask why you deserve higher pay.
This also goes for your typical resume, you want to have a variety of things there. But, you have to be mindful.
We’ve all seen the memes about lying on your resume and throwing a bunch of random skills into it, everything from your college degree to that little fun workshop you did on a boring summer’s day.
And while I would never advise you to literally go by that example, there absolutely is some wiggle room available when you type in all of your capabilities.
When it comes to lying in particular, it’s not recommended that you just completely lie and write down things that you’ve never done. However, what you can do is make things sound a bit better than they actually are in reality.
You can, for example, say that your knowledge of certain software is somewhat higher than it actually is, something like Exel or Canva, but only if these things aren’t the main focus of your work.
And, if you do write down something along these lines, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to actually look into these things a bit in the meantime.
If you say that your knowledge of a certain language is higher than it actually is, maybe download Duolingo or a similar app, and go through the exercises once or twice a day, just so you don’t get caught off guard.
An even more important tip is that you absolutely shouldn’t write down everything and anything in your resume. Before you write a certain experience down, think about how relevant that experience could be for this specific job.
If you come to the conclusion that it doesn’t have anything in common with the new potential role, then it’s better to not mention it at all.
A lot of recruiters won’t be amazed by a huge resume, and they will simply get bored and not even consider you.
So, if you’re not focused and straightforward, you most likely won’t even be called for the interview, meaning that even if you do, negotiating a salary offer probably won’t go in your favor.
Talking Money During The Interview
Talking about money is taboo even in a casual conversation with friends, and even though that really is changing and the employers are expecting it, that doesn’t mean that you can just go for it out of the blue.
I assume that the base salary was mentioned in the recruiting process and that you probably have an idea about that number, but you should do some additional research. Glassdoor is a website that is a great resource for learning about different companies and their practices.
If you know people that are working for or used to work for that company, ask around, and get your numbers right.
So, you are in the interview. Here are the things that you should be mindful of!
You probably know that you shouldn’t really ask right away, don’t have it be the first thing in the offer letter. But, if you come to the second interview, where it is way more certain that you might actually get the job, that’s when you should absolutely start talking about money.
During the interview, you will talk about what you can offer to the company and what the company can offer to you. After that is done, you can just swiftly start talking about the wage.
Know Your Facts, But Don’t Let It Be Known
You probably have an exact number on your mind, but don’t just blurt it out. You will probably be asked about what you expect to earn in that company, so when they do ask you, it’s better to say a range, with your exact number idea being the middle of that range.
Don’t Limit It Only To The Money
While the pay is the main issue here, it’s always good to remember that that’s not the only thing that can be negotiated during the interview. There is a whole compensation package, so you can talk about vacation days, as well as any possible benefits. It’s very likely that you will get some additional benefits that concern the wage, so go on and negotiate whatever you can.
How To Boost Your Confidence Before The Interview
I know that a lot of these things are way easier to be said than done, so of course, I have some practical tips on how you should boost your confidence before you go there.
Talking To Yourself In The Mirror
We’ve all heard this one, I know, and it does seem quite silly when you think about it too much. But, that’s the trick – you shouldn’t think about it too much, just do it.
The most basic thing you can do is just engage in some positive self-talk and tell yourself that you can do it and that you are good enough for this position. That will always put a smile on your face and make you feel overall more confident.
However, this is not the only benefit that you can get from talking to yourself in the mirror. You can plan out somewhat of a blueprint of what you will say on the day, and see what you look like when you’re saying it.
When you see what your weaker points are, you will know what you should work on. You know how you wish to look like when you’re getting a signing bonus, and you will see how far you are from that.
Once you know where you’re standing, you’ll know what it is that should be worked on.
Meditation has become the Internet’s most commonly prescribed solution for any problem, and you might roll your eyes when you see it on this list, but this is one of the situations where it actually can help.
Meditation is mostly useful for calming yourself and grounding yourself at the moment, and that probably is something you need right now.
Getting a new job is stressful, and thinking about what to negotiate in a job offer can surely add up to that and make your thoughts go racing in your head. That’s completely normal, but it can be an obstacle once you do come to the interview. Once you’re in the office, you’ll want to be as calm and collected as you can. Or to at least look the part.
There are many great apps that have premade guided meditations, and there are many YouTube videos with the same content, so just look around and try out what suits you the best. Once you find the one, try practicing it every day of the week leading up to the interview, as well as the day of it.
This will make you calmer and more present at the moment, so you won’t have your thoughts race in the crucial moment. And even if they do, you will be more skilled in making them calm down.
Work On Your Posture
Numerous studies over the years have proven that your posture greatly influences your confidence and how you feel about yourself. In a way, it’s a big reason how the “Fake it ’till you make it” mindset came to be.
If you are often slouched and have your shoulders and back curved downwards, it’s very likely that you will feel under the weather and like you’re not confident enough. However, straightening up will usually give you a small confidence boost right in the moment.
In the days leading up to the interview, make a note for yourself as a reminder to straighten your back and keep it like that for as long as you can. If you’re into working out, you can find some exercises that are meant for improving your posture.
You can put a sticky note on your PC monitor, or you can set a reminder on your phone. It’s up to you, depending on what you prefer.
When the day comes, you will not only feel better about yourself, but you will also look more confident and seem more put together, which is always a big plus during interviews. As I’ve already said, oftentimes, things boil down to looking the part.
Do Some Visualization
When you talk to yourself in the mirror, you have a picture in your head that represents how you hope that you’ll look in the interview. I assume that I would be right if I said that you probably have some idea about how you wish the interview would go.
Hold on to that picture a bit.
When you get a moment for yourself during the day, just sit down and daydream a bit. Give yourself 10 minutes to do so. Imagine how the interview will go, and think about what amazing things you would say and how they could impact the outcome of the interview.
When you have a positive image like that, it will be more likely that you’ll feel overall more positive when the interview comes since it won’t be such an unknown situation to your brain.
You will also probably come up with ways to negotiate salary and make sure that you’ve gone through a few different ones. No matter how the conversation goes, you will be ready to jump in swiftly with an offer.
Get Your Facts Right
You have probably done extensive research about the company that you wish to work for, but if you want to know how to negotiate pay in various different situations, you will have to have your facts right.
And this doesn’t only mean the facts about the company. This also means having all of the relevant facts about yourself ready. Even though you have said a lot of that in your resume, be sure to have your accomplishments in mind.
Sit down and think about everything you’ve done and how it relates to this specific job, and how you can use it to prove that you deserve higher pay. It might be even more useful if you write everything down, so it stays clear in your head.
The thing that’s really important that you know, and not just look the part, is how do you justify a higher salary. When it comes to this, you will need solid arguments, not just looks.
Salary Negotiation When You’re Already Employed: Asking For A Raise
Negotiating a higher salary when you don’t know the environment that well can be haunting for obvious reasons. Mainly because you don’t know what to expect, since you don’t know really what the people are like.
That’s why from that perspective, it might seem like answering the question “How do I negotiate salary, so I get a raise?” is much easier to answer than answering the question about how to counter-offer salary.
However, after working at an establishment for a certain time, you have more information about its inner workings of it, and even though that might seem like a plus, it is also something that will give you more reasons to overthink your decisions.
Since the answer to “Should you negotiate a promotion salary?” is almost always a hard yes, let’s get into the whole process a bit deeper and see what are the things that you should do before you write a counter offer salary email and what is the best way to negotiate salary in your existing job.
What Are The Perks
If you’re in a situation where your salary mostly pays everything you need it to pay, it might seem a bit pointless to ask for a raise and get into those uncomfortable situations with your boss. But, getting something more out of your career isn’t only about having more money. It’s about making progress in your career.
Long gone are the days when you work in the same position for years until you get retired. The job market works differently nowadays, and it’s based on being competitive. So it really is a good option to ask for more.
Also, if you ask for more, and you deserve it, and your company stays deaf to your points, then maybe that should be a sign that you should move on. Contrary to what your firm might tell you, your job isn’t a big family, and you don’t really owe it that much loyalty.
It’s always good to be informed about what’s going on in the job market when it comes to your profession because you never know whether somewhere out there, someone will have a better offer for you. And even if you don’t want to change your workplace and accept that offer, you can use that information as a firm argument for why should I negotiate salary.
Make A Comprehensive Analysis of Your Situation
Of course, you can’t just come to your boss’s office and say that you should get a raise just out of the blue. Before you take that step, make sure that you make a comprehensive overview considering your current situation.
This means putting down the facts like how long have you’ve been working in that role, what was your initial salary when you started, what is your salary history before you started working here, what is your current salary, and how much would you be paid if you were working somewhere else in that same role.
You have to know where you’re currently standing in your career journey to know where you should go, and these facts will help you with that. My advice will always be to put everything down on paper to avoid getting lost and confused in your thoughts.
Manage Your Expectations
After you’ve made that comprehensive analysis, it might seem like you have the option to get a lot more from your job. And you probably do, but it’s important that you manage your expectations and make a realistic goal, which will help you make a realistic plan. And, having a realistic plan will boost the chances of you getting what you want.
Speaking about numbers specifically, the most common practice is to ask for a 10% to 20% raise, and these are the most likely ones that will get approved. What happens if you ask for too little salary? Well, nothing dramatically bad. It’s just that you could have probably gotten much more with the same amount of effort.
A crucial step is going to be asking your colleagues about their salaries. I know this can be taboo, and it might seem uncomfortable to you, but it’s important that we have these conversations. It can help not only you but them as well.
Having that in mind, you will get an even better picture of what’s a realistic number you can talk about with your boss. And, if both you and your co-workers know how much you are earning, they also might be more confident to ask for a raise. This will be a great sign to your boss that changes are needed, and therefore you will all be more likely to get a raise.
Prepare And Boost Your Confidence
So, now that you have all of your facts straight and you know what you should ask for, it’s probably time to work on your confidence. Knowing your boss and how they act can either calm you down or make you additionally stressed, depending on what type of person they are.
To boost up just your overall confidence, you can do some exercises that have been proven confidence boosters. These exercises include some physical activities, like working on your posture and making sure that you’re always standing straight, with your head held high.
It does seem strange and like it won’t work, but it was proven time and time again that it gives you an instant push. And, if you make sure that you do it constantly and consistently, then it won’t be just instant. It will have a prolonged effect. You will also look more confident to your boss, which is an important factor.
If you have a lot of nerves and can’t seem to calm down because this situation stresses you out, it will probably be a good idea to work on your mind, too. Meditation is always a great first step to do this, as it’s available to everyone, and it’s very easy to find great guided meditations on the Internet.
When you’re calm and collected, you will be able to focus on your strengths way better, and all the potential flaws and insecurities won’t be as powerful at bringing you down.
If meditation isn’t your cup of tea, things like practicing what you want to say in front of a mirror or acting out the situation with someone might be of more use to you, so don’t be afraid to try that out, too. Find a friend and ask them to act as your boss, and act out the conversation with them all the way until you feel more sure in yourself and your decision.
When it comes to the preparation of the speech, you plan on giving to your boss. I wouldn’t advise you to make up a whole complete speech and try to learn it by heart, even though that might seem to you like the way to go. That will just give you additional anxiety about getting all the words right, and that will never happen.
What you should do instead is find a few key points that you want to make, write them down, and remember that instead. The rest should be more spontaneous and relaxed, as that kind of attitude will be more appealing to your boss. If you seem like a confused kid that’s trying to remember the lines for a song, it probably won’t go well since you won’t look like you really believe that you deserve what you’re asking for.
Arrange The Meeting
No matter how chill of a boss you might have, these types of conversations deserve separate one-on-one meetings with your boss, and setting that up can’t be done in the elevator. Nowadays, it’s best that you do this over email. Especially if you still work your job online from your home and not in the office.
And, because I know that the task of writing this email can be daunting, I will give you the most important steps that you should follow while writing it.
Keep The Professional Tone
Like I’ve said, no matter how chill your boss is, this should be done professionally, and that especially relates to the tone of your email.
This means that you should be sure to include the full name of the person that you’re talking to and not include emojis, even if you do use them on a daily basis when you communicate. You might see somewhere that even exclamation marks are out of the question, but I think that you shouldn’t be that rigid, especially if your day-to-day communication style is more relaxed.
Subject Title Matters
The subject title is very important, as a lot of people choose whether they’ll even open the email depending on how the title sounds. It can also set the tone of how they will read it and how much attention they will give to it.
In this specific situation, it’s best to be straightforward in saying that it’s related to arranging the meeting with them. Still, you probably don’t want to include the word “salary” in the subject title. Of course, you can mention the salary part in the body of the email.
Include Relevant Information
While you shouldn’t write down all of your arguments and ideas in the body of the email, make sure that you strike some key points while you’re explaining the reasons for the meeting. This way, your boss will be able to prepare for that meeting and therefore be more likely to agree to meet with you. Make sure that you know how to negotiate a compensation package overall, and not just the money.
Keep It Positive All The Way
When you’re finishing the email, make sure that you’re using positive language, and always thank them in advance. That way, you will come off as friendly and willing to really negotiate, and not just set in your ways, not willing to hear out the other side.
What To Do After The Raise
If everything went well, and you did get what you wanted, you might fall into thinking that that’s that and you won’t have to deal with similar subjects for quite some time. And while no one will tell you to ask for another raise a month later, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think about this at all.
Keep looking out on the market from time to time, and stay informed on how your role works in different places. This way, you will be able to compare your situation to the overall state of the profession, making it way easier for you to know whether you’re being paid fairly.
And of course, you never know when an amazing offer will come up, and who says that they might not be looking for exactly you.
To conclude, whether you want to know how to negotiate a salary job offer, or how to go about jobs negotiation when you’re already employed, it’s important to always be on point with your information about where you’re at, and where other people with your role are going.
If you feel like you could be getting more, you always have the right to ask, and it’s not that hard to ask for it. You just probably need some additional practice. And as I’ve said, looking the part is sometimes half the work.
Keep your options open, and be reasonable and critical about your ideas and your environment, and you’ll be able to make realistic plans that will probably be met nicely by your boss. And if they aren’t met with at least some understanding, that’s a great sign that you should continue looking at other avenues.
You absolutely can’t lose if you ask for what you want in this situation. Good luck!
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