What would you buy if you had more money? A new car, a beefed up retirement account, or a vacation home perhaps? I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t love to make a little more money.
I’ve talked about the concept of negotiating for more money in my newsletter, “The 10 Minute Conversation That Will Change Your Life.” The concept is that if you stay at the same job and receive 2% raises each year, it will take you over 10 years to grow your salary by 25%. When you switch jobs, you have the potential to increase your salary overnight.
But, when you really get down to it, most people have never negotiated before. It’s a dirty little thing that many people don’t feel comfortable discussing at all. Those who don’t negotiate often can’t picture themselves asking for more. Something bad might happen. On the flip side, those who do negotiate are surprised that anyone would ever accept a first offer without negotiating. They’ve personally experienced the power of negotiation, and aren’t going to turn back.
Once you become more comfortable with the concept of negotiation, you’ll quickly find that companies almost never put their best offer forward first. If you don’t ask for more, you’re leaving money on the table. The question then becomes, what should you ask for?
The general rule of thumb is to only ask for one thing. It can be a higher salary, vacation, relocation, or something else. But, if you need to ask for three or more things, you and the company are most likely not on the same page.
Salary is the top priority for most people. It’s also often one of the top priorities of the company. Here are a few rules of thumb on how to get more:
- Avoid sharing your current salary if at all possible. The person who shares financial information first is typically also the first loser. If the company could have offered $100K, but you shared that you only need $75K, they will give you $75K. That’s a lot of money to leave on the table.
- If you’re switching industries, don’t assume your new boss knows your current value. For example, if you’re switching from non-profit to for-profit, there’s a good chance your new boss has no idea how much (or how little) non-profit employees are paid. Keep it that way. Same goes from transitioning from a low paid for-profit industry to something higher like healthcare or banking.
- Research your value. Check out websites Salary.com, Glassdoor.com, and GuideStar.com. They all give different perspectives on salary information. Glassdoor salary information is provided anonymously by actual employees. GuideStar provides non-profit tax information, and often has salaries for top paid employees.
- Get competitive offers. One of the best ways to understand your market value is to try to get multiple job offers at the same time. Having more than one offer is also an excellent negotiation tool. Keep this in mind before you turn down a job interview for something that’s just not quite right.
Above all, the most important key to being a good negotiator is practice. Start small and you’ll quickly find that asking for a little something extra is not as hard as it sounds. Worst case scenario, the company will say no, and their offer will stand. As long as you’re polite and reasonable in your request, a company is unlikely to remove an offer from the table.
I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search.
Author: Angela Copeland
Angela Copeland is Founder and Coach for Copeland Coaching, a great way to jump start your job search. Follow her on Twitter @CopelandCoach for tips on finding the perfect job for you.