Tech, Now + Beyond

10 secrets to getting the paycheck that you want

If you've gotten far enough in the process to be talking details, the company probably thinks you're pretty great. Now, it's time to get what you're worth.

In case you haven’t heard, this country (and this world) has a wage gap problem. Studies show that women make about 77-79 cents for every dollar a man makes, and it’s worse for women of color.

But if you’re desperate for a job, it can be scary to negotiate for the higher salary you deserve. Try these tips to learn the skills and build the confidence you need to earn the paycheck you deserve!

1. Attend a workshop or a class

It’s crazy that high schools and colleges don’t all offer salary negotiation classes, but that doesn’t mean classes don’t exist. This one from The American Association of University Women offers options for both students and professionals, and it’s free to attend! Practicing with real life teachers alongside others who are as inexperienced as you is a great way to learn negotiation techniques.

2. Know your stuff

Do plenty of research so you know what people in similar positions with your level of experience make in your area. Websites like Glassdoor and PayScale will give you free information so you’ll know you’re making a reasonable offer.

3. Dress to impress

You’ve heard it a million times, and that’s because it’s true: you have to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Of course, the most important thing when picking out an outfit for your negotiation meeting is choosing something professional and appropriate, but make sure you like what you’re wearing and you feel confident in it.

This is the time to break out your best pencil skirt or the structured jacket that makes you feel invincible!

4. Elaborate on your resume

A tip from U.S. News and World Report is to keep an updated document separate from your resume where you keep track of the accomplishments you’ve made and skills you’ve learned. While you may not have the opportunity to give a PowerPoint presentation on how great you are, you need to be able to give concrete examples and specific details on your capabilities.

The company has your resume, so take any chance you get to tell them more about why you’re worth every penny.

5. Don’t forget about benefits

There’s more to a new job than your paycheck! What kind of health insurance are they offering you? Does it include vision and dental plans? Can they get you a discount on your cell phone bill? What about time off, or the ability to work from home? Don’t forget to ask for the benefits package you want, and be sure to discuss it in conjunction with your salary.

6. Study a script

OK, so it’s not as simple as memorizing a fictional interaction and expecting your prospective employer to know their lines. But a negotiation script like this one from Forbes can help you identify helpful techniques.

How does the person in the script ask for more money/benefits without being awkward or rude? How do they respond to the person trying to hire them? It’s important to speak in your own voice, but you can memorize some words and phrases to help you ask for what you want without demanding it.

7. Don’t be afraid of a backup plan

So, your first offer was turned down. Don’t run away from the table just yet! This is where the negotiation part of salary negotiation kicks in, and this is also a great time to bring up those benefits. Can they give you more vacation days instead of that extra money? What about a starting bonus? Can you split the difference between your offer and theirs?Don’t forget to reiterate why you’re worth it!

8. Be understanding of their limits

With a few exceptions, the person sitting across the table from you is not a hideous monster intent on giving you the worst deal possible. Business Insider‘s list of what not to say demonstrates several rude and overly confrontational comments to avoid. Instead of getting offended at a less than stellar offer, frame the negotiation as a conversation: how do we come up with something that works for both parties?

9. The Internet is your friend

Finish this list, then read twenty more like it. Read every article about salary negotiation you can find, and you will find a lot. Which tips do most of them have in common? Which no-no’s do they all mention?

The more you research, the less you’ll feel like you don’t know what you’re doing.

10. Believe in yourself!

Salary negotiations are hard! It’s okay to be nervous! But it’s even better to remember that you’re worth a salary that reflects your skills and experience. If you’ve gotten far enough in the interview process to be talking about salary, then the company probably thinks you’re pretty great. They’re just as lucky to have you, as you are to have them.