You’ve gotten the job offer! Congrats!
Now it’s just time to figure out what you’re wearing on the first day of work, where your desk is, whether you should take the metro or drive, oh and how much they’re going to pay you.
If you’re more than a little afraid of salary negotiation, you’re far from alone. We’ve assembled seven of the best tips we ever received for negotiating our salaries to share with you. Read on, and remember: by negotiating for a better salary, you’re closing the pay gap and advocating for better pay for women worldwide!
1. Always ask for more. Always.
Rule #1 is always, always, always ask for more. You know men are going to be doing it, so don’t be afraid to do it too.
We’ll get to some good ways to ask for more, and keep it cool, but going in to a salary negotiation you should always be prepared to ask for more.
2. Know your worth, and if you aren’t sure, fake it.
Do a little bit of research before going into the negotiation. What’s the cost of living like in the area you’d be moving? What does the company usually pay similar employees (have you checked Glassdoor)? Can you estimate what you think would be an appropriate salary based on work you’ve done in the past?
If you can have some background knowledge and a justification for why you deserve a higher salary, your future employer is more likely to listen (and take you seriously).
3. Don’t show your hand.
Salary negotiation is an awful lot like a game of poker. The number one rule? Never show your hand first.
Let’s say you’re going into a salary conversation and you’re thinking a reasonable salary would be $50,000. Cool. What you don’t know is, what does your employer think is a reasonable salary? It might be lower, but it could just as easily be higher. If you can get them to show their hand first, they might offer you $60,000 (which you could negotiate up to $65,000). Bam. You’ve just gone from $50,000 to $65,000 even though your employer only suspected a $5000 salary change.
Even if you can’t get this drastic of a salary increase, it’s still better not to show your card first. Employers are going to want to know your past salary history, but whenever possible don’t tell them.
Filling out forms that ask for past salary history? Say 0.
Asked to put your salary requirements in a cover letter? Say “Commensurate with experience.”
Talking with a recruiter who wants to know your expected salary? Ask what they have budgeted for the position.
Just never be the first to show your hand.
4. Ask for a better deal in other ways.
Okay, so let’s say you’ve done your research and you’ve gotten your employer to show their hand first–what if they really don’t have any more money?
Can your employer offer you any other benefits? Extra leave days? Paid vacation? Healthcare? Retirement fund matching? These might not be as concrete as a salary increase, but they’re still immensely valuable. Definitely keep them on the negotiating table.
5. Be aggressive your first time. And every time after that.
Bloomberg news reported this past April that being a woman will cost you $430,480 over the course of your lifetime.
That number comes from a lot of different factors, but one of the main reasons is that women aren’t aggressive enough in negotiating their first salary.
For example, if you’re too passive when advocating for your first job’s salary, you might settle for $5 and hour less than your male colleagues. That doesn’t seem like a lot at first, but when you go to negotiate for your second job you’re going to have a lower past-salary as your base.
No matter how good you are at negotiating, if your employer can figure out your previous salaries, that’s going to be their primary reference for determining your next salary. And over the course of a lifetime, that adds up.
So even if you’re young and uncertain, be aggressive and confident! You deserve to be as well-off and financially secure as your male peers. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.
6. Support each other.
Here’s the thing, there’s always been power in numbers.
Whether its talking another woman through her first salary negotiation or sharing your salary with your peers so that they can better negotiate their own, taking care of each other always pays off.
(Don’t even get us started on how great it would be if men shared their salary figures with women and minorities too so that everyone could get a better sense of how willing a business is to pay if you just ask.)
Take care of each other out there; most of us weren’t taught to be assertive in the workforce, but if we help each other out we can be a force to be reckoned with.
7. Be confident in what you’re doing.
Salary negotiation is a tricky and sometimes confusing game, but here’s the deal: you deserve to take care of yourself. You deserve as good a salary as your male peers. You deserve to ask for more.
So be confident about it.
No need to apologize or unnecessarily justify your desires. If you can be well-informed, reasonable, and open to negotiation, then hold your head up high and ask for what you want.
We know salary negotiation can be intimidating, but hopefully these tips and tricks have inspired you to ask for more. After all, if you landed the job, you mean something to the company. Now it’s their turn to show you that they mean it.