Until recently, I’ve never negotiated my salary. I’ve always worked for a large accounting firm or public company, both of which provide annual merit increases. I’ve accepted any salary increases tied to a promotion with no questions asked.
I realize now how foolish that was.
When I recently transitioned from employee to contractor, I had an opportunity to ask for an increase from my current salary, as well as a reduction in work hours. I’m happy to say negotiations were successful. Very successful.
Here are Three Things I Learned About Negotiating My Salary
To grow, you have to step outside of your comfort zone.
When negotiating your salary, a level of discomfort is natural. This is because you’re inexperienced. However, the more attempts you make, particularly if you’re successful, your level of discomfort will begin to decrease.
Or you’ll become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
You may also be afraid to be seen as pushy. However, this fear is unfounded. Most employers expect some level of negotiation when discussion salaries with new hires.
To lessen anxiety around the salary negotiation process, ensure the salary you’re asking for is reasonable based on your level of experience, the position, and the location. Practice your pitch and be confident in your delivery. Anticipate any follow-up questions and be prepared for an answer. And finally, be prepared for a no, but remember that you’ll never receive a yes if you don’t ask for it.
You’ll be motivated to prove you’re worth it
Part of the problem with being underpaid, or less than what you’re worth, is you lose motivation to deliver above-average results. Without motivation, you quickly become satisfied in your job and begin searching for a new job before you’re even settled in.
When you’re courageous enough to ask for a salary commiserate with or above your skill level and experience, you’ll be motivated to make sure you prove yourself. It’ll light a fire under you, to deliver superior results so your new employer recognizes they’re getting what they’re paying for.
The great thing about this approach is you quickly prove yourself and future promotions and opportunities are abound.
It’s Better To Ask Before You Get Your Foot In The Door
You may be tempted to accept the first offer provided, and expect to negotiate once you get your foot in the door. You’ll think once you prove your worth, then you’ll ask for an increase.
It seems reasonable but the problem with this approach is future promotions are generally calculated as a % of your current salary. For example, a promotion from Manager to Sr. Manager may include a 7% increase in pay. Many HR departments have policies in place that will make it more difficult to leapfrog any higher than the prescribed policies.
While it’s never too late to negotiate a higher salary, the best practice is to settle on a number before you sign on the dotted line.
Have you ever negotiated your salary? Did you learn any tips in the process?