How to Get the Salary You Want
What’s the best way to get the salary you want? You have to ask for it.
It might sound like common sense, but there are a lot of people who don’t ask or negotiate for the salary they think they’re worth. Negotiating can be a scary thing (although it shouldn’t be!), but it’s a necessary part of the working world. And those that learn to master the skill are better for it.
To get the salary you want…
DO know your worth and have a number in mind. A friend recently told me that, while she loves her new job, she’s a lot more strapped for cash than she thought she would be. Her main mistake? She hadn’t done a budget prior to her interview. She had just moved into a new apartment in the city, plus had a new car to pay off and didn’t take all of her expenses into account when she accepted the position. Now she’s trying to figure out how to pare things down so she can avoid getting a second job. Don’t get caught in this situation- always have a number in mind. Better yet? Have a few: your ideal salary, a slightly lower salary that you’d still be happy with and the absolute lowest salary you would take.
DO be prepared to negotiate. Negotiating makes me nervous. Maybe it’s the false thinking that if I ask for more or “too much,” the company will rescind their offer and move on to another candidate? (That won’t actually happen, by the way, and if it does, it’s not a company you want to work for.) The thing to remember is it’s just business. The company wants to get the best for the lowest price. Think of it like this: it’s their job to come in lower; it’s your job to come in higher- and then you’ll meet somewhere in the middle. The company will be prepared for this (and you should be, too!).
DON’T be afraid to ask for more. Because if you don’t ask for more, you’ll never get more. When I was lowballed by a company, I came right back and told them what I thought a fair salary for the position was. And you know what? They ended up agreeing with me. It was nerve-wracking, but after successfully negotiating a higher salary, I’ll never think twice about doing it in the future.
DO use your own negotiating style. My dad always suggests I open with a joke about wanting “a million dollars” when asked about my desired salary. I have tried that, but it doesn’t really work for me. Instead, I keep it short and sweet. I’ll throw my number out there and then promptly shut up. It’s an easy sentence to memorize, and I think comes across pretty strong, even if I’m secretly sweating about it!
If you don’t negotiate your salary, you’re not only leaving money on the table right now, you’re missing out on potential future money, too. Since yearly raises are usually based on a portion of your salary, starting off at a higher salary means higher raises for years to come.
Bottom line: know your worth. And if you’re nervous about negotiating, remember- it never hurts to ask.