Whether you’re applying for a job or angling for a promotion, at some point in your career you’ll find yourself in a salary negotiation.
Salary negotiations make a lot of people uncomfortable. Many professionals worry that if they botch these negotiations, they could set their careers, and earning potential, back significantly. Studies have shown that you could earn as much as $600,000 more in your lifetime due to proper salary negotiation, so it’s easy to understand why people put so much pressure on themselves when it comes to negotiating salary.
The key to a good salary negotiation is to always know your value! As an employee, you’re providing services to your employer based on your skillset. When you’re in a salary negotiation, you’re essentially a salesperson selling your services. The best salespeople know what they’re worth, and can convey it with confidence without coming across as arrogant.
Here are some reasons you should always know your value:
- Salaries Are Always Changing: Just because you make a certain salary today, doesn’t mean that it’s going to stay that way or increase. Job responsibilities and requirements can change. If you don’t adjust to those changes and acquire the necessary skill sets needed to keep up, you may not be able to justify the salary you make. It’s always best to stay ahead of the curve! Find ways to go the extra mile and expand your job responsibilities. This will prepare you for not only being able to defend salary but give you some leverage in a salary negotiation if you’re seeking an increase.
- The Economy Can Change On A Heartbeat: The current COVID-19 crisis is a good example of this. As a result of the pandemic shutting down businesses and changing business models, many companies were forced to layoff employees. Suddenly, many talented people are looking for work, and the job market is a lot more competitive. If you find yourself looking for a job in this situation, you may be going up against people who have very similar skill sets to you. How are you going to make yourself stand out? If you live in a market where your skills are in demand and there’s not much competition, you may be able to use that to your advantage.
- Salary Often Fits Into Your Career Plan: Salary increases don’t typically just happen. They’re usually a result of hard work and continued career growth. From the moment you start a job, you should always be thinking about ways to not only meet expectations but exceed them. By putting together a career map, you can plan out your goals and strategies for gradually increasing your value as an employee. As you check off these accomplishments, you become more valuable and put yourself in a position to negotiate a larger salary.
Always Do Your Research
As stated above, salary depends on experience, location, and economic conditions. It’s important to always be aware of these factors and research on how they may impact your value.
There are also free resources available that can help give you some valuable information about job salaries. Glassdoor has a salary calculator that allows you to enter information about your current career, job experience, and market to give you your estimated market value.
The more information you have about your value, the more comfortable you’ll feel about negotiating salary. It’s also important to remember that salary is only one part of the equations.
Many companies offer strong employee benefits packages that include strong health insurance and retirement benefits, along with generous paid time off, and other perks. In some instances, employees will take less salary for a generous benefits package and a strong company culture.
Salary isn’t everything! It’s important to know your worth, but it’s also important to have your priorities in order.
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