We’d all like a higher salary, wouldn’t we? But because companies rarely hand out raises to everyone, you’ll need to negotiate.
According to a NerdWallet survey conducted last year, millennials are way beind with regard to salary negotiation. Using information submitted from nearly 8,000 recent college graduates, the survey found that only 38% of respondents negotiated for a higher incoming salary. At the same time, 75% of the employers who spoke with NerdWallet stated that they “typically had room to increase their first salary offers by 5% to 10% during negotiations.” So how does this affect you? It shows that you’re losing out on a higher salary by not asking for more, and most companies expect new hires to negotiate a little.
So, simply asking for it is the first and most important secret to earning a higher salary. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Here are six additional tips to negotiating for more money.
- You’re worth market value! A lot of young people in the job market feel like they’re worth a little less, but that’s not true. Young hires are worth a similar amount as other people doing the same job. Being fresh out of college shouldn’t mean you don’t deserve a market rate. If your position has an industry-averaged starting salary of $50,000, you aren’t wrong to feel a bit gypped if you’re only making $40,000.
- Your salary history shouldn’t pin you down. Your salary history should work in your favor. If you leave a position that pays $60,000 and you move on perform the same job for a similarly sized company, you should certainly not be making any less than $60,000. But the reverse is not necessarily true. Using your last job’s outgoing salary as an indicator of fair pay might result in your jumping from job to job without any visible increase in pay. Don’t judge your worth by what your last boss paid you. Instead, your worth should be equal to the amount of experience you have. If you’re moving on to a new job, you’ll have had more experience than you did at the last one. Because of this, you can make a case that the extra experience makes you worth more now than ever before.
- You shouldn’t be the first to name a number. Talking numbers can get awkward, but avoid putting yourself in a position of fixing your own salary ceiling. If a hiring manager asks what you think you should be paid, give a vague but assertive response. For example, you could say, “Considering the amount of experience I have performing this exact set of responsibilities, I think I deserve a very competitive starting salary.”
- Highlight your experience and accomplishments more than the number you want to make. Avoid getting into a conversation that revolves solely around numbers and take-home pay. Instead, highlight your experience, special skills, and the value you will bring to the company. If possible, allow your hiring manager or boss to throw out the first number.
- Do your research. While we all want to make more money, sometimes a little reality check is necessary. If the industry standard for the job you are doing is $65,000, saying that you deserve $100,000 a year is probably going to make you look quite silly. Doing research is important and can keep you from negotiating yourself out of a higher salary. It’s a lot easier to confidently negotiate a fair salary when you know what competitive pay rates are within your industry and for your specific position.
- Ask questions instead of issuing demands. Saying, “Look, I deserve $70,000 a year because I’m doing such a good job” is not a good idea. You should prod aggressively, but in a different manner. Ask questions that will comfortably put your boss on the spot. For example, you could say, “I’m wondering what I can do to ensure I receive a performance-based pay raise considering my experience and the amount of stability I’ve brought to this position.”
Keep some of the above tips in mind before you ask for a higher salary. Asking for a raise won’t always work, but not asking will never work.