Salary negotiations can be tough for anyone, but especially for young women earlier in their careers. Most young employees are grateful just to have a job offer, so they don’t negotiate.
As our CEO, Rachael Bozsik, states: "women underestimate their abilities, men overestimate theirs. Women are 4x less likely to ask for a raise than their male counterpart and when they do, it is for 3x as less. THREE TIMES!" We are here to change that. We work with our girls, 1-1 to help them take control of themselves, their future and build professional confidence.
You get a call from the HR Manager at one of the positions you applied for and, great news! They make you an official offer of employment for $50K and you take it without hesitation.
In the moment, it’s exciting to take the initial offer because, after all, you still have student loans and rent and you’re going to need new work clothes. But by doing so, many of us lose out on money we never even knew about.
What if the HR Manager had enough budgeted to pay up to $60K for this role? You just missed out on $10,000 more a year - all because you didn’t negotiate!
We know that salary negotiations can be a bit awkward and intimidating, so here are 5 tips for negotiating the salary you deserve:
#1 Do your research.The most powerful tool you can bring to a salary negotiation is knowledge. Check websites like Payscale, LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Salary.com beforehand to give yourself an idea of what others in your field or position are making.
Knowing that the average Financial Analyst in Washington, D.C. makes $64,000 a year gives you leverage. You now have the ability to say,
“While I appreciate your initial offer, I think $65,000 is more in line with the average Financial Analyst’s compensation in the area.”
#2 Write out a budget.One of the biggest mistakes young negotiators make is not knowing how much money they want vs. how much money they need. The best way to tackle this is to sit down and write a budget.
Start looking at apartments in the area to help you get a feel for rent prices. You can even use Bankrate’s Cost of Living Calculator to compare the cost of living in two cities.
Do you need cable? Do you have a car payment or insurance? How much will you need for groceries each month? Write all of your expenses out and tally it up.
Pro tip: Don’t forget that your salary is what you’re making after taxes and other deductions, like a 401(k) or health benefits. It’s easy to think $50,000/12 = $4,166.67 a month take home, but that’s not an accurate estimate.
#3 Practice, practice, practice.Salary negotiations are a delicate balance of pressure and respect on both sides.
The HR Manager wants to hire you, but they also want to stay within their budget for this hire - and to even save a little money, if possible.
Practice your negotiation with a close friend or parent who has been through the process before. This will help put you at ease when you negotiate with the company because you’ll already know exactly what you’re going to say.
#4 Have a back-up plan.The Muse suggests having a walk away point,
“a final offer that’s so low that you have to turn it down. This could be based on financial need, market value, or simply what you need to feel good about the salary you’re bringing home.”
Keep in mind that even though this may be the only offer you have right now, it’s not the only offer that you’re ever going to get.
Don’t take less than what you can live off of but, even more importantly, don’t take less than what you know you deserve.
#5 Be confident. Now is a great time to remind them exactly why they’re hiring you. You’ve got skills, baby! Practice your elevator pitch because now is another great opportunity for you to use it.
The most important thing to remember about salary negotiations is this: if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.