Know Your Worth - Get Paid What You Deserve
Studies show that 49% of you are passing up the opportunity to make 600k+ over the duration of your careers...
In a recent study by Career Builder it was discovered that 49% of employees do not negotiate their salary when accepting new job offers, even though the majority of employers are in fact willing and expecting to do so. More shockingly, according to a paper written by researchers Michelle Marks & Crystal Harold a 25-year-old who negotiated a starting salary of $55,000 will earn $634,000 more over the course of their career than a non-negotiator who accepted an initial offer of $54,000.
So what's going on?
Are we overly trusting of others - assuming that an employer would never offer us less money than what the job is worth? Or is it fear (of damaging the relationship, or losing the job) that holds us back? Maybe, just maybe, it's because nobody ever taught us how to negotiate?
Based on my own personal experiences in my early career, it was a combination of all three - and I was not alone on this.
Here is the story of how I went from earning barely enough to pay rent to a earning a 6-figure salary by simply following what I now consider my four golden rules, and what you could do today that could potentially make you more money the next time you find yourself applying for a job or pay raise.
After graduating from College my colleagues and I found ourselves working at jobs that only individuals with a very specific skill set would be considered qualified for, and yet we were being paid just barely above the minimum wage. It was a frustrating time in my life and in my career. Not only did we all have natural-born talent for our specific trade, we also had invested in a degree that provided us with the skills and knowledge required to do the job effectively.
Overtime I began to noticed that for every handful of employees there was always one who earned much more money than the rest of us - some earning double if not triple our salaries. So one day I decided to approach my boss and ask him the big question, "What was the other girl doing that I was not, and why was she making so much more money than the rest of us? "
His answer, "She's making more money because she asked for more money." No kidding, he was dead serious.
Not only did the other girl ask for more money, but she knew what she was worth and was willing to negotiate with her employer to get it. That day I learned the importance of knowing what you're worth, and also the importance of going out there and asking for it.
For the first time in my career I decided that I was no longer going to let my salary 'just happen'. I was going to find out exactly how much my knowledge, skills, and experience was worth to an employer, and I was going to learn how to ask for it.
So how did I go about figuring out what I was worth in the eyes of an employer? Simple, I did the research and figured out what it is that I bring to the table that is valuable and in-demand. I'll break it down for you even further...
#1 Do your Research.
Before doing anything you will need to first Research what the top earners in your field are making for the position in questions. I recommend visiting the website Glassdoor.com to see what others with the same qualifications and profession as you are making. You can also check job postings for similar positions to get an idea of what's being offered in your field. Once you have all this information you should now have an idea of what your salary expectations should be.
Now take the amount you expect and add a little buffer to it.
For example if you figure you want $50,000 a year, bump that amount up to $55,000. This will give you room to negotiate, and will increase the likelihood of you getting what you are actually worth. Otherwise you could end up getting negotiated down to a lower amount than what you had hoped for.
#2 Consider what you bring to the table.
Think of what it is that you can offer the employer that sets you apart from everyone else. Consider your key skills, qualifications, qualities, and previous experiences that makes you unique, and that adds value in the eyes of an employer. Also consider the reasons why you are a good fit for the position, more than anyone else applying.
#3 Prepare your 'Sales Pitch'.
If you've never considered yourself a salesperson then think again. Every time you enter into an interview you are selling yourself (your skills, services, experience, etc) to an employer who obviously has a need for what you're selling, otherwise you would not be in an interview. An interview is really just another form of sales meeting.
So now that you are aware that you are going to have to sell yourself, you'll need to prepare a sales pitch. Don't panic, you've already got all the selling points you need by answering the last two points. Now you just need to formulate that information into a short-but-sweet sales pitch.
To give you an example, your pitch may look something like this...
Based on industry standards here in Montreal for a Customer Service Executive role, and considering the average pay for those with similar skills, qualifications, and background as myself, my salary expectations are $55,000.
During my time working for CompanyX not only did I increase sales revenues by 15%, but I also reduced the amount of order entry errors by 60%. These two achievements resulted in $200,000 in gained revenue. I also went beyond the call of duty and managed a team of order entry clerks, saving the company from having to hire a manager for an additional savings of $75,000. In light of all this, I am confident that should your company invest in me, that not only will you gain from my expertise in exceptional customer service, time management, and leadership skills, but that you will also see a return on your investment.
To help you write your own sales pitch, I've created a little guide & workbook to help you figure out your worth and write your own sales pitch. Click here to download your free guide.
Now for my last tip & secret weapon (soon to be your secret weapon) when negotiating with employers... Are you ready for it?
While pitching your salary expectations you may want to keep in mind the acronym N.A.T.O, which stands for Not Attached To The Outcome. This basically means that no matter how the negotiation process turns-out, that you will not take it personally and are willing to walk away if the employer refuses to budge. For some of you N.A.T.O may be extremely hard to consider, after all you do want the job, otherwise you wouldn't be there! However by keeping N.A.T.O in mind during the negotiation process you will be holding any vibes of desperation at bay, giving you an edge of confidence - which employers love.
It is also important to keep in mind that YOU ARE AN INVESTMENT in the eyes of the company, and one of their biggest ASSETS. The company you work for is not simply paying you for your time (everyone has time, including your cat), they are paying you to perform specific tasks and duties that are necessary for their day-to-day functioning and long-term survival.
So what do you do if a company says that they can't afford to pay you what you ask, or tells you that they have set limitations to how much they can offer you?
If this happens, try not to be discouraged - This is the stage where the real negotiating happens.
- First ask them what salary they are looking to pay.
- Then ask them how they would feel about meeting you half-way, and have them suggest other ways they could make-up the difference (ex: additional weeks vacation, yearly bonus, tuition reimbursement, etc). Be creative and show them that you are interested in the position, and are willing to compromise in order to find a solution that benefits both parties.
- If all else fails you could consider the other benefits of the job such as whether or not it will provide you with an opportunity to gain experience, or help you grow as an individual. In this case it may be worthwhile to accept a lower salary, and look at it as a paid learning experience - one that you will benefit from at a later date.
So just to recap my four golden rules:
I am a firm believer that if you are not prepared to tell the world want you want (or what you're worth), then you need to be prepared to accept whatever is given to you. My sincere hope is that you take the time to figure out what you're worth, and overcome any fears or apprehensions you may have with regards to going out and asking for it. You may be surprised at what you end up with!
As always, wishing you a prosperous journey my friends. Tara