A recent study showed that only 19% of recently graduated MBA’s attempted to negotiate their salary offer. I know sometimes it is hard to approach this subject because it can be so awkward! Especially when you really want the job and don’t want to say anything that will start you off on the wrong foot with your future boss. But, what I have learned is that you have every right to be prepared and to ask for a salary that you deserve.
The most important thing when interviewing for a new job is to do your research and be prepared for this question, “What are your salary requirements?” On my very first interview out of college for my dream job, this question was one of the first things asked and I was not prepared! Because of my lack of preparation, I don’t believe that I received what I deserved. But I got my dream first job and that is all that really matters in the long run. My advice is to try not to discuss salary requirements until you are at the end of the interview process but always be prepared with a salary range.
Another thing I have learned is that you can’t expect to be making millions at your first job out of college. We all have to start somewhere but if you are patient and work you butt off, your rewards will follow in due time. If you are at the office an hour before you have to be and stay late to make sure a report is completed perfectly, your management will notice how valuable you are. Not too many employees will go the extra mile but if you do, you will stand out and your management will make sure that you are happy.
Unfortunately, during this economic crisis many employers can’t afford to give their hardworking employees raises. But, if you ask for a raise now and show how valuable you are, you will be first in line to get a raise when funding does become available in the future. And trust me, you will feel so much better about it because you worked for it and actually deserve it. I never want a raise because I negotiated the best. I want a raise because I performed the best and I actually deserve it.
Another thing I learned from speaking with an executive at a career seminar is that you shouldn’t tell your current company that you are looking for a job and that you have a higher salary offer elsewhere. Instead, be passionate about your job and making your company successful. If you show that you are quick to even think about jumping ship, they will lose faith in you and give the raise to someone else they know will stick around in the long run.
Here are few other tips I have learned at career seminars:
Do your salary research before the interview (check out http://www.salary.com/). Know what you are worth but be realistic.
Be assertive but never argumentative and never burn your bridges. Separate your emotions from the objectives you hope to achieve.
When looking for a raise, be prepared to discuss any additional responsibilities you have added to your job and any recent accomplishments. Make a compelling case. Did you save the company money, increase productivity or take on a new management role?
Practice your negotiation skills with a friend or family member. This is too important of a conversation to walk in cold!
Know your timing. Has your company gone through some hard times lately? It doesn’t hurt to ask now but be aware of your company’s financial situation. Prepare for a Plan B request such as more vacation time or a flexible schedule which could make up for the lack of a funding available for a raise.
Other questions to ask during salary negotiations: Where does this offer stand in the pay range? What would it take to be in the next pay range? What experience and qualifications would it take to get to the next level? How often do employees get raises?
Do you find salary negotiations awkward and difficult like me? How do you prepare to negotiate the salary that you deserve?
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