After getting a new job offer or being in the workforce for a bit, any twenty-something starts to wonder…how can I advance my career? Or perhaps something on the forefront of our basically-broke minds, how can I negotiate my salary the right way? In the spirit of helping you take charge of negotiations here are five tips on how to negotiate your way to higher wages.
You will not get anything if you don’t ask for it. Studies over the past few years have indicated that women are about four times less likely to ask for raises or negotiate their salary upon first accepting a job. In 2011 a typical 25-year old woman working all year earned $5,000 less than a typical 25-year old man. According to the US Census, at the age of 65 a woman will have lost $431,000 over her lifetime due to the earning gap! Societal problems aside, asking for what you deserve will get you one step closer to closing that wage gap for yourself – I could sure use that extra $5,000 a year.
2. Be Realistic
Do your research and find out what others in your field are making on average. Use Salary.com and Payscale.com for internet research. If you have a few close friends at your company who are around your age in the same position as you, don’t feel bad about asking them what they make. Money has such a weird stigma around it and I’m not saying shout your savings account numbers at the top of your lungs, but a small inquiry to a friend can’t hurt.
3. Account For Perks
It’s easy to get so focused on the dollar amount that you may forget to account for the value of all the perks your company may offer. Your company may have discounts to local restaurants, or better yet trips to Disneyland and Las Vegas! It’s also possible you may be offered some type of wellness stipend that could take care of your gym membership costs. You may be able to negotiate in a parking spot. That’s saving you easily hundreds of dollars a year. Make sure to look at the full package.
4. Pick Your Moment
If you’ve already been working somewhere for a while and feel it’s time to ask for a raise, pick your moment. Maybe you’ve stayed late the past few weeks working on an important project or your boss has started giving you more responsibility and your tasks have increased a good deal. Don’t wait for a scheduled performance review when you have the perfect opening and can give examples backed up with evidence on why you’re an invaluable asset to the team and you deserve what you’re worth.
5. Follow Up
If your request is denied with the explanation that money is too tight right now simply ask when a more appropriate time would be to check in and then make sure you check in. Perhaps see if a bonus is an option rather than a pay increase. You could also ask for a better title if your responsibilities have increased. It may not bring you more money right away but will make for a better bargaining tool in the future.