Young pros often struggle with a basic aspect of career management: negotiating salary with an employer.
Ask too little and you may be selling yourself short. Ask for too much and the employer may go a different direction. Come into a negotiation unprepared and you just may find yourself on the low end of not just this negotiation… but the next and the next.
To help you negotiate a salary that reflects your value and what the market bears, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council this question:
What is your best advice for negotiating a fair salary with your first or next employer?
Here are some of their insightful answers…
1. Do Your Research
Before going into a salary negotiation, be sure to do some in-depth research about not only the position you are interviewing for, but also the company you are interviewing with. Be knowledgeable about average salaries for your position and years of experience. You can even research how certain job titles influence salaries. That way, you can go into the negotiation with a strong position and backing.
2. Be Prepared to Go Higher
Employers commonly make an initial offer as a starting point with the expectation that the candidate will argue for something higher. However, many young professionals are not well advised on this and accept a salary below their worth. Asking for more money is not disrespectful; it actually conveys a sense of confidence in your abilities.
3. Create a Career Roadmap
Employers want someone who’s in it for more than just the money, so you should make a career roadmap. If you aim for more than just money by talking about what you see in your future at the organization and what professional challenges you’d like to address, it’s a win-win for both of you. Walk in with a list of challenges you’d like to take on.
4. Be Confident in Your Skill Set
People come in for a negotiation and exaggerate their skill set. Tell the employer that you are looking for a certain base, but, first, you want to prove to them that you are qualified for this position. By showing confidence in your skill set and tying performance into your base salary, you will blow away any company executive and you will be able to negotiate any salary you want in the future.
5. Pick the Higher End of the Range
As you’re doing your homework, you’ll likely decide on a salary range that represents your market value. As tempting as it is to ask for a number in the middle of the range, you should always gravitate towards the higher end of the range. The chances of your employer negotiating down are extremely high, so you’ll need wiggle room to still end up with a salary you’re happy with and feel entitled to.
6. Be Consistent
Know exactly what your ideal number is, have a range of what you’d accept and stick with numbers within that range. If you are too flexible and allow for a large variance in the numbers being discussed, it will sound like everything is way too negotiable and raise red flags about your reasoning. If you aren’t flexible enough, you may come across as rigid.
7. Show You’re There for More Than Just the Money
Let the recruiter bring up the topic of money. Companies are looking for someone who is willing to stay and grow within the company. If the first thing you do is go in and ask about money (or other forms of compensation, such as benefits) it will seem like you’re only there for the paycheck and like you’ll leave once something better comes along.
8. Set a Benchmark
Establish a benchmark that would benefit the company over the next six months. How your plan for reaching your interim milestones and meet the benchmark. Then ask if you can get a higher salary once you are able to accomplish your agreed upon goals. Most employers will view this as a win-win and agree to it. And almost all will appreciate your entrepreneurial approach.
9. Know Your Value
Young professionals who are looking to negotiate a salary must be self-aware. They need to be able to demonstrate how they will add value to those they work with, as well as how they will contribute to the overall goals of the organization. Being unaware of how they will add to the value of an organization can lead to potholes in salary negotiations.
10. Consider Negotiating for Something Else
Remember that salary isn’t the only thing that can be negotiated. Try asking for more paid time off or other benefits if a pay raise isn’t possible at that time.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.