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April 1, 2023

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Negotiating Salary & Benefits

Aim for Raises, Not Praises

Chellie Campbell, author of From Worry to Wealthy: A Woman’s Guide to Financial Success Without the Stress, says women often make the mistake of working for “praises rather than raises.”

Whether you’re looking for a raise, want to start a company or home-based business, or would like to retire, Chellie shares these five resolutions to help women get ahead this year:
1) Ask For More Money – Chances are you aren’t charging as much as you’re worth. Do some research on rates of pay—don’t just ask the people you know, especially if they’re women who might be under earning. Put a higher value on yourself and watch what happens. Read More

What kind of negotiator are you?


Early in her career, Maria Dorfner, CEO of NewsMD Communications, asked her mother for advice about salary negotiations. Her mom told her: “You need them more than they need you.” So, when she entered into her first salary negotiations, she” was afraid to ask for a penny.” After determining that wasn’t a particularly effective negotiating strategy, she decided to be more forceful in the future. So the next time she found herself negotiating salary, when she was asked, “How much do you want to make,” she replied with a number that was twice her then current salary. To her amazement, the individual she was negotiating with said simply, “You got it.” A year later, she learned that she could have asked for triple what she was earning, because that was what the guy next to her had asked for and had gotten. Maria notes that “she has never taken a job for the money, but it hurts to feel taken advantage of. Negotiating compensation is about knowing your worth and being compensated fairly.” She adds: “Today, I know they need me more than I need them.”
Read More

Benefit From the Benefits

Concerned about compensation? Arm yourself with data from Job Search Intelligence, which the US Department of Labor says offers the most accurate salary information available. The salary calculator gives you a personalized compensation value to take to your negotiations. Use this tool to guide the conversation to get the compensation you deserve.

Free Salary Calculator from

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Don’t forget to negotiate benefits. Overall, benefits can make up to 30 percent of your salary—no small sum. Your compensation should meet all of your needs, not just monetary ones. Consider hiring bonuses, vacation time, retirement plans, sick leave, insurance, and other company benefits as open for negotiation as well. If you are planning to go back to school, tuition reimbursement may be just as important as health insurance. If you’re planning to start a family, maternity leave and vacation time may be the most important feature for you. All of these benefits can tip the scale in negotiating salary.

Even if your salary is as much as $10,000 higher than your previous wages, a poor benefits package can deplete that increase quickly. For example:

  • You may have to pay the monthly health insurance premium for your dependents.
  • Consider how much vacation time you’ll receive compared to your previous position. An additional week’s vacation or other time off can add up to thousands of dollars.
  • Consider the average percentage of pay increase you will receive, and the length of the increments between receiving them. You may quickly be earning less than you would have at your previous position.
  • If you’re offered a signing bonus, there may be higher taxes on it, so you will see a smaller percentage of the money than you might expect. Ask for your signing bonus to be increased to compensate for taxes, so that you receive the full amount and the company covers your tax liability.

To successfully negotiate a benefits package, you have to understand what’s out there. Some companies will offer a standard benefits package and others will let you pick and choose the ones you want, “cafeteria style.” There is a wide range of benefits from a wide range of companies. Here are some of the most basic:

  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision plan
  • Life insurance
  • Retirement plan/401k and profit sharing
  • Sick leave
  • Short- and long-term disability
  • Maternity, bereavement, childcare, or eldercare benefits
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Financial planning services
  • Credit union
  • Relocation
  • Tuition assistance
  • Company car
  • Paid parking
  • Parties, retreats, company packages
  • Gym membership or wellness packages
  • Free subscriptions, discount offers, tickets, community events
  • Severance package

Most positions will offer insurance, but the package can vary greatly from company to company. Some plans will include dental or optical; others will not. Some will cover the premium for the employee and their dependents; others will only cover the employee. Not only does the amount of coverage vary, but insurance companies will offer several different plans. Some plans have a deductible, some have a copay. The only way to know your plan is to review the documents. This is critical. Your human resource department can help you understand the details.

Vacation time and sick leave are also standard in a benefits package. Two weeks’ vacation is the norm; the amount of sick leave is more varied. Make sure you are aware of when you start earning the time, how much time you will receive, and when you will receive an increase. Understand how much advance notice you must give to use time off and if there are certain seasons or periods when you cannot use it. Take into consideration whether or not your unused time off will roll over into the next year or if you will simply lose it. Try to avoid using time off before you have earned it. If you quit before you have earned as much time as you have used, this may be deducted from your last paycheck.

401k plans are another common benefit often undervalued and misunderstood by women. A 401k plan is a retirement fund in which you invest money and your company will match your investment, sometimes by 50 to 100 percent. This is a benefit you can’t afford not to understand and take advantage of. You are being paid to save money for your retirement, so ask a human resource professional what your plan includes.

Know What You're Worth and What You Want

Concerned about compensation? Arm yourself with data from Job Search Intelligence, which the US Department of Labor says offers the most accurate salary information available. The salary calculator gives you a personalized compensation value to take to your negotiations. Use this tool to guide the conversation to get the compensation you deserve.

Free Salary Calculator

In this section:

The negotiation process revolves around two factors: what you are worth and what they are willing to pay for you. To negotiate successfully, take these factors into consideration and research them thoroughly. Research, after all, is one of the few steps in the negotiation process that you have full control over.

The first step in researching these two factors is to consider the position you aspire to. Know the required skills and job responsibilities, as well as the company’s size, industry position, clients, goals, and challenges. Use this information as perspective or context in for your preparation to negotiate.

  • Make a list of your credentials. What degrees do you have? What other training or education do you have? You may have handled design and layout of the newsletter at your previous position, a very impressive responsibility, but only if it is relevant to the position you are applying for. If it’s not, you shouldn’t expect to be compensated for it.
  • If you held an impressive title in the past, use it to your advantage. Did you have a respected position with your previous employer? Did you work for a well-known, successful company?
  • What measurable successes have you had in your previous positions? Did you raise sales by 15 percent? Did you save your company $50,000? Did you organize a seminar for 1,000 guests? The eye is drawn to numbers and statistics, so include as many as you can.
  • What is included in your skill set? Make sure you can meet every responsibility of the job and can provide specific examples of the skills you have to fulfill them.
  • Think value-added. Maybe you can bring excellent finance experience with you to a human resource position. Do you have any technology specialties or marketing know-how? Are you bilingual? If so, you may deserve higher compensation.
  • What is your work ethic? Are you willing to come in early, stay late? Can you be counted on in a crisis? If you can document this or provide references, it may increase your worth.

When you are in the interview and negotiation stages, briefly and clearly list the most impressive qualifications you have as support for the salary you are requesting. Show them exactly why you deserve the salary you are asking for.

How Much Are They Willing To Pay?

Sometimes you will know the salary before you go in for the interview. Do not simply accept this at face value. You can still negotiate. Think of it as a ballpark figure. If it is lower than you had hoped for, don’t walk away from the position. Go in prepared to negotiate based on what you can bring to the position.

If you do not know the salary going into the interview, you need to research salaries in similar companies and positions. More than likely, the company you are interviewing with will have done similar research. Take into consideration geographic location and cost of living, degree level, years of experience required, and size of company. All these factors will influence salary averages. If you live in Small Town, USA, do not expect to be paid the same amount of money for the same position with the same responsibilities as someone in Big Town, USA.

Know the lowest offer you are willing to accept, the offer you think you deserve, and the offer you will be thrilled with. Prepare materials that support your salary request. It will be easier to persuade people if you can show them solid, objective information.

You are not just there to sell yourself. You are there to get information, as well. Here is a list of questions you need to have answered in the negotiation conversation. Keep in mind, these are not questions to ask until you’ve received an offer.

  • What is included in the salary and benefits package? When do I become eligible for benefits?
  • How much vacation time and sick leave will I receive? Can I roll it over or cash it out if I don’t use it?
  • Is there a 401k plan or retirement program? How much can I contribute and what percentage is matched?
  • What deductions are taken out of the paycheck and how much does it add up to?
  • How often will I be paid?
  • When will I receive a review and be eligible for a raise?
  • What are the opportunities for advancement?
  • Are there bonus opportunities?
  • Are there any other benefits that you think I should be aware of?

Evaluate the Company

When we buy a new dress or any other piece of clothing, we go to great lengths to make sure it’s the right fit. We inspect ourselves from every imaginable angle in the mirror to confirm a proper complement to all body parts. From the neckline to the hemline, nothing escapes our eye.

Even higher standards must be applied when evaluating a job offer. Instead of arms, elbows, hips, butts, thighs, knees, and toes, you’ll want to look beyond cash compensation to seven other categories that relate to the position you’re considering. This is a sure way to determine if it’s the best possible fit.

  • Functional Fit: Work is much less fun and fulfilling when you’re doing stuff you absolutely hate or when you’re performing tasks that are uncomfortable to you. Will you be playing to your strengths? Does the thought of doing this type of work make you giddy with glee that someone is actually willing to pay you to do what you love? Does the position offer enough stimulation or challenge? Is the title and level of responsibility in line with what you deserve?
  • Industry: More and more we see that women care very much about the type of work they do in terms of industry. Perhaps you’re an accountant, but you couldn’t get excited about doing the books in any old field. Your passion lies within the non-profit world, and that’s where you’d be most effective in fulfilling your functional fit. Similarly, an ace marketing and branding professional might not feel comfortable applying her skills and expertise at a tobacco giant if she hates cigarette smoke. Be sure the industry doesn’t conflict with your personal beliefs and values.
  • Employer: Research an employer’s position in the marketplace. Is it a leader in its respective industry experiencing terrific growth, or is its stock taking a dive amid mass layoffs? If the company is a large player, identify its wealth by how the media reports on it. At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re talking to a small company, look at its products, services, and clients as a first step in determining the strength its finances.
  • Management and Supervisor(s): High turnover or great loyalty and longevity among employees are telltale signs of the respect given to management at any organization. While interviewing with the person who’d serve as your direct boss, what were your immediate thoughts and observations on his or her management and work styles? Did you sense any concern about the potential for conflicts or clashes? Ask to speak to others who have worked for that person. If in doubt, it’s essential to address it and work it out up front so both of you are crystal clear on expectations.
  • Advancement and Growth Opportunity: Most of us have a long term plan and the ideal position will mesh nicely with our goals. Sometimes a job is ideal because it affords us the opportunity to gain new skills and experience that will be essential toward achieving the ultimate position. Will this employer provide internal or external training and development to complement your existing skill set? If you’re just launching a career or are in a mid-career transition, will this position be an effective bridge to the next step? Beyond assessing this particular position, you’ll also want to know if the company has a formal policy for promoting from within. This often sheds light on your potential opportunity for growth at this particular employer.
  • Culture: Dress code, workspace, office hours, and employee diversity all contribute to the culture of any organization. Will you work 70-hour weeks in a T-shirt and jeans? Are family picnics and an active commitment to the community part of the routine? Is there a sense of teamwork and camaraderie, or is everything and everyone independent and autonomous? Do your best to determine the values of the organization by talking to current and former employees, studying the “About Us” section of its Web site, and reading media accounts and annual reports.
  • Location: While this may seem relatively unimportant compared to some of the other criteria, a long commute can make your job miserable. Make the drive (or train, bus, or subway ride) a few times during rush hour, not just in the middle of the day, to get a realistic sense of what you’d be in for. If you’re hoping for a telecommuting arrangement, it’s important to negotiate this up front – or at the very least broach the subject upon a satisfactory orientation and initial completion of mutual goals.

Before you accept a position, consider the size of the company. Whether a small or large company is right for you may depend on your career stage, as well as your personality.

  • Large companies often offer great training programs for entry-level positions, affording time for adjustment from the theoretical realm of college to the practical world of work.
  • The resources in terms of equipment, facilities, and funds available at a large corporation can be a significant factor in fields such as engineering, information technology, or medical research.
  • There’s more diversity in a big company. For those less comfortable with close personal interactions, there’s also more anonymity.
  • At a small firm you may feel like you are thrown right in the deep end, where everyone can see if you sink or swim.
  • A small office environment requires great responsibility, but it provides exposure to a wide variety of tasks. You may learn about all aspects of a business, from soup to nuts, instead of just one piece of the pie.
  • Self-starters find there’s often less bureaucracy and more autonomy in a small company. Creative types may find it easier to get their ideas off the ground.
  • Small companies may offer larger salaries than large companies or signing bonuses to compensate for the lack of benefits available.
  • Some assume that they can achieve a better work/life balance at a small company. While there may be more flexibility in your daily schedule – you can take off an hour to catch the preschool play or go to the dentist’s office – there’s also no one to cover for you at critical company functions or production times.
  • A small office environment can be close-knit (or claustrophobic depending on your personal opinion). Forget standing around gossiping at the water cooler. This office sport is too up close and personal, and strictly taboo in a small firm. You must be able to get along well with coworkers. At the same time, you may work in close proximity to company leaders, gaining the benefit of their input and energy.

Once you’ve decided to accept a position, and have negotiated the salary and benefits you want, get them in writing. The deal is not finalized until it’s in writing, so don’t give notice at your current position, or make any major moves until a contract has been signed.

Take It or Leave It

If you cannot negotiate a mutually acceptable offer with the employer, consider whether you need to walk away. This isn’t a viable option for everyone. Only you can make that determination based on whether or not you’ll be happy and content with the deal you agree to, and whether or not you can afford not to take the offer.

  • Rejecting the offer can be a strong negotiation tactic, but only if you’re genuinely willing to walk away. Don’t use this threat if you want or need the job. The employer may come back with the offer you were hoping for rather than let you walk away. It is expensive and time-consuming for employers to interview candidates. But they might also opt to pass on your candidacy.
  • Even though you refused the position, send a thank-you note a few days later restating the salary you would be willing to accept and reiterating your interest in the position and the company. After they have thought about it for a few days, your salary requirement may seem more reasonable than they had initially thought.
  • Be careful not to burn any bridges. If you stay on good terms, you may get a call a few months down the road for a similar position with a better salary. Conduct yourself professionally at all times.

Negotiating Salary 101: Tactics for Better Compensation

Concerned about compensation? Arm yourself with data from Job Search Intelligence, which the US Department of Labor says offers the most accurate salary information available. The salary calculator gives you a personalized compensation value to take to your negotiations. Use this tool to guide the conversation to get the compensation you deserve.

Free Salary Calculator

In this section:

Studies show that we women are just as good at negotiating as men – except when it comes to negotiating for ourselves. We’re outspoken when it comes to haggling for a great deal at a flea market or speaking up to raise money for our kids’ schools. Yet, when the focus is on us, we become shy, intimidated, and uncomfortable. Among the most common negative scenarios: downplaying our worth, failing to research comparable compensation, aiming to please others at our own expense, and settling for what others think we deserve instead of for what we want. We’ll address various tactics for understanding and overcoming these serious issues with the goal of empowering women to be their own best negotiators. We’ll cover asking for and responding to raises and effectively handling bonuses and performance reviews. Since women often ignore a host of benefits available to them simply because they don’t understand or value them, we’ll explain how to identify, evaluate, and negotiate perks beyond money.

What are the top three rules for jobseekers to follow to successfully negotiate the best possible compensation package?

Successful negotiation is based on preparation and patience. Always anticipate what you may need to know when you next speak with any potential employer.

  1. Research your value. Research the value of your talent in the employment marketplace. Find sources that tell you what companies pay for the job you’re considering. The sources should take into account the size of the company you work for and its industry and region. It is even more helpful if you can use a source that helps you calculate the potential value of your personal skills and background such as education, length of experience, certifications, and management responsibility.
  2. Don’t be the first to disclose a number. If possible, try to get the employer to disclose the pay for the job before you tell your requirements. If you find this too difficult or awkward, consider providing a broad range (based on the research you did above) and say you expect “a fair total pay package for the job and my unique set of skills, including….” It is also fair to ask the employer what the market data says the job is worth.
  3. Prepare a counteroffer. About half of all jobseekers accept the first offer that’s put on the table, but most employers make offers expecting candidates to counteroffer – so go ahead, ask for what you want. Remember that your counteroffer can include more than just base pay; it can include bonuses, stock options, vacation time, and a flexible working schedule. Every time you speak with a potential employer, you should be prepared with a complete, prioritized summary of your ideal offer, and you should know in your mind how negotiable you are on each item.

Common Mistakes

What are the three biggest mistakes made by jobseekers when negotiating compensation?

  1. Accepting the first salary offer. Because employers anticipate a counteroffer, many include room for negotiation in their first offer. This is truer for jobs at a higher level or higher salary. If you accept the first offer, you may be leaving money on the table. This could be compounded as future bonuses, salary increases, and insurance coverage are often based on the base salary level. Regardless of whether the employer has room to increase the salary offer, you should be comfortable asking. But be careful: don’t make demands or issue ultimatums unless you really are willing to walk away from the existing offer.
  2. Not being prepared with relevant information. Too many people rely on the potential employer to determine the fair compensation for the job. Spending a little time learning how the relevant labor market values a particular job and how your unique skills may further increase those values can have a dramatic impact on your ability to maximize your total compensation. Knowing the facts and being able to speak intelligently about them can support and justify your desired pay.
  3. Neglecting to negotiate things beyond base pay. Base salary is just one of the negotiation points. There are many more items to consider when negotiating your initial employment package, such as variable pay, performance expectations, benefits, perquisites, schedule for salary increase, and minimum severance. Once the salary negotiation is complete, moving on to the other components of total pay can be rewarding.

What are the biggest mistakes women make?

In a negotiation, women tend to be more indirect than men when asking for things. For example, a man might typically say, “I want more money,” whereas a woman might say, “I really have a lot of expenses because I recently bought a new house.” The implication is that more money is needed, but that’s not exactly what she’s saying. Many women will merely imply what they want, but not come out and ask for it. Women are also more likely to take “no” for an answer. They hear “no” and stop, whereas men might make a counteroffer.

Many women also set lower goals and are satisfied with less than men, but it’s not clear why. Experts often say that one theory is that women compare themselves to other women and they don’t include men when comparing salaries, benefits, or promotions. For some reason, women tend to think lower pay is fair.

Most of the mistakes women make in negotiation happen before they even enter the conversation. Before even starting a negotiation, it’s important to establish in your own mind what alternatives and trade-offs you might be willing to consider. When you feel empowered by alternatives and multiple options, you are able to eliminate the fear that often seeps into the negotiation process. Some of those viable alternatives might include:

  • Trying to generate another job offer
  • Lining up another interview
  • Taking an “I’m the buyer” approach to the negotiation

Be aware of sounding and acting too eager from the very first contact, letters, résumé, and phone calls all the way through the interviews and negotiations. Adopt the attitude that the company is lucky to get you.

Think of the type of setting you’re most comfortable in and try to have important conversations there. What environment is it easier for you to stand firm or say no in? At a negotiation part, opt for a conference room rather than your would-be supervisor’s office. That’s neutral territory.

It’s also essential to prepare specific things to say depending on the style of your negotiator. You should have a plan of attack for both. A hard-style negotiator is firm, with forbidding body language, and tends to say “no” to everything. This type of person can be very intimidating. Don’t let them rattle you. Stand your own ground too.

A soft-style negotiator is very agreeable and tries to work with you. Don’t be fooled by a soft-style negotiation front. It’s a common mistake for women to be very agreeable in return, while trying to be polite and make the negotiator like you. You can easily end up walking away with less. The bottom line is you still have to ask for what you want without feeling guilty regardless of whom you’re dealing with.

Many of the mistakes women make when it comes to negotiating have little to do with their negotiating skills, and more to do with their negotiation attitudes. Review the following list of mistakes women make and compare them with your own feelings and attitudes toward negotiation. You cannot correct your own mistakes unless you can recognize them.

  • Women tend not to recognize opportunities to negotiate. Do not make the mistake of considering all salary and benefit offers firm. It is not always a take-it-or-leave-it situation. Most employers expect you to come back with a counteroffer.
  • Women are good at building relationships. When women value a relationship, they tend to protect it. Women make the mistake of failing to negotiate out of fear of hurting the relationship they have built with their interviewer and potential employer. Do not make the mistake of thinking negotiation will anger your interviewer.
  • Society has taught women to shy away from bold behavior. Women are more likely to sit back and wait for credit for their work than to ask for compensation. Women have internalized the idea that asking for more than what someone wants to give is rude. Realize that it is ok to ask for what you deserve.
  • Women fail to do their homework. An important part of salary negotiation is researching comparable salaries in similar positions. Many women do not know their own worth. Make sure you value your own experiences and education.
  • Women focus less on what they are giving the employer than on what the employer is giving them. They already see the employer as providing so much that they are willing to settle for smaller salaries. When negotiating, focus on what you are offering an employer, not on how the position will advance your career.
  • Women start off in the hole. Women do not negotiate a higher salary to begin with, so raises and bonuses computed by percentage are smaller as well. The problem feeds off itself and the wage gap between men and women continues to grow larger. Don’t make the mistake of thinking a low salary will eventually “catch up” to what you deserve.
  • Women take negotiations personally. Remember it is about business, so detach your emotions from the conversation.

More than likely, you make at least a few of these mistakes. Chances are interviewers will have more experience and skill at salary negotiation than you. It is important to prepare a strategy.

Negotiating is not a simple process. It takes a lot of research, effort, great debating skills, and practice, but the payoff is worth the work. Never accept a job offer without discussing the salary and benefits. Go in prepared.

Discussing Salary

Some companies will ask for salary requirements in a cover letter. Some will actually ask you to accept the offer before they even mention the word salary. There is no routine, no schedule for when companies will discuss salary with you. There is, however, an ideal.

It is to your best advantage to hold off on discussing salary until after you have been offered the position. Wait for them to bring it up, and try not to be the first to mention a range. Of course, the process rarely works this way. It is a little messier, a little more random, so you need to be prepared with information on how to handle every situation.

If you are asked to name your salary requirement in a cover letter or résumé, do so. It may be the criteria used to weed out overqualified candidates. If you do not include the information at all, your résumé will be quickly set aside because you didn’t follow directions. Put down a reasonable range – such as $55,000 to $65,000-depending upon the responsibilities of the position.

If your interviewer brings up salary before you are prepared to discuss it, try to sidestep the question. Say something along the lines of, “Actually, I’d like to know more about the position before I can give you that answer.” Then ask a question about the job’s responsibilities.

Once you have been offered the position, and it is time to discuss the salary, you want them to name a figure first. This prevents you from naming a sum lower than they had been willing to pay, or a sum that is too high.

  • Ask what the typical range is for others in the company with that position.
  • Ask what they had budgeted for that job.
  • Say you will consider any reasonable offer.
  • Say that they are better informed to determine how much you are worth to the company than yourself.

All of these statements turn the situation around politely. It puts them in the position of naming a range first. If they counter, simply move on to the next statement. More than likely, they will return the question back to you no more than three times before they state a salary range.

Explaining your Previous Salary

It is probable that you will be asked your salary history at some point. If you were underpaid in your previous position, you may not want to reveal this information. Employers may base their offer on what you were previously making, or on the flip side, assume they can’t afford you. You want the employer to base their offer on your value, not your previous salary.

  • Let the interviewer ask you about salary. Be prepared to answer the question.
  • Do not lie about your salary history. They can verify this information.
  • If you do not wish to tell your salary history, answer with the salary range you are willing to negotiate within. If it is a reasonable range, they will more than likely drop the question of salary history.
  • Do not become defensive or refuse to answer the question. It will leave a bad impression and only make the interviewer more interested in your salary history and possibly less interested in you.
  • Talk about how your salary increased over time, how you received off-cycle adjustments, or bonuses.

What if you named a figure too early?

You messed up and named a figure too early. After some research, you found out that you deserve more, and they were probably expecting to pay more. The time has come for negotiation. Now what? How do you go back and ask for more when you have already named a figure?

  • Explain that you didn’t realize the full responsibilities of the job. Now that you have more information about the level of the position and what it entails, that sum is no longer relevant. Then state the salary you think you deserve.
  • Explain that you have done more market research, cost of living research, and researched salaries in similar positions, and have readjusted the salary figure accordingly.

Remember that it was your mistake. You did say you would accept that salary, so you need to be willing to compromise. Rather than refusing the offer, ask if you could have a review and salary increase after three months rather than six. Ask if you can have a higher percentage raise increase the first year to make up the difference. Ask for a signing bonus. You should decide beforehand whether you are willing to accept the sum you stated before you did your research, or whether you want to walk away and apply your newfound knowledge the next time.

If a jobseeker has been earning $30,000 and the position they’re applying for typically pays $48,000, what can the candidate do to avoid being low-balled by the employer?

  • Be sure you’re qualified for the new position. A dramatic difference in pay like this (60 percent increase) may actually indicate a promotion or perhaps a position that is significantly more demanding than your current role. Whether or not it’s a significant change, and whether or not you are qualified for the new job, you should be prepared to answer the question.
  • Determine the differences, if any, between the content of the current job and the new job. Knowing the differences between the jobs will help to explain why the pay packages are different. It will also help to demonstrate that you have the skills to meet the challenges of the new position. For instance, if you are moving from a non-profit or government organization to a large corporation, you will most likely be able to increase your pay significantly.
  • Determine all the differences in the total rewards packages including pay, schedule, benefits, and intangibles. There may be differences other than just the base pay—this is particularly likely if there’s a vast difference in the base pay but not a major difference in the job responsibilities. You may find differences in bonus opportunity, profit sharing, stock options, benefit plans, and vacation time.
  • Reconcile the real differences between the jobs. Create a side-by-side summary of the individual job responsibilities, qualifications, compensation, benefits, intangibles, etc. Add an extra column to summarize the magnitude of the differences. Note the key differences in each category for use in negotiations.
  • Focus salary discussions on the market data for the new job (rather than your current pay at your current job). Your current pay is not really relevant if the market data for the job establishes a reasonable pay of $48,000 and your skills and experience demonstrate you’re a fit for the job. Of course you shouldn’t tell a potential employer that the information is not relevant, but you can lead them to that conclusion by focusing on the much more relevant market data and value of the job in question and your value as an employee with a set of skills that qualify you for that job.
  • Avoid disclosing your current salary if possible. If the potential employer does not know your current salary is $30,000, there is no problem. If asked what your current salary is, you can try to deflect the question by responding with something like, “I’d expect to be paid reasonably for someone with my skills such as [name a few] working in this job. Based on what I’ve seen, it seems that would be between $46,000 and $53,000.”
  • Keep discussions focused on the new job, the salary for that job, and you in that job. (Leave the past in the past.) Being underpaid at your current job doesn’t give your new employer license to underpay you as well. It does, however, give you a justifiable reason to look for a new job.
  • If your current salary is known, use the three to five most compelling differences to justify why you deserve the $48,000. Don’t try to overwhelm a potential employer with an impressive litany of differences between the two jobs that justifies the pay differential. Selectively choose three to five of the major reasons. Including a lot of the minor differences will simply dilute the impact of the major ones.
  • If possible, use other current salary offers to justify what you are worth and to mitigate the effect of your current pay. If the employer thinks your current salary is relevant, you can bring in salaries from other current job offers. These have the added effect of implying a value for you in the job as well as the fact that you are a desirable employee for this type of job. (Of course, this cannot work with the first new offer.)
  • If you have a lot of nerve, try to justify why you deserve $50,000 to $55,000. The job typically pays $48,000—perhaps you’re better than typical. If the employer sees that, then you should be worth more than $48,000. Go for it!

Negotiating Salary and Benefits

Concerned about compensation? Arm yourself with data from Job Search Intelligence, which the US Department of Labor says offers the most accurate salary information available. The salary calculator gives you a personalized compensation value to take to your negotiations. Use this tool to guide the conversation to get the compensation you deserve.

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Collectively, women lose over $100 billion annually in wages due to pay inequity. This is due in part to an unwillingness and insecurity in women to negotiate effectively. We want to empower you to do better for yourself in this crucial area.

For starters here are a few tips on clear communication from one of our affiliates:

Here’s how to make your sure you’re heard.

By Susan I. Wranik

Women often sabotage their speaking skills with poor word choice, gestures and vocal quality, and even how they structure and articulate their thoughts. Communication is, after all, more than the sum of the words we use.

Here are some ways to keep your power:

  • State rather than ask. When women make requests, they ask, often supporting, justifying and even conveying appreciation. Men simply state their needs – take it or leave it. In business, and in dealing with men in particular, less is more – and more easily understood. The best way to get your point across is to be absolutely sure you have one; then be direct, be brief and be seated.
  • Ask yourself the question: And your point is? And be sure you can answer it in the fewest words possible.
  • Avoid intensifiers: Very, really, truly and the all too common basically, essentially and fundamentally which add little to content and can weaken your message.
  • Don’t be too sweet. Resist the temptation to soften your voice with a higher register or lower volume. To find your natural pitch and range, open your mouth and say “ah” as you would for your doctor.
  • Gestures should strengthen, not detract. They compete with your message for your listener’s attention. Don’t touch, toss or run your fingers through your hair – not even the periodic tuck behind the ear.
  • Finally, smile and make eye contact – because confidence begets confidence!

**Content provided by PINK magazine.

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Benefit From the Benefits

Concerned about compensation? Arm yourself with data from Job Search Intelligence, which the US Department of Labor says offers the most accurate salary information available. The salary calculator gives you a personalized compensation … Continue Reading »

Know What You’re Worth and What You Want

Concerned about compensation? Arm yourself with data from Job Search Intelligence, which the US Department of Labor says offers the most accurate salary information available. The salary calculator gives you a personalized compensation … Continue Reading »

Negotiating Salary 101: Tactics for Better Compensation

Concerned about compensation? Arm yourself with data from Job Search Intelligence, which the US Department of Labor says offers the most accurate salary information available. The salary calculator gives you a personalized compensation … Continue Reading »