With Thanksgiving around the corner, I am being purposeful about giving thanks.
- As an executive or senior professional, are you thankful for your career, but unhappy about your salary?
- Did you finally land the job of your dreams, but accepted a significant pay cut?
- Are you wondering whether it’s possible to love your career and your salary at the same time?
When it comes to any job search, while networking and interviewing strategies are critical in getting you to the final round, many job seekers fall short in the salary negotiation stage.
If you can selling yourself strategically to get a job offer, take it to the next level and make sure that you negotiate a competitive, industry relevant salary.
Here are a few strategies to keep in mind:
Speak the same language
Too often, people use the terms “salary” and “compensation” interchangeably. They are not the same thing – your salary aka paycheck is what goes into your bank account, your compensation is the market value of what you get in terms of salary, medical benefits, and perks.
To avoid confusion, ask the employer for a breakdown of typical salary range and associated benefits for your position when it’s time for negotiation.
Know your market value
We all know that salary and compensation varies according to industry, functional expertise and geographic location, but don’t take the employer’s word, do the research yourself. Talk to other professionals in the field, learn more about the standard salaries, benefits, bonuses etc. Always be prepared to leverage your knowledge in salary negotiation discussions.
Be confident and professional
The salary negotiation table doesn’t have to a place of “war”. Focus on what you bring to the table, gently remind the employer of the expertise, business solutions and experience you have, be willing to demonstrate how your salary and total compensation packages pales in comparison the new revenues, cost savings, market growth or customer expansion initiatives you will launch.
Assess the playing field
All companies are not the same, so adjust your expectations and salary negotiation strategies depending on the business environment. Are you negotiating your salary with a company that is a start up, operating in a turnaround phase or recently coming out of bankruptcy? If they can’t match your salary requirements, ask about other benefits like stock options, bonuses and profit sharing.
Move beyond talk and get the offer in writing
Review a written compensation package and ensure that it covers all aspects of your job responsibilities, reporting structure, performance expectations, incentives and deliverables. If you are uncomfortable with any aspects of the contract, consider hiring an attorney.
Don’t forget to cover your exit
Never negotiate an onboarding package without considering your exit package. It’s not about being negative or pessimistic, but you want to make sure that if the position doesn’t work out, you are not left in the cold. Great options to consider in an exit package include severance, benefits extension, executive outplacement and career transition support services.
Overall, during the salary negotiation process, remember to demonstrate your leadership abilities and focus on building new relationships from the onset with your new company. Avoid ruining your professional reputation with overly aggressive behaviors and demands and exhibit diplomacy and political savvy instead. In the end, if you and the company cannot reach an agreement, you still want the relationship to remain solid.
(Photo Credit: ambro)