5 common salary negotiation mistakes
Don't mess up and get less than you deserve.
Whether you’ve been offered a new job or are just looking to get more money from your current employer, salary negotiations are a delicate undertaking. It’s easy to let your emotions take over, but you need to keep a clear head and make sure you do what’s necessary to achieve your goal.
Start by considering these five common salary negotiation mistakes and remembering to avoid making them yourself.
Mentioning money in your cover letter
A cover letter should include plenty of things, but information about what you’ve earned in the past and hope to earn in the future aren’t among them. “Some recruiters and hiring agents make it seem that you won’t be considered if this information is not presented. If your resume shows that your talents and skills line up with what they are looking for in a candidate, you should be given consideration with or without salary requirements in the cover letter,” says Louise Garver of Career Directions.
Jumping the gun
When you’re interviewing for a new job, bringing up money before your prospective employer does is a mistake. “The best suggestion is to wait it out. Once they have decided on you and made an offer, you are in a better bargaining position,” says Lynda Zugec, managing director of The Workforce Consultants. “At the end of the day, salary negotiations can happen right before, or even after, the offer, so sit tight and display the best of your abilities. If the subject comes up, make sure you have done your homework prior to the interview and recognize your worth in the marketplace.”
Knowing how valuable you are to a company isn’t shady; it’s just smart. “Too many people underprice themselves because they fear that their ask, demand, or expectation will be higher than the employer will be willing to pay and thus jeopardize the job or promotion offer,” says Pilot Workplace Advisors President Peter Berner. “As long as you are asking for an amount that is reasonable and value/market based, the worst that will happen is that the employer will offer you what they are willing to pay.”
If you don’t feel confident about your recent work and professional accomplishments, now probably isn’t a good time to ask your employer for more money. “Ensure that you're executing on all cylinders of your current job, and taking on additional responsibility outside your normal ‘job description,’” says leadership blogger Karin Hurt.
Not considering the full compensation package
For most employees, salary is only part of the compensation they receive in exchange for the work they do. “Be sure you construct your total current compensation and compare each item. For example, perhaps you're so excited for a salary increase that you neglect to compare previous and future health insurance costs,” says Athena Educational Consultants owner Tara Goodfellow.
For example, she explains, “I worked with one client that was shocked to realize he'd be paying 10K additional out of pocket to cover his family for health insurance compared to his previous position. However, since he had done the analysis prior, he went back and negotiated an additional 10K to cover the increase.”
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