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Asking for a raise can be a tricky proposition. Many women hate to ask for anything at all, and are uncomfortable with the thought of having this conversation their boss or prospective employer. Of course, you want to be paid what you are worth, but you may not be sure exactly what that is, or how you can get it. Here are some of the most common mistakes that women make when negotiating a raise.
Not realizing they can negotiate
When you get a job offer for a salary that is less than you had hoped for, do you view that as a “take it or leave it” situation? If you get your annual raise from your company and it is a disappointing amount, do you just accept it the way it is? One thing that master negotiators know is that almost anything is negotiable, and it never hurts to try. You can always ask for more, and see what happens. Sometimes the company will offer you more. Other times there may be an alternative they can come up with, like a bonus opportunity or another review in six months. You never know unless you ask.
Not making the negotiation about the company
When you’re asking for a raise, you need to keep in mind that they’re going to make their decision based on your value to the company. Frame your request in these terms, and make the discussion about how you can help the company, rather than what the company needs to do for you. The whole process of negotiation is more like an opportunity to communicate, define and achieve a goal. Women shouldn’t hesitate to ask for that they deserve.
Know the basics, gather as much information as possible about your potential employer, and plan your approach accordingly. Don’t be 100% focused on the company and think about your needs too. Women can be naive in business and that’s because of their overly sensitive side. One of the golden rules of negotiations for women – never let an opponent intimidate you in any way just because of your gender. Strike back!
Not being prepared
You will be in a stronger position if you have concrete examples prepared of the value you have contributed to the company. Can you cite specific cases where your work has increased revenues or saved expenses? Do you have testimonials from other people in the company about how much your work has helped them? If you have these things already prepared before you enter the negotiation, you will be in a better position to prove your value to the organization.
Negotiating by email
Though it can be intimidating to have this conversation in person with your boss, it is certainly preferable than having the discussion by e-mail. When you can see the other person’s body language, and hear their vocal inflections, it gives you clues about their reaction to your request. As the discussion proceeds, you can tailor your approach based on the signals they send out, which usually leads to a better outcome. Negotiating over e-mail is like working in the dark.
Not asking for enough, or just not asking
Women are often uncomfortable with the thought of asking for more money. It is easier to simply take what is offered, and be done with it, than to have that difficult conversation. However, if you want to be paid fairly, then asking for more money is a key step. Check out your market value with outside sources, and see what typical salaries are for your type of work. Then don’t be afraid to ask. Women should never accept a deal just because they want to get things done faster.
It’s ok to hate negotiations, but it’s your future you’re negotiating. Make the most of that offer that’s sitting right in front of you, and use smart strategies to persuade your employer that you deserve more.
Women who want a raise should first do their homework. Make sure your work has been impeccable for the past 3-4 years and speak your mind. If an employer appreciates you, then he won’t have a problem with negotiating a raise. One last piece of advice: you have to be tough and leave your emotions aside to get what you want. Even if you won’t be able to get that raise, it’s still important to control yourself and maintain a professional attitude.
Image cover: Wealth Informatics
Guest post written by Jason Phillips