Salary Negotiations de-mystified

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Receiving a job offer is incredibly exciting - and many times we want to believe that it’s a great fit for us. Your mind begins to think about the possibilities and what you can bring to the position. There’s only one problem - they offered you a lower salary than you expected. With time ticking, you have two options, take the deal or negotiate.

Which would you choose?

Surprisingly, found that only 37% of millennials ever #askformore. What’s even worse, is that it’s costing us, big time. Over the course of our careers, we could be losing up to $1 million! WOW right?

If the large sum of money doesn’t catch your attention, there are a number of other reasons why asking for more money is important. Establishing yourself to a new or existing organization is incredibly important. For one thing, when we feel confident to have that type of conversation with human resources or the boss, we carry ourselves differently, perform better and see ourselves moving up with great pace.

If negotiating gives us more money and confidence, why do we shy away from it?

Mainly, as I’ve heard and experienced time and time again, it’s the fear of no. This is quite a common fear and it ranges from asking for personal development opportunities to an increase in responsibilities and salary. I argue in another blog, Smiling Your Way through No, that we psyche ourselves out when we truly have no idea what the outcome will be. However, with a little bit of mindset preparation, you can be ready to negotiate like a professional in no time. Like anything else, it could take some practicing in the mirror, and getting used to saying numbers out loud in a tone that feels confident, yet authentic and rooted in your abilities and talents to do the job.

The salary negotiation literature is plentiful with different tactics to help you make more money. Some, including Jack Chapman (author of Negotiating your salary: How to make $1,000 a minute) suggest a method that involves placing more pressure on the employer to make the initial offer (or boss if it’s a raise discussion). This is all about deferring to the company in the moment, so politely requesting that they make the initial offer is crucial. It can certainly feel awkward to do this, so practice you must!

On the other hand, experts like Robin Pinkley argue that you should throw the highest number that you can defend out there first. This isn’t without caution though, you’ll need to do your research to make sure what you’re asking is reasonable, and it’s not below what you’re worth. This can be ideal for understanding the range that your position can go, and allows you the opportunity to negotiate with ease rather than throwing a ball into a dark hall.

Let’s go back to your job offer - and if you go back to the offer with a counter, and the answer is, no we can’t make that work - NOW what?

Alternatives exist to negotiating your base salary. For one, you can look at things like benefits package, paid time off (PTO), and even your hiring bonus. All of these are on the table, and may be easier for the employer to give you if you don’t have the salary you requested. For example, if you’re married and have insurance covered through your spouse, trying asking if they can raise your salary since you won’t need medical benefits. PTO and flexible work location/hours are also an option to negotiate to allow you more freedom. This freedom can be used for side hustling too, if that’s the route you want to take.

The best practices for salary negotiation may depend on the situation, but there are timeless tips that will help you for your next conversation:

  1. Do your research, use or to help you get a sense of the range for the position. ALSO ask your network for someone who actually does the job and discuss the range of the position.

  2. If you decide to give them your salary requirements first, remember not to go too low on your scale - the employer doesn’t need to get a “deal” on your education, talent, and expertise.

  3. Remain calm if the answer is no, and seek alternatives. The more open you are to finding some way to make it work, you might be surprised that the employer will get creative as well.

Remember, your experience and education are more lucrative than you may realize. Focus on your mindset to get yourself ready to respond to a counter offer. Whether or not you think you can do it, you’re in the best place to do it when you are out in the market chasing your dreams - don’t forget that!


Why you need a Professional Champion


This is going to be quite a statement coming from me, but I’m starting to see that mentors may not be the biggest factor is helping your career advance...

As you build your goals for 2018, consider adding a CHAMPION to your list of professional goals rather than a mentor. Here’s why:

Mentors have long been considered (for good reason) as someone to lean on for young professionals who are looking for timeless/priceless advice on how to rise above challenges and get ahead in their career. The benefits of having one are plentiful - they provide you with a place to vent, to validate, and to begin moving towards your solution. What mentors DON’T do, however, could be holding you back a LOT in your job.

Since mentors are not always in our current organization or field, it can be hard to use that mentor beyond getting their advice. Even with organizations establishing formal programs, mentors may still view their role as providing guidance, not necessarily going above and beyond like a champion can.

So who are professional champions? They are the advocates and supporters you need who can really make a difference in your long term career progression. Champions support you, defend you, and advocate for you, both behind closed doors and in different, more senior circles. This can seem like a daunting difference at first, but you’d be surprised to know you probably have sponsors at your job right now. The question for you is, how do you build on this relationship?

To understand how these relationships work, it’s important to understand how they form. Champion relationships start differently than mentors - that’s because you earn the relationship rather than receive it. Champions are in the trenches with you. Sometimes they’re your immediate boss, but often they’re director level and above people who personally saw you kick butt on a project. They know they can rely on you, they want you to be on their team whenever possible, and they know they can use you as a sounding board. To be a trusted advisee to a champion is an honor - the relationship will extend way beyond the end of the performance year, and can even continue for years after you’ve worked together!

I had a sponsor in one job that was incredibly helpful - someone I trusted, and who trusted me to help with a variety of highly sensitive projects. I valued that relationship greatly, and because she also valued my work, others constantly approached me for more projects and opportunities. I was treated with MORE respect because she was on my side. She even supported a year end bonus (when no one else thought there would be money in the budget, but oh look at that!). The relationship continues long after the job ended. It took some hard work to make it happen. I worked side by side with her during late nights putting together events and briefings. I went out of my way to be on call if we needed it, and I made sure that when she needed me to look at something for her, I took the time and did it right. She grew to trust my work so much so that she wouldn’t even check it after I gave it to her. In the end, it was totally worth it for me to go out of my way!

If you’re thinking about a new role in the same company OR a promotion in your current department, really think about finding a champion for yourself. Many women look to mentors for advice on HOW to succeed by themselves, but champions can be super helpful for building political support for you in the office, getting you the projects you want, and supporting the salary you deserve.

So here’s your CHALLENGE: Think of a senior staff member you’ve collaborated with and done great work with. Think of how you can continue or even BUILD a stronger working relationship with them. Is there something you can do to show off your know-how and expertise to really help them land a proposal, meet a deadline, or nail a project deliverable?

OFFER them help, even if you aren’t sure how that may play out - it could be something as small as helping them brainstorm a new strategy, or as big as planning a large event. Show them how well you perform and help them look good. If your intuition is right, this person will become a champion without you even having to ASK.

With a champion in your corner, not only will you have an advocate to support your career growth, but you’ll have the confidence you need to perform your best for the company and really build your skills in an area that you’re passionate about.

To your career success,


Boosting your career with self love

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It may seem like an unlikely pairing, but when you are looking for consistent results, high performance, and maximum impact both at work and at home, you may want to hit pause on the motivation movies and and quotes...

Instead of swiping through Instagram, turn to your own routine. How well you take care of yourself correlates directly to your career performance in a number of unique ways.

When you feel your best, is it when you've had zero sleep? You probably feel better when you're well rested and rejuvenated.

There's a reason people who, after coming back from vacation, are likely to give creative and insightful comments and feedback. 

Here are my top reasons for focusing on self care when you need a long term career performance boost:

1. Perspective: Time for yourself connects you back to your root, grounds you in what happens in the world outside of your work. The world is big, super big, and although our own personal worlds can feel small when you go from day to day, a change of scenery and broadening your scope is important. This allows you to take off your blinders and see new patterns, perspectives and connections that you wouldn't usually see. This connection of patterns translates well into any business environment. You can bring a real world example or perspective that answers the question "how does this impact the person we are trying to help?" Answering this question with authenticity makes a big difference not only in the lives of other people, but your career potential as well!

2. Prioritization: You may think all job performance means self sacrifice, but with each promotion and passing year, responsibilities add up. New challenges will continue to demand your attention, and force you to juggle with your own life. Self care and taking time to repeat the activities that really make you feel good can also help you gain a key management skill- prioritization! Think of it this way, if your boss gives you two weeks to finish a project, you'll map out a plan to complete the project and fill the days with activities to help you achieve the goal by the 2 week deadline. If your boss gave you the same project and said I need this is one week, well you're going to have to identify what needs to happen when and what may not be included in the final product due to time constraints. The point is, the more time you dedicate to small filler activities, the less time you have to devote to activities that really set you up for promotion and/or the position you're really eyeing. Self care is an active practice of prioritization. Every time you do it, you receive the benefit, and by doing so you can effectively discern activities and projects at work that will set you up for success at your performance review!

So what's the harm with total self sacrifice for your work? Well, depends on who you ask. For some people, they feel fueled soulfully by performing their work. Creatives find their happiness in their art, project managers lose track of time solving problems, and research associates get sucked into interesting articles or books on their topic. There's no "total perfect balance" to help you achieve the self care you need with total high work performance. We all have activities that enrich us, and by focusing on them you'll have a ten times greater chance of working smart rather than just working hard. So the next time you're letting excuses win you over, think about your next pay increase or job change. That will get you up and out of your seat in no time!

To your career and care,


Quick Tips to up your networking game ASAP

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If you’re job searching or business building, you’ll find yourself at a lot of networking events this Fall. Just about every group I participate in LOVES hosting events where guests have a chance to mingle and meet each other. Whether you’re new to town or looking to improve your skills, networking can feel tedious at times, and even exhausting. If you’re looking for a reason to brace the cold, perhaps it’s time to sharpen your skills to get the most out of that time. With your calendar fast piling up this fall, it’s a GREAT time to remind yourself of the quick tips to help you network like a Pro and get the right connections you need.

Here are my top tips for upping your networking game ASAP:

1. Make sure you define what success looks like before you head into the event.

If you need to meet at least two new prospects or connect with someone who knows someone at a particular organization, know that ahead of time. By knowing what your goal is, you’re much more likely to walk in with a plan, and have a more focused (not narrow) conversation with the person you meet. This isn’t to say the whole conversation should be focused on your goal - but in case you find yourself forgetting what to bring up or what brought you to the event - make sure you come prepared!

2. If you’re walking into a room cold, meaning you don’t know a soul in the room, you’re doing it wrong.

Look up the attendees or ask the host for a list of attendees ahead of time. You’ll have a much easier time thinking of what to say and to who before you get there.

3. Walking into a room and moving from group to group can seem daunting but it doesn’t need to be.

When you walk in, take note of the room, where the bar/food is, other tables, and take note of how the crowd is dispersed. If you’re a fan of talking to groups, focus on where those groups are, or if you prefer one on one conversation position yourself accordingly. When the conversation ends, know where to head next, even if that means the bar or the bathroom!

4. The biggest failure point for people is following up.

Pro-tip to try at your next event: Tell the person you want to genuinely connect with how and when you plan to follow up by. By directing the follow up and action you are essentially committing yourself to the follow up - and much more likely to remember it. Use that momentum and follow up with them exactly as planned to remain reliable and courteous of your time and energy.

Share your experiences in the comments below!