Some folks claim that if you do what you love, the money will follow. Others say that a job is just a job â you’re not meant to like it. The truth lies somewhere between these two extremes. There are few things worse than a job you hate; and many people enjoy fun, fulfilling careers while earning a good living.
Whatever the case, any job is more bearable if you’re paid well. Plus, a high wage means more money to pursue your goals and dreams. One of the best ways to increase your income is at the source: during salary negotiations when you land a job.
Why You Should Negotiate Your Salary
For many people, salary negotiations are awkward or scary. But in his book Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute, career coach Jack Chapman argues that those few minutes during which you ask for more money in an interview can make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime. Maybe even hundreds of thousands. He says you can literally earn $1,000 per minute if you do this right.
Research backs him up. According to a 2010 study conducted by George Mason University and Temple University, failing to negotiate on an initial job offer could mean missing out on over $600,000 in salary during a typical career.
“We spend years thinking about what we’ll be when we grow up,” Chapman writes. “But when it’s time for a raise, most of us just accept whatever we’re offered. How many minutes do we spend negotiating the money? Zero.”
Only about half of all applicants negotiate their salary; don’t be one of these folks. If you don’t ask for more money, your employer certainly won’t just give it to you.
Before we look specifically at negotiating salary, let’s review the basics of negotiation in general.
You Can Negotiate Anything
In his book You Can Negotiate Anything, Herb Cohen writes that there are three crucial variables in every negotiation:
- Power, or the ability to get things done. In salary negotiations, you gain power from perceived expertise or legitimacy. The better qualified you are for a position, the more leverage your have. You also gain power through persistence, attitude, and taking calculated risks. You have power if youâre willing to walk away; if youâre not, the company can name its price.
- Time. In negotiations, the side with the most time generally has an advantage. No matter how much pressure youâre under, always keep your cool, maintaining an appearance of calm. Having other options buys you time. Youâre in a better bargaining position if you already have a job (or job offer) and donât need to accept his one. When you believe you have to have something, the other side can easily manipulate you.
- Information is the final piece of the puzzle. The more you know, the stronger your position. Do your research before you negotiate. During negotiations, act on whatever new info comes to light. The interviewerâs questions, responses, and attitude all give you valuable information.
Now let’s look at two (very similar) methods for negotiating your salary.