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What do you want? Just ask

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in Career Management,Salary Negotiating,Workplace Communication

Too often women hesitate to ask for what they want, need and deserve until given permission.

A recent study focusing on job-seekers applying for an administrative assistant position confirms that when it comes to women and wages, female job applicants are likelier to ask for more money only when employers explicitly say that wages are negotiable. It’s as if we need permission. (Men were in­­clined to negotiate more often when a flat, hourly rate was stated, with no mention of the word “negotiable.”)

Women are just as effective at negotiating—it’s simply a matter of choosing to do so. The study found the gap between men and women closed when negotiation took place via email versus face to face.

Gain confidence through preparation. Dig deep to figure out what you want. For example, don’t make the mistake of thinking that compensation means only salary. Con­­sider other job aspects that might improve your standard of living: higher bonus structure, tuition waivers, transportation benefits, stock options.

Then, take time to research the options and precedents. Find salary information on websites such as salary.com, salaryexpert.com, jobstar.org and the U.S. Department of Labor’s national compensation survey.

Call a couple of colleagues from different organizations and ask them what they think someone in your position should earn.

Ask yourself a few key questions, such as, “Can I find a more lucrative job I would enjoy as much? Should I interview with other companies, or at least speak with an executive recruiter to have some alternatives? If I’m offered a better retirement plan instead of a raise, would that allow me to feel OK?”

Determine what measurable contributions you’ve made to your company over the past year and be able to articulate them. You need factual backup: “I know that the company is benefiting from my ability to manage multiple super­­visors without additional support and locate vendors to reduce costs by 3% overall. I am looking to receive a salary of X.”

Then walk into that negotiation with confidence, clarity and clout.

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