Friday, June 15, 2012

Negotiating is a Business Matter

One of the challenges to negotiating a raise or salary for a new job is approaching it strictly as a business transaction.   In some cases, emotions come into play out of concern for jeopardizing an existing professional relationship or job opportunity, or simply out of a fear of being denied.   Although the emotional side is understandable, the fact is, you need to be your own career advocate and sell your value.     

The first questions to ask yourself:  Do you believe in and have you identified the value you bring to a particular job and employer?   If you’re not confident or aware of this value, then you certainly can’t sell it to an employer.  To help identify your value, list your professional accomplishments, and if at all possible, quantify these by identifying related cost savings, increased revenue, increased efficiency, or other quantifiable measures.  If you haven’t done so recently, be sure to research current salary information for your particular occupation and industry to determine a salary figure that is realistic and reasonable for your field.   

Before you present a salary request, factor in your experience, skills, and education, plus any information you may have about the employer and the employer’s salary structure.  Make sure to have an acceptable salary range in mind, including the minimum you consider acceptable.  It may also be a good idea to pad the salary number you propose, even upwards of 15 percent, to allow room to negotiate.   A salary request should always be presented professionally and in a non-confrontational manner.  Regardless of whether the employer accepts your request, you should respond respectfully.  In cases where you are turned down for a raise by a current employer, ask for feedback on the employer’s decision and whether you can take steps to increase your earning potential in the future.  For job opportunities with a new employer, ask about future opportunities for increasing your income, such as merit increases, bonuses, or commissions.  

Lastly, don’t be afraid to be creative; consider negotiating benefits like vacation time or a flexible schedule. 

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