Piedmont’s Career Services Department Shares Five Tips for Negotiating Higher Salaries
Career Services Director Lisa Mann has seen it happen time and again: Job seekers get to the negotiation table and, for a variety of reasons, fail to walk away with every last cent or benefit they could have received.
A few years ago, she decided to do something about it.
Mann earned her Smart Start Salary Negotiation Facilitator certification from the American Association of University Women in 2017. Since then, she’s helped more than 100 individuals — primarily Piedmont students and alumni — successfully negotiate their compensation packages.
While Mann is happy to help anyone through the negotiation process, she has a particular affinity for helping women.
“There’s a statistic from the Pew Research Center that I think is just shocking: Women on average earn 80 to 85 percent of what men do for the same job. To make that up, women would have to work an extra 39 to 42 days a year — or basically half their weekends,” Mann said.
“Think about what that adds up to over your working lifetime.”
In honor of Women’s History Month, Mann shared her top tips for female job seekers. Salary negotiation assistance is one of many services provided by Piedmont’s Career Services department. For more information, contact Mann at email@example.com.
- Do your research — As the hiring process winds itself toward an offer, Mann encourages job seekers to begin researching both the cost of living in the work location and salary range for the position. “Two great resources for this type of information are payscale.com and glassdoor.com,” Mann said.
- Network — For further insight into the offer that might end up on the table, Mann suggests job seekers begin networking with individuals who already hold the desired position as well as individuals who work at the company or organization where the job seeker is hoping to get hired.
“Never ask members of your network their specific salary,” Mann said. “But talk to them and try to get a sense of the range that the position pays. Try to find out if the company where you’re trying to get hired offers competitive salaries or not. This information will help set your expectations for the offer you’re hoping to receive.”
- Set your negotiables and non-negotiables — Here’s where salary negotiations get personal, Mann said. It’s important that job seekers are clear with themselves on their salary requirements and what benefits they’d be willing to accept at a lower salary. For example, a job seeker might want to make $55,000, but the initial offer is $52,500. The job seeker should first counter with the higher amount. If the employer won’t budge, the job seekers should already have a list of benefits that would compensate for the lower salary. Those benefits could be an extra two weeks of vacation, or the ability to work from home, or childcare, or a gym membership.
“You need to know what’s of value to you, what you’d be willing to accept and where you have to draw the line and say, ‘Nope, I can’t take less than this amount.’ You need to be thinking through those things in advance, away from the stress of the negotiating process,” Mann said.
And even if the salary comes in right where you were hoping it would, it never hurts to ask for more, which leads to tip No. 4.
- Think of salary negotiations as a test — “The salary negotiation process is a chance to show you’ve done your homework. It shows your employer how you’ll prepare for your everyday job. Depending on your career, negotiating could be part of your job, and you need to show from the start that you are capable of getting the best offer,” Mann said.
That said, always be tactful. “Read body language, read the room. You’ll know when the deal is firm and it’s time to either take it or walk away,” Mann said.
- Be confident — More than anything, it’s important job seekers — and especially women — believe in themselves and their worth. “Make sure you’ve listed, on your resume and your LinkedIn profile, every training and accomplishment up to this point. Use your experience to sell yourself, and remember, you are worth it.”