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Get the Salary You Deserve

Get the Salary You Deserve

Matthew Moran / InformIT

Getting What You Want

As stated elsewhere, employment is an agreement between two parties. Ideally, this agreement should involve trading two commodities of equal value—the employer’s money and resources for the employee’s time and effort.

Many employees feel they are not in the position to negotiate, but as the saying goes, “Everything is negotiable.” As your career progresses and your ability to make an impact increases, you will be in a position to negotiate better employment deals.

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This chapter covers some of the basic elements of such negotiation.

Well, it has happened. A company is preparing to offer a position. You developed and utilized various elements of your toolkit to get to this point. Your résumé and cover letter were brilliant, your interviews were scintillating, and your follow-up and professional networking were perfect!

Now the employer is starting to press the envelope. The company has expressed interest, and it is time to start negotiating your compensation program. Wait!

Salary negotiations, employment agreements, and performance contracts are critical elements to your overall career success. They can help lay the groundwork for future growth within a company.

Start Early

If you want to maximize your earning potential, you must start the negotiation process early. Don’t wait until the offer is laid on the table to develop a clear idea of what you want and how you will get there.

When you are entry level, this is a little more difficult. However, the seasoned professional should have a good idea as to his worth and what the market will bear.

Starting early means placing the compensation package on the table during the interview process. You don’t have to get into particulars immediately. However, expect that the subject will come up at any time, and be ready to address it.

The employer might have provided a salary range up front, giving you an idea of what the company wants to pay. Although this is an indicator of where the employer wants to go, it is not set in stone.

Even large corporations, which are traditionally less flexible when it comes to altering job requirements or salary ranges, can make adjustments if the talent warrants it.

Don’t let a salary range that seems low keep you from either applying or speaking to the company. You might find, during discussions, that the company simply does not know what the market will bear for good talent. The company’s low salary range might even keep others with your level of experience from applying.

If you have extensive experience, you will have little competition in the pool of talent. This will work to your favor.

I’m not saying that the company will alter its salary range. It might not. However, I have seen companies create new positions when the right talent is on the scene. In addition, remember the idea of building your network of contacts.

If you have impressed the management at a company, even if the company chooses not to hire you, you now have an additional source of referrals to other companies.

Know What You Want

As discussed in Chapter 4, “Defining Yourself: Aptitudes and Desires,” you need to have a clear idea of what you bring to the table and what you need from material compensation, insurance, training, and so on.

This is critical. Without these ideas in place, you are shooting from the hip. It is likely that you will overlook some important requirement during the negotiation process.

Understand the Employer’s Perspective

Two ideas are often misconstrued by employees when it comes to employers. If you carry either or both of these perspectives, you need to alter your thinking.

The first misconception is that businesses are out to squeeze employees. It certainly is true that a business is hoping to get as much production in the time allotted as possible. To do otherwise would be foolish and ultimately lead to failure. However, rarely is this done without regard to the employee.

The second misconception is that there is little or no room for negotiation with an employer. Often, the job seeker feels that the employer holds all the cards, that as a job seeker, he has no bargaining power. You must understand that every employment arrangement is a barter for things of value. Read Chapter 6, “Attitude.” Good employees are a rare commodity, and business owners and management are more than happy to make concessions when they see value.

Remember: A business that fails due to lack of production is the same as being unemployed. Ultimately, you must understand that your employment is a cooperative agreement between you and the employer. You are there to provide value; the employer is there to provide a product or service. Both must take part in the success.

This idea should help you in negotiation. If you have a realistic sense of the value you bring to the table, you will be more likely to negotiate from a more powerful position.

This assumes that you are bringing value to the table and that your perspective and actual practice shows that you can produce.

Learn more about negotiating a salary and employment contract in the other parts of this guide:
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