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How to Negotiate Your Salary and Career Advancement

The stats aren’t encouraging.

According to a 2020 Personal Capital survey, 70 percent of employed people believe women are often at a disadvantage to men in their careers. Only 18 percent of women said they were extremely hopeful about their career advancement opportunities.

Ruzwana Bashir, one of Fortune’s 10 Most Promising Women and a Personal Capital Financial Hero, says that a lot of the disparity has to do with systemic situations and societal issues. The pay gap and the investing gap and the fact that women generally live longer pose the question: What can we do to move forward?

One way to change these statistics is to educate ourselves on how to get more money for the work that we already do. Women who consistently negotiate their salaries are on average more likely to earn about a million dollars more in their lifetime than women who don’t ask. If that’s not a great motivator already, here are my three top tips to negotiate your career advancement.

1. Get Friendly with Data

You can’t argue with data. Research is the very first thing you need to do in order to prepare for a negotiation.

Gathering data is essential for two reasons. First, you’ll have it on-hand for the people who may or may not ask for it. Second, having data to back you up will help you remain confident in yourself as opposed to pulling random information out of the sky. It’s so easy to simply go off of a statistic or number you *think* you heard before, or one you quickly justify is “enough” in your own head. Don’t succumb to that. Do your research; you’ll thank yourself later. 

My favorite resources for gathering data, specifically about salary, are Glassdoor, Payscale, and Salary.com.

Another thing you can do is reach out to peers in your desired position on LinkedIn. Make sure it’s someone you can trust to give you accurate information and feedback about the position.

Ask things like:

  • “What level of compensation makes sense for this role?”
  • “With X skills and Y experience, what would you price this role at?”

2. List the Ways You’ve Outperformed

This is especially helpful when you are aiming at a career advancement within your own company. Type or write out a list of your original job description and — importantly — anything extra you did on top of that. This includes listing out every person you’ve managed, project you’ve implemented or taken on, ways you’ve saved the company money or have added to the company culture on top of your expected list of responsibilities. 

As an example, at my last job, I instituted a gratitude practice at the beginning of our week. After some time, I noticed how this contributed to our positive work culture and overall productivity. When I made my own list, I made a point to explain how this went beyond my job duties and added to the company.

In handing this list off to your boss, you’re basically saying that you mastered the role and you’re adding further value to the team.

3. Use Collaborative Statements

Sometimes a negotiation process can turn heated. If at any point you get flustered, pause. Breathe. Come back to one of the following collaborative statements:

  • “I want to work together with you on this.” 
  • “I want to find a solution that makes sense for both of us.”
  • “I want to get to a number we can agree on.”

Statements like these give you the chance to remain assertive yet collaborative in your request. Negotiations shouldn’t make enemies; the process is a compromise toward common goals: productivity and satisfaction.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Negotiation is a muscle you have to build over time. Before I became my own boss, I would absolutely get nervous before negotiations, even though I had been through the process before.

Before stepping into your salary talk, try channeling Bashir. Here’s what she had to say about career advancement for women: “We will change expectations and ensure women break through glass ceilings in every industry.” I wholeheartedly agree with her. And it starts with knowing the value you bring to your company and negotiating your way up the ladder.

Learn About Bashir and Her Path to Financial Empowerment

Personal Capital compensates Tori Dunlap (“Author”) for providing the content contained in this blog post. Additionally, in a separate referral arrangement between Author and Personal Capital Corporation (“PCC”), Author is paid $70 and $150 for each person who uses Author’s webpage (www.HerFirst100k.com) to register with Personal Capital and links at least $100,000 in investable assets to Personal Capital’s Free Financial Dashboard. As a result of these arrangements, Author may financially benefit from referring potential clients to Personal Capital and/or be incentivized to present blog content that is favorable to PCC. No fees or other amounts will be charged to investors by Author or Personal Capital as a result of the Referral Arrangement. Investors that are referred to PCC and subsequently subscribe for investment advisory services provided by PCC’s affiliated adviser, Personal Capital Advisors Corporation (“PCAC”) will not pay increased management fees or other similar compensation to Author, PCC or PCAC as a result of this arrangement. Additional information about PCAC is contained in Form ADV Part 2A available here.

The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money.

Any reference to the advisory services refers to Personal Capital Advisors Corporation, a subsidiary of Personal Capital. Personal Capital Advisors Corporation is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training nor does it imply endorsement by the SEC.

Tori Dunlap is a millennial money and career expert. After saving $100,000 at age 25, Tori founded Her First $100K to fight financial inequality by giving women actionable resources to better their money. A Plutus award winner, her work has been featured on Good Morning America, New York Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, and more. An honors graduate of the University of Portland, Tori currently lives in Seattle, where she enjoys eating fried chicken, going to barre classes, and attempting to naturally work John Mulaney bits into conversation.
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