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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

7 Rules to up Your Salary and How a Job Coach Raised Hers by $194,000

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  • There are two straightforward ways to bump your salary.
  • You can ask for a raise — or negotiate a better salary when you move to another company.
  • Mandi Woodruff-Santos, a finance and job coach, gives her tips.

Your salary is a marker of your value to your company, and it’s perfectly reasonable to believe that you deserve more if you’re performing well.

There are two ways to get a bigger paycheck — either ask for a raise at your current job or negotiate when going for a new job.

Mandi Woodruff-Santos has become an expert at negotiating good salaries during job interviews. 

“I started my first full-time job in 2010, at age 22. Since then, I’ve quit jobs six times — increasing my salary by nearly $194,000, and by an average of 39% each time I left for a new opportunity,” she wrote for CNBC Make it.

In 10 years, she increased her base salary from $31,200 to $225,000. Taking bonuses into account, she made an additional $160,000 in that same time period. 

Woodruff-Santos now works as a finance and careers coach.

Here are her tips for negotiating a better salary. 

1. Don’t quit your job just because you want a better salary

A bigger salary may be a tempting reason to join another company, but it’s equally important to think about what you really want to do and what will help you develop your skills and further your career in the long run.

2. Don’t disclose your expected salary

At some point during a job interview, the recruiter will either ask you about your current salary or your salary expectations. If you answer too quickly you may end up losing out.

Woodruff-Santos said it’s best to wait until you know more about the position and the team before answering a question about salary expectations.

“I’d love to hear more about the role and expectations before discussing compensation. Can we revisit this conversation after I’ve had a chance to speak with the team and determine whether I’m a good fit?”

She also said it’s best to avoid answering if a recruiter asks you for your current salary.

“I’d rather not disclose that at this point in the process, as I’d like to have a more comprehensive salary conversation based on my skills, what I can offer to the team, and company benefits. Can you tell me if you have a certain budget in mind?”

3. Practise negotiating in less stressful situations

Negotiating your salary is a stressful situation, and that stress can cause miscommunication. It’s a good idea to practise as much as you can and when you have little to lose.

It can be as simple as sending the wrong order back at a restaurant or asking them to lower the bill. 

Apply this rule at work. If you notice that you’re being given more responsibility than usual, ask for a raise to reflect this.

4. Don’t respond to your first salary offer immediately

When you receive a job offer, don’t respond immediately.

You can use your position to negotiate and get what you want.

“Once you receive the first offer, respond with a thank you note and tell them you’ll get back to them within 24 hours, after you’ve had time to review the offer. Then schedule a call to negotiate something higher,” Woodruff-Santos wrote.

“Finish it off by politely letting them know you’re more than happy to give them time to consider your request,” she added.

5. Negotiate by phone, never by email

Always try to negotiate in person if you can. If that’s not possible, it’s better to use the phone than email.

“It shows that you can handle difficult conversations and aren’t afraid to fight for what you want,” Woodruff-Santos went on.

She wrote that she was able to double her signing bonus at one job thanks to a phone call, which began like this: 

“Thank you for your offer. I’m excited about this opportunity. Unfortunately, I don’t think this compensation reflects everything I can offer. Based on my skills and the responsibilities asked of me, I think this X amount makes more sense.”

6. Think about the total package

Salary negotiations don’t always follow a template.

On one occasion, Woodruff-Santos asked for a better base salary over the phone, and the recruiter, somewhat reluctantly, promised to call back with an answer from the higher-ups.

Eventually, they got back to her, saying that they wouldn’t increase her base salary but that they would raise her signing bonus to match what she wanted.

“Your total compensation package consists of so much more than the base salary. You can negotiate other factors, such as a signing bonus, annual bonus, benefits,” she wrote.

7. Talk over the final offer with people you trust 

Finally, before you say yes, don’t be afraid to reach out to people close to you for their advice.

“I turned to at least two mentors for advice each time I had a new job offer. I asked them questions like what range they felt I should shoot for, what perks and benefits I should request, and whether they thought a final offer was reasonable,” Woodruff-Santos wrote.

Networking is also a useful tool in the recruitment process. Seek out people with good experience in the industry and ask them for help and advice. 

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