4 salary negotiation mistakes to avoid

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Scared of salary negotiation? You’re not alone. A recent survey by Payscale found that 28 per cent of people that had never negotiated salary refrained from doing so because they were uncomfortable talking about money.

We get it. Discussions about money can feel awkward or taboo, but it’s important not to let that stop you from getting what is a fair price for your skills and services. If you don’t negotiate, you could be missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your career. And this goes for people just starting out too – even if you’re looking at your very first job, it’s important to get the best salary you can. This is the first step in ensuring you maximize your earnings over your lifetime.

Sure, I know it’s easier said (or typed) than done, but there are a few things to keep in mind to help you get started on the rights salary path.

Here are four common negotiation mistakes to avoid whenever the conversation veers towards salary.

Negotiating by email

Want to know why Internet comments are so mean and spiteful? It’s because people feel more confident when they don’t have to talk to someone face to face. That’s just human nature, but when it comes to salary negotiation, you’ll want to step out of your comfort zone, and that means negotiating in person or on the phone.

The risk with email is that your tone can easily be misinterpreted, and salary negotiation can be a sensitive issue. It’s also much harder (and risky) to interject some humour into the discussion.

Use email instead as a tool to schedule phone calls and meetings, and save some face time for the nitty gritty.

Overlooking other perks

While salary is certainly important, don’t lose sight of what initially attracted you to a job in the first place. Whether it’s the impressive title, a chance to develop new skills, or an excellent benefits package, keep it in mind so that you don’t push for an unrealistic salary. Money isn’t everything when it comes to job satisfaction.

Similarly, are there any other things that would improve productivity and your work-life balance? Would you like to work from home more often? Do you want more vacation time? These should be part of any compensation discussion, so make sure you know what’s important to you.

Being afraid to make the opening offer

It goes against conventional wisdom, but if you wait for the company to bring the first salary offer, you could be missing out. The anchoring principle gives you the advantage. If you throw out the first number or range, you are then setting the parameters of the conversation.

Don’t be afraid to get the conversation rolling, but make sure you know what you’re talking about before bringing it up. Do your research into the position, organization, and common salaries for your job title.

Giving into your nerves

The most crucial element of negotiating salary is to remember that the person you’re negotiating with expects it. It’s a routine part of both the recruiting and job seeking process, so try not to let your nerves dissuade you from negotiation.

Don’t rush yourself or the conversation. Come prepared with current research, and make sure your requests are in line with industry standards. Most of all, though, don’t simply accept the first number that’s offered. Just keep repeating: this is part of the process.

Good luck!

34 Words & Phrases That Scream “I’m a Leader” on Resumes

The Best Advice to Read if You're Struggling to Quit a Job You Hate
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One of the most common types of people I work with are those aiming to elevate their brand messaging to more loudly announce, “I’m one hell of a leader!” as they change jobs.

It’s one thing to be good at tasks, projects, and areas of specialization, but if you’re aspiring to manage teams, you simply can’t stop there. You also have to position yourself as an inspiring, effective leader.

There are hundreds of words and phrases that’ll help give those who review your resume or speak to you in an interview an immediate hint that you’ve got leadership firepower.

Here are a few of my favorites:

The person who lands any given job isn’t just a yes to the question, “Can he or she do the baseline requirements of this role?” That, of course, needs to be an affirmative. But, in virtually all instances, the top candidates for, will all be a solid yes to that question.

So, who gets the job? Partly, it’s the one who comes across as a true innovator and powerhouse. It’s the one who looks like he or she is going to take the ball (and the team) and run like hell (in the right direction).

1. Spearheaded

2. Pioneered

3. Ignited

4. Piloted

5. Transformed

6. Revitalized

7. Modernized

8. Optimized

Not every leadership role requires that you deal with budgets and money, but most of them will. In most organizations, managers (and directors, and VPs and C-level leaders) have budget accountability, quota accountability, or are working to performance metrics tied to the moolah.

Given this, you’ve got to be able to swiftly convey that you’re strategic, disciplined and smart when it comes to fiscal matters.

9. Budgeted

10. Cut costs

11. Drove growth

12. Invested

13. Reduced

14. Negotiated

15. P&L Accountability

If you’re working to land a leadership role, a key aspect of your job will likely involve inspiring and developing teams and the people on those teams. Again, you’re moving past the point at which the “stuff” you know how to do matters the most. Now it’s time to showcase your ability to rally others to pull off remarkable things.

16. Coached

17. Mentored

18. Supported

19. Shaped

20. Ignited

21. Motivated

22. Uplifted

23. Advocated

24. United

25. Galvanized

26. We (Remember, folks, there’s no ‘I’ in team.)

The best leaders aren’t just astute financial managers and strong people developers. They’re also most often among the more influential people within an organization. Simply put: They know how to get people to do what they want them to do, whether that’s team members, stakeholders from other business areas or departments, or direct customers.

When interviewing, you want to articulate very quickly that you’re someone people stop and pay attention to (in a good way) and go along with your ideas and strategies.

27. Negotiated

28. Convinced

29. Won

30. Gained buy-in

31. Prompted

32. Mobilized

33. Spurred

34. Propelled

Always remember that words matter. They matter a lot. Using the right one (in the right context) can help you convey that you’ve got the chops, the polish, and the charisma to light the world on fire.

How a Little Gratitude Can Help You Get Ahead at Work

Your Career Could Help You See the World (Seriously!)
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The Ultimate Guide to Traveling for Work

The Best Advice to Read if You're Struggling to Quit a Job You Hate
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Ah, the business traveler. Hollywood would have us believe that these people are world-weary road warriors who live out of beaten suitcases and subsist on questionable airport food. They’re sleep-deprived, jet lagged, and constantly rushing to make meetings, applying makeup or running an electric shaver over their five o’clock shadows in the backseats of taxis.

The Best Advice to Read if You’re Struggling to Quit a Job You Hate

The Best Advice to Read if You're Struggling to Quit a Job You Hate
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You know you�re on the wrong career path, but can�t pull yourself away. To do so would be to give up all you�ve invested and admit failure (to everyone). So, you stick it out�despite desperately wanting to change course.

Sound familiar?

It turns out, there�s actually a name for this kind of behavior:�the escalation of commitment.

Escalation of commitment (often just called �irrational escalation,� which should tell you something) is the behavior that leads us to continue to invest time, money, or effort into a bad decision or unproductive course of action even when, deep down, we know it�s all wrong.

It happens in a number of situations�for example, an organization�continues to pursue a project�they know is bound to fail, or a group of people decides to wait for a table at a restaurant after already having waited for 30 minutes. And, it�s the main reason we�re afraid to change careers and choose to stay in a job we hate.

So, why do we do this?

We�re Scared to Turn Back After Already Spending So Much Time and Money

In economics, there�s a concept called �sunk costs,� otherwise known as money you�ve spent that can�t be recovered. What�researchers have found�is that people act irrationally in the face of sunk costs�basically, because they�ve already invested X amount of money into something, they have to keep doing it, even

if it�s ultimately doomed to fail or the wrong decision for them.

Take my personal story for a real-life example: Before starting my own�career coaching business, I was a lawyer. Despite being unhappy, I struggled to leave. Because to leave would be to say I�d wasted a lot of time�and�a lot of money.

The same goes for everything you�ve put into your career so far�maybe you�ve spent 10 years in sales working your butt off, and are now realizing it�s not for you. Or, you�ve enrolled in a an engineering boot camp only to discover you don�t enjoy coding as much as you thought.

The thing about sunk costs is they�re just that: sunk, gone, irretrievable. But they�re not a�waste. Everything you do makes you a better, smarter, and more informed person, even if it doesn�t directly contribute to your dream career.

And this means that almost any skill can be�transferable�with the right mindset (and the right wording on your resume).

We�re Scared to Admit Failure

A harder, more personal hurdle to overcoming the escalation of commitment is�self-justification, or the urge to protect our egos from failure.

We self-justify our actions for two reasons:

The first reason is because we don�t like to admit defeat, to ourselves or anyone else.

Have you ever gotten into an argument with a friend, and about halfway into the discussion realized they were right? What did you do�admit you were wrong and apologize, or continue arguing for your cause?

If you chose the latter option, that�s the ego part of escalation of commitment coming into play�you�d rather continue to stand by your decision, knowing fully well it�s incorrect, than admit you were wrong from the beginning.

The second reason we self-justify is because we favor consistency in ourselves and others. Society rewards people who stick it out and are persistent. So, we worry that changing course now will make us look lazy and quick to give up.

If all this is hitting close to home, don�t fret! Your ego doesn�t have to be right�in fact, if we didn�t experience failure and inconsistency in our lives, we�d never grow and learn from our mistakes.

So, if you�re in this situation, do these three things:

  1. Acknowledge how much you�ve changed since you chose this path:�By separating the person you were from the person you are today, you�re creating psychological distance and giving yourself permission to change your mind. You�ve changed. Your career can, too.
  2. Remember that you�re more than just your job:�Create a list of everything you�ll still have if you change careers�your family, your friends, your hobbies, your passions. By reinforcing your identity outside of work, you�ll see that while switching paths will require change, it won�t upend your entire life.
  3. Remember that success isn�t always linear:�Though the idea of a linear path sounds comforting, it doesn�t make much sense if it�s a straight path to misery. If your definition of success isn�t possible on this path, the only way to be successful is to turn around. (For more information on how to define what success means to you, read�this article�and�this one.)

Yes, making a change is scary, and full of uncertainties. But don�t let the escalation of commitment keep you from doing something you really want to do, and what might ultimately be a better decision for your career.