Written by Jessica Williams (’03) for her website blog, The Superwoman Project, on September 17, 2018. Jessica is the Founder and CEO of The Superwoman Project and a speaker, coach, facilitator, and author. Learn more about her work and background here. This article is re-posted and shared with permission.

Woman holding gold coins over her eyes

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Negotiating your salary doesn’t have to be so hard. Whether you’re asking for a raise or negotiating a job offer, here are nine practical steps to getting the compensation you want and deserve.

1. Analyze the situation 
Do you know your value in the marketplace? Write down the accomplishments, experience, education, and strengths you bring to this job that make you unique in the marketplace. Then do your research: go to salary.comGlassdoor, and payscale.com to research the going rate for the work you do in your city. Use the information you gather and make a rough estimate of the salary range you should be making.

2. Know what you value
When you’re preparing to negotiate your salary, it’s important to look at your entire compensation package and figure out what you value most — what’s important to you? Financial security, freedom to travel, flexible hours, leadership opportunities, recognition and/or growth potential are just some of the things you might value as much as base salary going into a negotiation.

3. Research your counterpart
The ability to see the other side’s point of view is the most important skill in any negotiation, so make sure you have thought through your counterpart’s perspective. What would you be concerned about if you were in their shoes? What would you say if you were them? This information will help you demonstrate compassion, understanding and empathy for their position, which makes you more likable and more likely to get the increase you’re asking for.

4. Know your bottom line
Your bottom line is the least you’re willing to accept in this negotiation — your walk away point. What is that for you? How low are you willing to go on your “asks” before you decide to move on to greener pastures?

5. Work on your confidence
Lack of confidence is one of the reasons people don’t negotiate their salaries or ask for a raise. Don’t let self doubt make you a statistic. If you feel like you don’t deserve what you’re asking for, aren’t worthy of it, or are afraid your counterpart will get “mad” at you for asking… it’s time you look at your belief systems around money, self worth, and work. What is holding you back from asking for what you want?

6. Express enthusiasm
One of the mistakes I see people making when they go to negotiate their salary is they forget to express their enthusiasm and gratitude for the opportunity at hand. This is a very important part of the process! Say “thank you, I’m so excited to get started…” and it will go a long way towards building goodwill and getting what you want.

7. Collaborate
Think of this negotiation as a conversation, not a competition. Collaborate with your counterpart to come to a mutually beneficial solution that you both feel happy about. Frame the conversation as a collaboration by saying, “I understand where you’re coming from and I want to work with you to come up with a mutually beneficial solution.”

8. Get creative
Don’t just negotiate on salary, look at your entire compensation package as an opportunity to get creative and earn more. For example, here is a list of things you can negotiate on:

  • Paid time off
  • Cell phone reimbursement
  • Bonus structure
  • Relocation costs
  • Flexible schedule
  • Work from home hours
  • Profit sharing
  • Title promotion
  • Starting bonus

9. Exercise patience
Finally, some negotiations can take weeks or even months to iron out, so be patient during this time. Take good care of yourself while you navigate the uncertainty of waiting to hear back from your counterpart.

The most important step to a successful negotiation is the preparation part. Remember to plan ahead and if you want more help negotiating your salary, download our Ultimate Salary Negotiation Checklist to work through these steps.