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Ask4More: 5 Salary Negotiation Tips for Working Women


Get your negotiation hats on, ladies, and let’s narrow that gender wage gap together. Here are five tips to help you negotiate a fair and equal wage that you definitely deserve … unless, of course, you’re satisfied with making roughly 20 percent less than a man for no good reason. Yeah, we didn’t think so, either.

Salary Negotiation Tips for Working Women Ask4More

(Photo Credit: Jusos FFM/Flickr)

Why is it that we women can negotiate the deal of the century on an antique dresser at a yard sale, but we avoid negotiating a raise or equal pay like the plague? It’s well known that women care more about what others think of them than men. Therefore, we are more inclined to meet in the middle during times of conflict to keep the peace and please others, but often forget about our own needs in doing so. This is especially true when it comes to money talks, namely asking for a raise or negotiating our salary.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Thankfully, the issue of the gender wage gap has received more mainstream attention and people are talking. Powerhouse women like NBC broadcast journalist Natalie Morales, former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton, and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg are joining forces with Levo League for the Ask4More campaign, which aims to spread awareness about America’s gender wage gap.

“You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you ask for,” says the campaign’s site, and those words couldn’t be more spot-on. Not only do women make 80 percent of what a man makes for equal work performed, we have to work twice as hard to be considered half as good in our careers – we definitely aren’t getting what we deserve, that’s for sure. Therefore, it’s time to name our price, rather than sit back and wait for that missing 20 percent pay gap to come find us when we “deserve” it. Now’s the time to flex your negotiating muscles, ladies, and ask for the pay that you’ve earned fair and square. Here are five salary negotiation tips to help prepare you for the big day.

1. Know What You’re Worth: Before you even think of jumping into your negotiation, be sure you know what you’re worth. A great way figure this out is by using a salary calculator tool (like this one) to get a fair evaluation of your current standing: qualifications, experience, education, and all. By gathering an accurate dollar figure of what you’re truly worth in the real world, gender aside, you’ll be able to enter your negotiation conversation with much more confidence than if you didn’t do any research.

2. Know What Number You Want: After you have figured out a ballpark figure of what you’re worth, now it’s time to figure out which number you’re going to go after. It’s just as important to be realistic about your target salary as it to be strategic about your approach. Asking for too much can result in your boss laughing in your face, but asking for too little can also backfire on you and make your efforts seem insignificant. Find your salary “sweet spot” by conducting proper research.

3. Know Who You’re Negotiating With: Just as in a job interview, you’re going to want to know the person or group of people you’ll be meeting with to discuss your potential raise. For instance, if you’ll be meeting with someone you’re intimated by, then it’s better to know ahead of time and prepare yourself, than to be caught off-guard the day of the meeting.

4. Know What You’re Working With: One of the most important tools you can have in your arsenal is confidence, and you can build that confidence by being crystal clear with your career objectives, now and in the future. Going into your negotiation meeting should be mostly exhilarating with a tinge of nervousness, not the other way around. So, take the time beforehand to evaluate the hard work you’ve put in to get where you are today, and outline what you’re willing to do to get where you need and want to be in your career.

5. Know That Practice Makes Perfect: If you’re feeling uneasy about negotiating your raise, then try practicing your negotiation tactics on a smaller, less intimidating scale, like at a flea market, with a service provider (e.g. cable company), or on Craigslist. The point is to exercise your negotiation muscles so that you build a necessary amount of confidence to carry over into your money talk at work. Start small then build up, because you’ll want to be as prepared as you possibly can upon entering a discussion about your salary.

The takeaway here is, your fair wage isn’t going to find its way to you, ladies – you’re going to have to go out there tenaciously and confidently and get it. When you’re “negotiating while female,” remember that you’ve already earned fair pay and there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. If you’re still wary of how to go about asking for a higher salary or a raise, use PayScale’s comprehensive step-by-step Salary Negotiation Guide to act as a training guide to get you negotiation-ready in no time. Good luck and hang in there, ladies, we’re almost there!

Tell Us What You Think

Do you negotiate? If you have an inspiring story about negotiating a raise, share it with our community on Twitter and join the conversation.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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