Don’t Fall For These Salary Negotiations Traps


More prepared means more money.


You work hard for the money, but your bank account has nothing to show for it. And it’s not for lack of trying, either – you’ve raised the topic of increasing your salary. Unsuccessfully.

Shannah Kennedy and Lyndall Mitchell of The Essentialists remind you not to take it too personally.

“It’s important to remember it’s not you getting rejected, it’s the proposed salary,” Shannah says. So, while consoling yourself by binge-watching your fave show is a viable option, you could also try addressing these potential issues.

Problem: Lack of confidence and a lack of documentation

Try: Building a solid case for why you deserve more money. “Make sure you go to the table with viable reasons to request an increase,” Lyndall suggests. If you’re trying to get a raise for your current job, what are some examples (note the plural) of times you’ve gone beyond what’s expected of you? If you’re negotiating a salary for a new job, how does your previous experience show you’re able to smash your new position, plus more?

Problem: Lacking the essential element of actually asking for exactly what they want

Try: Getting specific. So what do you want? “More money”, isn’t a good enough answer. If you suspect you’re being underpaid, do some research to find the standard industry salary for your position. This research also helps if you’re doing more than expected for your position, as it gives you leverage to ask for extra cash.

What if they still say no, but you know you’re worth more than what they’re offering? It might be time to move on to find a company that appreciates your fabulousness.

Problem: Lack of the relationship skills needed to negotiate well with their boss

Try: You need to up your listening game and show your boss you’re engaged. Shannah suggests doing this by repeating back what you hear.

“When you make a salary request, don’t go on and on, stating over and over again why it’s justified. Make your request and offer a short, simple explanation of why that amount is appropriate,” Shannah says. Then listen to what your boss has to say, repeat back what you’ve understood, and address any of their concerns.

She adds, “Make sure you’re not only listening, but also reading between the lines. Sometimes what isn’t said is just as important as what is said.”

“Ideally, both parties in a negotiation should come away from the table feeling that they’ve won,” Lyndall says. “You want your employer to have good feelings about the price paid for your services so that your working relationship begins on a positive note.”

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Visit Lizza Gebilagin’s personal website.

Lizza is a Sydney-based journalist and boxer.


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