Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes said, “The man who is prepared has half his battle fought.” The same can be said about successful negotiators. The best negotiators are often those professionals who spend time educating themselves about the job market and their target employer.
Whether you’re asking for a raise or negotiating a new contract, it’s important to research all of your options before entering such a discussion. Below are five different areas you should consider before negotiating your next compensation package.
Before it’s time to negotiate, do your homework. Use resources like PayScale and competitive-analysis tools like TheLadders Scout to determine the current market rate for your job and your current skillset, taking into account your field, location, and the company’s size. Use these numbers as a guide for your request.
If you’re interviewing for a role at a new company, talk to people you know who work for the employer and visit sites like Vault to research the company’s hiring practices and learn about the benefits they offer. When you’re armed with information, it’s easier to negotiate the right salary with confidence.
Not all job titles are created equal. In fact, they can be very different depending upon the company’s size, industry and corporate culture. A manager title at one organization may translate to a director at another. As a result, you may find yourself interviewing for a role with greater responsibility but a relatively similar or even junior job title. While you may not be able to negotiate a higher base salary, think about negotiating for a different title. This request comes at no cost to the employer and allows you to demonstrate a progressive career history on your resume and online profiles.
Professional advancement opportunities
If you want to get ahead in your career, you need to continuously learn and improve your skills. Luckily, many companies today offer professional growth opportunities to their employees in the form of tuition reimbursement, management training, mentor programs, and payment for relevant membership dues or conference fees. These options are relatively inexpensive for the employer and demonstrate your commitment to growth. Consider each of these opportunities as a means to build your skill set, grow your network, and take your career to the next level (and pay grade).
A survey by staffing firm Mom Corps found that nearly half of working adults (45 percent) would take a pay cut in exchange for more flexibility at work. Can you blame them? Studies have shown that employees who use (and don’t abuse) a flexible work schedule tend to be happier, more productive and less likely to burnout. And these days, it’s easier than ever to telecommute and remain a productive and valuable member of the team. Consider asking for a flexible work arrangement to reduce your commuting costs and maintain a better work-life balance.
Paid time off
Time is a valuable commodity. Requesting a few additional paid days off is a great way to improve your compensation package without hurting the company’s bottom line. Leverage your network and online resources to learn more about the company’s vacation policy. Ask for additional vacation days or see if the company will waive any restrictions placed on new employees during the first few months on the job.