In honor of Independence Day this past weekend, we are re-running a post that was originally entitled, “5 Keys to Speaking Your Worth.” I speak with women all the time about their salaries — in classes, in casual conversations, in financial counseling. When we talk about financial independence for women, earned income is a big, big issues. For most people in the U.S., their income is the primary factor in their wealth building.
So as you think about financial independence, think about what it means to “speak your worth,” and maximize your income potential for greater wealth creation.
How do you speak your worth?
We have talked many times in this space about the serious challenges women face with pay equity, and the damage lower incomes have for them and their families throughout their lives. From the first salary onward, salary negotiations are a critical skill for women of all ages.
Different views exist on how women should negotiate salaries, from the clear advice of “do not back down,” to a more careful, “calibrated” approach that involves making a case without making yourself “demanding and unlikable.”
Salary negotiation is not a fine science. One of the trickiest parts is the experiential learning aspect. You need to be able to “get” the nuance involved with each individual negotiation, and that instinct generally comes with experience.
While this is a complicated area, we want to offer five basic ideas to provide a framework for salary negotiations to help women speak their worth:
1. Know your market — It is critical to go into a salary negotiation knowing what the job generally pays. This way you can avoid undervaluing yourself, but you will also avoid asking for a number that is so unrealistically high that you lose your credibility.
2. Know your worth — Understand how your background, skills, and knowledge add value to that particular position, and that specific organization, so you can articulate it in the negotiation.
3. Communicate clearly — Clearly articulate the case behind your request, utilizing the information you have about the market, your worth, and the organization’s needs, to make a compelling case for a particular salary.
4. Understand your interests are not aligned — Think about what is going on at the other side of the table. While it is in your best interest to earn more money for yourself, it is likely in the best interest of the organization to save money and not pay you any more than they have to. In other words, it is unlikely the organization will do you a favor and pay you more without being asked.
5. Understand the value — The idea of value here is a critical piece of the job negotiation puzzle. It may be that you are not able to negotiate the salary you want, but the job has value nevertheless, either because you love the work, or it is a stepping stone to something even better.