Salary negotiation early on in one's career has the potential to gain them anywhere between $500,000 and $1,000,000 throughout their working life, and yet only 37 percent of millennials report ever asking for a raise. Whether that's because they got a raise before they asked for one, were uncomfortable negotiating, or don't want to seem pushy, there's a ton of money millennials are leaving on the table simply because they just didn't ask for it.
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To put it simply: Milennials, if you don't ask, the answer will always be "no." Similarly, if "no" is actually the answer, that is also the worst that can happen – and with the proper approach and research to back you up, "no" becomes a less and less likely result.
Sitting, waiting, and wishing your boss would notice that you're feeling undervalued (or that you're absolutely crushing it) probably isn't going to get you that raise, but it's a surefire way for to end up frustrated. While negotiating your salary can certainly be daunting, ending up with an unsatisfying paycheck is a lot worse. Here are a few tips that will help make the big ask a breeze:
1. Do Your Research
Decide on an appropriate salary range based on similar jobs in your geography and industry. Your target salary should fall within this range respective to your skills and relevant experience. There are many websites that provide salary information, including Salary.com, PayScale, Indeed, and Glassdoor.
2. Know Your Strengths
If you're going to negotiate, prospective employers will want to know what sets you apart from everyone else and why they should invest in you. Have talking points ready that illustrate your strengths and differentiators. Make them clear and concise, and pick a few strong examples to accompany them.
3. Own It
If you go into a negotiation with apprehension and a lack of confidence, then you'll most likely ask for and get less than you deserve. If you enter the room with confidence, your boss will feel your energy and in turn give it back to you. Your position of strength is attractive to employers and will prompt them to make a better offer.
One way to generate confidence is to recite positive affirmations before your interview. Some examples are "My skill set makes me the perfect fit for the job," "I will negotiate my optimal salary, effortlessly," and "I will ask for what I deserve."
4. Role Play
Whether it's in the car, in front of a mirror, or over dinner with a friend, practice makes perfect! The more prepared you feel, the more confident and comfortable you will be. Think of different ways that the conversation may go, and develop responses to those scenarios.
5. Don't Settle
You must have a "walk away" number. This number should be determined by your research into the salary ranges for the position coupled with your experience as it relates to the position. If the company can't give you an offer past your minimum requirement, then respectfully decline and tell them that you will entertain the position in the future if they reconsider their price point. If you give in on the salary up front, what else will you sacrifice in your career?
Lindsay McCutchen is a young entrepreneur and CEO of Careert Start, a growing and thriving staffing and workforce management agency in Rochester, New York.