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You Get What You Ask For: Negotiating Your Salary

I feel like money has become such a touch and go topic for most people, especially in the black community. Negotiation is such a pain point for many of us and we just don't know how to navigate.

If you know me well enough, then you know I'm about my paper (the dollar bill, hundreds preferably). But today, I'm not just talking about cash money. I'm talking about the 401k's, the stocks, the bonds, the PTO, sign on bonus', relocation, the whole benefits package.

I'm going to give you a couple of words of advice that I've used to negotiate my salary in the past 3 years in hopes that you'll find value and confidence to do the same. It worked for me, and I'm sure it'll work for you.

1. Keep A List Of Your Deliverables ON HAND- This will help you with your case for WHY you deserve the amount you're asking for. No company wants to read your resume and go down a list of what you did everyday. Tell them how you made your old company BETTER. What were the numbers, how did you increase revenue, how did the everyday tasks that you did add value to the company. Include DATA...keep a list.

Remember that, this company is making you an offer based on what you can bring to the table professionally and the level of responsibility you’ll be taking on. Degrees are nice, but results are better.

2. Never Give Your Potential Employer A Number Up First- Most companies have been trained to ask you for your salary range, its a tactic. DO NOT ANSWER THAT. Always ask them first.....what is the range for the position? See where your prospective employer comes in first, and then go from there. If you’re asked directly what you’re looking for, say you’re open based on the range.

This set the tone for if you even want to continue with the interview. If their range does not meet your standards there is no need to waste time on either side. I've seen seen so many people make it through the interview process just to end up low balled. Wish them luck, and move on.

That brings me to my next point....

4. Money Should Be Talked About Up Front- I know this feels like taboo for most people and sounds scary but what I've found is that when you don't set your standards EARLY then you end up wasting a lot of time and feeling like you should accept anything because of the time wasted.

Asking about money early on doesn’t mean you aren’t intrinsically motivated. It just means you know your worth and you respect your time and there's too. I always think it's best to ask during the phone interview, preferably at the end.

5. Ask For What You Want- I have went into plenty of interviews and I always aim high. Now of course the company may not be able to meet me there but we can always negotiate if that is what I'm willing to do (see how I make it all about me, it's all about YOU). I see so many people that go in asking for what "they think they should be asking for" NO NO NO NO. Ask for what you want, you never know what they would be willing to offer you but you have to lead with that.

6. Negotiate Benefits- People usually are willing to settle on their salary if they can have a week of more PTO (extremely valuable....I'm currently running out of it), access stocks, sign on bonus, etc. Remember all of that is part of your payment. A lot of people have children or travel a lot and when you have that kind of lifestyle sometimes time becomes more valuable than money.

Never stop asking, if a company can't meet you at the salary you want, ask them about other benefits. I negotiated a big sign on bonus at my current job. I know friends that work at automotive companies who get a company car, others don't have to pay car insurance. ASK ASK ASK, and be strategic!

7. Be Willing To Walk Away- This one is so hard, but necessary and easy to do if you know what you're worth. One of my closest friends just went through the negotiation process and my key advice to her was "Go in with a understanding of the number you want, and the number you plan to walk away from".

This is so important because not enough of us are willing to walk away. Sometimes that is because circumstances you can't control and I understand what a privilege it is to be able to walk away. However, companies can smell desperation and will leverage that against you.

8. Don't Depend On Glassdoor To Know Your Worth- Glassdoor and other salary management websites are usually key when trying to understand your industries standard for the salary range. DO NOT STOP THERE. Please ASK people that are in your position how much they make, or the range you should be comfortable with (if people don't want to get into exact numbers). I've known Glassdoor to be wrong and out of's important you leverage the real world.

Those are honestly my 8 key takeaways when it comes to negotiating my salary and I'm sure there are plenty more. Get your paper and don't back down. Message me with any questions you may have, I'm here for all of you. -B

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