Tom was a longtime Boeing engineer who loved airplanes and believed he'd have a permanent lifelong career with the company. His layoff caught him by surprise. He panicked. He worried about who would hire him now and how he would afford his son's college tuition, for surely he'd never make the same salary again.
Mary was promoted twice. The first promotion came with a 2% raise. Then, a year later she got a new title, but no extra compensation for taking on more responsibilities. She was convinced she'd never get a raise since the company's budgets were very tight.
These career counseling clients both feared that their future could not hold a better paying job. Each was wrong. They both landed new jobs and a significant raise – 20% and 33% higher – making thousands more!
How did they do it? They learned two important career management facts.
1. The largest salary increases typically come when an individual moves on to a new company.
2. You must master the proven techniques of salary negotiations.
You have the most power to improve your salary when you move on to a new position in a new company. Numerous surveys have been published supporting the fact that changing jobs can indeed make you richer. (Read the survey results on Boeing engineers and technical people)
There is an art to negotiating your next salary, particularly if you are unemployed. Certain mistakes must be avoided and specific strategies used. This topic is covered in depth in the book "What to Do with the Rest of Your Life," but here is a brief description to get you moving into a more prosperous future.
· Don't undervalue yourself. Learn exactly what your talent and skills are worth – usually more than you think. Research salary surveys. Go to the local library and ask the reference librarian to help you find the salary survey information for your profession. Many magazines and associations publish this information, often broken down by region and level of experience. Network with colleagues and ask what the typical salary for the job and level you want might be. Another good source of information can be found on www.salary.com. Don't guess at your potential salary, KNOW. Not doing this research is the costliest mistake you can make.
· Avoid the minefields to insure you get the highest possible salary. Whoever mentions money first loses – this is a key concept to learn. That means if the employer asks you to mail in a salary history (one quarter of employers do) just ignore this request. If it's mandatory, you can comply in a clever way by citing a salary survey source with a salary range, noting you are within that range. It's essential to keep the upper hand here. Oftentimes employers discount you because your old salary was too low, thus they automatically downgrade your skills. Mary once made this mistake, stating her old salary figure when questioned by a hiring manager who used that salary as a measuring stick on her skills, and eliminated her when he heard the low salary figure. To maintain the advantage in salary negotiations, refrain from ever disclosing your former or current salary.
· Turn this career move into a promotion. Illustrate your potential in your resume by stating a series of achievements and quantifying the results. Demonstrate that you can, and will, make important contributions to the new employer and they will place a higher value on you and your talents. During the interview, have a confident, success attitude.Always ASK for more. The first offer is rarely the TOP offer. Asking appropriately often leads to more dollars showing up on your paycheck. Always link your request to the value and skills you offer and note how the employer will benefit.