Even if you’re happy with your paycheck, your two X chromosomes may be shortchanging you, says Linda Babcock, Ph.D., coauthor of Ask For It. In a recent study, Babcock recruited volunteers to play Boggle, telling them they’d be paid $2 to $10 for their time. When it came time for payment, participants were offered $3. Men ask for more at eight times the rate of women! Follow Babcock’s negotiating tips to get paid what you deserve.
Do your homework
* Ask colleagues and other people in your department what the standard procedure usually is for evaluations and raises,” says Babcock. Keep a running list of your accomplishments and contributions, and log on to websites like monster.com, salarydirectory.com, carrerjournal.com, or wageweb.com to get an idea of the salary range for the type of job you have. When it comes time for your next review, you’ll be prepared.
Talk the talk.
“Negotiation is a skill,” says Babcock
* “The more you practice, the better you’ll get at it.” If you’re nervous, start small by negotiating outside the office. For instance, the next time you’re at the farmers’ market, ask a vendor if he’ll give you a price break on the strawberry you’re buying-say something like “If I buy three quarts, can you sell them all to me for $10, instead of $4 each?”
Aim high-then higher.
Figure Out Your Ideal Raise
* Figure out what your ideal raise would be-then tack on a few percentage points. Think 5 percent is reasonable? Propose 7 percent or 8 percent, since your boss is likely to meet you in the middle.
Determine your alternatives.
* Before you speak with your boss, think about what will happen if you don’t get what you want. Will you look for another job? Will you stick with the status quo? Most important, what else would keep you happy where you are? The answer is your BATNA-the best alternative to a negotiated agreement-and the more you flesh it out, considering all of your alternatives, the more bargaining power you will possess. “If your boss says no to a raise, see if there’s something else she can offer, like a few days a month of telecommuting or an extra week of vacation a year,” suggests Babcock.
* A denial isn’t personal. Wash, rinse, and repeat this statement until you believe it. When you’re not afraid of hearing “no,” there won’t be any questions you’re too timid to ask.