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Negotiation Skills for Career Advancement

The ability to negotiate effectively can help you get the pay and promotions you want, settle differences with coworkers, and advocate for things that are important to you. The key to negotiating your starting pay is to do your research. It is clear there is a shortage of skilled professionals, which increases competition for top talent and drives up salaries. Many candidates are getting multiple job offers in today’s hyper-competitive hiring market. Of course, the job offer isn’t just about money. There are a variety of perks and benefits to consider, as well, including remote work, perks and benefits, signing bonuses, paid time off, work hours and vacations. In the bigger picture, your negotiation skills will become even more critical while you’re on the job. If you’re going to advance your career, you’ll likely need some tools such as professional development, support staff or leadership opportunities to move forward.

10 negotiation skills to boost your career

  1. Figuring out what you want. Make a list of what’s important to you. You should enter a negotiation with clear goals and prepare to adjust your expectations during this give-and-take process.

  2. Doing your research. Is it a promotion or a better compensation package you’re focused on? You can strengthen your position by supporting it with current market data. Are you looking for more flexibility? A tight labor market with a shortage of skilled professionals can make employers more open to concessions when they’re struggling with staffing and employee retention.

  3. ­­Focusing on the value you bring. You were hired for a reason and knowing your worth can give you the confidence to successfully negotiate for career advancement. If you’re in an entry-level position, you may have classes, internships or mentorship experiences you can use to highlight your achievements and skills.

  4. Practicing and role-playing before you negotiate. The key is to get yourself in a confident mindset. It may help to rehearse the conversation with a mentor and to imagine your negotiating for a friend.

  5. Being humble, assertive and practical. Ask, rather than demand. Review your job description and consider anything extra you’ve done outside of your list of responsibilities, such as cutting costs or adding to the company culture.

  6. Demonstrating active listening skills. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listening isn’t just useful for elevating a conversation; it’s also recognized as a valuable skill set that companies and hiring managers are looking for.

  7. Strategizing what to negotiate beyond salary. Be prepared to discuss topics that are important to you, such as a signing or retention bonus, flexible work schedule, remote vs. hybrid vs. onsite work, maternity/paternity leave, childcare and tuition reimbursement, your job title, upward mobility options, and the scope of work you’re performing.

  8. Realizing the conversation doesn’t have to end with the negotiated offer. Some people describe this as the never-take-the-first-offer approach. You may find it appropriate to conduct a second round of negotiations if the offer wasn’t what you were hoping for.

  9. Knowing your bargaining power. Whether you’re a job candidate at your second interview or an employee looking for something more, you should know that the company has already invested in you. And, in today’s job market, workers are feeling increasingly empowered.

  10. Viewing rejection as an opportunity to learn. Your negotiation shows your assertiveness, which is an in-demand skill in the workplace. Even if you don’t get what you ask for, it’s likely this experience has taught you something about yourself and the company, and about what you might do differently the next time, all of which are positive outcomes.

Regardless of the outcome, you should know that negotiating with confidence can help you develop your career, earn you respect, build relationships, increase job satisfaction, improve your company and earn credibility in your career. With practice, your negotiation skills will improve, and you will reach your career goals.

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