Negotiate For Your Benchmark Salary! 

 November 30, 2012

By  Jana Hassett

If the economy does, indeed, get better (but won’t return to the glory years) people will start moving around.  This will create job openings and you need to be ready with your resume.  Many years ago I read a management book that said Men update their resumes as soon as they land a new job – Women wait until they are angry and ready to move on.  Make sure it’s up-to-date and meets current hiring criteria.  Resume formats change every 8-10 years so check with the employment division in your community.
While you’re at the State Employment Department research salaries for the positions you think you might like to have.  Get a sense of what most companies are paying and the type of benefits they offer.  See if that matches your “Enough” list.  I’ll write about making an “Enough” list next week.
But know that negotiating for that first salary is the most important.  If the job was listed at a set amount an hour it doesn’t hurt to make a case for more.  Be sure you’re ready to tell them why you’re worth more.  Victoria Pinchon specializes in helping high-powered women who work in male-dominated fields.  Claire Suddath interviewed her for an article in Bloomburg Businessweek on this very subject.  Victoria told her “it’s critical to know what men make to refrain from unknowingly accepting a lowball offer”.
Claire also interviewed Ofer Sharone, assistant professor of work and employment research at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.  Ofer cautions folks that your “agreement is the benchmark for all future raises, and if you switch jobs your employer will ask what you made at the last company.”  You want to be able to talk about it without embarrassment.  You must learn to be your own cheerleader.

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