Two young businessmen brainstorming together at the office

You ever feel like you’re drowning in your current position, or can’t find a new job that meets your financial needs? Don’t worry—you’re not alone. Many professionals face the challenge of swimming upstream to get the compensation plan that they deserve. Too many of us sink in the face of uncertainty and the unknown. What you’re not considering is that opportunities are like buses, they come around the corner every five minutes. Look at it this way; if you don’t fight for yourself, no one else is going to do it for you.

So I challenge you to dive in and negotiate for your own professional wellbeing. Here are some quick tips to get you motivated for change.

Be Confident and Negotiate.

No one is born with the skills to be a good negotiator, but we can learn to be one. Many people don’t negotiate job offers because they fear that asking for more will damage the relationship with the hiring manager or the head honcho. Negotiating effectively is not about being aggressive or giving ultimatums. It’s about working collaboratively to get what you want while still satisfying the needs of the hiring manager. Remember that even though you are interviewing for the new job or position, you’re still interviewing for yourself to ensure that it’s the right move for you.

There are tons of resources out there to help you learn to negotiate; you just need to take the time to browse the internet and read. Check out Monster, Job-Hunt, Payscale, Lifehacker, Forbes, US News and World Report, and salary.com.

Don’t Skip Out on a Job Opportunity Because You Feel that the Salary is too Low.

There is always room for negotiation. In fact, job-hunt.org has found that 85-90% of hiring managers do not make their best offer first. To determine how much you should ask try assume that the employer has given you a healthy and fair salary to start with. But don’t undervalue yourself and know that all employers expect you to do some negotiation. Indeed, many employers see candidates who negotiate as high-performers. Figure out the salary you want and then ask for a bit more to allow room for compromise.

Investigate the Entire Compensation Plan

Your new salary can be enhanced dramatically by taking the entire compensation into consideration. The whole package is important: bonuses, commissions, stock options, 401(k) matching, insurance, and retirement plans.

Create you list of priorities and ask questions accordingly. Make the first question an easy one, like, when can I get into the 401(k) match? The answer will most likely be at least six months, but that softball question will put the hiring manager at ease. Next ask another easy question. Maybe this second question is about the team dynamic and reporting structure. Then the third question should be about your top priority, and maybe that’s the bonus. It’s essential that you do your research and feel free to ask for time to do so. And make sure that you get your needs met before you sign the deal. 

Don’t Forget to Negotiate a Vacation

I had a colleague that always negotiated her vacation time prior to getting her new job. The best way to secure the job that you want is to take care of yourself. A vacation offers you the opportunity to “get away from it all.” And it’s a valuable tool to allow you to decompress and reduce your stress so that when you return to the office you’re refreshed and able to perform at a much higher level.

Get the Offer in Writing

You need the specifics of your new salary and plan on paper. That way there is no confusion or mistake about what you and your hiring manager agreed upon. And don’t sign the offer without every little item detailed so that everyone is on the same page.

It’s time for you to get yours. Attack the waters of compensation negotiation and you’ll be swimming smoothly to a happy and healthy career.