Man

So what are your salary requirements? I just love that question. Why do employers ask what we “need” during job interviews, especially when we know they already have the number in mind? And when did we all get brainwashed into thinking that a salary negotiation is just about what we need to get by to pay the bills?

Getting a job, or moving up the ladder, should be about getting what we “want,” and more importantly about being rewarded and recognized for what we’re worth. Our minds, our talents, our willingness to do better—all of those characteristics that make us unique is our own intellectual property. But the question is, how do you put a price on that?

Pricing consultant, Casey Brown (featured on Ted.com) said,

“No one will ever pay you what you’re worth. They will only ever pay you what they think you’re worth. And you control their thinking.”

Go back and read what she said—“and you control their thinking.” This is an exercise in learning to turn the tables and market yourself. We can’t just go into an interview and lay down, accepting what we’re told. We can’t just tell people what we think we want them to hear to get the job. Instead, there is a new challenge, we need to tell them what we need them to hear so that we can get the merits we deserve.

So we all agree right? We should get paid for our excellence. Got it. But to do that, we need to follow a few simple things to change our approach.

Communicate your value. It’s your job to tell hiring managers, peers, and superiors about your accomplishments. Create your own value, don’t let yourself think that someone else will do it for you. But be strategic about it, it needs to come across with your own voice and authenticity. And don’t for a minute decide that it’s a good idea to oversell and then underachieve. You must rise to the challenge.

Operate with confidence. Leave the fear behind. And always remember that fear doesn’t define your value. It’s realistic for you to believe that you’re worth more. But you need to have the self respect and self confidence to ask for what you deserve.

Believe in yourself. The worst thing that you can do is to doubt yourself. You must change your message in your head. “I’m worth it. I’m good, rather great, at my job. I’m so good that I’m irreplaceable.” Once you believe that, you can convince others of the value that you bring. You’re not just another cog in the wheel, you’re a game changer.

So the next time you go into an interview or have the opportunity to get a raise, think about what Brown said.

“No one will ever pay you what you’re worth. They will only ever pay you what they think you’re worth. And you control their thinking.”