CAREER DEVELOPMENT / AUG. 31, 2016
version 12, draft 12

How to Be a Great Career Negotiator

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Whether it is for a salary or a new job most of us don't like to negotiate. Sadly it is necessary for our careers! Improve your skills with these tips!

Who likes trying to convince someone that you’re worth more than they are offering you? Ye, nobody! But, as professionals, negotiating is an essential skill because we may only get one chance, and it has to be perfect.

You need to prepare, have confidence and pay attention to detail if you want to have the best negotiation strategy. And even though negotiating skills may not come naturally to everyone, fortunately, they are just like other skills; the more you use it and practice them the better your negotiating skills will be.

Here are seven ways to become a better career negotiator.

#1 What is the Most Important Thing for You?

Whether you want to negotiate for a new job during an interview or ask for a raise at your current job, the first thing you need to do before you start is to ask yourself what you really need. All employees are unique and want different things; some need to have a better work-life balance while others need a raise.

You need to do is sit down and think of your wants and needs both as a professional and an individual. Are you sure a better compensation package will make you happy? Before you start negotiating with your supervisor or hiring manager ensure that you have a crystal clear idea of what you want.

#2 What is Your Worth?

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Lots of applicants go to job interviews without being able to identify and express their talents or why they are better than other candidates. As we have previously said on our interview tips articles, one of the most important things during a job interview is being able to clearly express what you can bring to the table. This is the second point you need to remember if you want to negotiate with confidence; you need to show everyone what makes you the best candidate, and the value you can add to the business.

If you manage to convince the hiring managers that you are making them a profit as opposed to being part of their expenses you can negotiate with confidence and “make them an offer they can’t refuse” (but please don’t act like Don Corleone in your next interview, it won’t work in your favor).

#3 Learn Everything About the Company

If you want to get a job at a company, then you must put all your efforts into researching everything about the company, their objectives, mission and vision, the position you are interested in, the hiring manager and everything else you deem relevant. What we are trying to say here is the more informed you are about the company, the more prepared and confident you will be during the negotiating process.

The first thing you need to do is use the company’s website to find out about the company's available vacancies, history, and objectives. But, this is not enough as you also need to get inside information about the company. Luckily many websites allow you to learn all about a company’s past employees, culture and pros and cons of working for the company, such as salary and glassdoor.

You can also visit trade sites, magazines or even Google News to learn about market trends so you can negotiate offers more effectively by backing them up with facts. This way you will know more about the value of your skill set and how this is related to the company or industry you are applying to.

#4 Listen Don’t Just Speak

If you want to be a great negotiator you also need to learn how to be a great listener. As Hemingway put it, “Most people never listen”. I know, if you have done everything to prepare for your big interview then you are very keen to share it all and prove your worth, however, keep in mind that listening is just as important as speaking during negotiation.

Listen to what they are saying or offering and when it’s your turn to speak ask them smart questions to get a better idea of what their organisation's needs are and see if you can help solve their problems.

#5 Make a Strong Speech

There are times when you need to talk about more than just one point like a better salary, remote hours and location reimbursement. So, you need to be prepared by making a list of everything you need to bring up and plan thoughtful answers in case some of them get rejected.

Always, be strategic in your approach; ensure that you articulate all the items you want to discuss and if they get denied, be ready to offer alternatives instead so you can still have the upper hand, even after an initial rejection.

#6 Don’t Take it Personally

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Try your best not to get too invested during the negotiation process because we all know that sometimes things don’t work out but that is okay; it is part of the journey. So, even if they do reject your requests, you should focus on what is important: bringing value to the company even if they are not paying you enough. They might require some time to see your efforts and results clearly before making such a decision.

#7 Formal Copy

Always remember to ask to get it in writing; it doesn’t matter if you are getting promoted, hired for a new job or being contracted for freelance work. If they are not willing to give it to you in writing, you should probably reconsider the offer.

Finally, make sure to read the entire contract before signing it. This isn’t  a game; we are talking about one of the most important things in your career so you should take the time to thoroughly examine it and raise any concerns you might have.

Do you think you have the right skills to be a great negotiator? Share your thoughts below…

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