You landed an interview, and the job is better than your current one in some ways. Whether it’s the dream company, essentially a promotion, or the work environment is better than your current one, you want this job. However, they offer you a lower salary than you believe you deserve or some benefits aren’t meeting your expectations. You decide that the job is worthwhile accepting if you can negotiate the offer. But negotiating makes you uneasy. So, how do you overcome your fear and instead take control of the situation with your negotiating prowess?
1. Your current job or other interviews are leverage
You might not like your current job or your other employment options, but they are leverage. Let’s say your desired salary is $65,000. If you received an offer for $65,000 or higher with another company, you can use that as leverage for a counteroffer.
Sometimes though you need the opportunity to walk away. The only way to do that is to have the ability and willingness to stay with your current job or wait for what you deserve. How can you reasonably expect to walk away from an offer if you have no other option? Walking away is obviously much easier when you feel in control and you don’t have to take the first offer coming your way.
2. Stay in the Job Market Even When You Don’t Have to
This is no doubt the most important point here. The number one factor in landing a good job is timing. You have no control over timing. You don’t know when your skill set might be a hot commodity. Someone just left to pursue a new opportunity, moved, or got promoted—these are opportunities for you. So, every six months (not a rule, just an idea) start looking again. There are many factors outside of your control. But you can at least mitigate many of them by applying to companies at regular intervals, even when you don’t have to. It keeps your resume in tip-top shape and makes sure you know the job market intimately.
You will also slowly get used to the process of negotiating. The only way to get over a fear is to face it in some capacity. Staying in the job market helps you maintain your negotiating chops through practice. You might even receive a dream job offer without negotiating at all by just keeping your information updated!
3. Practice Your Career Skills
Practicing is important (especially if you are entering a new industry). Sometimes the issue isn’t timing or a loss of leverage. It’s simply confidence. You don’t feel like your portfolio matches your salary expectations or experience. Then practice! Before you start applying, get to work. Find some volunteer work, take some courses, get a certification online (some of these are even free), and study hard. Nothing gets rid of a lack of confidence in your skills than practice. Your abilities will become stronger with each attempt at a new project. After a project or two or three, you’ll likely feel ready to get in the game and when you receive an offer, you’ll have the confidence to know what you can bring to the job and what you deserve.