Brilliant women deserve it all but unfortunately sometimes they don’t know how to ask for it. Today I want to leave you with a spirit of boldness. We as women can better negotiate and demand more from our careers. Maybe you feel past due for a raise, looked over for a promotion, or never trusted to lead certain projects. We all have something we are going after and too often we may feel someone else is obstructing us from what we deserve. It happens. But with the right determination, verbiage, and persistence we can demolish all obstacles and take what is rightfully ours. And please don’t think for a second that I can’t relate to your Corporate America obstacles, I and hundreds of women in Hollywood and in the media especially women of color will eagerly tell you of the numerous times we have had to fight for equal pay, fight for representation, and fight to be seen for our commentary and other contributions and not just be seen as another pretty face. The advice I am giving you today is the advice I have taken myself for the last 20 years!
Here is how I negotiate for better opportunities ladies!
1. Be Resourceful
Do not wait until you want a promotion to make sure your team is aware of what you bring to the table. At all times be on your A-game and be known for the plethora of resources you provide. Year-round your colleagues should be hustling to raise to your standard, they should be taking note. You should already be a respected leader. If your leadership skills and talent are not already widely respected getting a raise or a promotion is difficult. Set the tone.
2. Demand a Contract
In every career and business opportunity that I had I was offered a starting and renewal contract. I was so shocked at how many professional women do not require the same. A contract helps legally state your responsibilities and salary expectations. Most contracts have clauses that explain when or how raises and promotions can be achieved. Not having a contract is simply working blindly. I urge you to demand contracts that at least include the following:
- Statement of services you will provide
- Number of months or years your position is secured
- Salary expectation
- Clause explaining how to obtain bonuses and raises
I guarantee you your boss or competitors in similar fields have contracts. It is smart and good for business don’t get left out!
3. Initiate a Performance Review
Many companies have yearly reviews. My suggestion is initiating an extra performance review when you have had a stellar quarter. Momentum in a company is up and down. By the 4th quarter your 2nd quarter success may be far from your manager’s mind. So if you have had a quarter or two where you over performed, exceeded goals, etc this is s great time to present a recap of your work. Doing so may lead to more opportunities for the next quarter.
4. Use Data to Compare yourself to your Professional Peers
When negotiating for a raise include facts and figures. Your team does not need to hear things like “you work hard”, “you balance a lot”, or “you are deserving”. Be straight forward and present the facts. Try statements backed with data that start with:
- Last year I was the only executive in this company to bring in X amount of dollars…
- My last 3 quarters over performed mine and my colleagues last two years in this way…
- The national average salary for a person of my skill set is…
- I have exceeded my job requirements in the following ways…
5. Be Willing to Walk Away
Lastly, as tough as it may be, be willing to resign from your position when you are certain that you are capped financially and opportunity wise. If you are great at what you do and truly resourceful another company will notice. If your current company will not budge and give you what you deserve by staying you are giving them the courage to continue to block your growth. Obviously, if they say you are up for promotion or there is a chance of it within a year or so patience is a virtue as these things don’t happen over night. But you are smart and you know the difference between patiently waiting and getting the run around. Once you feel capped you must move on. Under no circumstances should a vibrant, smart, resourceful woman be limited. Know when to bow out and do it gracefully.
Be bold ladies! Boldness has given me the career of my dreams. I hope you never stop going after what you deserve!
If you want more tips and insight about how to get ahead using your negotiation skills, join for eChapter on March 7, 2018. We will be hosting a panel of great women who will discuss Six Ways Women Leaders Can Win at Negotiating. This is your chance to learn how to win at the art of negotiation. Register now.