Career / Leadership

7 Mistakes To Avoid When Negotiating Your IT Salary

by Team Nuggets
7 Mistakes To Avoid When Negotiating Your IT Salary picture: A
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Published on June 9, 2017

For many people, salary negotiation is the most stressful part of the entire interview process. You already expressed your interest. They expressed their willingness to hire you. Now, you just have to set the terms.

If you ask too much, then you're concerned that the negotiation stops right there. If you suggest a salary that's too low, then you hamstring yourself for years to come. After all, raises are often measured as a percentage based on your salary level.

In short, that single exchange has a considerable impact on every aspect of your life. By taking some time to consider the mistakes that are often made, you can deliver your best possible presentation to get the full compensation you deserve.

1. Incomplete Research

You'll need to come up with a realistic figure. How do you do that? Research.

There are a number of online resources to help determine typical salaries in your field.

LinkedIn now has an excellent, realistic salary calculator for your local area. They compile their data both from their jobs postings and users' postings.

The downside: They don't have every job title and might not have enough data from your area to give you a realistic number.

Glassdoor will help provide you with market value by job title in your local area, and the company itself. Glassdoor is an interesting site. In order to view salaries for a specific company, you might need to either rate a company where you've worked or provide your salary information. It's anonymized, so you aren't broadcasting your opinions and sensitive personal information all over the web.

The downside: If you're the lone IT pro in a small company, then your company will know who left feedback, which can be good or bad.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides excellent job and salary information.

The downside: Unfortunately, they often report in national averages, which is problematic. When you average salaries across cities with different cost-of-living requirements, you'll get a number that's inflated in some cities, and too low in others.

We broke down 13 ISA salaries with localities in mind. You should, too.

Each of these resources will give you a slightly different picture. Pull together as many points of reference as possible to help determine what you are realistically capable of earning.

2. Undervaluing Your Full Worth

You also might want to evaluate the components that determine your salary, which are experience, education, and certifications.

When determining your salary expectations, be sure to factor in the full compensation package including salary, profit sharing, performance-based bonuses, health insurance, and paid leave. Of course, you don't want to settle for the minimum that you can live on, but it helps to define your complete range of possibilities before the meeting.

3. Under-representing Your Specialized Abilities

You may have valuable experience that crosses over into related fields. You can save the company time and money by requiring fewer resources to get the job done effectively. Or you might have a certification or completed a CBT Nuggets course. Be sure to communicate these abilities clearly, as managers should be willing to compensate you appropriately.

4. Failure to Justify Your Value

A successful salary negotiation begins with a presentation on what you specifically bring to the table. It's most effective if you first explain the value you provide, then give them a number based on careful leveraging of your talents. The conversation is less effective if you shoot them a number immediately and spend the rest of the meeting trying to justify it. Essentially, you'll need to calculate the worth of your IT career.

Any time you can point out efficiency gains that you helped implement in previous jobs, you demonstrate your worth in a tangible way. A good employer would be happy to reward such dedication and achievement.

5. Providing a Desired Salary

Many employers require you to fill out an online application that doesn't allow you to skip filling out salary fields. In that case, type in zero, or $1. You should not you tell your future employer your salary history. Providing false information is also a big no-no, so if you are absolutely required to provide a number, and absolutely want the job, then be honest.

If you haven't figured it out by now, your salary is one of the 10 things to avoid putting on your resume.

6. Starting too High

It can be tempting to shoot for the moon and work downward. Unfortunately, you also might hear that whooshing sound as the door slams behind you. Most salary negotiating methods recommend that you allow the employer to fire off the first number.

In fact, you should ask for the salary range as early in the interview process as possible. If their offer is too low, then you can help everyone by simply ending the process right there. If they offer a range that is approximately in line with norms for your field, you can simply nod your head and move along.

You can still make the pitch for an extra 10 percent. Just be realistic about what you're worth, and let your research guide the negotiations.

7. Failing to Consider the Needs of the Organization

It's tempting to simplify the conversation by creating a universal presentation of your role in IT, particularly if you have several interviews lined up. But just like when tailoring your resume to the organization, you should tailor your discussion around the organization's needs to achieve maximum effect with minimum snooze. You must realize, however, that your audience is specifically interested in what you can do for them.

Armed with this knowledge of typical hazards, you can successfully navigate the minefield of salary negotiation. Now you can deliver a relaxed presentation that all but guarantees you'll get the salary and benefits you deserve!


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