Real-Life Salary Negotiation Tips for the Savvy Administrative Professional
By Brandi Britton
There’s just something about money that makes talking about it uncomfortable. That’s why asking your boss for a raise or negotiating pay after receiving a job offer can be intimidating. Money could come up as early as the first interview, so it’s important to be prepared for this conversation at any time.
It can be tricky to place a figure on your professional worth, even when you’ve been an administrative specialist for years. And if you’re just entering the workforce, how do you know whether a starting wage is a thumb up or down?
You need real numbers. That’s where the newly-released OfficeTeam 2019 Salary Guide comes in handy. The data in this trusted resource is based on the thousands of actual placements our recruiters have made across the U.S., and the offers those administrative professionals have received.
Ready to negotiate your salary? Here are some helpful tips:
- Determine what you’re worth. Before you can ask for more money, you must have a figure or range in mind. In the OfficeTeam 2019 Salary Guide, you’ll find detailed information on starting pay for administrative professionals, broken out in 25th, 50th, 75th, and 95th percentiles. These correspond to:
- Your experience level
- Your skills and expertise
- The complexity of the company, industry, and job duties
After you decide where you land on that scale for a job you hold or have been offered, customize the figure for your city. The OfficeTeam Salary Calculator can do this for you by taking your location and other factors into account.
- Build a strong case. Whenever you ask a potential or current employer for more money, you need solid supporting evidence to show why you deserve it. And, no, needing to pay for that trip to Tahiti with your significant other isn’t going to cut it. If you’re a job seeker, talk about the qualifications that make you in demand. They could include, for example, successful supervisory experience, niche technical proficiency or being bilingual. If you’re an existing employee looking for a raise, make a list of all the tasks you’ve taken on that were outside your job description. Then gather all the kudos you’ve received from clients, coworkers, and supervisors. The goal is to remind management just how valuable you are.
- Use your soft skills. Asking for more money is a fine art. Coming across too aggressively can taint your good reasons for wanting to negotiate. Likewise, being timid and apologetic won’t convince a manager you’re an eager, can-do worker who’s going to be worth the increase. Be persuasive but not pushy. Whatever you do, don’t make ultimatums.
Before your meeting, rehearse what you’re going to say. As you approach the conversation, use your emotional intelligence — the ability to manage your own feelings and perceive those of others. If the manager seems receptive as you make your case, go ahead and float that higher salary figure. If you sense they are unconvinced, you’ll have to reemphasize the worth of your contributions to the company.
- Have a plan B. A salary negotiation has three outcomes: yes, no, and not yet. The best-case scenario is for the manager to agree to your request. But brace yourself for a possible rejection. If more money is off the table, you’ll have to decide whether you can live with a lower-than-expected salary. But don’t settle right away. Plan B could be to negotiate other employee perks or benefits, such as more vacation days or telecommuting a few days each week. The third option is to turn that “no” into a “not yet.” Your boss may say there’s no wiggle room in this year’s budget. Your next step could be to ask that your raise be included in the next fiscal cycle. Let your supervisor see you’re serious about salary negotiations but are willing to wait — but not too long — for a raise.
When it comes to negotiating salary, it literally “pays” to be armed with information before heading into that conversation. So do your homework, practice your pitch and never apologize for asking to be paid what you feel you’re worth.
Brandi Britton is a district president for OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. OfficeTeam has 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at roberthalf.com/officeteam. Connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and our blog.