Salary Negotiations: Do It Like A (Lady) Boss

Updated: Feb 8

So you want to be a boss? Make more money? Don't we all! I've always dreamed of being my own boss, setting my own hours, and brining in my own money. I want to grow up to be a Debbie Allen, Tina Lawson-Knowles, Courtney Adeleye, or Shonda Rhimes. All of which I cyber stalk on Instagram by the way. I'm not quite there (yet) but we all have to start somewhere. So before I can become the Oprah of business, I must first maintain a job. And this job has to be able to not only support my family and I but my also my dreams. Only problem is sometimes that does not come easy when you are a woman.

According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW) the national median salary for men is $52,142 compared to women at only $41,997. That is $10,145 on average more for a man than a woman! Do you know how many pairs of shoes I can get with an extra 10k a year?!?

Crazy? Yes. Unfair? Yup. But do you know why they get more than us women do? Well there’s a couple reasons but the most important one is because we let it happen. However, we can train ourselves to not continue to be taken advantage of. Let a boss lady put you up on game.


First, we always assume that there are only two options when you get a job offer; accept the offer or decline the offer. Even in the letter, they will put a brief little statement that makes you think you really only have those choices. It’s something like:

Please confirm acceptance or denial of this offer by 09/15/2013.

If you believe that’s all you got, listen, you would be 1000% incorrect. Of course they aren’t going to offer you the max in the offer letter. Why would they? Its an offer. But understand you will always be handed the lowest amount possible. Don’t let them fool you. I too wouldn’t offer a cent more than I think a potential employee is willing to take to save a few pennies for my company if I didn't believe the employee is the most import asset. But that doesn't mean you have to say yes to it and take what ever scraps they throw at you. It also does not mean say no to it either. It means NEGOTIATE and ask for more. But don’t get greedy, knowing how much is the key.


There are those special occasions where the company is small and won’t be able to afford much more than what they offer you initially but that’s why you do your research first. Know your worth, the worth of the company, and the worth of the role in which you applied. There are websites like Glassdoor and Salary.Com that can help you figure out some of those numbers! Use them. If you don’t you can either under cut yourself and end up not being able to afford the Kors purse you been eyeing or shoot for the stars and get nothing extra. But getting nothing extra doesn't mean you won't get that job. You still got an offer to fill.


For some reason women really think they are asking too much when they want a raise or more upfront in an offer. Here is some food for thought: do you think that man in the next cube hesitated in the slightest when he got $7k more than originally offered? Not even a little bit I can promise you. He didn't even blink. He knew his worth and he made it known. And do not think they are going to just say “Oh you cost too much! Girl bye!” If they have put their time and effort into giving you an offer I assure you they will listen. They know your worth but they are using this offer letter as a coupon code and hoping it will work out in their favor. As long as you don’t come up with some outrageous figure, hints doing your research. The worst they can say is "Sorry, but our offer stands as before." It’s possible that they will even offer you a portion of the increase you requested. At that point you have a personal choice to make and only you know your situation.


Now this just doesn’t make any sense to me at all. Sometimes you make time for researching and find so much information, you just don’t know what to do. If you think you don’t have enough experience or maybe you feel like you don’t want to seem greedy then keep it simple. I try to ask for 3-5% of the offer given to me. It may not seem like a lot but that little push throughout a year counts. A little bonus tip: instead of asking for a dollar amount increase mimic my process and ask for a percentage of your offer, just put 3-5%. Seeing that in your negotiations will help them take that offer a little more seriously and when it comes to some salaries that small percentage can be in the thousands so its an easier pill for them to swallow looking at it in a different way.

Bottom line, get out of your feelings and don’t ever take just the first offer. They will not just quit on you unless you come up with some crazy numbers. So use your phone for more than Instagram and do some research. Don’t be fooled and think you are being greedy! You earned it! Get this paper and look pretty while doing it.