I’ve had recent conversations with women in my network about how to advocate for yourself when it comes to your career, from asking for a pay raise to negotiating a job offer. Honestly, my response is always: “Ask for what you want!”
Don’t wait for others to advocate for you, advocate for yourself. Just working hard and being good at your job is not enough. You need to be vocal about what you want and where you want to go in your career.
Below are common things I’ve heard from women in these conversations, along with my very candid responses.
“Is it really worth the risk to ask for more than what they are offering me? I should be lucky enough to even be offered the job.”
First, you are worth it. Second, always ask for more! If they are threatened by you asking for more money or PTO, or anything that you probably deserve anyway, then it is not the work environment you want to be in.
If the sense is, “Well, someone else will take the job if you don’t,” then they are already treating you as expendable. If they treat you like that in this part of the process, they will treat you like that when you work for them and take advantage of your time and hard work.
Also, if they are offering the job, then you are good enough for the job – remember that! They are lucky to have you.
“I am not going to apply for that job. If they thought I was good enough for it, wouldn’t they have asked me to apply?”
Do they know you are interested in the position? Have you talked with colleagues and supervisors about what your next step is within the company? If no, then how would they know to ask you to apply?
If they know you’re interested and aren’t asking you, apply anyway. If you don’t get the job, then ask them what their vision is for you at the company. Maybe this is a realization that you need to start looking for new opportunities.
Just reading this may give you anxiety, because not only are you putting yourself out there, but you are also opening yourself up to possible rejection. But with rejection comes new opportunity, and I’d rather know and move forward then stay stuck and miserable.
“I haven’t been here long enough to deserve a promotion or raise.”
All I can say to this one is: bull! I don’t care how long you’ve been at a place – especially now that people don’t stay in one job forever – if your work experience proves value and you’re hitting your goals and asking for more responsibility, then you deserve that raise or promotion no matter how long you’ve been there.
Others may disagree with me on this, but my past experiences at other places have led me to be successful in my current role. I should be paid for the work being produced, not the number of years at the company.
Also, make sure you let others know you want more. Tell your supervisor that you want to move up, that you are looking to gain skills at a management level, and then ask them what you need to do in the next year to build a portfolio that will get you that promotion or raise.
My advice is go into any conversation with the mindset that they are lucky to have you and that you are worth more than the base offer. In the end, you can say that you advocated for yourself and put your future into your own hands, and that is the biggest win!
You won’t always get what you want or what you think you deserve. I’ve dealt with that more than I’d like to admit, but I’ve survived, moved on, found better opportunities, and continue to advocate for my worth. I hope you will, too!
Originally published on Ellevate
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