So, you are happy with your job, but you think your average medical salary deserves a boost. Before you talk to your supervisor about it raise, keep these points in mind to increase your odds of success:
1. Make the first move. You may know that you’re underpaid compared to your coworkers, but you still need to make the first move. If you wait for a sense of fairness to motivate your boss to pay you more, you may wait a long time. Take charge of making sure you’re paid fairly and initiate the negotiation. Men are about four times more likely than women to negotiate, which helps ensure that they usually earn more money. So level the playing field and ask for what you want.
2. Boost your bargaining power. Your leverage in a negotiation comes from how valuable you are to your organization and how difficult it would be to replace you. Take steps to make yourself as valuable as possible and to make this value visible to your boss. Maybe you need another credential or more training. Maybe you need sales experience or field experience or management experience. Maybe you need to work with a particular person or a particular group. Maybe you need to volunteer for a different kind of project to show what you can do. Think about ways both to increase your value to your organization and to show it off. You can also increase your power by getting a credible offer from another organization.
3. Do your homework. When it comes to negotiating, information is power, so invest the time in doing some research. Use the numerous salary resources on the web to identify what people in jobs like yours earn. Ask people in your personal and professional networks questions like: “What do you think would be an appropriate salary for physician doing my job?” (This avoids directly asking people what they earn.)
4. Get inside their heads. Find out as much as you can about the people with whom you will be negotiating and how they see the situation. What are their goals, concerns, and constraints? How are they likely to react to your request? Are there any established precedents that might prevent them from giving you what you want? Answers to these questions will help you choose the right approach and anticipate obstacles in your way.
5. Aim high. Negotiators who set higher targets do better and women typically set unnecessarily low targets— and get less as a result. Use your research to set an ambitious but realistic target. Don’t undersell yourself or ask for only as much as you need to get by.
6. Ask for more than you want. Negotiation typically involves a back-and forth discussion. Leave yourself enough wiggle room between what you ask for and what you want so that you can make some concessions and still achieve your target. This can sometimes be the hardest step for women but it will save you from walking away with too little.
7. Pay attention to how you ask. People often push back when a woman takes an approach that seems too aggressive. Women are much more successful at getting what they want when they adopt a cooperative, problem-solving, positive manner rather than a competitive, winner-take-all, this-is-war attitude. Frame the interaction as a discussion rather than a demand.
8. Time it right. Some times of the year are better than others to ask for a raise. Find out when your boss makes decisions regarding raises and make sure that you make your move before those decisions are set in stone. Choose a time when your boss isn’t distracted or embroiled in a crisis or rushing to meet a deadline.
9. Practice, practice, practice. Many women feel anxious about negotiating; rehearsing ahead of time can help calm your nerves. You can experiment with strategies, run through talking about the issues, and explore different ways of saying what you mean. Find a friend or colleague you trust, brief him or her thoroughly about the situation, and role-play the negotiation multiple times.
10. Get yourself psyched up. Positive moods are contagious and stimulate greater cooperation and creativity. If you enter your negotiation feeling great, your upbeat mood can help prime a positive problem-solving atmosphere. Choose what works for you: exercise, listening to music, getting a good night’s sleep, meditating, talking with friends, wearing a new outfit. Think about what makes you feel calm and confident and try to do that just before you negotiate.