What can you negotiate in your salary package?

Working Notepad Bonus Salary Growth Success Promotion Concept


by Karen Adamedes

What you earn throughout your career is dictated by many things – your profession, the industry you work in, the career moves you make and how well and hard you negotiate your remuneration.

Particularly each time you move into a new role or company. Once you are working for an organization it can be challenging to negotiate more than the annual allocation for salary increases that has to be divided up between all employees.

When you are negotiating to start a new job though the time is right to maximize your return on investment. That is the knowledge, skills and experience you have for the best possible salary package.

This is the time to negotiate. Hard. And well. Regardless of what discipline or type of organization you select, the opportunity is there for you to negotiate the best deal you can.

The place to start is by understanding what is negotiable.

Numerous items and benefits can be part of remuneration negotiations, including:

  • salary
  • performance bonus
  • flexibility – working hours or remote working arrangements
  • club or association memberships
  • study assistance
  • tools of trade – like laptops, cell phones and smart phones
  • health cover
  • shares or stock options – although you may need to be reasonably senior for this to be an option, and
  • parking space – ditto.

This list is not exhaustive and only some of these things may be relevant for your organization. Your company may also offer other benefits like childcare or health club memberships.

Find out which of these apply to your role and organization. If your job is with a company you haven’t work for before – ask your contacts or Human Resources or use your knowledge of the market to make a best guess.

Once you know what your options are you can work out what is most important to you, what you might be prepared to trade off (e.g. some benefits for flexibility?) and what is acceptable to you.

If you have done enough research and know what the role is worth in the market you may well have a minimum position that you’ll say “thanks, but no thanks” if they don’t make a fair offer. You need to know what your walk away position is. If you go into a new role feeling ‘ripped off’ – it’s unlikely your experience in that role is going to be very positive. And even more unlikely that you’ll get the remuneration to an acceptable level with single digit percentage increases each year once you’re ‘in the system’.

If you don’t ask for what you want – your new manager/company is unlikely to offer it to you. Your new employer is not going to weigh up whether money or working from home or bonuses is more important to you. They don’t have anyway of knowing your level of flexibility. You need to work it out and then talk to them about it.

If you ask for what you want and they say no what have you lost? At the very least you have gained more information to make a decision. Or can position an alternative. For instance, if someone can’t quite get to the base salary you want maybe they can include more in a performance bonus or let you work at home a day a week. If they really want you for a job a hiring manager wants you to be happy when you start in the role.

But in order to have those kind of conversations you need to know the options of what you can ask for – and what you want – and what you will accept. The more you know the better empowered you will be to make decisions when you are in the midst of the negotiation.

And you never know what could happen…they might actually say yes to what you ask for.

Career Tip To Go:

Understand what’s negotiable when you’re negotiating your salary package! And what you want!

Once you know what’s negotiable you’re one step closer – but there’s more you need to know before you start haggling! Keep an eye out for the next Career Tips To Go post – What you need to know before negotiating a new salary.

Check out our earlier post Why it’s important to earn what you’re worth!

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Why it’s important to earn what you’re worth

Benefits Gain Profit Earning Income Business People Concept

by Karen Adamedes

Money. Yes, there’s that dirty little five-letter word.

It not only makes the world go round, it pays the bills, buys the food, dictates what type of house you live in, the vacations you can afford and, one day, what type of retirement you will enjoy. It is important for your lifestyle.

Unless you are independently wealthy or have significant expectations, there is a pretty reasonable chance that money is one of the main reasons you work.

If you must work, you may as well optimize the amount of money you make to support the lifestyle that is important to you.

However, there is another much more subtle reason why the money you earn is important to your career.

The business world tends to be incredibly hierarchical and the amount of remuneration that you are perceived to receive, establishes your importance on the career ladder.

Your perceived relative importance in an organization can impact how seriously you are taken and, consequently, your potential capability to do more senior jobs. If someone perceives that they are of higher value than you because they earn more or is on a better bonus structure, even if they are more junior in rank, they may dismiss what you say. You may have to struggle to have your ideas or directions taken seriously.

Salary and remuneration negotiations are critical not only to what you are paid, but also to your reputation and status.

Downplaying your monetary value diminishes you in the eyes of others, making it seem like you’re not as serious, tough, skilled (at negotiations, at least) or confident.

Learning how to put a dollar value on your worth and how to negotiate hard for yourself is a necessary career skill.

The good news is there is a lot you can do to make sure you earn what you’re worth. To positively impact what you earn, you can:

  • choose jobs and professions that pay well
  • be prepared to negotiate
  • learn the unwritten rules of salary negotiations
  • know when to negotiate
  • ask for what you want, and
  • don’t settle for less than you are worth.

If you increase your knowledge of these areas you may not make it to the top of the rich list, but you will be much more confident and better equipped to have the discussions that you need to have. The ‘they’ll notice how good I am and just pay me fairly’ approach strategy is prone to failure.

Career Tips To Go:

Appreciate that how much you’re paid is important to your career.

There’s a lot you can do to make sure you earn what you’re worth. Learn how.

Next post – “What can you negotiate?”


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How to deal with negative feedback at work

Wahlschein - Kritik

File it away!

by Karen Adamedes

There are a number of disappointments in business that you may need to deal with, and one common one is receiving negative or unexpected feedback about your performance.

Ideally you won’t receive any nasty surprises because you continually monitor and evaluate your performance, are aware of your strengths and weaknesses and able to take remedial action.

However, there are all sorts of circumstances that can lead to negative feedback at work – circumstances out of your control; a new manager who doesn’t understand the context of what you have achieved or you just don’t (for some bizarre reason) perform to your usual standard.

If you do receive negative feedback:

  • acknowledge what has been said
  • thank the person for their comments
  • ask for time – if you need it to think about what they said
  • ask questions and clarify your understanding
  • go into solution mode and take action – this could be anything from resolving an issue to enrolling in a course to develop your skills
  • evaluate what you have learnt
  • mentally file away the experience, and
  • move on!

When you get negative feedback others will watch to see how you react. No tears. Don’t be emotional, and find ways to give yourself some space.

If you are in a meeting with a number of people you may be able to excuse yourself or take the issue off the table and ask for it to be discussed later, in private. For instance, saying, “Can we discuss this in detail after the meeting?” buys you time to think through your reaction to a situation.

Whatever you do, don’t get into a debate about your performance in public.

If you receive critical feedback in a one-on-one meeting with your manager, you don’t need to react or resolve the situation there and then. If you need time, say you want to think about what has been said and make an appointment for further discussion. Be calm, logical and self-confident, whether you feel that way or not.

How you handle negative situations is often an important influence on how others see you and how ’emotionally intelligent’ you are considered to be.

Career Tip To Go:

Receiving feedback, whether positive or negative, is a good opportunity to learn. You’ll know how to go about things next time, and what you could do more or less of. Then again, you may realize that you are working for someone who has no idea about how to help you develop, or that the environment is not right for you. Whether feedback is positive or negative there is always something you can learn.

Whatever the feedback, don’t beat yourself up for not being or not being seen to be perfect. Don’t replay and relive the situation.

Accept it is has happened, learn what you can and move on.

Career Tip To Go:


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How to approach a potential mentor

by Karen Adamedes

By the time you approach a potential mentor you should have identified what you want to learn from them and have decided that the person you are going to approach will be able to help you. (This can be the easy bit!)

Often we don’t progress to the next step of following through because we’re not sure how to ask, don’t want them to think we need help or are nervous about being rejected.

I personally am guilty of all 3 but I have also used all the strategies suggested below and they have worked. (Yes, all Career Tips To Go have been pre-tested!)

There are a number of different strategies you can use, depending on your intended victim (prospective mentor, that is) and how well you know them.

The worst thing that can happen is that they say no. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as my mother would say. As long as you ask professionally there is no reason not to give it a go!

Mentor Target 1 – Someone you know!

If you approach someone you have an established relationship with you can get straight to the issue that you are seeking help with. You don’t even have to use the “m” word (mentor!) 

Here are a couple of approaches:

I’m currently working on improving my presentation skills (insert your skill of choice) and I was wondering if we could catch up so I could ask you a few questions about how you (whatever they do)?


It’s been really helpful when we’ve talked previously, I have a few career options that I’m weighing up and I wonder if you’d have time for a chat/coffee?

These approaches cover why you want some of the valuable time and how they can help. If you ask in this way and do get turned down, usually it will be for a genuine reason, such as time or work pressures. Not because they don’t want to help you.

At the very least you will have represented yourself as a professional who is serious about your career.  If they do say “yes” it could be helpful for just the issue you approach them about or the beginning of a longer term mentoring relationship.

Like I said, you don’t have to formally ask if the person will mentor you. But a follow up thank you call, a second meeting, you start to build a relationship by catching up regularly – and before you know – You’ve got ’em. (As a mentor that is!)

Mentor Target 2 – Your Manager is moving on

This assumes that you manager has skills that you want to learn and you’d like a formal way to keep in touch with them.  (There are some managers you are more than happy to see walk out the door…let those ones go!) Hopefully you have a good one, but they may be moving to a new company or just another position, (I once had a manager resign 6 weeks after I took a job specifically so I could work with them…sigh!) whatever the move it means you lose the day to day learning experience with them.

Who could resist this approach?

I am so pleased you have this opportunity. But I’ll miss the chance to work with you and learn more about your approach to XYZ. Do you think you might be able to continue working with me on this as a mentor?

Formalizing your relationship at this stage makes it legitimate for you to keep in contact even if they’re up to their necks in their new role. They will remember the commitment that they made to you.

Mentor Target 3 – Someone you don’t know (well)

Let’s assume you have some vague association with the person and are not just randomly approaching senior managers trying to land a mentor. (This really wouldn’t meet our pre-requisite of knowing what you want to learn from someone anyway!) 

This association – whether you work in the same organization or business unit, or someone has recommended you to approach them, or have a work issue is common – whatever it is – this is your introduction to why you are getting in touch and will allow you to establish your credibility.

Once you have done this – proceed as you would with someone you know better, explaining why you want to speak to them, what you are trying to learn and how you think they can help.

Career Tip To Go:

People will be flattered when you ask for their help. The type of person that you are likely to want to learn from is very often the type of person that wants to help.

Just ask.


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