This article originally appeared in Emily’s Inc.com column, Own It.
Negotiating for more money when switching jobs can be an effective way to increase your salary long term. In fact, full-time workers who changed jobs experienced an increase in pay of an average of 4.5 percent compared to 3.9 percent of all full-time workers.
When I left my career in broadcast news, I interviewed for a variety of corporate positions, including a Fortune 500 company where I was able to negotiate an offer that was nearly double my salary. Here are the tactics I used, that experts also recommend, to negotiate my worth.
Don’t show your hand
This is much easier said than done, since most corporate job applications will ask what your current salary is or your expected pay range.
Many large businesses will use a formula to determine a new hires’ offer by plugging in their current salary and years of experience. This is difficult because on one hand, you want to be accommodating and provide the information your potential employer wants. But experts agree, doing so can be an expensive mistake.
“You can only hurt yourself by giving the first number,” says career advisor Penelope Trunk. “You want the interviewer to tell you the range for the position because then you can focus on getting to the high end of that range. But you can’t work to the high point if you don’t know it.”
When I was asked about my current salary in interviews, I would simply say the terms of my current position and contract were confidential. I didn’t know it at the time (I was simply telling the truth), but it was very advantageous, because it made the employer come to the table with the first offer.
Address the elephant in the room
When I started a new job search, it had been more than seven years since I had interview experience. In fact, I had been with the same employer since college. I knew I was going up against people who had more seniority, more experience, and overall, more insights into the interview process.
Instead of trying to hide my weaknesses, I addressed them head on. I was prepared with talking points about how my outside perspective and experiences would be an asset to the company.
This is a sales tactic I find useful years later, now that I run a PR and marketing firm, Richett Media. When talking with prospective clients, I address the size of our team right away (currently a “small and mighty” team of 5.5 ), which is something larger businesses may consider a weakness at first.
By sharing past case studies and testimonies, you can re-frame your “weaknesses” as strengths, while erasing their doubts and concerns. Whether you use this transparency to help you in a job interview or to land larger projects, it’s a powerful tactic that displays a high level of emotional intelligence, too.
Know your worth
A lot of people go into an interview knowing how much they want to make. But, it’s important to know how your number stacks up against the industry, location, and company average. If you’ve done your research and know how much you’re worth based on experience and industry benchmarks, you have more leverage for negotiations.
“Search the Internet, use your network, go to your career development office or a trade association, if there is one,” said Jeff Weis, author of HBR Guide To Negotiating. “There is lots of information out there that will help you piece together what people are making at the company.” Check out Glassdoor, where you can access a range of salaries depending on the position throughout the company.
Prepare to be uncomfortable
There’s no denying, interviewing can be awkward. Talking about yourself and your accomplishments can be difficult.
Claire Wasserman, Founder of Ladies Get Paid, an organization that helps women advocate for themselves at work, suggests using the power of scripts. Do some online research and ask friends or colleagues what they’ve said or done during these conversations that’s worked. “I encourage those who worry about coming across as aggressive to look at scripts,” says Wasserman.
“When you’re practicing your negotiation with a friend, observe how many times you feel that lump in your throat or nausea in your stomach,” Claire explains. “You don’t need to fix it. It will get better on its own. The element of surprise when you’re having that emotion actually triggers more emotion.”
Even though I ended up turning down that Fortune 500 offer to pursue an entrepreneurial path, I gained an invaluable amount of insight and confidence by going through the interview process, advocating for myself, and communicating my value.
Chances are, you’re worth more than you’re making–whether by your salary or your prices. Don’t be afraid to get uncomfortable and ask for what you deserve. You may just learn a lot about yourself in the process.