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How To Not Get Crushed In Your First Salary Negotiation

How To Not Get Crushed In Your First Salary Negotiation
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It’s an unfortunate part of life, but becoming an adult also means taking financial responsibility for yourself. So we go out, find a job, and start paying the bills.

Or at least that’s the plan.

A 2015 CareerBuilder survey found that 19 percent of employees had trouble making ends meet every month. And among employed young adults, ages 18-24, 32 percent were unable to save any money in the previous year.

It takes time to figure out a budget and learn how to live within your means, but many young adults don’t even try for more money during their first salary negotiation. A 2015 NerdWallet survey found that 62 percent of recent college graduates didn’t attempt to negotiate after receiving their first job offer.

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It’d be great if employers just automatically offered you enough money to live comfortably, however that’s not always the case. It’s up to you to calculate what you need to maintain financial independence and then try to reach an agreement that’s as close to that number as possible.

Here are four real-life considerations you need to take into account in a salary negotiation:

Relocation and housing expenses

If your new job is in the same city you currently live in, you already know how much your rent is and what the cost of living is like in your area. However, if you’re moving for the job, it’s important to do research about the new city as early as possible. That way, you’ll know how much you’ll need to make in order to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

For instance, based on 2015 research from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, if you plan to live in Kentucky, you’ll need to make the equivalent of $13.14 an hour to pay for the average two bedroom apartment. That’s the state with lowest average rental cost in the U.S. If you move to California you’ll need to make almost double that to pay rent.

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Checking out apartments in the area you’re moving to on Craigslist gives you an even better idea of what rent typically runs and what target salary you should shoot for. Also, know that many organizations offer some kind of relocation assistance. But you might have to ask for the extra money during your salary negotiation.

Travel costs

Depending on how far you have to travel to get to the office, your travel expenses can begin to add up. Whether you decide to take public transportation or drive to work, you need to know how much it’s going to cost to go and earn your paycheck every day.

For example, if you have a 10-mile commute each way — which 2015 Brookings Institute research found was the average in many American metro areas — that’s 100 miles a week, to and from work. Not to mention, there’s the cost of car insurance. And if you have to drive on toll roads, getting to work can get expensive very quickly.

Student loans

For many new graduates, the burden of paying back student loans is overwhelming. A 2015 study by Student Loan Hero found that one in four college graduates still live with their parents because of the financial strain of their loans. One in nine would eat a tarantula if it helped pay off their debt faster.

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Once you’ve decided which repayment plan is right for you, find out how much you’ll have to pay each month. There’s a good chance that, after rent, loan payments could be your biggest expense, so be sure to know how much you’ll need.

Also remember to ask if your new organization has any kind of loan repayment assistance. It might not be offered to all employees or it might require you to take an overall salary cut, but it’s a fantastic perk to have.

Health insurance

If you’re lucky enough to still be covered by your parents’ insurance, it’ll definitely put less stress on your bank account. However, remember that eventually you’ll need your own. The sudden extra cost won’t necessarily coincide with a raise in pay, either.

Some employers offer coverage or assistance paying for company group plans. Before you enter your salary negotiation, get all the information on the benefits you qualify for, so you’ll know what portion of health care costs will fall on your shoulders.

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If your employer doesn’t offer any kind of health insurance, and you need to shop for it on your own, know that a low monthly premium isn’t always the best option for your long-term finances. Sure, a plan like that will be cheaper if you never get sick, but you’ll face higher copays if you do need to see a doctor. Fully research all your options, and find someone you trust to answer any questions you may have.

Getting a new job and becoming more adult can be very exciting. But, financially, it can also be a little scary. The best way to start taking control of your money is confidently negotiating the right salary for your lifestyle. Take the time to calculate how much new and unfamiliar expenses will cost you, so you’ll know when you’ve reached the right deal.

What other real-life considerations should be taken into account before a salary negotiations? Share in the comments below!

Featured photo credit: Death to the Stock Photo via deathtothestockphoto.com

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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