It is that time of year for your annual review. Asking for a *well-deserved* raise as an allied health professional may seem pretty daunting, no matter if you’re a new grad or have been in the profession for decades. Or you may be applying for a job, and discussing salary during the interview seems very off-putting.
When I started listening to ChooseFI, I listened to Episode 211: How To Negotiate Salary Without Burning Bridges with the Financial Mechanic. This episode blew my mind, and I listen to it before every annual review and every new allied health job interview to prepare.
The Financial Mechanic believes that negotiation is something that EVERYONE should do, if not before you accept the job, as you are working and need to ask for a raise. But if you can negotiate prior to your start date, you have a greater advantage, as it’s easier to do this before you officially become an employee of the company. It is much easier to negotiate during the hiring process than when you are an employee at the company.
The Financial Mechanic’s article, 7 Tips for Negotiating – How I Doubled My Salary in Two Years, provides awesome ways to feel more comfortable and prepare to negotiate for higher salary. And I believe that these tips are even more pertinent to allied health professions! Here are the 7 tips she goes over in her article:
1. Put off taking salary in the early stages
Wait to discuss numbers until they have already given you an offer. You want the company to want YOU as an employee before you start negotiating. Give them a chance to learn more about you and the skills you can offer them, and those skills will help to negotiate the salary.
If they do ask about what salary you are looking for, try to steer clear with a response such as “I need to know more about the responsibilities of the role before I feel comfortable talking salary.”1 This not only will help to stay away from the topic, but it will also show that you are serious about the job itself.
2. Do your research to know your worth
Understanding how much you are worth will help you feel more confident during the negotiation process. Research what the typical median salary is for your profession with your years of experience in your area. The median salary also varies by state, so someone living in California as an OT will be making much more than an OT in South Dakota.2 By doing research beforehand, you will have an idea of what you are looking for, and you can confidently back up your statement with data.
Don’t fall into the trap of undervaluing your skills. As allied health professionals, we tend to get “Imposter Syndrome” and sometimes feel that we are frauds in our own workspace. But even if you are treating another post-op knee replacement for the thousandth time, it is your patient’s FIRST time, so you have a lot more knowledge than you give yourself credit for!
This being said, list out your accomplishments, any extra certificates you earned, any continuing education courses that you have taken, that will make you stand out of the crowd. Then add more to the number you have chosen, because all this extra stuff makes you awesome!
3. Remember that you are not the only one negotiating
The company is looking for someone to fill this role, and the whole hiring process is very time consuming. Or your current company has already invested in your for a number of years, and wants to continue to keep you as a productive member of their team.
You both have similar goals. You want the job, and they want to hire you for the job. Think of negotiation as more of a collaboration!
4. Ask for their number before revealing yours
The Financial Mechanic still suggests that you put off the question of salary for as long as you possibly can. But if you must discuss it, don’t reveal your ideal salary before they do. She mentions a great way to put this on them by saying “Do you have a range in mind for this position?”, as sometimes the range they have in mind may be higher than what you are considering!
5. Negotiating is about more than salary
If you are applying for a W-2 full time position as an allied health professional, the company may also be providing you with multiple benefits, such as a retirement plan, PTO, continuing education allowance, insurance, etc. In your negotiation, think about these benefits as well!
I had a colleague who negotiated and received an extra week of PTO when she started a new job as part of her negotiation process. What a deal!
Like anything new, your first first trial runs may not go as smoothly as you would hope for. As an allied health professional, this may seem very foreign to you to negotiate for your salary. Take the time to practice how you will approach these negotiations! Run through it with a family member, apply for multiple jobs (even if you aren’t interested in them) to work on your negotiating skills, and remember that this eventually will come easier to you with practice.
7. Accept or reject offers with grace
If you accept an offer, great! Make sure you tell them how much you appreciate this opportunity and taking time out of their busy schedule to consider you for the job.
If you reject the offer, let them down easy. Continue to let them know how much you appreciate them meeting with you and giving you an offer. No need to tell them exactly why you rejected them – you never know if/when you will want to reach out to them in the future.
You chose this allied health profession most likely because you want to help people, and there is nothing wrong with that at all. But just because you entered such a caring profession, does not mean you don’t have the right to negotiate for an increased salary. You are worth it, and you need to remember your worth!
So in conclusion, I would HIGHLY recommend reading the full article from The Financial Mechanic, 7 Tips for Negotiating – How I Doubled My Salary in Two Years. And you can read my blog post on passive income to learn more about another way to increase your income that doesn’t involve negotiating your salary.
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Note: I am not a certified financial advisor/planner or a certified financial analyst or a CPA or an accountant or a lawyer. Remember, I am an allied health professional, just like you! This website/blog is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Please consult with your financial advisor(s) regarding your personal finance, investment, and tax matters.
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