The Worst Mistakes Women Make When Negotiating A Raise

Because women continue to face subconscious biases, they have to be especially strategic about how they ask for a salary increase.

“Discrimination…can emerge when women act in ways that aren’t considered sufficiently feminine,” writes Tara Siegal Bernard in a recent New York Times article. “When women advocate for themselves, experts say, some people find it unseemly, if on a subconscious level.”

Here a are few of the most common negotiating mistakes that especially hurt women’s chances of getting the raise they deserve:

Not asking at all, and not asking for enough. Research shows that women tend to negotiate less often for themselves than men and pay themselves less for similar tasks, according to the article. Learn your market value by talking to recruiters, searching compensation sites like, and networking with both men and women, since women tend to have lower pay and lower expectations.

Not having a list of accomplishments ready. Having specific metrics to point to bolsters your argument for more money. Siegal Bernard recommends keeping a running record of your achievements and the praise you’ve been given, so that you have it ready when you need it.

Making the request about you instead of the employer. It’s a good idea for anyone to frame the negotiation around the value you provide the employer, but it’s especially important for women, who can be seen as unlikeable when they advocate for themselves. Using the term “we” instead of “I” can increase your chances of success, Siegal Bernard says.

Negotiating over email. Email conversations can easily be misinterpreted, so it’s best to negotiate in person. That way you’ll be better able to judge the manager’s reaction and adjust accordingly. Otherwise, you could end up like one woman mentioned in the article who had her job offer rescinded after attempting to negotiate her perks over email.

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