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April 6, 2023

How Negotiating Smarter, Not Harder, Can Help You Earn More

In 2019, Ava was completing a competitive fellowship program for the top government agency in her field. The role required her to live within 30 miles of Boston and be onsite daily. However, when the pandemic struck, she began working from home indefinitely. During this time, she was accepted into a graduate program at NYU and was able to move states without jeopardizing the fellowship.

A year later, Ava’s company told her she would have to be onsite to stay in the fellowship program. She knew she did not want to give up the role but was a year into graduate school. She began a two-step negotiation: first, she asked to stay in New York. Her boss knew how valuable she was and went to bat for her. She helped her land a new title, which was a promotion. She also told Ava she would need to be prepared to provide a desired salary range for the new role. This is where step two of her negotiation process would begin.  

With it being her first time to negotiate her salary, she was not sure where to start. Her boss suggested asking for $5 to $10k more. However, with a little research, she decided on a different approach. When the recruiter asked her what she hoped to make (which was $55k), she asked what the typical salary range was for the role. The recruiter said she was happy to investigate. A few hours later, she emailed Ava and told her she could offer $85k. 

“I was floored!” Ava said. “I immediately called my dad and said, ‘you will not believe what just happened to me!’ What the process taught me is that you can think about negotiating differently. Had I shown my hand earlier, I would have ended up with at least $20k less.”

By looking at the negotiation process in a new way, Ava was able to stay in her graduate program, keep her stellar fellowship and earn 30% more than she expected. 

“It’s a reminder to shoot your shot,” Ava said. “You never know what you might be missing if you are afraid to ask for more.”



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