If you’re not making the money you deserve, how do you ask for more?

BY Nick Corcodilos  May 20, 2014 at 1:17 PM EDT
Nick Corcodilos wants to know what you want to know about making more money so he can help you boost your salary. Photo by Flickr user B Tal.

Nick Corcodilos wants to know what you want to know about making more money so he can help you boost your salary. Photo by Flickr user B Tal.

Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979, and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community over the past decade.

In this special Making Sense edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards, or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.


The recent news stories about the New York Times firing its first female executive editor, Jill Abramson, have raised questions once again about pay disparity between men and women. Analysts can throw all the reports at me they want, but I know women get paid less than men, and I believe it’s largely due to an ingrained sense that “women don’t need to earn as much.” Forget about data — I stand by my opinion based on long experience and lots of informal conversations with executives who decide who gets paid how much.

But until we know more about the circumstances surrounding Abramson’s firing, I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon of assumptions and agendas that’s driving some of the reports. There’s plenty to say in the meantime about how much money you make — whether you’re a man or a woman.

Abramson has sat at the top of the news world. But you need not be at the top of your career to re-examine how you get paid. What are the hot spots in your job and your career that present opportunities for you to goose up your compensation? When you encounter such an opportunity, what should you do?

After I published “Fearless Job Hunting, Book 9: Be The Master of Job Offers” last year, I wanted to dig deeper into how people succeed at getting paid more money for their work. This is the topic of a new book I’m writing, and I’d like your help.

There are two obvious hot spots where you can influence how a company will pay you: first, when you approach a company for a job and second, when you have a performance review. I believe that, before you can ask to be paid more, you’ve got to do lots of advance work and be ready to demonstrate how you will make more money for your employer. (If you’re self-employed, good for you, but you still need to work this out for yourself.)

For the book I’m working on, I’m outlining hot spots where I believe there are distinct opportunities for talented people to boost what they get paid. No single one is going to make or break your compensation level, but if you recognize these hot spots and capitalize on them, then you should see an overall boost in your earnings.

Why am I telling you this? Because I need your advice and insight. Many of these hot spots are revealed when some of you send me questions and tell me about obstacles and hurdles you face as you work toward greater success in your work. So I’d like to ask you some questions to help me shape answers — and we can discuss them here in the comments section of this column:

  • What situations have you encountered where you think you could have boosted your pay, but you blew it (or didn’t exploit the opportunity as fully as possible)?
  • What obstacles do employers create that you believe limit your pay artificially or unreasonably? (Gender-based pay disparities, anyone?)
  • In what ways have you gotten stuck in salary negotiations?
  • Which compensation topics mess with your mind, leaving you feeling like you have no control over the outcome?
  • Is there an experience that keeps nagging at you, where you could have influenced the outcome for the better but didn’t?
  • What do you want to know about making more money?
  • This is a big topic. I don’t pretend to have my hands around it, but since it comes up a lot on Ask The Headhunter, I’m determined to tackle it in a more organized way.

    Most people pick their jobs for reasons other than money. They want to work with a certain product or technology or they want to work in a certain business culture. But let’s face it: We all work to make money so we can take care of those we love and enjoy a good quality of life. In fact, we want to make as much money as we can.

    If you want to stand out in your field, one of the key measures of success is how you get paid for the work you do. Knowing how to make as much money as you can is an important skill that should pay off for you and for your employer. What I want to write about is how you can best pull that off — so please help me focus on the issues and challenges that matter most to you. Tell me what kinds of hot spots you’ve encountered — and how you handled them.

    I want to know: What do you want to know about making more money. How can I help you boost your compensation?


    Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “How Can I Change Careers?”, “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”

    Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

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