Seven months ago, Claudia Telles was making $41,000 a year working for a Chicago-based hospital.
Today, she’s at the same institution with a different role — she transitioned from the business-operations team on the academic side of things to being a quality specialist on the hospital side — and receiving a much higher annual salary: $72,000.
How did the 28-year-old make more than a $30,000 leap within the same company?
She played her cards flawlessly when the money conversation surfaced during the interview process. “Negotiation is nerve-racking, especially because you don’t do it every day, or even weekly or monthly,” she tells Business Insider. “But a five-minute conversation can be an extra $5,000 or $10,000 in your pocket.”
We asked Telles for her top tips when it comes to negotiating the compensation you deserve.
1. Do your research
Most of the work should happen before you head into the interview, Telles emphasizes.
Start by looking at the salary range for someone with your level of experience and skills and in your industry or company. She used Glassdoor and Payscale to find out that the range for her position maxed out at $75,000, the amount she would eventually ask for. Salary.com and Indeed.com also offer free compensation and benefits information.
This will help you understand what you’re worth and keep you from asking for too little or far too much. While you don’t want to request too low a salary and leave money on the table, you also don’t want to name a number that is well above what the employer had in mind and risk knocking yourself out of the running.
2. Emphasize what the company gains by hiring you
If you’ve done your homework on the company and the role they’re looking to fill, proving your value to the employer should be easy to execute.
While Telles, who has been at the same hospital for three years, didn’t need to research the actual company, she got a firm grasp on the job description and expectations of the new position she was applying for. “I was really able to showcase that I knew what was going on and could do the job effectively,” she explains. “I told them that for the type of work that needs to get done — and will get done — this is the type of salary that would be appropriate.”
If you come prepared to highlight your skills, experience, qualifications, and accomplishments, you can justify what you’re asking for.
3. Practice, practice, practice
As personal-finance expert Ramit Sethi says of salary negotiation, “Eighty percent of the work happens before you even enter the room.”
In addition to looking up salary ranges, studying the company, and preparing your facts and figures, you want to do mock interviews — over and over and over again. This could mean having a friend or family member ask you probable interview questions or it could mean practicing in front of the mirror.
“I recorded myself to see how my body language was and how my voice sounded,” Telles explains. “I practiced not looking up or to the side. I practiced not having ‘flying hands.’ I made sure I looked confident, that my back was straight, and my posture strong.”
As Ivanka Trump, CEO of Ivanka Trump Collection, writes on Motto, “The way in which you carry yourself, even when seated at a desk, matters. Regardless of how fast your heart may be beating, sit upright, make eye contact, and focus on breathing evenly.”
Practice and preparation minimizes the risk of fumbling through the conversation when the big day comes. “By the time of the interview, I’d done 50 or so practice rounds and it just came out effortlessly,” Telles says.