Welcome to the course leading to the Certified Salary Negotiation Specialist certificate. Words on importance of this topic.

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The primary audience for this course is any career services professional (e.g., coaches, facilitators, human resource professionals, counselors, psychologists) working with clients either in organization or in private practice.

At the conclusion of the course, you will be able to:

  • learning objectives here

This course has xx lessons. In each you may be asked to read text or documents, access web links, view videos, listen to audio, internalize what you are learning, journal, brainstorm, and answer questions about the course content. When you are asked to perform any of these activities, this will be listed in red.

As you move through the course, you will track your progress by answering questions on a worksheet. This worksheet will be submitted to the instructor at the end of the course to verify your earned continuing education units. (MODIFY WHEN APPROPRIATE)

Download the worksheet (RENAME) here.

(MODIFY WHEN APPROPRIATE) You will send this completed worksheet to your instructor.  Once the worksheet is reviewed for completeness, your instructor will recommend that a certificate of completion will be sent to you. Your certificate will reflect X clock hours for your certifications, recertifications, and credentials. Clock hours are calculated based on the quality criteria specified by the National Board for Certified Counselors. (MENTION 1/2 HOUR INSTRUCTOR CONVERSATION)

The materials offered to you in this course are protected by copyright law and must not be shared with any other individual.

The Importance of Negotiating to Career Success

Clients are often reluctant to negotiate job offers or other workplace issues.  This reluctance may stem from a fear of making a mistake, and potentially losing a job offer or angering a boss or co-worker or from a lack of knowledge about how to negotiate.  The default setting is for the client to accept what has been offered to them, and that can have negative consequences, in both the short and long term, on the client’s career.

In this lesson, we will focus on the benefits that clients can access if they develop a sense of competence in conducting career negotiations. We will also examine the broader social and economic context in which salary negotiations occur.

Benefits of Negotiating Salary Offers, Raises and More

Clients are often keenly aware of their discomfort with negotiating.  They know that they might be making more money now if they had only asked.  Some of them may have discovered that co-workers are getting paid more, and regret that they didn’t negotiate their offer. If we give them the tools and the confidence to negotiate, they are much more willing to venture into this intimidating enterprise.

Many benefits accrue to those who do start negotiating career issues, from job offers to raises to exit packages, including:

  1. Higher salaries. Clients who regularly negotiate are likely to get higher salary offers and more raises.  It’s not a guarantee, but in my experience, a client who negotiates a job offer does succeed in raising the salary.  Sometimes, it’s only a few thousand dollars, but I have seen cases where clients negotiated salary bumps in the tens of thousands of dollars.  We never know how much flexibility the employer has until we ask.
  2. Better work/life balance. For many clients, especially those with young children, elderly parents or family members struggling with a severe illness, schedule flexibility and time off is of most value to them.  Negotiating for telecommuting, additional leave, medical leave and alternative schedules can make all the difference in how happy clients are day to day. I have had clients refused to leave a job the provided good schedule flexibility until they found an employer willing to match it.
  3. Better Job Fit. Clients who actively negotiate to shape their job to suit their interests and talents tend to be more satisfied at work. Supervisors often have tremendous flexibility in assigning workplace tasks and are often responsive when a client requests changes.
  4. A Sense of Agency. Clients who feel that they have the tools to advance their career are less likely to stay stuck in a job that doesn’t pay enough or that doesn’t suit them. Knowing that they can handle difficult workplace negotiations makes them feel powerful and in control of their careers.
  5. Resilience. Many things happen in our careers that we have no control over. Factories close, companies are bought and sold, contracts are lost and layoffs ensue. Everyone is going to go through rough patches in their careers.  Clients who are confident that they possess a full toolkit for handling what life throws out them stand a better chance of bouncing back when life lays them out flat.

There are also broader reasons why our clients need to be encouraged to negotiate throughout those careers.  Every dollar that a client adds to their bottom line can help counteract powerful social and economic forces that affect all of our clients.

Economic Disparities

Among the trends that affect our clients are the persistent wage gaps between different groups in U.S. Society. For a recent summary of the research on the gender pay gap, read the following article.

Pew Foundation:  The Narrowing, But Persistent, Gender Gap in Pay.

this next article which provides additional information on how the gender pay gap plays out for racial and ethnic minorities.

National Partnership for Women and Families: Quantifying America’s Gender Pay Gap by Race and Ethnicity

It isn’t just women who experience a wage gap, as reading this article will demonstrate.

Pew Foundation: Key Findings on the Rise in Income Inequality Within America’s Racial and Ethnic Groups 

These readings are not intended to provoke despair or conflict along gender, racial or ethnic lines. They are designed to provide the background for the work we do to support each and every one of our clients. The readings serve as a reminder that the work we do with our individual clients occurs in a broader economic and societal context.  If we ignore that context, we do our clients a disservice.

There is ample evidence that many of our clients—women, African-American, Native American, Latina and others, get paid less than their white male counterparts.  There is also evidence that racial and ethnic minorities of either gender are underpaid relative to white males. This does not mean that our clients who are white and male do not deserve our full support in their efforts to negotiate their salaries.  They may be facing individual reasons for being underpaid and undervalued that still cause harm and distress.

There is also evidence that many Americans are struggling financially.  Much has been made in the media about the alleged research finding that the average American does not have enough savings to cover a $400 emergency expense, implying that most Americans are living at the edge of the financial abyss.

You can read the original report on which that media nugget is based here:

Federal Reserve: 2018 Economic Well Being of U.S. Households

Some researchers do take exception to the dire reading of this report, as you will see in this Bloomberg News op/ed. Read the article to see the arguments.

Bloomberg News Opinion Article:  The $400 Emergency Expense Story is Wrong.


Whether or not Americans are $400 from the edge of financial ruin, or slightly better resourced than that, it is clear that most families could urgently use extra cash coming in each month.  As career professionals, we cannot change the overriding economic situation in which our clients must conduct their careers.  We can do everything in our power to ensure that our clients are aware of the economic context in which they are operating and equip them to beat the averages for themselves. As we work with our clients on their job searches, we can educate them about the benefits of negotiations, and help them develop the skills they need to get a better deal.

Before you finish this lesson, answer item #1 on your worksheet/case study booklet ???