Salary Story: I Thought I Didn’t Have Enough Experience To Negotiate, I Was Wrong

Illustrated by Sol Cotti
In our series Salary Stories, women with long-term career experience open up about the most intimate details of their jobs: compensation. It’s an honest look at how real people navigate the complicated world of negotiating, raises, promotions and job loss, with the hope it will give young women more insight into how to advocate for themselves — and maybe take a few risks along the way.
Been in the workforce for at least five years and interested in contributing your salary story? Submit your information here.
Age: 26
Location: London
Current industry and job title: Marketing consultant, beauty.
Current salary: £55-£60,000
Number of years employed since school or university: 5.5
Starting salary and year: £18,000 in 2016
Biggest salary jump: £14,000, from £18,000 to £32,000 in 2017.
Biggest salary drop: None, it's never dropped.
Biggest negotiation regret: At one point in my career I applied for my dream job at my dream company, despite having only three years experience when they were asking for five to seven. I didn’t think I stood a hope in hell of getting the job, so when it came around to negotiation stages I was just so shocked to even be having that conversation and eager to take a big jump in seniority that I let them lowball me by £20,000 less than the job was advertised for. It was only a £2,000 increase on my current salary for a much more senior and stressful role, which after taking into account the additional commuting costs, meant I actually lost money compared to my previous role.
Best salary advice: Don’t let having less experience than advertised for discourage you from negotiating your worth. In my career, I’ve had a couple of roles where I was under-qualified on paper, and so let myself get underpaid for them. At the end of the day I was still doing the work, and doing it very well, and whilst I might not have had the years experience from the job description I was still more than capable, so I should have fought for the going rate for those jobs. They’re offering you the job because they think you’re the best person for it, probably rejecting more experienced candidates in favour of you. Therefore, you should be paid the same as other candidates with more experience would have been.