Here’s something surprising about me: I always accepted the first job offer a company made. Many times I accepted the offer verbally over the phone. This is a terrible thing for a career coach to admit.

The HR person would even be surprised, “do you want time to review the offer?”

“Nope, this is a dream job! I’ll take it.”

Here’s why I did that:

  • I was scared if I asked for more, they would take away the offer.
  • I had reviewed their collective agreement and thought everyone started at the 1st level.
  • I had trouble advocating for myself. It made me feel uncomfortable. I was raised on “you take what you are offered.”
  • Every offer was more money than I had made before. Except for one job, I strategically went for jobs that paid 15% more than my previous role, so I was always financially ahead.
  • I didn’t value myself and what I contributed to a company.

When I struck out on my own, I had to get over the fear of negotiating for a higher rate. It might blow your mind to know my early rates, but here goes: I used to charge $300 for a resume.

That included:

  • a one-hour meeting
  • a keystone resume
  • a tailored resume
  • and suggested edits

The even more surprising thing was that some people said it was too much money. I did a few for $175 even. But after a few months of writing resumes and watching as people landed jobs that paid them thousands of dollars more, I knew I could raise my rates. I also felt the reality of being overbooked.

I had to bring my clients along for that price jump.

I moved my resume prices from $300 a resume to $750 a resume. And then from $750 to $1,600 a resume. I shared that value change by sharing stories.

  • I told stories about clients landing ideal work by the resume I wrote them
  • I shared stories about the process I use to write resumes
  • I did a video series called 30 days of Resume where I answered questions about resumes using anecdotes and examples

All of this sharing helped people see the value in working with me on their resume.

You can do this too.

If you want to make more money, either by asking for a raise or getting a better paying job, you’re going to need to use stories.

  • Think of example stories about how you save a company time, money, resources through your work.
  • Have examples ready about how your work helped people or the company
  • Compare the way you work to others in your field. This lets you know what makes you different than everyone else
  • Share your ideas about the sector and trends to show you are in the know

All of these help the decision-maker to see your value. It also helps you to see your own value. You can share these stories on social media, your resume, during an interview or at a performance review.

Knowing my story and tracking client success helps me to see my own value and helps me to ask for what I’m worth. I know this about my work and prices:

I am most interested in serving people who value the process of finding and sharing their stories to land ideal work. I honor them and myself by charging a rate that allows me space between calls to think about them. When I charge a rate that gives me breathing room, I have more energy to obsessively improve my offering and support to them. I don’t need to supplement my income by teaching or speaking work.

Write one of these for yourself. Fill in the blanks.

I am most interested in ____________________________________________ (what is your dream work).

I honor myself and the work most by charging/making ___________________________ (get some real numbers in there to help you see it and believe it. Maybe it’s your hourly rate, project rate or your annual desired salary)

When I ensure I make this amount of money it gives me ______________________________________ (what does having money give you? What does it change for you and your career?)

and allows me to _______________________________________________ (how does the company or client benefit from your work?)

Three specific stories that support my worth are: