Career Advice For Female Financial Professionals

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By guest columnist Marisa R. Santoro

The naked truth about women and negotiating:

• Women initiate negotiations far less often than men - 4 times less, so say the experts.

• Women steer clear of making waves and being perceived as difficult (heaven forbid) .

• Women aren't naturals at deal making. They tend to be more accommodating and opt to wait things out.

Have you detected a pattern here ?

Our faith in the system comforts us with the notion that our day will come. Eventually we will be rewarded for the hard sweated effort we've invested in our careers.

That promotion is just around the corner! Our little voice whispers.

Reality check: There really isn't anyone willing to part the red sea for us back at the ranch, and even if you believe there is, pretend they don't exist. Closing our eyes and wishing for the best simply won't cut it in this turbulent economy. As those on the bench and who are out of work warn, the odds of you landing the next dream job (where you'll be really happy) are far greater when you're looking for it while still employed. So hang tight, here are some tips when hitting the bargaining table for that next promotion, raise or new job that's wooing you to switch teams.

• Cite the industry insights you've foraged over the years with all of your experience. Where do you rank on the wisdom scale in your field ?

• Highlight your leadership legacy. Flag up those projects where you've stepped it up when duty called.

• You heart metrics. Senior managers love to talk score cards. Dazzle them with the calculated revenue, cost savings and / or efficiences you've delivered. This is your measurable track record.

• Never go into a negotiation cold without doing some homework on the other party's position. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine the script that you'd fully expect them to recite. Numero uno: always be ready for the counter argument.

• Look and feel top notch (this is your party after all). Sit straight. Firm handshake. Low voice. Gently lead (not control) and keep it cool ice princess.

• Pull the plug on all of your hot buttons. The other party has studied your position as well and may know the topics that rattle you. Identify your sensitivities. Lock them. Hush them.

• Live and breath the negotiation act over and over with a partner. It's all about role playing and you're the star so have fun with it. The more comfortable you are in the shoes you're wearing at the bargaining table, the more you'll inspire yourself and them with what you're pitching.

• Don't sweat it if you're told 'No' the first time around. Find a way to mosey back in another time. P is for Persistence and something women do know a thing or two about.

About the writer

Marisa Santoro is a single working mother, IT executive and professional speaker in corporate America. Her geeky childhood love for computer programming led her to a successful career at a Wall Street brokerage. She has a natural instinct for ‘picking up’ brilliant women who juggle it ALL.

She writes her own blog In Our Shoes

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