Kristina Rodulfo is the beauty director at Women’s Health magazine, which is a huge role for anyone, especially if you’re only 27 years old. In addition to writing articles for the publication’s website and print magazine, Rodulfo documents her daily life on her Instagram account, where she’s cultivated an engaged following of over 10,000 people.
On social media, Rodulfo is very open with her job stressors and day-to-day tasks. After receiving many career questions from her followers, she started a series she calls #hustleandglowup.
“I started getting so many career questions in my DMs from young women trying to navigate the early stages of their careers, from how to secure internships, to how to stand out in an entry level position,” said Rodulfo. “I get the nicest messages, but can’t always answer them all in detail, so I decided to round up what I wish I knew when I started.”
This mission led her to the topic of salary negotiations — and she posted a photo of a script she had handwritten in preparation for the conversation when she was accepting her first job when she was 22 years old. Rodulfo immediately received tons of comments and direct messages about the post.
“Asking for money makes me want to throw up a little so I ALWAYS write it down and have it handy during the call,” Rodulfo wrote on Instagram. She explained that she even writes down “small talk and how-are-you’s,” which may seem tedious, but over time “helped me raise my salary up by over $50,000 in two years.”
“I wanted to remind people that it’s important to ask for more, and that it can be uncomfortable, but there are ways to get over that hurdle — and it’s worth it! Write it down so you don’t get thrown off by nerves,” advised Rodulfo. “Writing it down makes you be more thoughtful and measured. And bold! You owe it to yourself to declare your worth. Even if you’re 22 years old, like I was.”
Rodulfo stressed the importance of always negotiating before accepting a new job — and she wants people to consider negotiating beyond salary alone.
“I have negotiated every single time I’ve been offered a job — and, truthfully, felt nervous as heck every time,” said Rodulfo. "I’m proud to say every time, I didn’t come away empty handed. Whether it was asking for a title bump that saved me years of climbing, or an extra $5,000, or an extra week of vacation (all things that I’ve successfully gotten from negotiating in past jobs), I came away just feeling proud of myself for swallowing any anxiety and asking in the first place.”
That sense of pride is important when entering a new job. “Even if a salary negotiation worked out only 50 percent of the way instead of 100 percent, I was able to start that new job knowing I did all I could. I owed it to myself, and I did it,” says Rodulfo.
Rodulfo outlined her best salary-negotiating tips for young women:
Go beyond sites like Glassdoor and reach out to peers that you trust.
“Talk to peers at the same level as you and mentors who have experience managing/hiring and are aware of salary ranges in your field,” said Rodulfo. “Glassdoor can only tell you so much—it’s more helpful to have transparent conversations with people you know.”
Consider your tone:
It can be easy to fall into a pattern of seeing salary negotiations as difficult and almost competitive. Don’t let your tone reflect those views.
“Keep the call or meeting brief, professional and keep in mind it’s a two-way conversation,” said Rodulfo. “‘Is there anything we can do to get me closer to $X amount?' versus “To be honest, I was really expecting to be paid $X amount’ makes a difference.”
Nerves can definitely impact your tone in a way that is unintended, so make sure you take that into consideration.
“Every time I’ve negotiated I’ve spoken to the person on the other line in a really conversational way,” said Rodulfo. “As much as I have written down all my notes before the call, I don’t read it out loud like I’m reading a passage in an English class.”
Especially if apologizing is a habit that you’ve struggled to break free of in the past, take special care to make sure you don’t bring it into salary negotiations.
“It’s not very convincing and you shouldn’t be sorry you’re asking for more,” said Rodulfo. “It’s a business transaction and just as much a part of getting a new job as the application itself.”