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In today’s “Money Mondays” segment, Mellody Hobson tells listeners how to ask for what they’re worth.

We all know that the recession hit Americans, and particularly black Americans, pretty hard. We have seen jobs losses, sliding wages rates and fewer pay raises. It has certainly been tough out there. But the good news is that the economy is getting stronger and hiring is picking up, so I am here this morning to help people ask for what they are worth – both when seeking a new job or in the job they are currently at!

Is it really a good time to ask this question, just as we are passing a rough patch?

It is. Right now, corporate profits are at the highest level in decades, and small businesses are re-emerging from the recession and beginning to hire again. These are signs that companies are feeling good enough to spend some more money. Additionally, many people are still in the bunker mentality of the recession, so there are fewer people asking for a raise or negotiating for a better salary overall. Both of these facts make it a good time to ask for more money. But the bottom line is that you should be willing to ask for what you are worth, regardless of the time!

What is the first thing we need to know?

That’s easy. Rule #1: You probably won’t get something you do not ask for in the first place! It seems straightforward, but the reality is that asking for a raise is very intimidating for most people. A survey conducted last year by found that 59% of employees dread salary negotiations because it makes them nervous or apprehensive. The same survey showed that 41% of employees do not ask for a raise during performance reviews, and fully 1 in 5 Americans – 20%! – didn’t negotiate at all when they were offered a new job. This is a huge missed opportunity! In order to get what you are worth, you have to be willing to ask for it.

Is there a way to break through this anxiety?

The most important thing you can do to reduce the amount of anxiety you feel during this process, and improve your chances of getting paid what you are worth, is to prepare for the conversation ahead of time.

If you are looking for a new job, you HAVE to do your research and go into the interview with a salary range. After all, it is the responsibility of the interviewer to find out whether or not you fit within the company budget, so you had better be prepared for the question. To get a sense of where you fall, first look up the average salary for the position you are applying for in the company’s industry. You can find this on websites such as or U.S. News and World Report. Then try to find out more information about the company’s pay scale. Sites like or may actually have salary numbers specific to the firm. These are also great sites if you are looking to ask for a raise, or you are getting a promotion. Finally, you can also ask friends, family or colleagues who are already working in that field.

Making What You’re Worth  was originally published on

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