How to negotiate a pay rise

Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash

I’m currently going through the process of negotiating a pay rise and promotion for myself, and I’ve no shame in saying it is something that I have been incredibly nervous to do. I don’t have much experience in asking for more money, and sadly I find talking about money at work really hard! However, I got given some brilliant advice from the Step Up Club, that has really really helped me, and I honestly feel everyone needs to be armed with this weapon!

You need to consider the WHOLE PACKAGE. 

Never just ask for the thing you want, ask for more.

You need to have bargaining chips to play with. The clue is in the title, it is a negotiation which means making compromises.

Want a pay rise of £3,000? Ask for £4,000 and getting sent on a training course – you can then negotiate down to the 3k you really want. They think they’ve got a deal, and you’re walking away a very happy employee with the exact pay rise you wanted!  Only you need to know what the main thing you’re asking for – and you never know, they could surprise you by agreeing to your whole package!

Asking for more money is never easy, I’ve also been told that it doesn’t get much easier as the years go on! This isn’t the only step – they actually break it down into 5 key areas;

  1. Prep (most important) so you can show why you deserve what you’re asking for.
  2. Brand You – helps you go into the negotiation and not take it so personally.
  3. Self Promotion – take ownership of what you do.
  4. Transaction – when you use the whole package.
  5. Confidence – you’ve got this!

And after I graduated Uni, this was something that I was completely unprepared for – I wish someone had shared tips like this when I was first applying for jobs!

In fact, this topic was inspired from speaking to some Brighton Event Students, earlier this week – Matt James invited myself and my brilliant friends and First Steps co-founders Elena & Priya to be part of a web panel.

Matt is currently guest lecturing at a couple of Uni’s, and talking to students about the practicalities of entering the events industry, he’s got a strong knowledge to share having written and published a book called ‘Become an Event Planner: Secrets for Getting Hired from Employers, Recruiters, and Event Professionals‘.

Our web panel supported what Matt had been discussing, but bought in some context and advice for the three of us who have both been through the event education route, and are still in the early stages of our careers.  We shared things we’d wished we had known before entering the jobs market, what we weren’t prepared for after graduation, and why we advocate getting involved with the industry through networking, volunteering to name just a few points 🙂 

That, however, is another topic for another day!

For now, let’s start getting prepped to negotiate for more at work!


The number 1 thing to know about job hunting as an Events Graduate

Photograph by Ian Schneider

The pressure when you graduate is all about landing the first job.

Obviously, it has to be your dream job – the perfect one that you love and all your friends secretly want! It isn’t allowed to be anything other than the BEST job – plus, you have to be quick about it. No waiting around and spending time looking for the first few months.


NOPE – it’s all a lie.

I’ve friends who got a job right out of uni and are still there, others who’ve started new jobs every year since leaving uni. I’ve friends who found, on paper, the perfect job but left after 6 months. I’ve friends who went travelling for over 12 months and still found great jobs. Some, it took a while to find something and they went back to retail work before they getting a role in events. It took me 6 months and even then it wasn’t an official job but a freelance role. Some just went straight into freelancing and others are still working out what they want to do when they are older!

Thing is, that pressure to be quick on the job hunt it’s coming from you, no-one else!

Sure people like to *really* ask what you’re going to do now that you’ve graduated – but mostly it’s because they’re nosey.

If you’re happy, able to pay your bills, feel comfortable and have a semi-plan in mind – don’t worry.

When I left uni and moved home I set a goal of 6 months. By November 2014 I wanted to be in an events job. I decided to take a break before I went head first into applying for jobs, so I went travelling for a few weeks. I then took on a nannying job to earn some cash, because as my Dad has always said – he is not a cashpoint! And I did some volunteering/freelance event work alongside it all.

The 6-month goal was personal. My graduation was in November and I really didn’t want to be the only one of my friends (and class) not in an events job.

How I first started working at GPJ was not the ‘perfect’ scenario – in fact, it was originally just 3 weeks of admin work to help Sales and Marketing. That was then extended and they offered a freelance administrative position within Strategy and Planning. I freelanced at GPJ for just over a year before I was offered the job as Junior Strategist last January.

There is no perfect way to land an events job. The internet will try to tell you there is. People will try to tell you there is. But it isn’t true.

There is also no right way to go about looking or finding a job.

There is no set time in which you need to land an events job to have a successful career.

So fresh graduate, take a little pressure off yourself. You’ve finished university – that in itself is an impressive feat!

You can read my personal Graduate journey below;

June 2014//August 2014//September 2014//November 2014//March 2015

@BlogByKobrak – @ImDamnStudent  Facebook

How To Build Your Events Career.

Photography by Danielle Macinnes 

A couple of months ago I had the absolute pleasure of co-running Helen Moon‘s EWL Coffee Morning discussion, with two of my co-collaborators and great friends; Elena Clowes and Priya Narain.

As co-founders of Event First Steps the discussion was around how to build your own career within the events industry – a topic which each of us has very different stories and experiences to pull from!

As I said in my last post (which happens to tie in very nicely to this one) I’ve come round to the fantastic conclusion that in the overall grand schemes of things, I’m still only at the very start of my career journey. For any of you who are just graduating, I’m not sure if this is as great a statement or rather counterproductive – but I can promise I mean it to be seen as empowering!

Helen’s formats these events so they incite discussion rather than have people ‘present’. It was very much a chance to have a conversation with other event professionals, and I can honestly say I came away feeling inspired, they each bought a different point of view to the table and challenged points so that we justified much of what we said!

One of the points we championed was being active outside of your job.  Attend events in the evenings, be engaged and interesting with the wider industry. Be curious.


Personally I do it is because I want to make myself indispensable. I want to give something bigger back, and bring more to the table than just what is expected of me.

With so many people coming into the industry, either from education – like you and me – or from changing career paths, there is even more competition for job roles.

Sure you need to show you are competent at doing the job, but being active and engaged outside of work shows that are striving to bring the best, you want to continue to learn – and with that you’re not just expecting your employers to be the ones to teach you. It shows that you’re looking for opportunity. 

Of course you need to balance where you spread yourself. If you’re in full-time employment then make sure your job has your full attention. However work is only 8 hours of your day, how you spend your lunch break or evenings – that is down to you. 

Some people will be content with finding a good job, giving that their attention and then using their free time as they feel fit – that is fantastic. We all have different priorities. However if you want to make the most of your time in the early stages of career progression – get active. Be curious.