HKS Affiliated Authors

Co-Director, Center for Public Leadership
Co-Director, Women and Public Policy Program
Roy E. Larsen Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management


When you’re seeking to advance your career—by joining a different company or moving into a new role with your current employer—it’s important to think strategically about not just what you want but how to get it. In this article the authors draw on their work coaching executives and their cross-cultural research to propose four steps that can help you prepare to negotiate.

First, think broadly about your long-term career goals instead of focusing narrowly on the offer at hand or the question of pay and benefits. Second, be mindful of what type of opportunity you’re asking for—something standard, an unusual arrangement for yourself, or a chance to take your organization in a new direction—and tailor your arguments accordingly. Third, arm yourself with the necessary information to reduce ambiguity about what’s possible and with whom to negotiate. Fourth, connect with people who can be helpful in making your case, and approach negotiations as an opportunity to enhance your working relationships.

If you follow these steps and set career targets that are specific and realistic, you’re more likely to chart a path to success.


Bowles, Hannah Riley, and Bobbi Thomason. "Negotiating Your Next Job: Focus on Your Role, Responsibilities, and Career Trajectory, not Salary." Harvard Business Review 99.1 (January-February 2021): 68-75.