Sometimes the raise or superstar salary you were hoping for doesn’t work out despite your best efforts. Maybe the performance review and budget cycles aren’t aligned at your company, or you’re joining a startup where they’re short on cash but long on other incentives like equity. If you have the flexibility to work with the best money deal they can make, don’t assume you’ve reached the end of the negotiating road. Challenge yourself to think bigger about what your medium and long term goals are, and what else would help you achieve them. Here are five opportunities you can negotiate for that aren’t money.
These are some of the best benefits you can get, since you take your knowledge with you and apply it to everything you do going forward.
Tuition reimbursement: If you’re thinking of pursuing a Master’s degree, tuition reimbursement is an incredible option to pursue if your company has a program or will create one for you. Start by taking a close look at your current finances, existing student loan debt, and how you’ll use the Master’s once you’ve earned it. Will it get you a job that will make it easier to pay off new loans? Some companies are now offering student loan repayment as a benefit. If your employer doesn’t yet, tuition reimbursement is the next best thing. I was able to take advantage of a reimbursement program and was able to get my Master’s degree from NYU with only a few thousand dollars out of pocket. Just be sure to understand whether taking a reimbursement means committing to staying at the company for a certain period of time.
Continuing education: If you don’t want to commit to an entire degree, or you already have a Master’s but are interested in expanding your skill set, consider taking a continuing ed class that’s related to your field. Your employer benefits from your fresh knowledge and you get to take those skills with you wherever you go.
Certification programs: You can get certified in skills like project management, basic HTML and Excel that can boost your efficiency at work now and make you more marketable for your next job later.
This might sound like more work at first, but if you’re thoughtful and strategic about your goals, it can be to your benefit.
Leadership responsibilities: Let your manager know that you’re looking for a promotion in the next year (or whatever timeframe matches your goal). Ask her or him specifically what you need to do to achieve that goal — is it managing direct reports, overseeing a budget, launching a new product? — and volunteer to take on a new responsibility or task that puts you on the path to advancement. You’ll be taking some work off your manager’s plate and adding to your skill set so that you’re well positioned when that promotion opportunity comes.
Professional development: Think creatively with this one. It could be something formal like attending an industry conference, or you could ask to lead a challenging project, shadow a leader you admire, or even seek out a career coach or mentor. Start by thinking about where you want your career to be in one to two years and work backwards to identify what gaps in your knowledge or skill set you can start closing now.
This post originally appeared in Women@Forbes, where Alexandra Dickinson is a contributor. She writes about how to use a negotiation mindset to achieve your goals.