How to negotiate your salary like a pro

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Are you currently applying for a new job, or gunning for a promotion at your current company? Either way now’s the time to brush up on those negotiation skills and secure the salary that you deserve.


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Does the thought of negotiating for your salary bring you out in a cold sweat? You’re not alone. Many people are scared about negotiating their salaries according to Salary.com. A recent survey revealed that only 37% of people said that they always negotiate for their salaries. 18% said that they never do it and 44% said they’ve never brought it up! And, according to Linda Babcock’s book – “Girls Don’t Ask”, only 7% of women attempt to negotiate their first salary.

This is definitely something you should learn to do though, however much it scares you. When you negotiate, you show your employer not only that you can advocate for yourself but also that you have done your homework about how much you’re worth in the labor market. You could also increase your salary by 7% which adds up to a lot over the course of your career!

Step 1: Find out how much you’re worth

Do your research and find out your market value. Rather than discussing any raise in relation to what you currently earn, flip the conversation around to talking about how much you’re worth on the labor market and focus the discussion on hard numbers.

Step 2: Formulate your arguments

Write down all of your arguments about why you think you should get the salary or raise you’re asking for. Make sure to focus on your market value and the value that you bring to your role.

Step 3: Be proactive about asking for a raise

Most people will wait until it’s performance review time to ask for a raise, but in many cases, this is too late. Your manager will likely have already worked out who to offer raises to by then. Make sure to get your request in there early. If you’ve been in your job for more than one year, taken on new responsibilities and exceeded expectations whilst doing so, then you can feel secure in asking for more money.

Step 4: Shoot for the stars

Ask for more than you want. If you start too low then you won’t give enough room for negotiation and will likely walk out with an offer that is less than you want. It’ll be tempting to ask for a price in the middle of the range, but if you start at the upper limit of what professionals in your role are paid, then you’re more likely to come out with something much better than you currently have.

Step 5: Hold your head up

Walk in to the room with confidence. Hold your head up high and smile. Use your body language to show that you mean business. It might help to put on a different persona or pretend to be someone else. Be positive and assertive. Tell the HR manager or your boss how much you want the opportunity and how excited you are to bring your expertise to the role, but also emphasize the salary that you think is right.

Step 6: Name your price

Whatever you do, try to put your number on the table first. Doing so will mean that any discussions have to start from there. And, make sure to ask for an exact number. So, ask for $67,540 instead of $68,000 as this will make your interview partner feel like you’ve really done extensive research about how much you’re worth. Also, whilst you might want to give your interview partner a range, but this will make it seem like you’re willing to concede, so stick to one very specific and sufficiently high number and make no indication that you’re willing to go down at all.

Step 7: Walk away if you need to

Decide on a salary that is too low. You can work this out according to your own long or short term goals and also your knowledge of how much you should be able to earn in this role. Be willing to walk away if the salary offered is below this. It will be undoubtedly difficult, but you will be thankful that you didn’t settle for a salary that is less than you deserve.

Step 8: Make a counter offer

Don’t be scared of getting a no. Most negotiations don’t even start until an offer has been turned down. In this case, you can make a counteroffer that reflects the raise you were hoping to get. Or, if there are other things such as paid leave, flex time, conferences, courses etc., then ask about these too as a way to improve your offer. The most important thing is that you come out of the discussions feeling like you won something. If the offer is still too low or not satisfactory, revert to step 7 and walk away.

This article first appeared on Kununu