Yes, you should negotiate your salary

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Getting a job offer means you should start salary negotiations, not accept the first offer. Image: Flickr / gottgraphicsdesign / CC-BY

What you get paid for the work that you do can, at times, feel out of your control. Even in a bad economy with high unemployment, though, negotiating for a better salary can be an advisable move.

When you should negotiate

If you are job-hunting, then you should be ready to negotiate your salary when the job is offered to you. If you are currently employed, then you can also negotiate your salary with your boss. Time your negotiation for a specific time that has some kind of importance, be it a work anniversary or after a big project has been completed.

Know the numbers

Salary negotiations start with knowing exactly what position you are currently in. If you have been offered a job, then you are negotiating from a position of strength, because the employer has specifically chosen you out of a very large pool of potential employees, and therefore want to have you in their employ. Know what is standard for your industry, experience level, and cost of living area. If you are requesting a raise, then know both the dollar amount and the percentage amount of the raise you are requesting.

Be confident

Phrases like “I think” or “I am not sure, but…” put you in a weaker negotiating position. If you present a clear, confident case for the salary you are requesting, and are friendly about it, then you are much more likely to direct the conversation towards the amount you are aiming for.

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Start in the right place

If you are negotiating for a job that you have not been hired for yet, then let your potential employer start the negotiations. Ask what type of salary range they had in mind. If you are negotiating for a raise for a job you are currently in, then know what number you would like to start at and what number you are comfortable with. Remember, a negotiation is about finding a solution that works for both of you, not getting someone else to agree with you.

Remember non-monetary compensation

An employer may not be able to offer a raise or higher salary directly, but there are non-monetary types of compensation that can be worth as much. Asking for additional paid time off, a flexible work schedule, additional contribution to retirement accounts, or even a parking allowance could all take the place of additional cash on your paycheck.


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