How to Negotiate Salary: 6 Strategies

How to Negotiate Salary

Oh happy day, the job hunt is finally over! Now that you’ve finally found a role that you’re going to love, it’s time to prepare to negotiate for your salary and benefits.

The first step in salary negotiation is recognizing that you can negotiate. It can feel really uncomfortable to discuss pay, especially if you’ve been on the hunt for a position for a while. However, it would be best if you considered it a regular part of accepting a job offer. After all, if you feel under-compensated, you’re likely to end up falling out of love with the job quickly. 

Use the tips that follow to boost your confidence and raise your chances for success.

Be Prepared for Negotiation

As noted in this article from Harvard Law School, the first barrier to our negotiations is often ourselves. The article points out that it’s human nature to continually focus on our own weaknesses rather than our strengths, making it very uncomfortable to negotiate compensation for ourselves confidently. Before anything else, do unbiased research on yourself.

Consider picturing a job seeker that is one of your closest friends. You would most likely advocate fiercely for them. Do the same for yourself.

Know Your Worth

If you’ve ever purchased a home or a vehicle, you most likely went to the table knowing the market value. Salary negotiations should be no different. Utilize salary research tools such as Glassdoor, Salary.com, and Payscale to understand market averages. Be confident in where your experience and education place you on the scale.

Being prepared with facts and presenting your research shows a business acumen that your boss will appreciate. Organization and preparation are traits that every employer will respect. 

For more salary research tips, read How to Research and Find the Salary You Deserve.

Be Your Own Greatest Advocate

Gaps in your employment history or having experienced a hiring bias may cause you to feel insecure about negotiating. Perhaps you stayed home to raise young children for a few years or were a military spouse. Remind yourself of the experiences you’ve gained that make you a great candidate

Act With Confidence

If you approach the negotiation with the attitude that you’re asking for a favor, your chances of success plummet. Present a well-formatted list of your accomplishments that will benefit the company. There’s a tendency in job hunting to forget that the interests are two-sided. Not only are you getting a great job, but the company is getting a great employee

Create a win-win feeling, demonstrating how your specific knowledge is going to boost your job performance. Similar to the sticker on the car window detailing the upgraded package, justify the cost in writing. 

Make It One Negotiation

Don’t drag the negotiations on forever. The employer will lose patience if you agree on salary only to then begin negotiating for better benefits. Consider all benefits included in the compensation package and arrange for everything at once.

And perhaps some benefits might make up a small salary deficit. Maybe it would cost the employer less to set you up with a home office than it would to bump up your salary. Would you find those initial savings substantial enough to be delighted with the lower number?

Does that mean possibly negotiating for a hybrid remote role, saving you two or three days a week of commuting time? Depending on your circumstances, maybe extra vacation time or a flexible schedule will round out a slightly lower salary enough to be a win.

Practice Makes Perfect

Whether it’s with a friend, a career coach, or solo in the mirror, you should rehearse this conversation. Presenting yourself with a confident air is one of the best ways to ensure success. Be ready for unexpected questions about your previous roles or where you found your information. Don’t invent stories about other offers and inflated salaries of earlier employers. Most are easily verifiable. 

Get Everything in Writing

Make sure that you have a detailed agreement of your compensation, rather than just an understanding. Otherwise, miscommunication of what you thought was agreed on could sour your new job. As a final step in the salary negotiations, ensure you’re on the same page and reiterate details. Ask if you missed anything and when they will send over the compensation details for you to sign.

Research and Rehearse for Success

Negotiating your salary should be considered a normal part of an organized job search. Researching and rehearsing your responses is as crucial at this stage as it is when preparing for an interview.

More: 4 Ways to Get Your Interviewer to Share Their Salary Expectations First


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