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Whether you’re negotiating your salary for a possible new job or bargaining for a pay adjustment in a current position, getting what you feel is a fair amount for your work can be tricky. Here are five ways to help you effectively negotiate your salary.
A helpful first step in negotiating your salary is to research what a position pays in the location of the job and as a national average. You may be able to find this information by looking at job postings on sites such as MyJobHelper.com or by searching Salary.com. Professional organizations and publications often provide salary ranges as a guide, too. Knowing the typical salary in your area or the national average can provide a guideline for your salary negotiation.
It’s no secret that some organizations pay better than others and that the cost of living varies around the nation. The salary range may or may not be listed in the job posting. Therefore, investigate the salary for the position paid by the specific company you are or wish to work for. Most companies have websites with a human resource page that may list salaries and benefits. You might also find specific listings for your job and company on the employment and salary sites listed under #1.
If this information is unavailable online or on the job posting itself, asking what the salary range and benefits are for a position is a fair question. Ask directly toward the end of your interview, but be careful not to make it the focus of your application.
Because most organizations provide a salary range and many times they have ways of offering the right person more money, be ready with a clear inventory of your skills, talents, experiences, and successes that may qualify you for more. Be sure to focus on “above and beyond” items rather than those of any person in the position. For example, rather than use the classic “I’m a people person” argument, which means little in terms of salary negotiations, share that you have completed communication training or that customers have voted you the salesperson who best meets their needs.
Closely related to #3 above is being able to document your “above and beyond” skills and talents. For example, do you have a certificate that shows the successful completion of the communication training or customer service award? Did a current or existing supervisor praise your contribution to a large project’s success? Have these pieces ready as salary negotiation bargaining chips.
Finally, based upon how much risk you’re willing to take, consider countering an offer or rejecting it politely. Let’s say you know from your research and investigation that the company has made a good salary offer. You feel confident that they can go no higher; yet, you feel you deserve more.
You may want to counter by adjusting other variables associated with the job. Could you do some of it remotely, working from home? Telecommuting saves on work-related expenses, such as clothing and transportation. Maybe some of the job responsibilities could be adjusted (e.g., complete four major projects annually instead of five).
The ultimate risk is to politely and professionally reject the offer. Express how much you would like the position but that accepting it at that rate of pay is cost-prohibitive for you. Be patient with this one as you may not hear anything for months to come. However, if the company wanted you, they may be able to find something within your range in the future.
Salary negotiations can be stressful. Stay confident and realistic about your marketable skills and what they’re worth. The right salary opportunity will come along.