Three Tips for Negotiating Your Salary Like a Pro

BreakingModern — The job-search process can be full of challenges, especially for people starting out. A recent graduate is eager to get into the workforce and gain experience, but it’s also important to find a good job that will lead to future career opportunities. In the rush to get started, you may feel tempted to accept the first offer you get, regardless of the salary, but that can be a mistake. As a newcomer, you can easily find yourself surrounded by people making 10 or 20 percent more than you for the same work. Whether this is your first professional position or you’re searching to move on to your next great job, you can learn to negotiate like someone who has years of experience in his industry. Here are three tips to help you improve your salary negotiation skills.

Salary ideas

Do Your Research

When it comes to negotiating your pay, knowledge is power. The Internet is a powerful tool, both for researching your industry and researching the company to which you’re applying. Start with a site like PayScale or’s Salary Calculator to determine what your industry offers entry-level professionals. At the very least, if you walk into an interview with a guideline of what other companies are offering, you’ll give yourself leverage in the negotiation process. If possible, you should also try to find out what others in the company are making. Glassdoor is an important research site for any jobseeker, with insider information on employers around the globe. Search for your particular business under Companies and click on the Salaries tab for the company in question. You’ll usually see average salaries for different positions, especially in large, established companies.

Don’t Negotiate too Soon

The first interview isn’t the time to discuss pay rates. An offer is usually made through a follow-up call or interview, once all first- and second-round interviews are complete and the employer has chosen you. Bringing up pay in the first interview can actually cost you the job. If a salary range wasn’t specified in the job posting, conduct online research to see if you can find out what to expect. In some instances, an interviewer puts the candidate in an awkward situation by asking his or her salary expectations. The best way to handle such a question is to state that you’d prefer to discuss compensation once both you and the employer have had an opportunity to determine if you’re the right fit.

salary handshake

Prepare to Negotiate

When a salary offer comes in, it’s never a good idea to accept it immediately. You should say you’ll respond in 24-48 hours and carefully weigh your options. Make a list of things that are important to you, including vacation and sick leave, medical insurance, opportunities for advancement, bonuses and whether you’ll have the flexibility to work from home. Each of these items can be used if the employer is unwilling to rise to your salary requirements during negotiations. If you’re currently entertaining other offers, be sure to let the employer know. This can create a demand that will lead to a higher salary. Also, don’t be afraid to continue to sell your skills and assets, reminding the employer what you’ll bring in exchange for your salary. Salary negotiation can be a tough issue, especially for people starting out in their careers. By using the research tools available to you and knowing exactly what you want out of your next job, you’ll be in a position to negotiate the best possible salary you can get.

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First/Featured image: © DDRockstar / Dollar Photo Club

Second/Header image: © Sergey Nivens / Dollar Photo Club

Stephanie Faris

Author: Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris is the Simon & Schuster author of two middle grade novels, 25 Roses and 30 Days of No Gossip, as well as the upcoming Piper Morgan chapter book series. A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, she worked in information systems for 13 years. Her work is regularly featured on a wide variety of blogs and websites, both under her own name and as a ghostwriter. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Neil.

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