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Want to get the compensation you deserve? Nervous about asking for more money in the first place? As with many job search related activities, the key to salary negotiation (or to asking for a raise at your current job) is preparation. The more you do your research, know your plan and feel confident that you do in fact deserve more money, the higher your chances of success. More specifically, here are the basic five things to do for effective salary negotiation.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask. With a less than ideal economy upon us, many job seekers are afraid to negotiate for a higher salary because having a job at a lower salary is often preferable to no job at all. While I understand the concern, salary negotiation is a normal part of the process and unless you’re rude or demand four times what the job typically pays you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for the salary you deserve. You may or may not get it, but asking shouldn’t do any harm.
2. Do salary research. It’s best to go into a salary negotiation armed with numbers. If you know what the normal salary range of a given job in a given city is, you can use that to explain why you’re asking for the amount you are. You can begin to do salary research online by googling your professional and “typical salary range” and “city,” and by using sites like salary.com. You can also browse job sites and look for job postings which list salary ranges. Of course, the best place to get detailed salary information is through your contacts. If you’re comfortable asking general questions like, “How much does someone in this role typically make?” that can be extremely helpful. I would avoid asking people how much THEY make.
3. Justify your value. Once you have an idea what the job salary range looks like, it’s time to come up with a list of reasons why you deserve to be in the higher end of the range. This might be because you have a certain number of years of experience, special qualifications or certifications, or because you can point to concrete accomplishments from your past experience that prove you are an exceptional candidate. If you’re asking for a raise at your existing job, citing your positive accomplishments in a specific, concrete way is especially important.
4. Wait. The further into the interview process you are when you bring up salary, and therefore the more they want to hire you, the more leverage you will have in salary negotiations. You won’t always be able to wait, but your best bet is waiting as long as possible to talk about salary and to ideally let them cite a salary number before you do.
5. Have compromises in mind. If you’re not able to get the salary number you want right away, have compromises in mind to suggest. One of those might be to schedule an official salary review in 3-6 months (even if that’s outside the company’s normal review cycle) so that you can officially ask for more money once you’ve had a chance to prove yourself to the company. Besides that, there are other things besides salary including vacation time, flex time and the ability to work at home sometimes. Good luck!