Salary Negotiation 101: The Top 5 Must-Knows

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You’ve applied for a job, and gone through the interview process. Finally, you’ve heard the words you’ve been waiting for, “We’d like to make you an offer.” Now the salary negotiations begin, and being a good negotiator is not only the key to getting the salary you desire, but it’s also a good indication of your future success.

Of course not everyone is a natural negotiator. In fact, studies show women often avoid negotiation, while men see it as a vital part of the process. By employing some simple tools, you can make your next salary negotiation a little less painful.

1. Do Your Homework

You wouldn’t go into an interview unprepared, so why go into the salary negotiation unprepared? Before you accept an offer or begin the negotiation process, make sure you know the full job description, have a complete understanding of your responsibilities, as well as an idea of your job title and level at the company.  You should also ask for a list of the all the company’s benefits to see what they offer their employees, and how much of those benefits will come from your salary.

In addition, you should also research other comparable companies and jobs to determine an average salary range. Don’t forget to consider your location and industry, as both can play a role in salary. Bigger companies and cities might offer higher salaries, while smaller companies and cities may have lower salary ranges.

 2. Determine Your Unique Selling Proposition

If you want a higher salary, you have to know what is that sets you apart from the competition. Do you have more experience? Do you possess a unique set of skills? Make a list of everything you have to offer and use it during your negotiation pitch.

Not sure what your unique selling proposition might be?  Career expert and Forbes.com contributor, Linda Quast recommends taking a SWOT assessment to determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, both internally and externally.

3. Figure Out Your Salary Range

You can’t effectively enter a salary negotiation if you don’t know what you want or what you need. This is why it is important to do your homework, so that you already have an idea of what others in your industry and job level are making. Think about what you want to be making, and how much you need to make to live your life. Try to come up with a range that fits your wants and your needs.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

Walking away isn’t just a tactic used for buying a car. Sometimes no matter how well you negotiate, you won’t be able to reach the number you want. If this should happen, you need to decide if the job is truly worth taking a lower salary for, and whether or not you can survive on that salary. If the answer is no, then you have to be ready to walk away from the negotiating table, even if this means turning down the job.

5. Always Practice Before You Negotiate

Now that you’ve done your homework, it is time to put all that you’ve learned into practice. Ask a family member or friend to help you by playing the role of the hiring manager, while you make your salary negotiation pitch. Run through a few different scenarios so you will be prepared to address any questions or concerns a hiring manager might have regarding your salary request. Once you feel you are ready, you can begin the real negotiation.

Do you feel better prepared to negotiate your salary? What are your favorite negotiating tips or tricks? Share your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook

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