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The Quick and Dirty Guide to Negotiating Salary

How to Negotiate Salary
Salary negotiation can seem pretty intimidating if you don’t know how to go about it. But once you learn the basics, it’s not as complicated as you might think! To start, here are three guidelines that will help you get started with your salary negotiation strategy

How to prepare for your negotiation

Before you meet with your boss, ask yourself: What are you hoping to achieve? What are you willing to give up? It’s important that your expectations be realistic. That said, it’s not a bad idea to ask for more than you know they will say yes to (this doesn’t mean being dishonest). This way, when they tell you how much money they can offer, there is room for negotiation. You might have asked for a higher salary but because of budgetary restrictions or whatever reason, it could end up lower than what you had in mind. Use your initial request as a jumping off point rather than an end goal so that if things change from your first meeting, you still have room for negotiation.

What to say when you ask for more

If you're just starting out, it can be intimidating to ask for more money or a better offer—but in reality, it's fairly simple. Here are a few different options for what you can say when you approach your prospective employer about salary: This is my target number, I'm expecting an offer at $X or higher, or My last offer was $X and I'd like something similar. Be sure that whatever phrase you use conveys confidence but not arrogance.

When you get a counter offer

If you get a counter offer, think carefully before accepting it. Is there anything wrong with your original offer? Are you still interested in that job? Even if you are, keep in mind that moving on will likely make it more difficult for you to negotiate a higher salary next time. If you decide to turn down your new job, be respectful and polite when declining. Explain that while they might not understand how much their offer appeals to you, money isn’t everything; perhaps they can re-think their compensation package at some point in future when a different position is available (and then walk away).

Examples of what not to do

there are a lot of things you can do wrong when it comes to negotiating salary. One obvious way is offering too little money—this is a deal breaker, so why risk it? Other mistakes include asking for perks or benefits before you've even discussed pay, bringing up your previous salary without being asked, or admitting that you're overqualified for the job. What's more, research shows that women in particular often make negotiation mistakes because they don't negotiate like men (i.e., they avoid conflict).


To negotiate salary, you must first decide if you are prepared to walk away from a job offer. If not, then do not negotiate. If yes, you have several options for negotiating salary: you can ask for more money up front in your base salary, or negotiate for higher salary later on based on performance (an at-risk arrangement), or ask for other perks such as medical benefits or gym memberships. The important thing is that you come into any job negotiation prepared with a few key questions—not just about salary but also about work hours, vacation time, sick days and so forth. These are reasonable things that should be discussed early in an interview process when everyone is being friendly; they're reasonable things to talk about in negotiations as well.

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