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How to Negotiate Salary: 5 Expert Tips

Need help fashioning a to-do list on how to negotiate salary with a current or future employer? Give the following salary negotiating tips a try, from Laura DeCarlo, executive director of Career Directors International in Melbourne, Fla.

1. Do your homework. This includes researching the current market value for the position and carrying that knowledge with you into the talks. Creating a PayScale Salary Profile and keeping it updated helps you to always know the median value for your skill set. Learn how to negotiate salary from a position strength by having the most current salary information for your job.

2. Know your needs and wants. "You have a range in mind of what you'd really like. Otherwise, if you are out in left field-you are never going to be successful. [For example] a woman who wants to make $55,000 a year and decides she's changing careers and wants to be a typist-I don't know many $55,000-a-year typists," DeCarlo said.

3. Learn a methodology for handling the questions, "What are you looking for?" and "What kind of salary do you want?" According to DeCarlo, the bottom line is, "I'm negotiable." If it's too soon to talk about money, she encourages applicants to change the discussion topic to job requirements or expectations. Learn how to negotiate salary by being prepared for salary questions during the interview.

4. Know your options and ask, ask, ask. Be familiar with possible perks and benefits, and ways to increase your salary; brainstorming and making lists can be useful here. "I've seen people turn it into mileage allowances for driving. Anything is potentially negotiable unless you don't ask about it," she said.

5. Always negotiate in person. "You can't read an expression, show a presentation, or have convincing reasons quite as well on the phone as you can when you engage them [employers] face-to-face," DeCarlo said. Learning how to negotiate salary in person is a key to higher earnings.

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