3 Tips for Negotiating Salary When You're Happy Just to Have a Job

You're managed to pull off the seemingly impossible task of getting a job offer in this economy. Congratulations! Your next step? Make sure you don't sell yourself short when it comes to negotiating your salary.

There are plenty of good reasons to hold out for decent money, besides the fact that it's always nicer to have more leftover for beer and Skittles. For one thing, it appears that money can buy happiness -- to a certain extent.

"We have seen some instances where work-life balance supersedes salary, but this data looked at all factors that affect happiness, and the correlation between income level and overall work happiness was clear," says Matt Miller of CareerBliss. "Higher salaries can alleviate financial stress that perpetuates at work and home."

So how do you get the big bucks? Keep these tips in mind:

1. Know Your Worth. Get a good sense of how much people in your area and with your level of experience generally earn. May we humbly suggest that PayScale is a great place to start?

2. Don't Be the First Person to Bring up Salary. "When you bring it up you risk being perceived as greedy, overly focused on money, less interested in the role and the organization, etc.," says Dr. Todd Dewett, associate professor of management at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. "Let them broach the topic. You focus on building positive impressions, which are the seeds of positive relationships. The better you do this, the quicker they will talk about money."

3. Think About What Matters to You. If your prospective employer can't match your salary expectations, consider whether or not there's something else that would make the job more appealing to you. Could you make do with less money if you could work at home, for example, thus saving cash on commuting? (As well as the annoyance of actually having to change out of your pajamas.) Some employers will offer perks like this to make up for lower pay. Know what's important to you before you go into the negotiation.

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