Why is it so scary to ask for what you deserve, especially when it involves a dollar amount? For one thing, we live in a society where talking about money is considered tacky, as is blowing your own horn. To get the salary that’s appropriate for our experience, skills, and capabilities, you need to get comfortable doing both. PayScale’s Salary Negotiation Guide helps you feel more secure asking for a raise or establishing your starting pay by breaking the process into three parts: research, strategy, and negotiating.
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The toughest part of negotiating salary is figuring out how much you should ask for. Aim too high, and you could cut yourself out of the running for the job of your dreams; aim too low, and you could wind up bitterly resenting your new employer, and be neither productive nor happy in your role.
It’s in your best interests, then, to figure out what the market will bear and your skills demand. PayScale’s Salary Survey helps you assess the situation and figure out how much your peers are making in similar jobs in your area. (For a complete rundown on how to use the survey, plus tips on using fancy features that only power users know about, check out PayScale Marketing Manager Aubrey Bach’s step-by-step instructions, here.)
What do lawyers know that other job seekers don’t? In short, how to negotiate. Sure, they cheated by going to law school, but you can skip the bar exam and go straight to strategizing for your best salary offer.
If the thought of using legal techniques leaves you cold, you can turn to financial wellness expert Amanda Clayman’s advice, which probably feels accessible and familiar, no matter which industry you work in: make a budget, and you’ll know how much money to ask for, and whether your projected salary will meet your needs.
No matter which technique you use to get your raise, timing is everything, and, as PayScale Editorial & Marketing Director Lydia Frank points out, can “mean the difference between a small bump and significant jump.”
Once you’ve done your homework and figured out your approach, it’s time to take the leap and ask for what you deserve. The guide wraps up with advice on how to do just that, whether you’re starting your very first job, trying to break the glass ceiling, or just attempting to figure out the one thing that sets you apart from the competition, and makes you worthy of the big bucks.
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