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6 Ways to Ruin Salary Negotiations

Asking for a raise or negotiating salary for a new job are some of the ickiest things we have to do as working adults. But there are plenty of ways you can ruin your chances at a good salary before you even get the meeting started. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you put on your armor and prepare for the big negotiation.

Asking for a raise or negotiating salary for a new job are some of the ickiest things we have to do as working adults. But there are plenty of ways you can ruin your chances at a good salary before you even get the meeting started. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you put on your armor and prepare for the big negotiation.

gold bars 

(Photo Credit: New Old Stock)

1. Don’t Get Personal
You might have bills, bills, bills but that isn’t your employer’s concern, no matter how little their offer is. During a salary negotiation, you really shouldn’t bring up numbers like your student loan payments or your outstanding debt to the Columbia House Record Club.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

2. Don’t Apologize
Starting out with “Sorry, but…” or “I hate to ask….” is a sure way to undermine your position when negotiating. Also, seriously, don’t apologize for asking for what you’re worth.

3. Don’t Throw Out a Flat Number
If you start off the talks with asking for X amount of money, the best you’ll get is X amount of money. But DO find out what you’re worth with PayScale’s Salary Survey.

4. Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep
Not only is your mouth writing checks your body can’t cash, you’ll also need to be prepared to walk the walk if you’re talking the talk. What are we getting at? If you stride into a salary negotiation and slap down, “I need more money, OR ELSE,” you’ll really need to be prepared to pack up and go if the answer is “nope.” Not ready to walk away from the job today? Then don’t make demands like that.

5. Don’t Forget It’s a Negotiation
There could be a back-and-forth to this meeting that isn’t necessarily something you encounter on a normal workday. Use our Salary Negotiation Guide to brush up on techniques and tips for getting the right mindset for this little bit of office chess.

6.  Don’t Go in Empty-Handed
Make a list of your achievements over your years of work experience. Have specific examples of how you’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty. Show how you’re prepared to do even more, but you’re worth a certain amount. If you have a list ready-made, and maybe even do a bit of practice with a friend beforehand, you’ll be cool as a cucumber (who’s going to get paid!).

Tell Us What You Think

What are your best salary negotiation stories? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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