- Know your worth.
First and foremost, you need to know what people like you (those who work in your region of the country, with your background, training, experience, etc.) are earning. Only then will you know what you’re really worth, which will make it next to impossible to accept anything less. Use PayScale’s Salary Survey to do the work for you. After you enter just a few details, your free salary report will present you with some hard data about what your salary offer should look like.
Networking can feel kind of icky – but it doesn’t have to be that way. Try not to think of it as a business maneuver. You’re really just connecting with people you know, many of whom are actually friends of yours, and letting them know what you’re up to. In the end, the connections you make will benefit the other party as well, so there really isn’t anything to feel funny about.
Once you’ve begun the interview process, there might be something to be said for letting the hiring manager know that they’re not the only company on your radar. It’s important to be careful about the way you introduce this and to handle the whole thing delicately. However, just a quick mention of the fact that you are in process (if, in fact, that’s the truth) with another organization could help folks realize just how valuable you are, and maybe also help encourage them to waste no time in snatching you up.
- Be prepared for negotiations.
The negotiation process can be intimidating, but there’s no need for fear. However, it’s important that you engage in this process if you’re looking to get the best salary offer you can. Use PayScale’s Salary Negotiation Guide to help you research, strategize, and execute your best negotiation strategy.
- Consider more than salary.
Once you’re at the point where you’re negotiating an offer, be sure to take other aspects of compensation into consideration beyond just salary, and remember that these items need to be negotiated as well. Do some soul searching and determine what kinds of things might mean the most to you. Would you like more flexibility in terms of working remotely on occasion? Is more vacation time something you’d trade for a little less money? Bringing some items to the negotiation table that extend beyond a bottom-line salary request could help you get more of what you want.
- Find the right words.
You’re trying to land the best salary offer possible, so it’s important to have your script ready to go when the moment comes. Know what you want first, then work on figuring out how to go after it. Once you have those magic words in mind, you’ll feel more confident and comfortable heading into the negotiation process – which also won’t hurt anything.
- Ready yourself to not say “Yes!” right away.
The process of looking for work can be exhausting and emotionally fraught. It can be a huge relief when it’s finally behind you and you actually have a great offer on the table. For this reason, too many folks elect to skip over the negotiation process altogether and accept the first offer that comes their way. If it’s a good offer, you shouldn’t let it slip away, but there is no harm in saying how excited you are about the position while also explaining why you feel you’re worth a little bit more than that first number. There’s no harm in advocating for yourself politely, but there is some potential danger in avoiding it.
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