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How to Talk the Talk of Salary Negotiation

Many people find salary negotiation a stressful experience. For job seekers, it’s an especially unusual situation: you’ve only just met this person, and now you’re asking them for money. Even tougher, you have to build a case to prove that you deserve it.

Whether you’re negotiating with a hiring manager or a long-time boss, knowing what to say before the meeting will go a long way toward persuading them to give you the salary you seek. Here’s how to prepare for your next salary chat.

salary negotiation
Image Credit: Danielle Moler/Flickr

Know What You Want (and Deserve)

You should have a salary range in mind before you even sit down with your negotiating partner, and that salary range should be based on data, not guesswork. Take PayScale’s Salary Survey to generate a free salary report based on the job title and location, as well as your experience, education, and skills. That way, if someone tries to lowball you during negotiations, you’ll have all the details you’ll need to talk about raising the offer to meet industry standards.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Have Some Responses at the Ready

Your goal is simple: you want to make as much money as possible, without alienating the hiring manager or person responsible for your raise. That means knowing what you want to say, but also the right way to say it. Take a look at some of our salary negotiation scripts, and have responses at the ready so you don’t get blindsided and blurt out a number that wouldn’t pay for a week of off-brand cat food.

Know the Language of Benefits

Benefit packages can be full of perks that you’ll never use. If the biggest selling point for a potential package is free dry cleaning and a parking spot, but you wear all-cotton clothes and ride a bike to work, then you’ll might need to think twice about whether you can afford to take the job. Look at the important stuff first: healthcare, retirement, and professional training. Those are real talking points in any negotiation.

Avoid Getting Personal

You might have a lot of student loan debt, or credit cards, or a mortgage and three kids, but that shouldn’t be something you discuss at a salary negotiation. Instead, focus on your skills and what value they bring to the company when you’re asking for a bump in salary. Have concrete examples of how you show your worth. Think about projects you’ve worked on that have been great successes, ways you’ve saved your employer money through efficiencies, and how you’ve gone above and beyond for your job. Even if you’re starting out, you should have examples of projects you’ve worked on for school that turned out well, or praise you’ve gotten from teachers or part-time work bosses. But what you should always remember is to keep the language professional, not personal.

Tell Us What You Think

What would you say is the hardest thing to talk about during a salary negotiation? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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Vini Ajai

Its been very informative. Thank You.

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