Salary negotiation is often thought of as complex, risky and only for people who are high up on the career ladder. Recent grads and those who are just starting out hesitate to negotiate salary, usually due to a perceived lack of experience. Whether you’re a recent college grad, an experienced professional, or anything in between, these universal tips can help you leverage your skills and experience so that you can build a strong business case for your next salary negotiation.
Before we dive into these salary negotiation tips, it’s always a good idea to remind yourself exactly why you’re negotiating your salary in the first place. Simply put, not attempting to negotiate your salary is the worst decision you can make.
In PayScale’s survey, fewer than 43 percent of people reported having ever asked for a raise in their current field. To put this into perspective, that means that 57 percent of people haven’t even tried.
Even more shocking: one of the most common reasons respondents chose not to attempt to negotiate their salary was because they were uncomfortable discussing pay or were afraid of being perceived as pushy.
Fewer than 43 percent of people reported having ever asked for a raise in their current field.
Negotiating your salary now can pay off to the tune of $1 million more in earnings over the course of your career. Let these foolproof salary negotiation tips teach you how to negotiate your next salary like a pro.
1. Know your worth.
The first step to any successful salary negotiation is knowing what your skills and experience are worth in the current market. Use PayScale’s free salary survey to find out what others in your area with your same experience and education are earning compared to you. By using data and concrete numbers, you can help eliminate some of the emotional baggage that comes with salary negotiation.
2. Be positive.
Especially if this is your first job out of college, employers want to see you be positive and enthusiastic about the job offer. Be humble and gracious, and share your excitement with the hiring manager before you begin to talk about the nitty-gritty details.
3. Don’t accept the first offer.
The thing about salary negotiation is that as soon as the offer is made, the ball is now in your court. You don’t have to do anything right away. In fact, we recommend that you ask the hiring manager if you can review the offer in writing so you have more time to look over the details. You don’t want to rush into anything. Weigh your options in case another job offer comes your way.
4. Ask about benefits in addition to salary.
Salary is not the lone reason people work, and there’s a lot more to compensation than just cash. Remember to ask about your entire benefits package, and understand that negotiate benefits as well as salary. If you’ve made it to this point in the salary negotiation process, consider negotiating for things like extra vacation time, relocation allowance or even a signing bonus.
5. Be prompt with your decision.
If you told a company that you would get back to them by the end of the week with a decision on a job offer, don’t put it off. Offers can come and go. If a company has another candidate as a possible backup and you miss your own deadline, you might find that the offer is no longer on the table by the time next week rolls around.
6. Always be enthusiastic.
Your first salary negotiation can be scary, but going in with enthusiasm and a positive attitude can help you succeed.
Just keep a few things in mind:
- You’re asking for something that they didn’t offer to start. It’s common sense. You’re negotiating because you need more of something than they were able to initially offer. Be prepared to explain to the hiring manager exactly what you want, and why you want it.
- If you’re asking for more money, do your homework. Although it’s somewhat rare, you might actually have a generous salary offer on your hands. The crucial point here is that unless you do your research using an updated source like PayScale, you won’t know. Make sure your salary negotiation is driven by data, not your feelings.
- Be mindful of what you’re asking. Don’t go into a salary negotiation and demand to be paid $60,000 when the initial offer was $50,000. One important fact to consider is that yearly increases for most companies are typically between two and three percent. Promotions are usually around eight to 12 percent. Be ambitious, but be realistic.
- Accept or decline the offer. Eventually, you have to decide. Even if you do decline, ensure that you do it with positivity and enthusiasm. Don’t do anything to close off future opportunities.
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