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How to Negotiate Your Desired Salary

by Stephanie Dube Dwilson

Even if you are picked for a job, your work isn't quite done. Your next step is to negotiate the salary you will be paid, which is not always an easy task. You must be ready with facts and statistics to support why you want a particular salary. Confidence during this part of the interview and understanding just how the process works are the keys to successfully navigating these tricky waters.

Salary Data

One key to a successful salary negotiation is doing your homework first. Bring a detailed list of salary data for your field. Look at salary data from a variety of sites, such as Glassdoor, Payscale or CareerBuilder. You should have this data compiled on a printout to share. The information should include typical pay amounts based on years of experience.

Don't Go First

If at all possible, do not be the first person to mention an exact salary amount. Let your potential employer name the number first. Then you can push for a higher amount. Some experts recommend, if given a range, that you just name the top number and appear a bit unsure of it. Others suggest just remaining silent after hearing the number, as if you are thinking about it. If you are asked for salary information on your job application, just write "competitive." If you are asked during the interview, come prepared with a creative response. For example, you might say that your pay as a freelancer would have been the equivalent of $200,000 full-time.

Stress Your Qualifications

When you request a higher number than you are offered, you should be prepared with specific reasons why your knowledge and future contributions are worth the extra compensation. For example, you might mention how your experience will allow you to generate a certain additional amount of revenue for the company. Understand what is most important to your potential boss and address those concerns as reasons to give you a higher pay. However, when listing your qualifications, don't mention any personal reasons why you need the higher pay. For example, don't say that you need more pay because you bought a house. Your potential employer isn't interested in your problems; he is interested in what solutions you can bring to the company.

Negotiate Options

Sometimes, you won't be offered the higher salary that you want, but you might be able to negotiate other benefits that make up for that amount. For example, some companies offer profit sharing as an added benefit to a salary. You might request additional personal days, stock options, an expense allowance or even a company car in lieu of the additional salary that you first requested.

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