Friday, December 28, 2012, AM | 2 Comments
Your salary impacts more than your weekly take home pay now. It can influence your earnings potential long into the future as the salary you are offered at each successive job is often based in some part on the salary you made at your previous job.
Learning how to negotiate a higher salary can give you a bump now and help you increase your salary potential for years to come.
Here are a few tips to negotiate a higher salary to help you maximize your compensation both now and later:
Do Your Research
Prepare for your negotiations long before a figure is ever put on the table.
Research the average salary for your position to get a range from which to negotiate. Check job listings and salary surveys to get your data.
Make sure you are comparing apples to apples and that you are looking at jobs in the same industry and in similarly sized companies.
Once you have the average, you can use it to determine how you compare based on your skills and come up with a goal salary.
Don’t Make the First Offer
Knowing the salary you have in mind, don’t tip your hand by putting your number on the table first. Whoever throws out a number first is at a disadvantage.
If you offer a number first, it could be lower than what your employer had in mind, and you will end up earning less than you could have.
If you offer a number that is too high, your employer could withdraw from further negotiations.
Always let your employer make the first offer in salary negotiations. If you are asked about salary history or are asked what salary you have in mind for the position, decline to answer and state that you would rather discuss your skills and how they can be a benefit to the position.
Highlight Your Skills
When your employer offers a lower salary than you’d like, or when salary negotiations stall, increase your leverage by highlighting your skills.
Show how you would be the ideal candidate and what you can bring to the job that no one else can.
The more you can do for the company, the more negotiating power you have. Don’t undersell yourself.
Negotiate for Extra Perks
Salary isn’t just the money you take home in your paycheck each week. Your total compensation package includes health benefits, retirement accounts, vacation time, and more.
If salary negotiations hit a wall, consider negotiating for extra perks instead. Ask for more vacation time. Get an extra percentage on your 401(k) match. Get full coverage on your healthcare premiums.
Additional benefits like these can increase your overall compensation package, helping you to get the “salary” you desire. Also consider negotiating for a bonus after you have been with the company for a certain period of time.
Be Prepared to Walk
Your trump card is not to accept the job if you can’t be compensated the way you feel you deserve to be.
If you can’t reach an agreement, kindly let the hiring manager know that while you would love to accept the job, you cannot do so under the current terms. You may be surprised to find that the offer has been raised.
However, you should be prepared to actually walk away from the job if the hiring manager calls your bluff. Only use this strategy if you truly will not accept the job if the salary terms are not revised.
Learning how to negotiate your salary isn’t just a skill to help you get a higher paycheck. It is a skill that can help you increase your salary potential over the life of your career. Use these tips to negotiate for the full compensation that you deserve.
What other strategies do you use to negotiate salary? Share your tips in the comments!
Sarah Clare is a writer and oversees the site projectmanagementsoftware.com, where she has recently been researching project schedulers. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys cooking and scrapbooking.