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How to Negotiate a Salary Offer

Just like talking about your strengths and weaknesses, or the other tough questions you hear in job interviews, negotiating your salary after a job offer can be an intimidating prospect. But it doesn’t have to be, and that’s why we’ve put together these tips to give you the confidence you need to make the salary your talents deserve.

Tips to Negotiate Your Salary

Salary negotiation is an art — and it’s not something you get to practice every day. However, once you’ve been offered a job, you owe it to yourself to take the right steps to make sure the salary is right for you and the dreams you have for your career.

1. Understand your worth

Always walk into the negotiation process with a firm number in your mind. If you’re having trouble coming up with an ideal figure for your new salary, it’s recommended that you should request an increase of 10-to-20% of your last job’s salary.

2. Backup your request

Do a bit of research (Hello LinkedIn!) to compare yourself to others in similar positions — or in the same field. Jot down skills or experience areas that are unique to you, or that give you special knowledge or perspective that other candidates may not have. These notes can help you better articulate and demonstrate your value — and give you more compelling talking points as you make the case for better compensation.

3. Make your salary request an exact amount

It may seem inconsequential, but when you ask for $81,250 per year, you’re more likely to get that offer than if you requested $81,000, $82,000 or some other whole number. Why? According to the Columbia Business School, it looks like you’ve done serious research when your number is exact.

4. Make rehearsal your best friend

Practice makes perfect — and salary negotiation is no different than anything else. Know your number, but also rehearse your rebuttal as many times as you can. It will make you sound more confident, which is always a great thing.

5. Be confident

Riding the coattails of the last tip, it’s always an asset for you to be truly confident. Confidence commands respect and sends your employer the signal that you deserve this amount of money rather than their initial offering.

6. Stay positive

Start off your negotiation with something very positive. It not only sets the tone for a casual and more enjoyable conversation, but it also shows your employer that you want to be there, and your contributions will have the business’s best intentions in mind.

7. Control the conversation

You want your number to be the first one mentioned. So, it stands to reason that you want to present your salary before they have a chance to counter. Why? Negotiation favors control. When you make your salary request known first, you can control the conversation. After all, this is your salary that’s being negotiated, not theirs.

8. Refrain from a range

When you provide a range, you may be putting blinders on your employer. For example, if you say you’re looking for between $80,000 and $85,000, guess which one your employer will default to? Ask for $85,000 and then wait for their rebuttal.

9. Ask for more than what you want

Many people are often too shy when it comes to just how much to ask for. Truth is, you don’t want to leave money on the table. For all you know, your employer had the necessary funds to offer six-figures, but guess what they’ll pay you if you ask for $75,000?

10. Don’t be afraid to counter

After all, this is a negotiation, right? If their response to your salary comes up a bit short, don’t be afraid to counter this offer. Remember, all you’re doing is looking out for yourself, just as they are looking out for their bottom line. Be confident, but always be kind and respectful when countering.

Additional tips

It’s an excellent idea to be proactive when preparing for your salary negotiation meeting. But don’t forget there will be a two-step flow of communication, and you won’t be negotiating in a vacuum. In other words, it’s smart to be ready for any pushback your employer may give you.

  • Do research on who you’ll be negotiating with. What are they like? What’s their track record on negotiations?
  • Jot down some of your most impressive accomplishments— this will help suture your talents to your salary request.
  • Get ready for some tough questions.
  • Consider the entire job package — you may want to negotiate for better benefits, rather than a dollar amount.
  • Have a purpose — don’t negotiate just to negotiate.
  • Prepare thoughtful questions of your own.
  • Don’t be hasty — take time to really think over their offer.

Salary Negotiation Takes Practice

Still a bit nervous? Remember that you deserve this role and you’re qualified for it, or they wouldn’t have made you an offer to begin with. Like everything else in life, negotiating a salary takes practice. There’s certainly a subtle art to negotiating, so don’t expect yourself to master it right off the bat! Do some research online, ask some friends and always be open to learning some additional tips and tricks for successful salary negotiation.

Remember, American Family Insurance is here to help you succeed. Check out these career-enhancing videos that can help you feel even more confident when the time comes for you to negotiate the salary that allows you the freedom of earning what you’re truly worth.

This article is for informational purposes only and includes information widely available through different sources.


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