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How to Negotiate Your Salary for a New Job

You nailed the job interview and got offered the position–woohoo! Landing a new gig is exciting, but when it comes down to talking about money, some people feel uncomfortable. You don’t want to sell yourself short, nor do you want to risk losing an opportunity by making over-the-top demands.

According to CareerOneStop, an employment information source sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, it’s best to wait until after an employer offers you a job to discuss pay. To help prepare you for that conversation, CareerOneStop provides the following tips for negotiating salary and finding a win-win solution:

Evaluate the Offer Wisely
Make sure you have a clear understanding of the job description. Note your reporting relationships, authority and advancement potential.

Find out typical pay for the type of position. Unless you have an outstanding qualification that’s unusual in your field, your expectation should match the typical pay for your level of experience in your location.

Remember that salary is only one part of job compensation. Better benefits—like flexible schedules or excellent health insurance—often make up for a lower salary.

Identify your own salary needs according to your household budget so you know the salary you can afford to accept.

Consider the job offer in terms of your long-term career goals, the work environment and the benefits. Talk it over with someone you respect. Make a list of the pros and cons of the job offer.

Communicate Effectively
Begin the negotiation with reasonable requests. Be willing to accept compromises like receiving additional benefits in place of a higher salary. These could include tuition help, training, more vacation time, a flexible schedule, stock options, a company car, onsite daycare, parking privileges, etc.

Listen carefully. If the offer is less than you expected, let the employer know that. State that you’re still interested in the position if the employer wants to reconsider the offer.

If you’re uncertain if you want the job, state that you’d like to discuss some items before you can accept the job. Suggest meeting again to talk about the offer.

Negotiations should never become emotional or hostile. Negotiate using your value, skills, experience and education, not your need for the job.

Understand the Rules of the Game
Don’t assume the first offer is fixed. Even if the employer tells you it is, it typically isn’t.

If the same figure is offered a couple of days later, it probably is the last offer. In that case, you can ask for a salary review in six months. Or, you can turn the job down, asking that the employer keep you in mind for future openings paying more money. If you do this, remember to leave on good terms.

Even when saying “no,” leave the door open to negotiation. However, don’t use this as a trick to negotiate a higher wage. When you say “no,” be ready to lose the job forever.

When you reach an agreement with an employer, request it in writing. Review it carefully.