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Salary Negotiation 101    Page 1 2 3 4   Next Page>>

You need to become comfortable negotiating your salary because it's something you alone can do. You owe it to yourself to master this simple but important skill because it can have a dramatic impact on your income, your lifestyle, and your career.

Know Your Worth

Would you like to make a million dollars a year? Sure you would, but it wouldn't be wise to ask for this salary unless you're a professional athlete.  You need to make sure you have a firm grounding in reality when you come to the bargaining table.  Check current salary surveys for positions like yours to see what people are paying for the skills you have.  These will generally show you the high, medium and low ranges for what others are paid for the same work.  Make sure you look at salaries that map to your responsibilities and qualifications as well as your title. Try to find data on what others are paid in your geographic region for your position, as this can vary quite a bit from state to state.

After you have reviewed the information on what others are paid, you should have a good idea where you fall in the range.  Should you be at the low end, the high end or somewhere in the middle?  If you don't feel you are at the low end, be able to justify that with facts.  Reasons for commanding a higher range salary might include:

  • Industry experience
  • Years of experience at the company
  • Special training or skills
  • Degrees or professional certifications
  • Successful track record
  • Scope of responsibility of the position

Get comfortable with the figure you want to ask for, and be prepared to discuss why you should get it based on market data and your own unique qualifications.  It's a good idea to practice these discussions beforehand with a trusted friend, relative, your mentor, or a career coach. Let them throw tough questions at you so you can learn how to field them before the real discussion.

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