How To Negotiate Salary Like A Pro

When negotiating your salary for a new position, start by understanding the value of the job in the marketplace.

Professional woman learning how to negotiate a salary

Negotiating a salary is one skill that has many job seekers hung up. No one wants to sell themselves short. On the other hand, if the position is aligned with your goals and you ask for too much money or benefits, you risk pricing yourself out of the running. That's not even taking into account the possibility that a competitive job seeker might out-negotiate you. So what is a job seeker to do? 
 
The best place to begin any salary negotiation is informed. Informed about the value that you bring as a potential employee. Informed about the salary range the market is bearing for that position. And informed about the demand-level for your unique set of skills and competencies. With that knowledge in mind, you can go into any salary negotiation with confidence. 
 
How to Negotiate Your Salary Like a Pro
 
  1. Understand The Market Value For The Position - Start with the market value of the position you are applying for. For example, are you are seeking a highly valued position that requires specialized skills and the right education? Is this a skill set many people are likely to have? How many years of experience do you have? Do you have any additional skills or training that go above and beyond what your competition has? In the city you live, what is the typical salary range for the position? 
  2. Consider The Cost of Living - Once you understand the market value of the position, assess the cost of living in the area you'll be working. Living and working in New York City is much more expensive than living and working in St. Paul, Minnesota. This should factor into your salary considerations. 
  3. Assess Your Skills - Finally, perform a skills assessment on yourself. Rather than simply ask, “What skills do I possess?,” go beyond the obvious and ask, “What skills do I possess that will be valuable to this employer in this position?” You could even ask, “What skills do I possess that other candidates for this job can't offer?” If self-assessment is not your strength, start by writing out recent professional accomplishments. How did those contribute to the bottom line of your employer? 
  4. Research Comparable Salaries In Your City - After you've examined your potential employer's needs, the market value of the position, the cost of living in the area you'll be working, and your own skill set, it's time to research local salaries. What are the salary expectations of the average person seeking the position you are applying for? Three resources that include salary ranges for specific occupations are:
 
At the end of the day, the best way to enter any negotiation is with confidence. By preparing for any salary discussion before the job interview, you can take that worry off the table and focus on selling your strengths. 
 

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