October 21, 2010

The Art of Salary Negotiation: Understanding What You’re Worth, by J. Jacobs

The Art of Salary Negotiation: Understanding What You’re Worth

In today’s economy, most of us think that salary negotiation involves taking a huge gamble, thus putting the security of one’s current position on the line. To be honest, there may be a few risks involved with stepping up and asking for what you think you deserve, but if you equip yourself with the knowledge beforehand, these risks are dramatically reduced. Take our advice to mind, and you will end up on top.

If you’d like to negotiate your salary after you have just been offered a position, you must proceed with the confidence that you are the most qualified for the job. If you weren’t, your employers would have picked someone else. Employers have already braved the mountainous pile of résumés, cover letters, and references, and from that, have chosen you. They would rather not return to their exhaustive employee recruitment efforts when they’ve already found someone who they think is the best fit for the position.

That being said, do not fear that your position is in jeopardy. It is highly unlikely that an employer will refuse to hire you after you attempt to negotiate. Realistically, the worst most companies do is stick with their original offer, but more likely, they will come to some sort of compromise. Salary negotiation is rarely something that will be held against you. In fact, most employers expect you to negotiate because it demonstrates persistence and a demand for the best: two characteristics that any business hopes to see in its employees. Before you negotiate, you must consider a few things, however.

First, the average salary for your position might be something to take into account. PayScale and Vault websites offer the average salaries for countless jobs across the nation.  You can also network to get a general idea of what people are making in your field. Just as you might refer to Kelley Blue Book before you let your car go for a steal, you should also refer to average salaries to ensure that your services receive their rightful price. Make sure to compare the average salaries you find with what you’ve been offered. If you feel like you have more experience than the average employee in your field, bring this up to your potential supervisor. You’ve already sold yourself to get the job, but that process hasn’t ended quite yet. Now, your task is to convince your employer that you’re better than the number he or she originally offered.

Sometimes it is just not practical for a company to give you the salary you ask, especially if the company is struggling financially. You should research how much flexibility the company has in terms of its salary offerings by searching the Web for the company’s financial data. This will give you an idea for how much excess salary to ask for, but don’t be too considerate of your company’s financial struggles. In the case that your company cannot offer you more, you could suggest receiving a signing bonus or evaluation and raise before you’ve completed one year of work. Always ask for more than would satisfy you because in the end, you’re the one receiving the paycheck.

J. Jacobs is a guest blogger for Pounding the Pavement and a writer on call center management for Guide to Career Education.

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