A Game of Inches: What is Salary Negotiation and Why Should I do it?

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“We’re not even close on this one.” You may hear this as you complete the last, often uncomfortable, stage of starting a new role: salary negotiation. As you begin at a new organization or transition to a new job at the same firm, compensation matters. You deserve fair pay based on the role, the organization and your skill set.

Negotiating salary involves, discerning, possibly countering and responding to the offer the company set forth. Generally, companies lowball with the assumption that the candidate will negotiate. They do not want to pay more than they need to employ you. I would like to empower you to recognize the lowball, respond appropriately and accept a great offer allowing you to start off with a great package.

Consider this process as you negotiate:

  1. Do Your Research

Learn competitive salaries within your industry. Glassdoor.com, a site aimed at increasing organizational transparency, holds 6 million employee reviews. Look with a skeptical eye because some disgruntled people litter the site with their dirty laundry; however, you can sense the company’s culture, pay structures and other information. Salary guides offer round numbers worth considering too. Remember as you conduct industry research, organizations vary. A startup would not compensate like a Fortune 100 for the same position and if the firm maintains a salary cap your asking price cannot exceed it. Research affirms your drive, self-awareness, and determination to get the job done.

  1. Showcase Your Best Qualities

Employers will be more willing to pay you a higher salary if you add increasing value. Can you provide a portfolio of quality work? If you are a designer, bring in projects; if you’re an engineer, show them programs you’ve coded; and if you’re a writer, show them your content. Highlight skills and experience in your resume. Share details about your experience in conversation. Employers love confident investments. Instill this confidence in your communication.

  1. Have a Number in Mind

Do not make demands but, when compensation comes up, ask if they negotiate. Make clear that, with your level of experience, “$X” salary is appropriate. Your research informs this number.

  1. Be Confident

When you communicate this number, shoot to appear in between the extremes. Companies like neither a pushy, forward jerk nor a self-doubting noodle. Strike a balance that everyone appreciates during negotiation. Asking for greater investment in you must come with practical reasons. Leveraging existing tools like a portfolio and resume, you can intelligently express yourself and make the case. This will quell your anxiety. You have a lot to negotiate for: bills, student loans, a new car and other expenses.

Show your employer that you know your value and negotiate a great salary.

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David Matt is a technical recruiter at Marchon Partners.

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