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Congratulations on making it through the job interview process and receiving an offer! It’s now time to negotiate your salary.

You may be wondering if salary negotiation is even an option for you, particularly if you’re an entry-level or junior employee, if we’re in a recession, or if you've taken a break for personal reasons. The answer is a resounding yes – you should always negotiate your salary.

Employers expect and prepare for some level of negotiation when it comes to salary, and if you've been selected for the position, you have the opportunity to negotiate.

Related: How to get promoted – fast

While it is possible that your prospective employer may say no to your negotiation attempts, it’s likely that you’ll at least receive part of what you're asking for.

Negotiating your salary demonstrates that you are well-prepared and value your own worth as a professional. It can also set you up for future promotions and pay increases.

Preparing for salary negotiation is crucial, so here are some tips to help you negotiate like a pro:

1. Ensure salary expectations match

It’s important to make sure that your salary expectations align with the budget for the role you’re applying for, but you don’t want to bring up salary too early in the process.

There is always room for negotiation, so find out the budgeted range and make sure it aligns with your expectations. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and your worth – after all, you deserve to be fairly compensated for your skills and experience.

2. Do your research

Want to know what your peers are making and what the industry standards are for your role and location? Research is key when it comes to salary negotiation.

Check out reports like our salary guide and websites like Glassdoor, where members share salary information by job position. You can also use our salary calculator to understand the average salary range for the job position you are applying for.

This will help you be well-informed about average salaries and industry standards. It's much easier to negotiate when you know what you should be earning based on your experience and the market. 

3. Identify your own value

When it comes to salary negotiation, it’s not just about knowing what the market pays for similar roles in similar industries.

It is also about understanding and communicating your own worth. Make a list of your unique skills and experiences, even if they come from internships or volunteer work.

When speaking with the hiring manager, try to find out the biggest pain points for the company in relation to the job and explain how your specific set of experience and education can help address them.

Knowing and presenting your own value will be key in the negotiation process.

Related: 5 things recruiters and employers look for in a resume

Give an exact number

According to research by Columbia University, USA, titled Precise offers are potent anchors: Conciliatory counteroffers and attributions of knowledge in negotiations in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, you should ask for a specific number than a round number in any negotiation. For instance, you should ask for $5,346 and not $5,300.

The research found that when you provide a more precise amount, it implies that you have done more extensive research and are more informed of your market value, and you would more likely get an offer closer to what you are looking at. This would be even more persuasive if you can back up your request with data or other evidence. 

4. Consider the whole package

Salary isn’t the only thing you can negotiate during the job offer process. Consider asking for additional benefits like extra vacation days or a flexible schedule.

When preparing to negotiate, think about what matters most to you and identify a few benefits that could be just as valuable as a higher salary. This is especially helpful if the hiring budget is fixed and there’s less room for salary negotiation.  

5. Be aware of mitigating circumstances

It’s important to be aware of the current economic climate and your prospective employer’s financial situation when negotiating salary.

Asking for a significantly higher salary may damage the relationship with the company if they are unable to pay more.

Knowing the economic context can help you understand your limits and determine if the opportunity is still worth it, even if your salary expectations can’t be met. 

Related: How to make a successful career change

6. Practice your negotiations

Negotiating can be intimidating, but it is an important part of the job offer process.

Similar to preparing for job interview questions, it is essential to practice negotiating to feel more confident and increase your chances of a successful outcome.

Practice negotiating with a friend or mentor to become more comfortable with the process. When presenting your counteroffer, make sure it is well-researched, reasonably laid out, and delivered confidently.

7. Prepare for challenging questions

Recruiters and hiring managers may ask intimidating questions to understand your motivations during salary negotiations. It’s important to remain honest and not get rattled by these questions.

Some examples of questions you may encounter include: “Are we your top choice?”, “If we increase the salary, will you accept the position immediately?”, and “Do you have any other offers?” Don’t be afraid to negotiate for what you're worth, but be honest and transparent in your responses.

8. Appreciate the learning experience

Negotiating salary is a crucial skill to have in your career, regardless of your level of experience.

Even if you don't succeed in negotiating your salary this time, it's important to practice, learn from any mistakes, and try again in the future.

Whether you’re looking for your first job or your tenth, you'll likely encounter salary negotiation at some point, whether it’s for an initial job offer or a pay increase. 

Stay confident

As you navigate salary negotiations, remember that confidence is key. You have been chosen for the position because you are the best fit, so do not be intimidated.

Believe in yourself and your value to the company. This confidence will help you come across as calm, professional, and worthy of the salary you're seeking.

Remember, you deserve to be fairly compensated for your skills and experience. With a little preparation and practice, you'll be well-equipped to succeed in salary negotiations.

Ready for a new role? Get started on your job search or submit your CV today!

Read more:
15 job interview mistakes to avoid
8 ways to stand out during the hiring process
How to answer common job interview questions for fresh graduates and tips to ace your job interview

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