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Negotiating Salary

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The prospect of negotiating salary and other terms of employment surges through some like adrenaline, but like an imminent fainting spell through others. If you tend not to get the results you want from salary negotiation or the mere prospect of negotiating salary makes you squirm, consider these guidelines for more effective negotiation.

Know Your Worth

You can bet that the interviewer negotiating salary on behalf of the company knows your worth. When you begin salary negotiation, you should also know your worth.

Using Internet salary surveys, conduct research on the salary ranges for comparable jobs in the area. If you're relocating, also check sources that account for differences in cost of living between cities.

However, keep in mind that the free Internet salary sources are typically lacking, so use them only to come up with a ballpark range.

Also try to glean information during interviews and from your network of sources that indicates the relative value of the position in the company.

Set a Clear Salary Goal

Studies about negotiating salary consistently show that job candidates who set clear and aggressive goals achieve more favorable settlements than those who aim low or do not set goals at all. If you want a salary of eighty grand and a total package worth 100 grand, shoot for it by going a little over 100 grand to start.

Set a Walk-Away Salary

You know your own financial goals, responsibilities and liabilities. For example, if you cannot accept anything under seventy grand, do not pretend that you can. Your walk-away salary depends not only on your financial needs, but also on the attractiveness of your alternatives to the position offered.

For example, if you are currently making sixty grand and there are no other offers, settling at sixty-eight grand might not be a bad idea. If, on the other hand, you have been offered a second position for seventy-five grand with a generous benefit package, sixty-eight grand seems less reasonable.

Be Fair

The idea of fairness strikes a cord in most everybody, even though people have differing perceptions of what it means. Obtaining a compensation package that both you and the employer consider fair is particularly important since you are entering into an ongoing relationship.

For example, if you discover four months into the job that you are making twenty percent less than your counterparts, your enthusiasm for your new job can sour; if your boss feels like you bullied him into a costlier package than the company initially authorized, he could easily become resentful toward you.

You must be able to make a case for why your self-serving version of fairness is appropriate. For example, are you worth more than most people because you have more experience or because you have a track record of attracting big clients?

Remember, if the salary negotiator makes concessions, she needs to be able to justify her concessions to her boss. Reciprocally, it is helpful for you to identify what your potential employer considers fair.

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