Salary Negotiations: What you need to know

Posted on Jan 16th, 2017 | Career, College

Congratulations–there’s a job offer on the table with your name on it. Now all you have to do is convince your employer to pay you what you want. Whether you’re fairly new to the working world or have years of experience under your belt, negotiating a salary can be a daunting endeavor. In fact, in a survey conducted by, 28 percent of respondents said they’d never asked for a raise because they were uncomfortable negotiating salary. If you develop a strategy before going in to talk numbers, you’ll be in a better position to get the salary you’re after.

Be Clear about Your Title and Responsibilities
Job titles aren’t universal; the term "manager" may mean one thing in one company and something totally different in another. Before you can even begin to talk salary, you need a clear understanding of what your title encompasses and what responsibilities come with it. From there, you can compare your role to similar ones in your industry to come up with a benchmark for what you ought to be earning. Keep in mind, however, that factors such as experience, or lack thereof, may impact your salary for better or worse. In other words, don’t expect the same salary as someone in your position who’s been doing it for five years longer than you have.

Do Your Research
Once you’re certain what your job title and responsibilities will entail, it’s time to do some research. The last thing you want to do is randomly throw out a number without having any data to back it up. There are several online tools you can use, such as and to determine a salary range for your role based on your industry and geographic area. You can also try using networking sites like LinkedIn to seek salary advice from fellow professionals in your field. Your employer is more likely to take you seriously if you come in with a nice set of hard numbers supporting the figure you’re targeting.

Consider Peripheral Benefits
Your salary is only one component of your overall compensation package. Perks like health insurance and 401k matching can nicely complement whatever number your employer throws out. If you’re unhappy with the salary offer and your employer seems unwilling to go higher, try asking for additional compensation in the form of performance bonuses or extra paid time off.

Establish a Bottom Line
Before you attempt to negotiate, decide how low you’re willing to go based on your living expenses coupled with the demands of the job. It’s one thing to be flexible, but it’s another to compromise too much to the point where you’re unhappy with what you’ll be earning.

Choose Your Words Wisely
When negotiating a salary, be firm but respectful and professional in your language. It may help to rehearse your key talking points beforehand, or write them out so they’re easy to remember.

Make your case, but try to avoid getting worked up or emotional if you and your future employer don’t appear to be on the same page. Finally, be sure to approach the discussion with confidence. If you go in with the mindset that you deserve the number you’re asking for, it’ll come through during your negotiations.

Remember, whether this is your first salary negotiation or your fifth, the key is to be organized and well-informed. The more prepared you are, the better your chances are of being successful.

Photo by 402(K) 2012 via cc.