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How to Negotiate Your Salary

April 3rd, 2010

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When you are used to borrowing money for school and not making money at work, you might be clueless when it comes to the idea of salary negotiation. If you are concerned about the dollar amount in your job offer letter, read on to learn how to negotiate it.

The first step in salary negotiation is to wait. When it comes to the process of salary negotiation, you should not even mention it until the employer is ready to make you an offer. It is important that you prove yourself and show the employer you are worthy of the job before you start discussing how much you are worth. The time to discuss salary is not after the employer has expressed interest in you, but only after they have made you a serious job offer. After they have let you know what they have to offer, ask them for time to consider it, and negotiate your salary before you officially accept it.

The second step in your salary negotiation is to research. It is important that you realize what your value is because you worked hard to earn a degree and you should be paid accordingly. But you also should not expect to be overpaid for it. Figure out your competitive market value by doing some research on how much other people with similar qualifications are being paid. Visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Web site or to find out base salary ranges by occupation and location. Also, to get the best idea of what your value is, ask people in your major who graduated before you what kind of offers they have received. Knowing how your offer compares can help you to determine whether or not you have received a fair one.

The third step in your salary negotiation is to communicate. When it comes to convincing someone to give you more, you are going to have to let them know how much you are able to give them. Clearly communicate why you deserve a certain salary based on your qualifications and experience. Enquire as to how your salary may progress in the first few years and if there are performance-based raises. Remember, sometimes you are going to have to prove to a company that you are worth more than just the average employee. Also, be flexible in your salary negotiations. You might not be able to get as much money as you want, but you may be able to agree on a amount that is more than you are making now.

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