After the long and tedious process of proving yourself well qualified for a job during the interview, you have to start thinking about the tougher and at times uncomfortable questions to ask. Do you have a strong passion and desire to work for this company? Do the company’s values and mission align with yours? Is the company offering you as much as money you would like? Is there a way to go about asking for a salary increase without feeling intimidated?

As an employee, it’s crucial that you understand how to successfully negotiate without selling yourself short. Although the process of negotiating may be new to you, you can still learn effective negotiating skills to utilize and aid you in the process. Here is a list of 4 tips for negotiating the salary you deserve!

Negotiating the Salary You Deserve 

1. Understand Benchmarking

As an employee, you don’t want to waste your extremely valuable time on a company that will never pay you what you are truly worth. Simply stated, make sure you are well aware of how a company decides on their employee’s salary levels and adjust your job search accordingly.

Companies utilize several benchmarking tools in which they compare rates with the average pay at other companies within their industries, the average pay of professionals with your same level of experience and education and the average pay of professionals in your same industry in their area of the country. Understanding benchmarking will allow you to better understand where you stand when it comes to salary negotiating with an employer.

2. Research

Salary research can be used as an advantage in the negotiating process, so make sure you thoroughly do your research. Using PayScale tools to figure out the salary and earnings in your current profession will be beneficial and credible when you approach your employer with your proposition.

3. Set your minimum acceptable salary before you get a job offer

When it comes to job hunting and attending multiple interviews—both require a lot of time and attention. This is why it’s so important to set your minimum acceptable salary before you get a final job offer. This number is the minimum amount you are willing to accept if you accept the job and is extremely critical to your salary negotiation.

Keeping this number in mind, you will be able to confidently negotiate your salary knowing you will either exceed your minimum expectation or walk away from the opportunity accepting that it wasn’t the right fit for you.

4. Keep negotiating until you’ve maximized your base salary and benefits 

Once you’ve finally delivered a counter offer to the employer, they will more than likely come back to you with a response either between your initial job offer and your counter offer. If their response is higher than your initial offer, good for you—but don’t stop negotiating just yet.

Prepare how you will respond to each offered increment so you can not only increase your base salary, but so you can add more benefits to your overall compensation offer.

With these four tips for negotiating the salary you deserve, you give yourself the possibility of significantly increasing your starting salary. Don’t be afraid to speak up to earn what you deserve and don’t ever sell yourself short!

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