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Negotiate Your Salary Fairly

Updated on April 20, 2011
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The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 9.2% in March, the lowest in two years. The U.S. Labor Department further reported that this figure is not expected to rise any higher in 2011. This is good news for the United States economy, which has, as we are all very much aware, been struck a powerful blow over the last three years or so. Exciting still, job seekers are starting to feel they have the upper-hand when it comes to landing that new job.

Because the job market has taken a turn for the better, those seeking employment are finding they have more choices. Not only can they avoid taking any ol’ job that comes their way, the job seeker can now negotiate how much he’s going to be bringing home in his weekly paycheck.

Salary negotiation is a skill. It should be viewed as simply an extension of the interview process. A candidate interviewing for an open position at a company has to use his sales skills in order to win over the interviewer, more or less. Once the candidate has wowed the interviewer and the representative from the company’s Human Resources Department calls him, the candidate’s reality of landing the job is not yet complete. The job seeker now has to twist that sales skill into the art of negotiation.

Fairness is key. It’s not about finagling the highest offer possible. That’s a goal, but it’s not the goal. Sorting out what your value is and then presenting that argument to the Human Resources representative is the ultimate goal. We all have a price; it’s gathering evidence that backs up the desired salary that’s necessary.

Step 1. Assess your skill set. Compare the job description to your experience and skills. Jumping into this position, would you be considered an expert, intermediate, or beginner?

Step 2. Research online what the average salary is for the position for which you are interviewing. Salary.com, Paycheckcity.com, and Payscale.com are options online that list average salaries in any designated area.

Step 3. Consult with any contacts you know in a similar positions or field. Get a idea for their skill sets and salary ranges.

Step 4. Arm yourself with your research and acquired information and present them to the Human Resources representative. Stay positive, friendly, and reasonable.

Chances are, you’re seen as a potential valuable asset to the company. You wouldn't have been offered employment if you weren't; but perhaps, after surveying your desired salary range, you're not that valuable to a given company. There is no need for doubt at this stage. You did your research and you presented your salary request. Most likely, the HR representative will not have an immediate decision, and will have to follow-up with you later. A large company, especially, will have a set salary range, and any veering from that pay scale will need to go through various channels for a final decision.

Be patient in knowing you’ve presented your best case in salary requirements. You may not get the figure you ultimately desire, but you will certainly feel confident you assessed your skill set, researched the market, and presented a fair case.

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