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How to Negotiate Your Salary (Without Being a Jerk)

Topics: Negotiation

Most recruiters expect candidates to negotiate their starting salary, but 41 percent of us don’t, losing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime. And why don’t we negotiate? Well, in part, because we want to seem nice — at the very least, nice enough to keep the job offer.


(Photo Credit: JDHancock/Flickr)

“Job applicants sometimes worry that simply asking for more money will cause the employer to pull the job offer altogether,” writes Alison Green of Ask a Manager, at US News. “But as long as you handle the discussion in a pleasant, professional, and non-adversarial way, and as long as you’re not asking for an unrealistic amount, no reasonable employer will pull an offer.”

Do You Know What You're Worth?

So how can candidates make sure that they don’t offend while asking for more money?

1. Let your enthusiasm shine through.

At The Huffington Post, Adam Grant suggests something like, “I’m thrilled about the offer. This is my first choice, for the following reasons, and I’d love to join.”

There’s no harm in making sure the hiring manager feels that the offer is appreciated, before you ask for a salary bump.

2. Do your research.

Facts speak for themselves. Come to the table armed with data about what other people with your level of experience and prospective job title earn for salary and benefits, and you’ll be in a much better position to advocate for yourself. PayScale’s Research Center lets you customize a salary report based on your situation.

3. Leave emotion out of it.

Beyond showing enthusiasm for the job, stick with hard data. Don’t say things like, “I wouldn’t feel good about taking the job at that salary.” Let the numbers make your argument.

Tell Us What You Think

What are your best salary negotiation tips? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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Ask for a Total Compensation Package. This way if you are too high, you can let the potential employer feel like he is saving face and not losing ground by compromising on some of the non-wage expenses. You benefit offering may take a hit, but it will protect your wage earning capacity.

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.