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2 Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Negotiating Your Salary

Topics: Negotiation

Money isn’t everything when it comes to your career, but it’s definitely something to be considered. It’s important to earn a salary that you feel is fair for your capabilities and experience. Otherwise, you run the risk of becoming one of those employees who just goes through the motions at work and, eventually, grows angry, miserable, and envious. Don’t let fear stop you from asking for what you deserve, or ignorance of negotiating techniques be the reason you don’t ask for a fair wage. Being able to negotiate effectively will be your key to success, regardless of your industry.


(Photo Credit: Evan Jackson/Flickr)

Here are two key questions to ask yourself that will help you enter your negotiations with the confidence and knowledge you need to land the salary you’ve earned. 

Do You Know What You're Worth?

1. What am I really worth?

You probably wouldn’t go into a car dealership to buy a new car without doing some sort of preliminary research to ensure that you’re not being swindled. Likewise, you shouldn’t go into a salary negotiation without doing research on what you’re worth. Don’t make the mistake of doing a generic search online for your job title, because the results will probably produce a dollar figure that is as unrealistic as it is incorrect.

PayScale’s Salary Survey takes into consideration your job title, qualifications, experience, location, industry, and so on, to generate a free report with an accurate salary range. You will feel more confident knowing that the dollar figure you’re negotiating is the salary you deserve, rather than an inflated one that was pulled from a generic online search and has little to no backing.

2. What can my employer realistically pay me?

When researching your salary, it’s important to take into consideration what your employer can and should pay you, because not all companies are created equal. For instance, a project manager at a Fortune-500 company will probably make a bit more than a project manager working for a startup company, due to differing financial capacities. However, all is not lost if your company doesn’t have the resources to pay you more, because money isn’t the only thing you should be considering.

Instead of focusing all your attention on dollars and cents, why not consider negotiating some attractive perks that will make your lack of financial gain feel like a win-win for everyone. Nowadays, many professionals are more concerned with having freedom, flexibility, and fulfillment in their careers, instead of focusing so much on how much they are or aren’t making. Companies are starting to adapt to these preferences and are offering employees more attractive perks and benefits in an effort to retain top talent.


Before you go into your negotiations, it’s important to understand why you’re negotiating your salary in the first place. For instance, if you’re negotiating for more money because you’re miserable at your current job, then that won’t do you or your employer any good. Instead, you should invest your time and energy in finding a new job or, possibly, an entirely new career – because, as they say, money can’t buy happiness, and that’s especially true at work.

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Leah Arnold-Smeets
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What Am I Worth?

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