You’ve painstakingly prepared your resume, navigating through the nerve-wracking interview phase and are the final candidate. Your effort has been validated, but it’s not over.
Negotiating your new salary can be one of the most difficult aspects of the job search. It takes confidence and compromise, professionalism and patience. If executed correctly, it could leave you with an excellent salary and benefits package.
Open up to the idea of negotiating your next salary. Young workers are often the most prone to ending up with less than market value because they are overwhelmed with the job search experience and excited to take their first big professional opportunity. But settling for what is first offered can take money out of your pocket and set you back for years to come.
Keep Your Cards Close to Your Chest
We all have that magic number in our heads when it comes to the salary we can accept in a new position. We know what it takes to pay the bills, and we know our current salary. Anything less can represent a step back in our professional career paths.
That’s why revealing how much you would be willing to accept is a mistake. You should carefully address any questions that prompt you for salary information. The quicker you share this information with hiring managers, the quicker you lose your negotiating power. Try to play it safe by giving ranges of salaries that you would accept so you don’t back yourself into a negotiating corner.
Do Your Research
There are a number of online tools at your disposal that can give you fair market value for your position, location and professional background. A couple are salary.com and salaryexpert.com. You also can check the U.S. Department of Labor website for career information specific to your industry.
Do this research before walking into a negotiation so you can be equipped with accurate numbers. The more you know about where you fit on the company’s food chain in terms of salary, the more confident you can feel in your negotiation strategies.
Think It Over
Accepting the job offer too quickly is one of the biggest mistakes a candidate can make at crunch time. Today’s job market is challenging, but it is also more robust than it has been in years past. This means that there are opportunities out there for qualified professionals.
You should think through all offers. Don’t be afraid to turn one or two down if they aren’t the right fit for what you’re looking to achieve. Patience is a virtue in the employment landscape, one that hiring managers and recruiters have to respect if they want to add you to their teams.
This understanding is also prevalent in negotiations, as you should feel entitled to ask for more money, benefits or stock options if you think the offer is lacking.