Whether you’ve just received a job offer or you are up for a promotion, salary is a very important part of the negotiation process. You don’t want to leave any money on the table.  But many people do. There is a large portion of people who never negotiate salary or even bring up the subject.

Use these tips to your advantage if you find negotiating your salary intimidating.


know that hiring managers expect you to negotiate

Hiring managers expect you to negotiate with them. In the same sense that you want to get more, employers want to pay less if they can. The initial salary offered is rarely at the very top of the hiring budget. Companies leave room to negotiate because they know many people will counter-offer.

Negotiation is part of process. In fact, it’s expected. Use the process as leverage to get a higher starting salary from your new employer.

always counter-offer, even if you like the offer

Always submit a counter-offer. Many employers will offer an attractive salary, but it’s not always their best offer. If you accept the first offer presented, you could be making a big mistake. You never know if there’s wiggle room unless you try.

The worst case is they’ll say no and stand firm with their offer. You won’t lose the job if you ask for more money. You can accept the current offer.

The best case is you get an even better offer and higher salary.

start negotiating from the top of your preferred range

Negotiation is about finding common ground. The employer has a certain salary range in mind and so do you. Always ask for a salary at the top of your preferred salary range, knowing full well you’ll probably receive an offer for a little less. This allows room for a counter-offer that you’ll still be happy with.

For example, let’s say the salary listed in the job description is $50,000. The industry average for your role is $50,000 to $60,000. You would be happy with something in the middle. Ask for $60,000 and the employer will likely counter with an offer in the range of $55,000. If you asked for $55,000 right away, they may counter with $53,000. This is why it’s important to ask for a salary at the top of your range.

don’t reveal your current salary

One of the advantages you have during the salary negotiation process is you know how much the employer is offering. They usually don’t know how much you make currently. So, don’t tell them. Focus negotiations on your target salary for the new role. If you’re underpaid, revealing your current salary can make it more challenging to reach the average market level for your role.

decide the minimum salary you’ll accept before negotiating

Go into negotiations with a minimum salary in mind. Know what your deal breakers are. While it’s all business, it can be tough to not take things personally in the moment. You want to leave emotions out of the decision.

If you wait until you hear the offer to decide, it could lead to you making an emotionally based decision. If you have a line in the sand, it’s easier to stand firm and walk away if you need to.

have a list of ways you bring value as an employee

If you are planning to ask for more money, be prepared to answer questions as to why you should be paid more. It’s always a good idea to be able to back up your request for higher compensation and be able to justify why you deserve it. Have a clear list of what you can bring to the table. Be ready to explain your value, why you are an asset, and how you can help the company.

always put negotiations and counter-offers into writing

Get everything in writing. A lot of things can be said, and misinterpreted, during the negotiating process. A written agreement is always better and easier to enforce than a verbal agreement.  Get all offers in writing so both parties are on the same page and in agreement with the employment terms.

Salary negotiation can be an intimidating process, especially if it’s your first time doing it. Just like other things in life, the more you negotiate, the better you become at it. And you’ll put yourself in a better position to maximize your earning potential.

need more help? connect with a recruiter who can help you find and negotiate a job offer in your target salary range.