How To Negotiate Salary

Are you ready to land your dream job and learn how to negotiate salary to get the pay you deserve? It’s time to level up your negotiation game with confidence, preparation, and research.

Learning the secrets of successful salary negotiation, from understanding the art of negotiation to overcoming challenges and handling objections like a pro, will unlock your full potential and secure the pay you deserve.

Embarking on this journey, you’ll discover the importance of emotional intelligence, setting realistic salary goals, creating a value-focused resume, and choosing the right communication method.

Moreover, you’ll learn how to research your worth and craft a winning negotiation strategy. So, let’s dive in and explore how to negotiate salary, where knowledge is power and success is within your reach.

Key Takeaways

  • Gain the confidence and preparation to negotiate your salary successfully.
  • Utilize emotional intelligence, market research, networking, and expert advice for successful outcomes.
  • Handle objections & counteroffers confidently with alternative benefits or perks if needed.

Understanding the Art of Salary Negotiation

Did you know that 73% of employers anticipate salary negotiation from job applicants, and they are willing to negotiate salary on an initial job offer? Yet, 55% of people don’t even ask for a higher salary when they get a job offer.

Earning the compensation you deserve requires confidently navigating salary negotiations when you receive a job offer. Striking a balance between ambition and realism is critical to achieving the best results during the salary conversation with your potential employer. These tips will prepare you to negotiate a salary during a job offer, ensuring you get the best deal possible and ultimately enhancing your job search experience.

In this journey, confidence, preparation, and emotional intelligence are vital in salary negotiations. We will delve into how these elements can bolster your negotiation process and assist in securing higher pay, whether in your current job or a new one.

Confident salary negotiations

The Role of Confidence and Preparation

Successful salary negotiations with a hiring manager are built on the foundations of confidence and preparation.

Confidence, a healthy recognition of our own abilities and qualities, should not be mistaken with arrogance, an overinflated view of our significance, especially during a salary discussion.

One of the most effective ways to bolster your confidence is by arming yourself with thorough research. Understanding the industry standard for your role, the average pay in your region, and the value you bring to the table gives you a solid foundation for your negotiation.

Knowing your worth, backed by data, strengthens your position and instills a sense of self-assurance. You’re no longer shooting in the dark; you’re making an informed request based on tangible evidence.

Rehearsing with a trusted friend can help you gain the confidence you need and identify areas to improve upon, following salary negotiation tips from experts.

To further increase confidence and reduce stress, try the “power pose” technique: Position yourself upright, place your hands assertively on your hips, elevate your chin and chest, and plant your feet solidly on the ground. This posture not only exudes confidence but also mentally prepares you for the conversation ahead.

Armed with confidence and preparation, you’re ready to take on the challenges of negotiating your salary.

Emotional Intelligence in Negotiations

Harnessing your emotional intelligence can greatly contribute to your success in salary negotiations. Emotional intelligence, often referred to as EQ, is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions while also being attuned to the emotions of others. It enables you to:

  • Effectively manage your emotions: By being aware of your emotional triggers, you can prevent reactive responses and maintain a calm demeanor during negotiations. This helps in keeping the conversation productive and focused.

  • Understand the emotions of others: Recognizing the emotional state of the hiring manager or HR representative allows you to adjust your approach, ensuring the conversation remains constructive.

  • Communicate more effectively: With heightened EQ, you can convey your points with clarity and empathy, making it easier for the other party to understand and resonate with your perspective.

  • Build rapport: A strong emotional connection fosters trust and understanding, which can be instrumental in reaching a favorable agreement.

  • Find mutually beneficial solutions: By understanding the emotional and practical needs of both parties, you can propose solutions that cater to both sides, increasing the likelihood of acceptance.

With the right emotional intelligence, you can secure a higher salary or other favorable terms during salary negotiations.

Understanding the other party’s perspective can help you in salary negotiations by allowing you to:

  • Empathize with their needs and concerns: By putting yourself in their shoes, you can anticipate potential reservations or objections and address them proactively.

  • Find common ground and work towards a mutually beneficial agreement: Recognizing shared goals or values can serve as a foundation for collaboration.

  • Tailor your arguments and proposals to address their specific interests: Customizing your approach based on the other party’s priorities increases the relevance and appeal of your proposals.

This approach, rooted in emotional intelligence, significantly increases the chances of reaching a successful outcome in salary negotiations.

Researching Your Worth

An integral step in salary negotiation involves researching your worth. This allows you to confidently establish a realistic salary goal, based on both industry standards and your personal expectations. You can empower yourself by doing the following:

  • Conduct online research to gather information on salary ranges in your field.
  • Leverage your network to ask others in your field about their salary experiences.
  • Research the company you are negotiating with to understand how much they typically pay for salaries and familiarize yourself with the market rate.

By conducting thorough research, you will be better equipped to negotiate a fair and competitive salary.

Market research enables you to identify the best number to negotiate with and accurately assess your value to the company.

Researching your worth can give you the confidence to ask for the pay you deserve based on the going rate for your job title in your specific industry.

Know What You Are Worth

Online Resources for Salary Research

Glassdoor,, and Payscale are great online resources that provide valuable salary data for comparison. Using Glassdoor for salary research is a great way to find out what salaries are like in your industry, as it provides salary estimates based on data from millions of employees and third-party sources using machine learning.

Indeed’s Salary Calculator can help you gain valuable insight into your earning potential. By asking yourself questions like:

  • What’s the national average salary for the position?
  • What’s the average in your geographic location and in cities nearby?
  • How much do similar companies in your area pay employees in this position?

…You can gain valuable insights into the market average.

Another effective strategy is to explore company pages on LinkedIn of potential employers or competitors in your industry. Often, employees on LinkedIn share their experiences, including compensation details, in the platform’s review section. While these might not provide exact figures, they can offer a ballpark range or insights into the company’s compensation structure.

Additionally, joining industry-specific LinkedIn groups can be beneficial. These groups often have discussions where members share salary ranges, negotiation tips, and other compensation-related advice. Engaging in these conversations or simply observing can provide a clearer picture of what to expect regarding salary for a particular role or industry.

With the knowledge gained from online resources and expert advice, you’ll be well-equipped to approach salary negotiations with confidence and a clear understanding of your worth.

Crafting Your Negotiation Strategy

Formulating a negotiation strategy proves invaluable for successful salary negotiations. To do this, you’ll need to set realistic salary goals based on your research and personal salary expectations beforehand and highlight the strengths you bring to the employment table to justify your desired salary.

The Role of Your Resume in Salary Negotiations

Your resume is more than just a list of jobs and qualifications; it’s a powerful tool that can significantly influence salary negotiations. A well-crafted, value-based resume serves as a testament to your professional journey, highlighting not just what you’ve done, but the tangible value you bring to an organization.

It’s essential to remember that from an employer’s perspective, hiring is fundamentally an investment decision. They allocate resources, including salary, in the hope of achieving a ROI. By framing your resume in terms of the returns you’ve delivered in the past, you position yourself as a high-yield investment. This not only strengthens your bargaining power but also shifts the conversation from cost to value. Instead of debating how much you cost, the focus becomes how much value you can deliver.

At the heart of a compelling resume is your unique value proposition (UVP). This UVP is a concise statement that encapsulates your distinct blend of skills, experiences, and attributes that make you an invaluable asset to any employer. By effectively communicating this proposition on your resume, you’re conveying your worth, setting a foundation for a salary that mirrors that value.

An accomplishments-focused resume takes this a step further. Instead of merely listing tasks or responsibilities, it emphasizes the results and impact of your actions. For instance, rather than stating that you “managed a sales team,” you could specify that you “led a sales team that achieved 150% of its annual target, generating an additional $2 million in revenue.”

By quantifying your resume achievements, you provide concrete evidence of your ability to drive results. This approach not only showcases your capabilities but also paints a picture of the potential return on investment (ROI) an employer can expect from hiring you.

In short, a strategically crafted resume can be a game-changer in salary negotiations. By emphasizing your unique value proposition and quantifying your achievements, you provide a compelling narrative of your worth. This narrative, rooted in tangible results and potential ROI, makes it significantly easier to negotiate a salary that truly reflects your value. After all, when you can clearly demonstrate the returns you bring to the table, justifying your desired compensation becomes a straightforward affair.

For expert help crafting your resume, reach out to discuss your needs and receive a customized resume writing quote.

Your Resume and Salary Negotiations

Setting Your Salary Goals

When entering salary discussions or even just beginning your job search, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the salary range you’re aiming for. As we’ve already discussed, this range should not be based on a whim or mere aspirations but should be rooted firmly in research and a keen understanding of your worth in the job market.

Through thorough research, you can establish a realistic and competitive salary range that aligns with your qualifications and the market rate.

However, it’s not just about the numbers. Equally important is recognizing and articulating your distinct worth. Read and re-read your updated resume. Reflect on your career achievements, specialized skills, and unique experiences that differentiate you from other candidates.

Have you led initiatives that significantly impacted business growth?

Or perhaps you possess a rare certification in your field?

These individual attributes and accomplishments can justify positioning yourself at the higher end of your determined salary range. Remember, hiring managers are not just paying for your role; they’re investing in the unique blend of technical skills, qualities and experiences you bring to the table. By setting salary goals rooted in both comprehensive research and a clear understanding of your worth, you equip yourself with a strong foundation for successful and fair negotiations.

Timing and Approach in Salary Negotiations

The timing and approach used are critical elements of any salary discussion. It’s always advantageous to negotiate salary after receiving a written official job description and offer rather than during earlier stages of the interview process.

Next, we will examine how to pinpoint the right timing and select the suitable communication method during the hiring process to ensure successful salary negotiations.

Identifying the Right Time

Timing is everything. And patience is a virtue. Many job seekers are unsure at what stage of the process to raise the issue of salary. During the interview? After the job has been offered?

There is no single right answer. However, you’re probably best served by waiting until the job has actually been offered to you. It’s best not to bring up numbers during the interview itself. If you’re asked what your salary requirements are, simply reply that they are:

based on the particulars of the position itself, the overall compensation package and that you probably need more detail about the duties and responsibilities of the position and what routes of advancement are available to someone in this job.

When a hiring manager brings up salary prior to a job offer, it is almost always for the purpose of screening you. Before the job offer, if you answer a salary-related question with an actual dollar amount and you give a figure lower than their range, believe it or not, you are likely to be screened out.

Why? Because the employer may think that your low amount indicates that you are not capable of handling the responsibilities of the position. And sadly, even if you make the cut and eventually win a job offer, your salary offer will be held down by the low-ball figure you mentioned too early in the process. If you mention a figure that is too high, you will also be screened out.

At this early stage, you have almost certainly not had the opportunity to establish your worth and value to the prospective employer. So wait…postpone discussion of salary until you have a job offer.

If you plan to ask for a pay raise in your current job or with a promotion, negotiating for more money during annual performance reviews can be incredibly advantageous for you, as it’s a great way to demonstrate your accomplishments and the value you bring to the company, as well as discuss your contributions and request a salary increase based on your performance.

In some cases, understanding a company’s fiscal year can give you the edge in timing your salary negotiation, providing valuable insight into the company’s financial health and performance. By timing your salary request during a period when the company is doing well financially, you can maximize your chances of a successful negotiation outcome.

Choosing the Appropriate Communication Method

Choosing the most suitable communication method, like face-to-face meetings, phone calls, or emails, is essential to ensure a successful salary negotiation. While face-to-face meetings offer the opportunity to create a strong connection and make a great first impression, they may also result in pushback, especially for women, and the pressure to make quick decisions.

Phone calls allow for real-time conversation and immediate feedback, providing an opportunity to build rapport and establish a personal connection, but they may lack visual cues and body language, making it difficult to gauge the other person’s reactions.

On the other hand, negotiating salary via email gives both parties time to carefully consider the offer and respond thoughtfully, but the absence of non-verbal cues and tone can lead to misunderstanding of messages. Weigh the pros and cons of each communication method to choose the best approach for your salary negotiation.

Strategies for the Negotiation Table

When you are offered the job, and it is time to talk salary, let them talk first. If you have been offered the job and have now been asked about salary, just respond with a simple:

“What range did you have in mind?”

If you have accomplished what you set out to do and have clearly established your value and worth during the interview stages, you should have a fairly easy time getting the employer to state either a salary figure or range.

Now, put a look of thoughtful consideration on your face, and restate the figure or the highest figure of the range with a question in your tone. In other words, say something like “Hmmm…$150,000…” – and then just be quiet and look thoughtful.

Handling Objections and Counteroffers

Efficiently managing objections and counteroffers is a vital aspect of the salary negotiation process. It’s important to be prepared to respond to any challenges that may arise during the negotiation conversation and to evaluate and respond to counteroffers appropriately.

Responding to Common Objections

Learning how to respond to common objections with confidence and professionalism is essential for a successful salary negotiation. To best showcase your worth during salary negotiations, you should:

  • Highlight the value you have brought to the company and the positive results it has achieved.
  • Gather data or examples that illustrate your market value and the average salary range for your position in the industry.
  • Use this information to build a compelling case for a raise.

If a salary increase isn’t possible, think about negotiating for other benefits or perks that would benefit you, like more vacation days, flexible working hours, or professional growth opportunities.

Evaluating and Responding to Counteroffers

When considering counteroffers, take the time to evaluate your compensation goals and priorities to ensure you make the best decision for you. When assessing a counteroffer, consider your objectives and what matters most to you. Be honest and transparent with the employer to ensure you get written documentation of the counteroffer.

Assuming you have done your research and come armed with knowledge of your worth and average salaries, you will have the ability to respond confidently to a job offer and associated salary offer with a researched response. If the offer made is just what you were hoping for or higher, go ahead and seal the deal.

But, if it is a little low, you now have the researched knowledge to respond with a sincere “From my research, I estimate that positions like this for a person with my qualifications pay between X and Y. What can you do in that range?”

To stay rational and detached from emotions during the negotiation process, it’s important to practice your negotiation skills for the best outcome. By evaluating and responding to counteroffers with a clear understanding of your goals and priorities, you can achieve a successful salary negotiation.

Considering Alternative Benefits and Perks

Should salary negotiation be unsuccessful, it would be prudent to consider alternative benefits and perks, like flexible hours, remote work options, and extra vacation time.

If the employer counter-offers with a salary that’s not as high as your request, weigh the pros and cons of the new job, and decide if it’s worth the lesser amount or if it’s better to walk away.

Considering alternative benefits and perks can help you achieve a satisfactory compensation package even if the initial salary negotiation is unsuccessful. Remember, there’s more to a job than just the salary, and sometimes other factors can make up for a lower salary offer.

However, the same is true following successful negotiations. Monetary compensation in the form of a salary is only part of the deal. What other benefits and perks might be important to you? Once you have come to an agreement with the employer on a starting salary, it is time to continue your negotiations to win an offer complete with the benefits that are most important to you.

Final Thoughts: How To Negotiate Salary

Successful salary negotiation combines confidence, preparation, research, and emotional intelligence. Understanding the art of negotiation, researching your worth, crafting your negotiation strategy, and handling objections and counteroffers are essential to securing your deserved pay.

As you venture into the world of salary negotiation, remember that knowledge is power and success is within your reach. With the right approach and mindset, you can overcome challenges and secure the compensation you deserve.

So go ahead and seize the opportunity – your dream job and the salary you deserve are waiting for you.

Salary Negotiation Cheat Sheet

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to negotiate salary?

Negotiating salary ensures you receive fair compensation for your skills, experience, and the value you bring to a company. By understanding the art of negotiation and being well-prepared, you can secure the pay you deserve. Additionally, even small increases in your pay can add up significantly over the course of a career, leading to substantial financial gains in the long run.

How can I build confidence for salary negotiations?

Building confidence for salary negotiations involves thorough research on industry standards for your role, average pay in your geographic region, and understanding your unique value. Practicing your negotiation points with a trusted friend and using techniques like the “power pose” can also boost your confidence.

What role does emotional intelligence play in salary negotiations?

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, allows you to manage your emotions, understand the emotions of others, communicate effectively, and build rapport. By harnessing EQ, you can navigate the negotiation process more smoothly, understand the other party’s perspective, and find mutually beneficial solutions.

How can I determine my worth before negotiating?

Researching your worth involves conducting online research on salary ranges in your field, leveraging your network to gather insights, and understanding the typical pay scales of the company you’re negotiating with. Online resources like Glassdoor,, and Payscale can provide valuable salary data for comparison.

When should I tell the prospective employer my salary expectations?

Wait for the employer to bring up the salary first. If asked about your salary expectations, provide a range based on your research. If the employer states a figure, take a moment to consider it thoughtfully before responding. Being prepared to handle objections and counteroffers is also crucial.

What is reasonable to negotiate for in a salary increase?

Many experts recommend that you aim to negotiate a salary that is 5-7% above the average found in your research. If the offer is significantly lower than the average, you can try to negotiate 10-20% higher. This way, you are still in line with market expectations while showing the employer you understand your value.

How should I handle objections and counteroffers during negotiations?

When faced with objections, highlight your value and achievements and use data to support your salary request. If presented with a counteroffer, evaluate it against your compensation goals and priorities. Consider alternative benefits and perks if the initial salary offer doesn’t meet your expectations.

Are there other benefits or perks I can negotiate besides salary?

Yes, besides the base salary, you can negotiate for benefits like flexible working hours, remote work options, additional vacation days, professional memberships, training or education benefits, and other company-specific perks.

When is the best time to discuss salary during the hiring process?

It’s generally best to wait until a job offer has been extended before discussing salary. Avoid bringing up numbers during the interview itself. If asked about salary requirements during the interview, provide a range and express the need for more details about the position.

How can my resume influence salary negotiations?

A well-crafted, value-based resume can significantly influence salary negotiations. By highlighting your achievements, skills, and the tangible value you’ve delivered in past roles, you position yourself as a valuable asset, making it easier to justify a higher salary.

What if the offered salary doesn't meet my expectations?

If the offered salary doesn’t align with your research and personal value, consider negotiating for other benefits or perks. Alternatively, evaluate the entire compensation package, including growth opportunities, company culture, and other non-monetary factors, before making a decision.

About the Author: Michelle Dumas

Michelle Dumas is the founder and CEO of Distinctive Career Services, one of the internet's longest-standing and most respected professional resume writing firms. Michelle is a 6X certified and 7X award-winning resume writer and career consultant. To learn more about the services offered by Distinctive Career Services visit

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