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How to Negotiate Salary

Here's an odd fact of life.

While everyone wants a handsome salary, almost nobody wants to discuss that salary before being hired. Few questions inspire as much dread among job seekers as: "So, what kind of salary are you looking for?"

Yet, there's no escaping questions of salary. Here are tips to help you negotiate effectively, before and during the job interview.

When replying to want ads that ask for salary requirements or a salary history, I always advise my clients to NOT answer directly. Because any answer will hurt your chances.

Remember that a typical classified ad can produce hundreds of résumés. That's a pretty big pile. And a fast way to make that pile smaller is to weed out applicants who are either too expensive (over-qualified) or too cheap (under-qualified).

So, in your cover letter, I would just say: "My salary requirements are negotiable." This shows you've read the want ad carefully, but are choosing to dodge the issue. Most HR professionals and hiring managers I've talked to won't take offense. On the contrary, it gives them one LESS reason NOT to call you.

What about salary questions in the interview? These require some advance planning.

You can say: "Well, I'd like to make as much as other employees with my qualifications." (Here you can repeat 2-3 of your most valuable skills or achievements, just to remind them how qualified you are.) Then add: "And what is a typical salary for this position?"

Another strategy is to avoid a specific salary ... and name a pay range instead. Say: "I was thinking of a salary in the $25,000 to $35,000 range," (with $25,000 being the lowest amount you'd accept). That way, you can name a higher figure, if they try to pin you down, yet still be able to retreat to a point that satisfies you.

Finally, information is power here. If you can back your salary request with a list of average salaries that you've obtained from the Internet or from your own phone calls, you'll enjoy greater leverage in your negotiations.

-Kevin Donlin
Owner, Guaranteed Resumes
(c) 2000 by Kevin Donlin
www.gresumes.com