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Successfully Negotiating Your Starting Salary

Most people find that salary negotiations are the most difficult and ego-involved experiences in the job search process. Here are some of the best strategies to help you be successful when negotiating your salary.

  1. Research your value within your industry.

    Do some research. Get on the Internet. Go to the library. Read trade journals and the business section of your local paper. If you are asked where you came up with your salary expectations, the more you research, the more likely you will receive the money you deserve.

  2. Bracket your salary demands.

    After you have done your research, and you have a strong idea about your market value, you will discover a range of starting salaries for your skills and abilities. When interviewing for new employment, use this range in stating your salary demands. For Example: Offer a range of $25,000 to $35,000 or $100,000 to $125,000. The higher the numbers, the bigger the range you can give. Say to your prospective employer, "I am looking for a compensation package in the _________ to _________ range."

  3. Why silence is golden.

    The day comes for a job offer. Say to your future employer, "Iím ready to entertain your best offer." Then be quiet! Say nothing! Count to twenty in your head. You could even bring a tablet along with you to draw pictures or pretend that youíre doing your budget. Quiet makes people nervous.

    Here is an example of what not to do:

    In a salary-negotiating meeting, my candidate said, "Iím ready to entertain your best offer." The employer said, "No, what do you really want?" My candidate said, "$76,000." Guess what they paid him? Thatís right, $76,000. He could have gotten $90,000! Do not give a number! In this situation, the one who speaks first loses.

    Conversely, another candidate followed my instructions and said he was ready to entertain their best offer and then he said nothing and counted to 20 in his head. When they gave him their offer, it was much higher than he expected. He was so tongue-tied he could not say anything. In his silence, he got a 10 percent raise! Let your silence do your salary negotiations.

  4. Get the total compensation package and policies in writing.

    One final important note, get your compensation package in writing. If it is not given to you in writing, then write it down yourself. I have a very personal example -- I was promised a number of things before I began a previous job. Then, I was laid off. When I started, I was not given an offer letter, however, I wrote everything down that was offered to me and had my boss sign my notes. When my position was eliminated, I was not going to be paid what had been promised. I pulled out the signed note I had saved. I ended up being paid the amount that was initially promised to me. This move ended up being worth thousands of dollars.

I hope these ideas are helpful to you in your salary negotiation. I would like to hear from you if you have an interesting story regarding salary negotiations. Email or call me. Our personal triumphs and tragedies are the best learning experiences we can share with one another.

Good luck in all of you negotiations.

Colleen Kay Watson
Colleen Kay Watson is the CEO and Co-Founder of Career Professionalsģ, which helps job seekers find entry-level opportunities in Management, Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Finance and Administrative positions. For more information about Career Professionalsģ, please go to www.gocpi.com or call 952-835-9922.