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Successful Salary Negotiations in Today's Economy

Today's employers are being tricky when they make a job offer. They often beginning with a low ball salary offer, but many hiring managers do make a 2nd or 3rd offer if a candidate seems unwilling to accept the first one they put on the table.

A key thing for you to know is that employers are finding it much harder to find talented employees to hire. So you have the tide turning in your favor. And I've seen many of my recent career counseling clients successfully negotiate 20% or 30 % more than what was initially offered. In today's economy, employers are open to negotiating salaries and paying more. Why? The employer sees a lot of applicants that just aren't qualified to do the job. When they do find a good fit, they worry the person won't take the position. Numerous hiring managers are now saying they must pay more to get the right talent. Many are doing just that.

Here are some guidelines to go about asking for more salary.

Know what your skills are worth. Don't guess, KNOW! This is a big mistake. Sometimes you were underpaid at your last or current job. This often happens when you have been with the same employer over several years and mostly got small cost of living raises. You can check with your professional association - almost all publish salary ranges based on job title and experience level. Another way is to go online to payscale and use their free tool to determine the salary range employers are paying for someone with your job title. If relocation is a necessary part of your career path, use online tools to compare housing costs, and earnings levels in different regions, etc.

Whoever mentions money first loses. To preserve your negotiation power it's critical to never reveal what your salary is (or was). Plan for these salary questions and arm yourself with appropriate answers that always keep an employer guessing. Laura, an ambitious woman was too open in her interview and told the hiring manager her true salary, which was low because promises of raises had never materialized at her current job. The HR recruiter later informed her friend that, once the hiring manager heard the low figure Laura's current employer paid her, he changed his opinion of her and downgraded all of her achievements and abilities (the new job paid twice her salary.) During her interview coaching session we worked on how to effectively handle salary questions. Armed with effective strategies she landed a job adding a $32,000 pay increase over the job she left.

Not Trying is a BIG mistake. Some people never even try to negotiate at all. Women are particularly unskilled and most accept the 1st offer which is a key factor in why women are still paid 23% less than men. Too many people today simply accept the offer as given. Prepare in advance what you'll say ONCE the offer has been made. Knowing what the average salary is for your job level should allow you to have a realistic idea of what range you are in. Asking for a bit more and then offering 4-5 good reasons why they need your talents, will help convince the employer that you would be a valuable addition to their team and the extra dollars are worth paying.

Get An Employment Letter. Promises are quickly forgotten once you start the job. Get the details in writing so there are no misunderstandings later by requesting an employment letter from the employer.

Robin Ryan is America's leading career job search expert. She's appeared on 1500 TV & radio shows including Oprah, Dr Phil, Cnn, ABC News and NPR. Robin has a career counseling practice working with individual clients across the US helping them land better jobs. For more career help visit:

2015 Robin Ryan all rights reserved.