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Smart Salary Negotiation 101

May 12, 2008
If you have a job offer, then negotiating a salary and compensation package should be the next thing on board. If a company has spent time and effort interviewing you for a job and has decided to secure your services as employee, they will want to ensure that you remain in the company paying you just enough to ensure that you don't get snapped up by the competition. However despite all this, negotiating a compensation package is a tricky issue, you don't want to ask for too much and make yourself seem unreasonable and on the other hand you don't want to ask for too little and feel shortchanged. So how exactly do you go about the whole thing?

Some people are excited when given the opportunity to negotiate their salary and a compensation package; others on the other hand tend to be perturbed when faced with such a task. Whatever your state of mind, make sure you do the following:

Determine Your Worth

The person at the other end of the table knows how much they feel you are worth, you on the other hand should have an idea about how much you feel the career package is worth. When you start negotiating, you should be aware of all the facts concerning your particular job description. The Internet is a great resource and you can use it to your advantage to get informed about salaries and compensation packages for someone in your shoes. You should make sure that the informational resource you are using factors in the cost of living in the area your employer wants you to work. Having a standpoint in terms of determining your worth means you know what you are negotiating for.

Have a Goal

Just as you can't get into battle without a battle plan in hand and you don't get into a football match without laying out a plan to win, you have to define your goal in the salary negotiation proceedings; you can't get into negotiations without a goal. Shoot a little beyond your mark, if you feel the job is worth around $70,000 in total; ask for a bit more but not that much more. The reason being that the negotiators want to leave the table feeling they have gained something, if you give them the exact figure you have in mind, they'll aim to beat it down.

Know When to Walk

You're not up for a charitable cause, it's your career that's at stake and you have responsibilities and bills to pay. If you absolutely know you cannot take anything below a particular amount, then walk away and seek alternative options. Deciding to make do with what is below your expectations and which does not cover the level of your financial responsibilities can land you in a quandary, if you know you have better more financially beneficial options elsewhere, then you can drop the offer and move on.

Be Fair

Make sure you use standards that are reasonable for someone in your shoes, the company that's giving you the offer knows how much the industry pays and you should as well, everyone is trying to win something in the deal. Failure to stick to fair expectations may lead to resentment and comfort with your future job if you accept something below par only to find out later on that fellow employees on the same level as you are, are raking in more than you are.
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