How to Better Negotiate Your Salary

By: Joe Rominiecki

Career advice from Cheryl Palmer, M.Ed., CPRW, career coach at Call to Career

An employer won't just hand you a nice fat salary; you have to negotiate to get what you believe you're worth. Here are four tips for your next negotiation:

  • Do your homework. Don't base your salary request on what you've made in the past. Instead, research what the market rate is for your skill set and experience, and explain that your desired salary is based on that information. It also helps to look into the employer, either through publicly available compensation information (such as an IRS Form 990) or someone within or connected to the organization.
  • Explain why you're the perfect match. Reiterate that you are an ideal candidate for the job and worthy of the best salary. "If you have reviewed the vacancy announcement very thoroughly and you know that you are very close to or a 100 percent match to what they're looking for, that gives you very good leverage," Palmer says.
  • State a range. "That way, you still have some wiggle room for negotiation," she says. The range can also take into account benefits and perks that make up the total compensation package.
  • Practice. Find someone to role-play an HR rep taking a hard stance with you. "It's not something [where] you can just read a book and say, 'I've got it.' Because, in the moment, particularly if you really, really want this job, you're more likely to give more than you should," Palmer says. "Typically, the person who is offering you the position and would be engaging in the negotiation process with you has already been trained in negotiation, so they know what they're doing."

Joe Rominiecki is a senior editor at Associations Now in Washington, DC. Email: [email protected]

[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Salary Negotiator."]

Joe Rominiecki

Joe Rominiecki is senior editor at Associations Now.