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The Do’s and Don’ts of Salary Negotiation

Many people are uncomfortable with negotiating for a salary. Regardless of the reason, there will come a time when you feel the need to negotiate a salary and these tips should help you navigate the process and come to an agreement with an employer.

First, you need to do your research.

There are numerous websites, like Salary.com, Payscale, Glassdoor, which can give you the high, median and low wages for the position you’re considering. They will also narrow down the wage scale to your geographic area. You can then compare your skills and experience and see where your salary ought to be in order to be competitive in your market.

You can also check the Bureau of Labor Statistics for industry-specific wage information.

Next, you should calculate the minimum amount you’re willing to accept.

Remember, this is just a guideline to help you narrow down your options, as salary is not the only consideration when deciding whether or not to accept a position.  Knowing your bottom line will allow you to remove yourself from consideration if you can reasonably calculate that the job offer will not be close to meeting your needs.The Do’s and Don’ts of Salary Negotiation

Follow these tips when you’ve gotten an offer pending...

  • Do let the employer make the first offer of a salary.
  • Do know the full details of the position so that you can be sure your salary research is applicable.
  • Do say thank you for the offer.
  • Do get the job offer in writing.
  • Do remember to take into consideration any transportation costs, parking costs, additional distance, etc. Also be sure to check local taxes in case the new position is in a different municipality. Various cities and villages may have different income taxes and those could mean more – or less – take home pay.
  • Do be prepared to ask for more than offered – and to support your request with how you can contribute to the company’s profitability by hiring you.
  • Do be respectful and reasonable.
  • Do consider asking for a better title, more vacation, a bonus, educational reimbursement, etc. if there is no option to increase the actual salary.
  • Do be confident and take notes during any discussions.


  • Don't be afraid to give a salary range, or say “competitive within the market,’ when asked what you’re seeking.
  • Don't, necessarily, accept the first offer. It’s okay to say you need time to consider the offer and the compensation package.
  • Don't focus just on salary – make sure you understand the entire package, including benefits, vacation, bonuses, title, etc.
  • Don't forget to look at net pay, rather than just gross pay.
  • Don't lie about your prior salary.
  • Don't be afraid to share your salary research as part of your negotiation.
  • Don't talk about why you need more money (mortgage, current expenses, having another child). Rather, talk about your value to the company and how you can help the company succeed.
  • Don't be rushed into making a decision, but don’t wait any more than two days to respond to the written offer.

And remember, it’s usually not a good idea to get into a bidding war with two companies. If you’ve received a better offer from Company A, but you want to work for Company B, it’s okay to tell Company B what you’ve been offered and that you’d rather work for them.

In most instances, your honesty and enthusiasm for Company B will result in some accommodation from them, even if they cannot match Company A’s offer.

Lastly, in all your negotiations, be professional and polite.

This isn’t an adversarial discussion – this should be a conversation where the end result is both sides getting what they want:  you finding a great position with a great compensation package and the company getting a great employee who will help them succeed.


And if you have found a job that you are interested in, you are going to need to prepare for the interview!

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Want help with job interviews?

Download this handy Pre-Interview Guide. We can help you rid yourself of any nerves!


Topics: Establishing a Career, Preparing for an Interview, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Interviewing