A Really Simple Guide to Salary Negotiations


Salary negotiations may seem intimidating, particularly to entry-level job seekers. But everyone should be ready to negotiate pay, whether it’s an entry-level hourly job or an executive level position. Your salary at your first job not only affects earning potential at that employer, but for the rest of your career. Therefore, maximizing your pay should be a priority when job searching. There are three main things to remember when preparing to negotiate with a potential employer.

Know what you’re worth. 

There are plenty of places online to research salaries including Glassdoor and Salary.com. Knowing what you should be paid is crucial information to have when job hunting. When researching salaries, be sure to take into account your experience level, location, skills, industry and education. If possible, speak with workers in your industry about salary so you know what is normal. Try to find people in different companies and with various experience levels. Employers often discourage workers from disclosing their salaries to others. But being open about pay is empowering for employees.

It’s better to aim high.

When asked your salary expectations, it’s better to tell potential employers the high end of your salary range than stating a lower amount. You can always negotiate down to something that works for both parties but it’s much harder to ask for more once you’ve stated a lower amount. Some candidates think asking for less pay will make them more attractive to employers, but most companies expect job seekers to aim high so don’t underestimate your worth. A lower salary doesn’t just affect your current wages but your future earning potential as well.

Be willing to walk away.

If an employer isn’t willing to offer what you’re worth, be willing to walk away. If you are applying and interviewing with multiple employers you will feel more secure turning down an offer. Don’t count on one or two employers to offer you a position. Keep applying, interviewing and searching for an employer who recognizes your worth. You may not be in a position to wait for a job that pays well, so taking a short-term gig is fine to get you through until you find a better paying job. However, you may want to leave it off your resume since it could negatively affect your earning potential.

Knowing your worth is important, particularly if you’re a woman or minority. Going into salary negotiations knowing what compensation you should expect to receive is crucial to negotiating with confidence. Don’t allow an employer to wear you down or diminish your accomplishments. If you are not treated with respect as a job candidate, you won’t be respected or fairly compensated as an employee.