Thursday, April 19, 2012

Do’s and Don’ts of Salary Negotiation

By Kelsey McWilliams, Marketing Intern at CU-Boulder Career Services

Sometimes it’s tough to know how to go about negotiating a salary. It may seem like an awkward topic to bring up to your boss, but it is a very important part of the job process.

Ro Medina, Marketing Manager at CU-Boulder Career Services suggests, “When negotiating your potential salary, always take time to think the offer over before accepting. Take a day to think about it and do some research to see where your skills and experience apply. Respond to the employer with a counter offer that you feel comfortable with. If there's a salary range, explain why you feel you deserve that certain amount based on skills and experience. Be realistic because the job market is still competitive.”

With the help of Career Services I have compiled a list of the basic do’s and don’ts of salary negotiation.

DO’S
Do your research. It is important to know how much money you should be making in order to ask for an appropriate amount. There are websites like PayScale that help you determine the right salary for your profession, region and experience.

Do feel free to withhold salary information from potential employers. They don’t need to know what you made at your last job and it may lower your chances of negotiating a higher salary.

Do think about your strengths, accomplishments and responsibilities at work, so that you have enough information to show your boss that you are worth the extra money.

Do be honest about your current and past salaries. Inflating the pay of your last job will not help you in any way. It is always best to be honest. Karma will help you get the salary you deserve!

Do be positive, upbeat and professional while salary discussions are taking place (and all the time at work)!

Do be realistic. There is a chance that you are shooting too high on what you should be earning. The industry, the economy, your experience and the competition can all affect the range of your salary.

Do aim high. Not too high, but remember that you can always go back down once you’ve offered a high number. Once you settle on a number and decide it is too low there is no chance of going back up.

DON’TS
Don’t give exact numbers when you’re asked about salary on job applications. You can just write “open”, “negotiable”, or “competitive.”

Don’t be shy about talking yourself up. Negotiating a salary is about pitching yourself to your boss and convincing them why you are worth more money. It’s okay to talk about your skills and accomplishments!

Don’t say your desired salary in an interview. Instead, turn the question around and ask what salary range they would be willing to offer.

Don’t be over eager. Even if the offer is more than you expected, don’t act like it is. It’s better to give a counter offer that is a little higher and see if your employer has any room to negotiate – usually they do!

Don’t be limited by your current salary. No matter what you are making now; you can always earn more money later!

Don’t rush into accepting a salary that you won’t appreciate very much longer after taking the job.

Hopefully those simple do’s and don’ts will help you understand and master the process of negotiating a salary. Just remember: show your employer why you’re worth it and your salary will reflect that!