Salary Negotiation: How to Earn an Extra $600k in 7 Steps

Salary Negotiation: How to Earn an Extra $600k in 7 Steps

This is a guest post by Lisa Chatroop.

Allow me to share a startling statistic with you: research shows that those who negotiate their starting salary when accepting a job can earn an additional $600,000 over the course of their career. That money could make a big difference in paying off debt, saving for retirement, and sticking with your budget every month. In other words, if you’ve never negotiated your salary, it’s time to start.

If the prospect of negotiating your salary gives you hives, you’re not alone – research shows that 39% of US job seekers are anxious when it comes to salary negotiation. In reality, there’s no reason to be scared – statistics show that the odds are actually in your favor. A recent study conducted by Accenture found that out of those who negotiated their pay, 38% of people received the amount they expected, and 25% said they actually got more money than they were expecting! In fact, out of everyone surveyed, a mere 15% received nothing at all.

Ready to earn some extra money? Here are 7 tips to help you master the art of salary negotiation:

1. Do your research

Knowledge is power! Before you enter a job interview, make sure you’re armed with as much information as possible. Research the average salary range for the position you’re seeking. Websites like offer data based on region, title, and years of experience. You can also use to check company-specific salary data.

2. Quantify your strengths and successes

Before you start the negotiation process, take some time to write down your past successes. Time, money, customer satisfaction, productivity – these are all important factors to a business. What is important to this particular company? What impact can you make, based on your past successes? Do you have data to back this statement up? Be prepared to share these facts when negotiating.

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3. Know your worth

If you’ve done your research, you’ll know what the “going rate” is for this type of job – but do you truly believe that you deserve it? It’s a quirk of human nature that we’re typically our own worst critics, and it’s so easy to start second-guessing ourselves and our worth. So be sure to convince yourself of your value and ability in advance of any salary negotiation. Once you truly believe it, the negotiation process becomes that much easier.

4. Delay the discussion

If you’re asked to provide your desired salary during a pre-screening interview, delay the discussion in a polite manner by stating that you’d like to take the opportunity to get a better feel for the position before responding. This can be tricky, especially if you feel a lot of pressure to cite a number. However, in many cases, the employer will understand if you prefer not to discuss salary until an offer has been made. Ideally, the salary discussion will begin when you receive an official offer letter from them, detailing your potential starting salary and benefits.

5. Practice makes perfect

Take the time to write out your talking points and practice saying them aloud. Work on your tone of voice. Be mindful of your body language and practice your power stance. Spend some time doing a mock-negotiation with a friend or family member. It may seem a little awkward, but remember – your financial future is on the line! And the extra practice will likely make you feel more comfortable once you’re in the actual negotiation.

6. Don’t say “OK”

During the negotiation process, avoid saying “OK” – even if you’re saying it to simply buy some time. Salary expert Jack Chapman states that this is the biggest mistake most people make during the negotiation process. If you’re not pleased with the offer or need to buy time, he suggests saying “hmmm” – or simply remaining silent. While this may sound strange or be hard for you to do, it is a step toward earning more in the long run, and for that reason it’s worth learning.

7. Celebrate your success

Once you’ve negotiated your way into your ideal salary, take a look at your ReadyForZero account and pat yourself on the back. In addition to successfully overcoming a daunting task, you’re well on your way to financial freedom (and a happy retirement)!

Lisa Chatroop is the Internet Marketing Manager at Good.Co, a startup which helps job seekers discover their ideal company culture. You can read more of Lisa’s career tips on the Good.Co blog or on LinkedIn. Say hi on Twitter via @inGoodCo!

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  • fyrefly816

    Ben – great find for this article – both Lisa and the topic are well put-together! I think that salary negotiations are too often left by the wayside – right now people assume that they are lucky to get a job offer, and therefore don’t want to push too hard lest they be denied. If you can accept the base salary, then you can afford to negotiate! Even if you get “only” another few days of vacation, or a shorter work week, or something that compares and is in your favor, you are winning.
    I also think it very important that people remember to do their homework – now it is easy access to websites (salary and glassdoor) that provide statistical information on average pay ranges, job titles, and descriptions for your area of expertise, and location – there is now no reason to not know your worth and to push for it in a logical and educated manner.
    Good luck to everyone looking for jobs and careers right now – it is a tough road, but stick to it and you’ll succeed.
    Thanks Lisa for this post, and Ben for the great find!

    • Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. That’s a great point about people feeling scared to negotiate because the economy hasn’t been favorable to job seekers lately. But as you said, it still makes sense to negotiate because if they’re willing to hire you then they’re willing to compensate you fairly. Thanks for the comment.