So you’re about to receive or just received a job offer. Congratulations! Only TWO MORE STEPS until signing on the dotted line. The first step is PREPARATION for the salary negotiation, and the second step is the ACTUAL negotiation. Are you ready to get hired with confidence, a smile on your face, and knowing not one penny was left on the table?

PART ONE: PREPARATION IS THE BEST OFFENSE

Filling your negotiation tool kit with soundbites, research, and calculated answers will give you confidence in your objectivity, the ability to navigate potentially challenging conversation, and thousands more dollars in an annual payment. It’s a bit of work on the front end will pay off with every single paycheck.

Here are FOUR pillars with which you’ll enter a salary negotiation to maintain professionalism, confidence, and the conversation:

1. An ability to recite bullet points right off your resume to clarify and validate skills, experience, and most importantly, quantifiable accomplishments. The Hiring Manager or HR representative may be familiar with your past employers, have a general sense of your skills, and even have spoken to your references. But he or she did not memorize your resume. You are your best advocate and referencing your success measures as proof of qualifications and value will help substantiate this.

2. Confirmed knowledge of your professional value in both the company and the industry. Conducting research based on the role, seniority level, city, and company size, will help approximate your market value. You’ll know what salary is reaching for the sky, what range you’ll be satisfied accepting, and what’s simply under-value (so you’ll keep negotiating). Remember; your fair market value is a RANGE, encompassing your objective value, your personal value, and your future value.

3. A list of job attributes outside salary that are important to you. This encompasses both factors you can negotiate into your contract (more paid time off, stock options, working from home, gym membership, an office, tuition reimbursement, transportation per diem), and benefits of joining the company (fun culture, working directly for your manager, great work/life balance, solid health benefits, working with exciting new technology, your ability to truly contribute based on your past experience and what you’re being hired to achieve, etc.).

4. Scripted responses to multiple huddles the Hiring Manager or HR Rep may pose as obstacles to securing an ideal salary. These are not hard stops. These are simply another opportunity to respond with information, value, and confidence in order to continue the conversation in a productive, professional manner. Speedbumps might include, “You earned a lot less at your previous role, so this is still a bump up;” or the offer is too low for you to maintain your lifestyle.

Now (figuratively) get up from your seat and walk around to the same side of the table as the person doing the negotiating with you. You are not adversaries here, you are allies. And you both want the same thing: for both parties to be happy with the contractual arrangement, and for you to sign on the dotted line.

Remember: they’ve already invested money, time, and bandwidth into vetting you and your skill set, introducing you to multiple members of the company, and discussing where and how you’ll fit within the team and department. They want you on board! At this point, they do not want to rescind the offer. You’d have to do something exceedingly egregious for them to do so—so relax.

And from your perspective, you’ve learned a lot about the role and expected responsibilities, discussed with whom you’d work and in what capacity, considered how you’d fit into the culture, and even how this new role would fit into your life. You’ve BOTH invested hours, days, weeks to see this potential partnership come to fruition. There shouldn’t be any surprises at this point. And if there are, well, it’s a good thing you’re prepared.

Now let’s talk numbers.

Please visit How to Negotiate Your Salary: PART TWO

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