Tips on Negotiating Your Salary
You’ve successfully gotten through the interview. You’ve passed all the required tests and the company is ready to make you an offer. Now comes the hard part: negotiating your salary. Doing so will test your wits and character like no other part of the recruiting process. It involves establishing your value as a professional, which is hard for many of us to do well.
If you are moving to a new job you should always ask for more money—unless you have entered an entirely different field. You may be leaving your present employer for reasons that have nothing to do with compensation. But if you have made this decision, then you should take some time to take stock of what your accumulated experience is worth to a new company.
One of the greatest myths in the professional world is that two individuals in two different companies performing similar functions are essentially interchangeable. This is just not so. Nowadays, professionals in different companies rarely do the exact same job. And even if there are similarities between two different positions, the exact experiences of the two persons are unlikely to be equivalent.
Your individual professional experience is something that you should be able to describe, explain, and assess the monetary value of. Once you have a rough estimate of what you’re worth, you will be able to go into negotiations over your salary with confidence.
You should have a negotiation strategy in place even before going to your first interview. An article over on Lifehacker offers sound advice on the specific steps you should take during salary negotiation. One of the recommendations I found most useful regards giving your first counter offer:
Your counter-offer should be based on what you know about yourself, the market, and the company. This is why it’s vital to do some research before the interview so that you know a reasonable salary range for your position.
The full article can be read here. The tidbit I pulled out speaks to what I discussed above. It is important to know yourself—your knowledge, skills, abilities, and marketable experience—and the company you want to work for. Being diligent in this matter can put you in a position of strength.
One more thing. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the special circumstance of persons coming out of the military. I was once in this position, and I know how hard it is to figure out the value of all the education, training, and leadership experience you’ve had in the service. Trust me. You’re worth more than you think. In my first salary negotiation with a private company, I underestimated my value by $10,000! Luckily, the man with whom I dealt was head of a corporate team whose sole purpose was to recruit junior military officers, so he looked out for us.
If you’re transitioning from the military, you should look out for companies that actively recruit former officers and servicemen. Social media is also a good resource for gathering information on what you might be worth in the private sector.
About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.