Negotiate your dream salary with these seven expert tips

If you have a burning passion for your job, but you’re not paid for it, there is no joy or fulfilment. Salary is a fundamental part of work and the pay you’re able to negotiate when starting a new job or asking for a raise determines how valued you’ll feel or if you’ll remain at your existing position.

Salary negotiations are tricky, especially for new graduates who’ve never had to negotiate salary in the past. The tips we’ll provide in this guide are useful for job seekers and seasoned workers looking to get a few thousand dollars more.

Research the fee range

Every job has a fee range for every level. Network with people working in the niche to find out the average pay. If you know you’re worth it, ask for more. Only top players ask for top dollar so don’t be afraid to ask.

Determine your maximum and minimum pay scale. The maximum offer immediately makes you say yes and the minimum is the least you’ll accept to work for the company. Everything between is up for negotiations and ensure you don’t compromise lower than the minimum target you’ve set.

SWOT Analysis

You have a unique selling point that makes you attractive to a prospective employer. A personal SWOT analysis highlights your special skills, differentiators and experience that makes you a valuable hire. Write down this information to use as leverage when negotiating a higher salary.

Remember the benefits

The negotiation isn’t complete until you discussed all the benefits from pension, holidays, insurance, medical care and others.  These seemingly small perks can increase your salary by up to 28%. Before negotiating perks, determine what you need from your benefits and take notes during negotiations to check against the final contract.

Do not turn the negotiation into an auction

A major reason why people ask for a pay raise is when they get a better offer from a competing firm. When you get top offers from different companies, the temptation is to keep yanking their chains as you try to get the best offer. Wrong move. The best solution is to weigh the pros and cons, outside of the salary.

This includes, working environment, pay structure, treatment of staff and other things that make your work life great. One company might offer more in salary while the other is worth more when you weigh the bonuses and perks.

Don’t make the first move, let your employer make an offer

Don’t show your cards until your employer is ready to make an offer. Talking too soon about salary might get you screened for a small pay package. When they make an offer, it’s easier to access if what they’re offering is close to the figure you had in mind. It places you in the advantage when know what your employer is willing to offer. Start with a high figure and work your way to a number that’s suitable for both parties.

Hone your negotiation skills

You’ll only learn how to become a master negotiator the same way musicians become great, through relentless practice. Many people lose thousands of dollars that add up to millions over the length of their career because they have poor negotiation skills.

A hiring manager is well-versed in negotiating salaries, his job is get the best deal for your employer. He or she might tell you lies like there is no room in the budget for more money, it’s a trap, don’t fall for it.

The briefcase technique

One of the most popular and successful techniques workers use to negotiate great salaries is the briefcase technique. If you’re coming in as a new employee, the first step is to state how you’re going to add value to the company based on the pressing issues or problems the company is trying to solve.

When you know what your employer wants, you can quote examples from your job history that assures them you’re the right fit for job. Employers are willing to pay more for the perfect employee. Next, create a proposal document highlighting the areas of the company you’ll add value. It gives you leverage when negotiating salaries because the hiring manager views you as a valuable hire.

Be realistic with your expectations

If you’ve performed your research on the company, you’ll know the average pay structure for your level, the typical annual increment and promotion increment. For example, if you’re offered $60,000 and ask for $70,000 that’s about 16% increase, more than most companies pay for promotions (8-12%) and annual increment (2-3%). Get your facts right. Ambition is good but follow up your request with data.


Understand that the company might not be willing to pay what you want. Don’t compromise by going lower than your minimum figure. Bow out with grace but leave the door open if they want to come back with a better offer.

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