How To Ask For the Salary You Deserve

money36You might be worth a million bucks, but you could wind up with a fraction of that number if you make the wrong salary negotiation moves.

Most people aren’t thrilled at the prospect of salary negotiation, which is understandable. Done incorrectly, it can feel like a tense argument that leaves everyone offended and unhappy. But even if you’ve had an unsuccessful negotiation or two, that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your odds the next time around. Negotiation is a skill you can learn with the help of a coach or close friend. And, once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be amazed at how simple it can be to take your salary range up to the next level.

Check your emotional baggage at the door.

Negotiations can inflate or deflate your sense of worth in ways that trigger strong emotions — something that’s far from helpful when you’re starting out on the job. Remember that both sides are looking out for their own best interests, and whatever happens, it’s not personal. When you treat your negotiation like business, your employer knows you’re serious about the job.

Put yourself in their shoes.

You’ve had time to learn about the company, its culture, and your new job. If you were in your employer’s position, how would he or she want to see the negotiation go? For instance, a small, family-owned company might not be able to offer the same salary as an international corporation, so they might be surprised to learn you’re asking for a very high salary. Or, a hip new tech company might take a more casual attitude toward negotiation than you’re used to.

Never, ever put yourself down.

The time for modesty is never during a negotiation. (Or an interview, for that matter.) When the topic of salary and benefits come up, that’s the crucial moment to make your expertise and professionalism known. Don’t back down on discussing your qualifications!

But don’t be too aggressive, either.

At the same time, seeming overly proud or self-congratulatory can come off as rude or condescending during a negotiation. A good negotiation feels civil and friendly, not like you’re on the attack. Tame any aggression and transform it into confidence instead.

Take it slow and easy.

Don’t cut to the chase when you’re in a salary negotiation — let the conversation flow at its own pace. Even better? Let your future employer be the one to start talking brass tacks.

Know what you want ahead of time.

Websites like offer valuable salary information based upon job title and location, so set your expectations before you enter the negotiation. Understand the bare minimum you need in terms of salary and benefits to make the job worth your time.

Never be the first to name a number.

It’s a classic piece of advice, but sometimes hard to follow — let your employer name the actual salary figures; don’t let them persuade you into revealing your ideal number. If they insist, let them know that you’re looking for a salary that’s fair for somebody with your skills, experience, and qualifications.

Get educated ahead of time.

To learn more about this, check out our full presentation:

Stephen Van VreedeAbout Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at or send him an invite at To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!

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