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Negotiating Your Salary Package
You don't have to accept the first salary offer. You can negotiate.

  • When negotiating your salary, think in terms of the entire compensation package: salary, bonus, commissions, tuition assistance, car, expenses, title, workweek, hours.
  • Identify what's important to you right now. Money? Hours? Title? Then be prepared to bargain on the rest.
  • In many cases, the first offer is a fishing expedition. The company will go higher, offer more. They're just testing the waters.
  • Don't accept an offer on the spot, even if it contains everything you want. Ask for 24 to 48 hours to review the offer. You need time to prepare your negotiation strategy.
  • In preparation, write down what the company is looking for and how you more than meet those requirements. You'll need a finely honed sales pitch to ask for those extra dollars, perks, goodies.
  • Remember your biggest bargaining chip-the company's invested time and money in selecting you. They want to put the deal together and get on with more important things.
  • Know what you're worth in the market. Do your research. Then shoot for 10 to 20 percent more.
  • When asked about salary, include everything: - base, bonuses (calculated on what you expect to receive if you meet your goals), savings plan contributions.
  • Worried the company might find out how much you made on your last job? Relax. Former companies rarely give out salary information.
  • Don't be afraid if the company says "no." They still want you. You just have to counter. If they're solid on the money, how about a bigger bonus, more vacation, a car? Be creative.
  • You're worth what you say you're worth. No one has your unique set of skills, personality, and commitment. Don't sell yourself short.
  • You'll never have as much leverage as you do going into a company. Once inside, you become part of their compensation program with raises tied to variables out of your control.
  • Ask for more than you think you can get. Then there's room to negotiate. And be prepared to settle for what they counteroffer. Successful negotiation is about giving as well as getting.
  • Try to negotiate in person, never over the phone. It's much easier to wheel and deal face to face.
  • Always ask for a 90-day performance appraisal with salary increase built in.
  • Salary too low but you still want the job? Negotiate for other things: fewer hours, bigger title, and more vacation. Always think in terms of the package, not its individual components.
  • Consider the law of averages: The final offer will be somewhere between what you ask for and what the initial offer is.
  • It's not over 'til it's over. Keep interviewing until you accept the offer. A deal can fall apart at the last minute.
  • Get the offer in writing, accept in writing, and keep copies of all correspondence.
  • Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. Negotiate from a position of strength. Be prepared to walk away if your demands aren't met.
  • There's no such thing as job security. But don't panic. Stay current on your skills and practice continual learning. Now, like never before, knowledge is power.
  • Think portability. You can take your skills anywhere. You're not defined by your tide, function, field, or industry.
  • Forget career-long employment with one company. Think multiple employers, several careers, alternate work styles, and periodic self-employment.
  • You're only as good as your next gig. Keep your resume updated, your eyes and ears open for new opportunities. Learn everything you can from your company but always be prepared to move on.

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