Whether you’re unsure about a salary offer for a potential new job or seeking a raise from your employer, it may be time to learn some negotiation skills.

Many of us may not be aware of how important it is to negotiate our salary, or even that it is an option. What’s more, for many, discussing compensation with an employer or hiring manager can feel uncomfortable.

There’s a worry that employers will be inflexible, or that they may look for a new hire who will accept the current salary. And so we settle.

However, negotiating your salary is not only acceptable; it is the smart thing to do.

They say if you really want something, go get it. In this case, it means asking and negotiating for the pay that you want.

Although this may sound scary if you’ve never done it before, salary negotiation is easy enough if you know a few tips and bits of advice.

5 Tips for negotiating salary in a new or current job

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1. First, know the industry standards

Before you raise the conversation about salary, first know the usual market norm. What is the current market range for salaries in your industry or field?

Information is power and you want to be well-informed so that you request a salary that is reasonable and more likely to be agreed on.

Get up to date by doing some online research or even browsing similar jobs in the city or area your place of work is located, to see what the usual expectation is – and how far you can try to raise the bar.

2. Keep the benefits package in mind

If you’ve been offered a job and are thinking of negotiating your pay, consider the benefits and perks that come with the position as well as the salary your potential employer is offering.

Again, find out about market expectations and get a sense of what makes a decent benefits package.

As well as this, think about how much you value the benefits. Would they save you money in certain areas of your life, or are there great perks you’d like to have that you’d be unlikely to find elsewhere?

You might find that the perks and benefits make up for the compensation, and you can factor them in when deciding whether to negotiate or how much to negotiate for.

3. Make the case for your value

Be prepared to defend your position and explain why you deserve the compensation you’re asking for.

Think of the value you’ll bring to the company and how, and tell your current or prospective employer about it.

Be ready to fight your case (in a respectful, friendly manner) to convince them that what you bring to the table equates to the value of a higher salary.

To back up your claims, it isn’t enough to tell them you’re valuable and would make a great employee. Provide real-life examples from your work of times you excelled or went above and beyond in a job, or when your actions on the job benefited your company.

4. Be confident in yourself

Have confidence in your abilities and what you can bring to the table. This extends to having the confidence to stand by what your CV shows.

For instance, if you have a long gap between jobs in your work history, don’t stress and be ready to talk about it and what you were doing between jobs with enthusiasm and willingness.

5. Approach and discuss the topic in the right way

Starting salary negotiations with your boss or prospective boss may feel uncomfortable. You may worry that you’ll ruffle some feathers or even that your job offer will be withdrawn.

However, it doesn’t have to be so serious. Negotiating compensation isn’t about fighting with anyone, it’s about making a deal everyone is happy with.

Reasonable employers expect that employees or potential hires will want to negotiate salary at some point and won’t hold it against you – they want to employ you, after all – unless you’re confrontational about it or unwilling to budge in your demands.

When broaching the subject, keep it light, be tactful, and demonstrate a positive attitude.

Show that you’re willing to be flexible and open to a conversation.

And as they say, stay humble. You don’t want to come across as entitled or overconfident.

You’re far more likely to get something you’re satisfied with when you’re respectful and polite.

Good luck!

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