How to Earn a Higher Paycheck

Most people accept a new job or promotion without negotiating for the best offer.  It is very depressing to start in a new job to find your peers, or even those in positions less important than yours, are earning higher salaries than yours.  If you don’t negotiate, you will be paid less that you could get, and in many cases, less than your employer planned to pay you.

Often people don’t negotiate because they fear they will harm their relationship with their employer.  The opposite is often true.  If you negotiate effectively, your employer will view you more favorably than if you did not try to improve your offer at all.  An employer wants his new employee to start his new job feeling happy and enthusiastic, but that does not mean they will pay you more than they have to pay.  They may have budgeted 15% to 20% more salary than they offer to you, but if you don’t ask, you won’t get it.

It is also very important to remember that your starting point in the job will very likely have a strong effect on how much you can expect to earn over your period of employment with the company and into the future.  If you start low, you probably will be behind the curve of where your salary should be, throughout your time with this employer.

It will probably also affect how you will be paid by your next employer.  Often a prospective new employer will ask, “What is your present salary?”.  They want to see what they’ll have to offer to get you and how you compare with your business peers.  Your salary history signals how valued you are by your employer.  If you are earning less than others in similar situations, it is not unreasonable to assume that is a reflection on your performance in your position.

As stated above, fear of offending the prospective employer is the primary reason why a candidate for a position does not negotiate or counter-offer when he receives a job offer.   Actually, the opposite is almost always the case.  When a person offers a well-reasoned negotiation in requesting a better offer, the prospective employer sees them as a self-confident and prepared candidate.  Another valid point to remember is that once the offer has been made to you, then you actually are in a stronger position than the employer.  They have already stated that they want you instead of other candidates.  It makes sense, to them as well as to you, that you should get the best deal possible for yourself.

Before the interview, anticipate that you will receive an offer and prepare yourself for the negotiation to improve that offer.   Prepare a logical justification to maximize the salary you’re offered.  Keep emotion out of it as much as possible.  Think about how you would feel if you were on the other side of the table.  What can you say to convince them to increase the offer – salary as well as benefits?

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