Putting Yourself in the Driver’s Seat of Salary Negotiation

It’s uncomfortable to ask for money. We’ve all been there. Whether it’s being part of your university’s phone-a-thon campaign, volunteering for a political candidate’s campaign, or just asking your parents to help you on last month’s rent. Sometimes, it’s better to shy away from the question or put it on the back burner. But one place where you don’t want to avoid the nerve-wracking conversation is when you land your job. Salary negotiation can be a deal-maker so join us on this quick tutorial to get it right. Check out our guide of Do’s and Don’ts.


  • Your homework
    • It’s totally reasonable for the employer to ask you how much you’re expecting. Offering them a reasonable number ensures a much smoother process. So do all your information gathering before (and throughout) the interview process so that you’re ready when the hard question comes.
    • Turns out, many people are transparent about their salaries. If you’re comfortable, it’s ok to reach out to other people in the company to ask what they make. If they don’t want to tell you, they won’t.
  • Know what you don’t know
    • Come with questions. When negotiating, the employer will have certain limits imposed on them. Figure out what they are. If they’re not budging on the fixed figure, maybe you can fight for more paid vacation time or better benefits.
  • Be polite
    • If you’re pleasant to deal with, you’ll probably walk away with a higher figure. Be good to your advocates to make them want to fight for you.
  • Back up your offer
    • If you have a figure in mind, you need to have the evidence behind it to show how you got there. Maybe your salary is comparable to that of other people at the company. Maybe your experience is greater than they’re valuing it. Think about it from their perspective, they need to bring this figure to HR and come with an explanation. Make that easy for them.


  • Be afraid to ask
    • If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, ask questions. Maybe you don’t have a solid figure in mind because you need some clarifying information. That’s ok. Be honest with them so that you can exit the negotiation with a satisfying offer.
  • Accept right away
    • Employers know you will negotiate, so don’t shy away from the discomfort. Not all companies can give you a better number, but be sure to figure out how they got to it. If they’re missing information about your experience or education that might boost your salary, you want to fill in those holes for them.
    • It’s perfectly acceptable for you to think about the offer that they’ve given you. If you need some time to consider it, say that, and then take a few days to fully process the factors at play.
  • Limit yourself
    • The salary isn’t the only factor. Think about what else you can negotiate.

Best of luck with this conversation. Remember, if the salary negotiation isn’t playing out in your favor, it’s okay to walk away. But hopefully this guide will give you the tools to avoid that reality and instead have you walking home with a winning number!




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