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In today’s day and age the easiest way to research salaries for a desired job is on the internet.  There are lots of websites that list the average pay for anyone that has replied to a survey which can skew the numbers some but is a good starting point.  Typically, these sites will show hourly wage and or yearly salary.  My advice is to just research on USAJOBS.gov as this information should be the most accurate and give you the most information.

To find information specific to your georgraphic area I would also use usajobs.gov again as you can search jobs and break it down by state or city.  This way you can get a good idea of the location you are in or if there are better areas of the country to search for a job.

When you are negotiating a salary don’t be pushy.  You have to remember that you haven’t fully gotten the job yet and the employer can take away any offer.  You don’t want to offend the potential employer and break all ties to that company.  You need to see things from their point of view depending on your experience, the size of the company, and the level of the position you would be taking.  Stick to your guns as much as you see fit, but remember to do your research and don’t lie to the potential employer.  The more honest and knowledgeable you are the more it can help your situation.

When you get an offer and you have gotten past the salary the next thing to talk about is benefits.  There are certain benefits that can be negotiated and some that you have no control over. For instance, usually insurance benefits are non-negotiable typically because the company usually only offers certain types of insurance.  Paid holidays are also usually non-negotiable.  Your vacation time and personal days can sometimes be negotiated but that all depends on how comfortable you are with the person you are negotiating and if you have had a previous job in the market you can explain what you had previously and see how they counter.

The number one rule when negotiating is never lie.  If you lie about whatever the situation is whether that is your accomplishments or another offer it could come back to cost you the offer all together.  When negotiating in person be sure to have your facts straight as it may require you to think on your feet a little more.  You may not have all the research you’ve gone over in front of you.  Don’t get defensive or upset to the responses from the potential employer.  When negotiating over the phone you could have some of the information in front of you without them seeing you looking over it.  You still need to stay calm and not let the tone in your voice get worked up.  Email negotiation to me is less formal but gives you the best way to word what you would like to say and present all of your facts and accomplishments and set it up in the best way you see fit.

– Here is a sample of a very basic conversation starter for negotiating:

  • “Thank you so much for the job offer. I am very excited to work for (so and so company).  I have done some research about the position that I am going to be taking and it seems that the typical pay range is x to y.  If it is ok with you I would like to take a couple of days just to think it over and make sure this is the right path for me.

For me personally I haven’t had enough professional jobs that I have had to negotiated a salary.  Early on you may feel like it isn’t proper of you to negotiate and not say anything, always tread lightly and feel out the potential employer to see if there is any wiggle room to ask about salary.