In some cultures, bargaining is the norm. A buyer or seller makes an offer, and the other party either accepts or counters the offer. The two negotiate until a deal is made or one of the parties walks away.
When you're negotiating your salary with an employer, do you know what you're doing? Do you have any idea of what you're truly worth?
How Do I Find Out My Worth?
To be a good salary negotiator, you must know what a good deal looks like. First, research your fair market value. You should check out Military.com's Salary Wizard. Also look to recruiters, competitors and the US Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook to get a good idea of what others in similar positions are earning.
Networking is the key to getting fresh information. There's no better way to assess how you're doing than to schmooze with professionals in similar fields. Identify people who have the same position you have or want. Attend professional association meetings or trade shows, and connect with other job seekers online to compare duties and responsibilities, staff size, etc. Investigate the opportunities for job seekers with your skill set in the same company, different companies, different sectors and even different industries.
When networking, don't ask people, "What do you make?" and expect a civil answer. Instead, ask, "Does this range sound right for this kind of job in this kind of company?" Chances are they'll reply either: "Wow! Where do you work and how can I join you?" or "Well, that seems low for someone with your experience and level of responsibility." When you combine their comments with the salary information you already have, you'll have a better idea of how you want to approach your salary offer.
How Much to Ask For
Many companies have salary structures for their organizations. Each has a range in mind for any specific job. If you have a target salary within a realistic range, you'll negotiate from a stronger position.
Rules for Negotiating Your Salary
Management Vs. Hourly Wage Staff
Jack Chapman, author of Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1,000 a Minute, advises that negotiating isn't just for executives. He says, "It's easier to negotiate more at the hourly wage level than practically anywhere else. An extra 50 cents, dollar or even a $3 to $5 an hour increase seldom exceeds a company's phone bill."