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Don't Fear Salary Negotiation Any Longer

When the recession was in full swing last year, many job seekers wouldn't dare broach the subject of salary and would just take what the employer offered. Some were just happy to be considered for the job and didn't want to shoot themselves in the foot by asking for a high salary.

But the slightly improved job market had a positive impact on job seekers confidence, and many are beginning to negotiate for the salary they think they deserve. In fact, a recent Salary.com survey of jobs seekers found that 37 percent feel they have more leverage to negotiate their salaries today, compared to the 27 percent of participants who say they have leverage now.

However, before job seekers go into the salary negotiation process armed with a list of demands, they have to do their homework. There are several aspects still in play that affect how much (or how little) income they'll walk away with. Job seekers need to gather information, plan their approach, and consider different alternatives before they formulate a salary range, according to Salary.com, an online provider of salary information for work force. Additionally, seekers need to clearly communicate to employers why they deserve the salary range their asking for.

Here's a list of factors created by Salary.com job applicants need to research before they begin the negotiation process:

Business climate factors

  • Overall state of the economy and the industry in which you compete
  • Overall unemployment rate and the general employment picture
  • Demand for industry- and profession-specific knowledge and skills

Company factors

  • Profitability
  • Position in the business cycle (startup, growing, stable, turnaround)

Hiring manager factors

  • Urgency of the company's need to fill the position
  • Decision-making authority
  • Staffing budget

Applicant factors

  • Other opportunities in the job offer
  • Technical expertise, unique knowledge/skill set
  • Resources (financial depth, networks, etc.)
  • Level of competition/availability of other candidates
  • Career risk of the job offer

Salary.com advises job seekers to understand their strengths, contributions to the company, and needs of the employer when negotiating a salary. Doing so will not only give them the leverage to walk away from a job offer with a good salary, but also lets the employer know that they have the skills to make a great contribution to the company.

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