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Creating Successful Leaders

Negotiating your starting salary can be intimidating. You don’t want to scare potential employers away with an out-of-this-world number, but you also shouldn’t sell yourself short. There are, however, a few general principles that go a long way in preparing you to confidently, successfully negotiate your pay.

1. Have a minimum and a target number in mind beforehand. These two numbers are, respectively, the absolute minimum amount you are willing to be paid, and your ideal salary. Go in with these at the front of your mind as the ranges within which you’ll be negotiating.

2. Never reveal your minimum number. While your target number should be verbalized, your minimum is for you and you alone to help keep your target salary (or something close to it) on the table. Revealing your minimum weakens your negotiating power.

3. Make a counter offer. For the new job seekers, this part can be scary. Employers expect you to counter their offer, because they want to see that you trust and value yourself enough to do a bit of bargaining. Keep in mind that employers are using a similar strategy: they’re starting low and expecting to have to make a compromise with a higher salary in the end. Knowing this helps take the pressure off as you make a counter offer.

4. Be okay with walking away from a bad offer. Now, this depends on how much experience you have and how many other opportunities are out there. If you’re an entry level job seeker, you may have to deal with pay that’s less than you hoped at first. But as you build career capital, you’ll be much better positioned to confidently walk away from sub-par salary offers, because you know other employers will pay more for your skills. However, the general idea is that you shouldn’t be afraid to turn down an offer that doesn’t meet your requirements.

5. Above all else, research, research, research. None of the points above mean anything unless you go in prepared. Know the average salary of the position you’re applying for. Familiarize yourself with the company you’re applying to. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to successfully negotiate your compensation.

Here’s a great resource for researching salaries:


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