3 Salary Negotiation Tips YOU Can Profit From Immediately

When it comes to the topic of money, mum's the word. People clam up, shut up, and close up. Like religion and politics it's off the table of polite conversation. In fact, most people will discuss their sex life before they'll reveal any details about their personal finances!

So how can you, the job seeker, possibly broach this subject in a job interview when it appears to be taboo? You probably can't even imagine what to say, what to ask for, what to suggest as a fair salary for the position you want.

The truth may be that you just want a job. Money comes second, especially if you've been without work for a year or more.

Katherine knows this well. She is a management trainer, giving presentations on leadership skills to various business groups around the country. She is always well received and applauded for her work. And Katherine has been pleased by the many referrals that come her way, adding value to the organization she works for.

However, one item that continues to haunt her is the subject of salary. Two friends who free-lance in the same line of work actually earn more than she does working for a company that provides benefits and bonuses. How can this be?

It happens because Katherine is tied to the belief that she's lucky to have a job––period! She should not be greedy, expecting more than she feels she's worth. After all some people are still walking the streets looking for employment.

But at the urging of a friend, Katherine attended a seminar on salary negotiation and learned the following three tips to put into practice immediately. You can (and should) do the same.

Salary Tip #1: Know What You Need and What You're Worth

Be prepared before you meet with an interviewer for the job you want.

Add up your fixed expenses: rent or mortgage, car payment, health, home and life insurance, utilities, phone, etc.

Then add to that figure your flexible, but recurring expenses: food, clothing, entertainment, dry cleaning, donations, fuel and car maintenance, travel, gifts, etc. If your total is $4,000 per month add a cushion for emergencies, say $500 a month for a yearly total of $54,000––before benefits and bonuses. This solid figure gives Katherine an advantage when the interviewer asks her what it would take to offer her the job.

Salary Tip #2: Check the Salary Range of the Job You Want

Katherine needs to take time before the interview to truthfully assess the salary range for people in the same profession.

Then she can ask the employer what the company has in mind so she can compare it with what she is earning now, and with the general trend in the training industry for someone with her level of experience and ability.

By putting yourself first––your confidence will rise and you'll know when to accept an offer and when to decline.

If the offer is less than you can live with, but you still want the job because it's a great opportunity, you should know how you can cut your expenses in order to live within your budget. You might also ask about benefits and bonuses, which could make up for the shortfall in salary. But the first step is to find out the going rate for the job you want so you do not sell yourself short.

Salary Tip #3: Ask For What You Want

Once you know the pay range in the general market, you have negotiating power. You can respond to questions about salary by first asking what the company has in mind.

If you feel you're being low-balled, mention politely but firmly that at such and such firm people in your profession are receiving X amount of dollars. If you receive resistance to such information you can then decide to walk away or negotiate some benefit that could make up the difference.

For example, you might ask for more vacation time, or to work fewer hours per week—that kind of thing. As long as a hiring manager is interested in you, you have power.

The key to successful salary negotiation comes down to preparation and knowledge. Know what you need and what you are worth; know what the market will bear; and always ask for what you want before walking away.

You can have it all—the job you want and the salary you deserve. Believe it and then go for it.