Salary Negotiations – The Truth about leverage and compensation.

Many job candidates feel that they don’t have any leverage in today’s competitive job market. Think again! In many ways, the base salary you start off with is one that will dictate your future job trajectory. Promotions and future salary increases are largely based on your current base salary. Even an extra percentage or two more in your initial salary can have an exponential impact on your future compensation. By putting in a little bit of heavy lifting on the front end you can set yourself ahead of the curve in your salary negotiations.

Here are a few tips for successful salary negotiations:

1. Due diligence!

Be sure to research average wages based on similar positions in your given geographic area. Salaries in Chicago are not the same as New York City. Be sure to align your expectations with geographical realities.

Another area of research is simply acknowledging the wage constraints that come with your given industry. For example, if you work in food service your ability to negotiate is severely mitigated by the low and flat wages that are common in that industry. If you are working in more of a white collar environment I would encourage you to use that leverage to your benefit.

Be sure to check your LinkedIn and other social media networks to ascertain if you know someone who works at the organization. They can provide specific insights to negotiations that outsiders are not privy too.

2. Salary commensurate with experience

That phrase can be directly applied to your salary negotiations. Leverage your background, including education and professional positions. In addition, leverage the connections you can bring to the table or network you can bring to your new employer. With more experience, you are likely to have a shorter learning curve than your newer peers.

3. Practice, practice and more practice.

Role-playing with a career advisor or family member is a good way to practice your negotiations skills. Ideally, it’s best to have an experienced business person acting as the other party. If you know someone that works in the industry or better yet the organization asks them to role play with you. They may be able to provide organization specific insight as to what the company considers when making wage offers.

This just a few tips to consider when you get to the critical juncture of getting the compensation you deserve! Best of luck!

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