How to Negotiate Your Salary

Where to do your research and what to say

Negotiating a higher salary isn’t just about more money. It’s about knowing your worth — and having the power to ask for it. If the idea of negotiating tends to make your brow furrow, your hands a little clammy and your heart rate speed up, you’re not alone. A recent survey by CareerBuilder found 56 percent of workers don’t negotiate their pay upon receiving a job offer, and one key reason was just not feeling comfortable asking for more money. The good news: You can up your comfort level — and your earning power — at the same time. Here’s how:

Know that negotiating is normal.

First, keep in mind that the majority of employers (56 percent) are expecting a negotiation when they extend a job offer, and because of that, 52 percent of employers offer a lower salary than they’re actually willing to pay. For some employers, it’s lower, in fact, to the tune of $5,000! Telling yourself that negotiation is expected and even common could help you get over that mental hump.

Do your research.

You’ll feel more confident going into a salary negotiation (whether it’s a current or potential job) if you have concrete data and numbers to back you up. On, look up the average salary for the company’s employees as a whole, as well as your position (or the one you’re considering accepting). Then, plug in the job specs (like title, company size, responsibilities, skills, location and more) to a website like to get a “salary report” and see what the average pay is for someone of your experience for a certain job title in your field. Finally, compile an “accomplishments” folder for your current job of concrete things you’ve brought to your company, be it rising metrics numbers or praise from clients/supervisors. (And, if you’re nervous, don’t hesitate to pull out that file and refer to it during your interview. It makes you look prepared — which is a good thing — not the opposite.)

Practice makes perfect.

Practice the cadence of your conversation in the mirror, with trusted friends and family or with a mentor. Practice again (and again) until you can talk about your qualifications with ease. Play around with the language you’ll use. If you’re negotiating salary for a job offer, you can try mentioning the qualities you know they’re looking for, mentioning your concrete experience that relates to them, then asking if, based on that, they’d consider adding X amount to the salary. Research suggests offering a range in this case could be more successful — just make sure the bottom number is one you’d still be comfortable accepting.

With Hayden Field

Jean Chatzky

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