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Negotiating a salary is an important part of the job search process. But it requires professionalism and respect-it can set the tone for your work life and experience with the employer. Remember, too, that negotiating is a two-way street, and use the following tips to guide you through the negotiating process:

Evaluate the offer wisely:

  • Identify the salary you can reasonably expect for the type of position.
  • Identify your own salary needs according to your household budget.
  • When you receive an offer, evaluate it in relation to the job's other characteristics, including work environment, benefits, and relevance to your long-term career and life goals. Talk it over with someone you respect. Make a list of the pros and cons of the job offer.
Communicate effectively:
  • Listen carefully. If the offer is less than you expected, let them know that, but state that you're still interested in the position if they want to reconsider their offer.
  • Begin any salary negotiation with reasonable requests and be willing to accept compromises like receiving additional benefits in place of a higher salary. That could include more money, benefits, tuition, training, more vacation time, a flexible schedule, stock options, a company car, onsite daycare, parking privileges, etc.
  • Negotiations should never become emotional or hostile. Use your value, skills, experience and education to negotiate. Don't use your need for the job to negotiate.
Understand the rules of the game:
  • Don't assume the first offer is fixed. Even if the interviewer tells you it is - it rarely is.
  • If the same figure is offered a couple of days later, it probably is the last offer. In that case, you can ask for a salary review in six months to evaluate your performance and value, or you can turn the job down, asking that they keep you in mind for future openings paying more money.
  • Even when saying "no," leave the door open to negotiation. (Don't use this to negotiate a higher wage. When you say "no," be ready to lose the job forever.)
  • When you reach an agreement, request the agreement in writing.

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Department of Labor CareerOneStop is sponsored by the U. S. Department of Labor,
Employment and Training Administration