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Ask for what you’re worth! Then shut up. – a guest blog from Kim Seeling Smith on negotiating your salary package

Now that we are seeing more people change jobs I’m consistently asked for salary negotiation advice: something near and dear to my heart, because it can be the source of much mis-understanding, frustration and disappointment on the part of the employee.  There is nothing worse than starting a new job feeling as though you are being underpaid.  This issue is especially prevalent for women.  We have a hard time asking for what we deserve and backing ourselves when challenged.  

So, what should you say when asked for your salary expectations?  After 16 years and helping hundreds of people broker these negotiations, I can say categorically there is only 1 answer to this question. Actually, there are several answers, but most will shoot yourself in the foot.

The one answer that won’t is this, “I am looking for $X.” Followed by silence. As uncomfortable as that silence can get, let the interviewer say the next word. If said with confidence, and in line with market rates, it won’t be an issue and the interviewer will move on.

NEVER talk in ranges. It’s hard to quote a range with the confidence you need to sell yourself.  

Do the research.  Before the interview arm yourself with as much information as possible. What you are ultimately offered comes down to two sides of the same equation:

– What the job should pay, and
– What you are worth in the job.

To find out what the job pays in the market place look for similar jobs listed with salary information or ask a recruiter, who will have the most up to date information.

To know what you are worth in the market place for this job you have to factor in your experience and qualifications vs what they are actually looking for. For instance, if you meet all 5 of their criteria you will be paid more than someone who only meets 3. If you have the educational qualifications they ask for you will be paid more than someone who does not.

Then, if the interviewer finally breaks the silence you create with more questions about your salary expectations you can confidently state the market rate and why you feel you sit where you do within that range.

I’ve brokered hundreds of salary negotiations for my clients. If you follow this formula you’ll be offered what you’re worth. And if you aren’t, you don’t want to work for this company because it will be the tip of a very large iceberg of additional problems.

About the Author | Kim Seeling Smith now speaks, trains and coaches on Career Management and Employee Retention issues after having spent 15 years as a recruiter in 3 countries studying the differences between those capable and talented people who successfully reach their career goals and those equally capable and talented people who plateau or senselessly slide backwards as they near them, as well as those companies that are extremely successful in keeping their critical people and those that consistently battle staff turnover.  www.MyCriticalPath.com

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