How to Negotiate Your Salary

Negotiate so that you arrive at a salary worthy of your skills and attractive to your employer, but don't settle for peanuts!
Negotiate so that you arrive at a salary worthy of your skills and attractive to your employer, but don't settle for peanuts! | Source

How To Negotiate A Salary

When I graduated from college, I visited several employment agencies and was offered several minimum wage jobs. Disillusioned with the lack of help I received, I finally found a job on my own.

When I graduated from grad school with a master's in preventive medicine...I was offered several minimum wage jobs. It took a full year to obtain employment at a salary that matched my experience and education. Since then, I have learned several things about negotiation.

Negotiating salary can feel like running the gauntlet.
Negotiating salary can feel like running the gauntlet. | Source

Women And Salary Negotiation

The American Association of University Women found that men are over four times as likely to parley salary for a new job as are women.

In addition, 25% of the difference in pay between men and women for the same job is unexplained and likely the result of gender discrimination.

In truth, many women, as a well as some men, feel that they are fortunate even to be offered a job, let alone ask for a greater salary. This need not be the case, and the "unexplained" 25% different in gender pay may be partial a function of a lack of negotiating skills. That being said, men can always use negotiating practice as well. We can all continually improve our lot in life.


The American Association of University Women found that men are over four times as likely to parley salary for a new job as are women.

Negotiate Your Hiring Package

All elements of your total job offer package are negotiable. This includes salary, job duties, hours of work, benefits, time off, educational opportunities, and every other aspect. Every job, including the performance reviews that should occur regularly, is an opportunity to negotiate.

Take that opportunity to discuss your whole employment package and not only your yearly salary - include bonuses, benefits, ongoing professional development, chances for advancement and other incentives. Take the negotiation process as your right to define, make known, and reach your own goals as well as to help the company reach theirs.

In order to negotiate, you must first gather information and facts. Then you must plan an effective approach to asking for the salary you deserve. You must communicate effectively and clearly. You must also be taken seriously, thus your appearance and delivery is crucial; you must look and sound friendly and serious at once. A few things to remember in negotiating are the following:


In order to negotiate, you must first gather information and facts.


Use Good Tools

Accept the Need to Negotiate

Many people are taught not to ask for money. However, you need to ask for the salary you deserve, even if this makes you uncomfortable. There are very few jobs in which a starting salary is set in stone, such as the military and unionized companies.

Do the Necessary Salary Research

Learn the average salary range in your geographic location for the job that you want. This can be found in multiple places on the internet. You can also ask around the industry. Say you want to be a Director of Nursing at a specific hospital. Talk to people at other hospitals, or look at the same job openings at these other hospitals in the county and around the same state and note their salary ranges. Also realize that a for-profit hospital pays higher wages than a non-profit hospital or clinic.

Don't Give Yourself Away - Be Hard to Read

On application forms leave the salary questions blank. Let the employment interviewers draw this out of you in the interviewing process. If they start the money discussions, then you will have the negotiating advantage.

Let the Interviewer Name the Salary First

Let the interviewer be the first to mention salary. If you are having a first interview, then don't mention salary; don't ask how much the job pays. Unless they want to hire you doing the first interview, then there will be a second cut of applicants and salary or wages will be discussed at that point. If you are flat out asked how much you want, remember the salary range you looked up for this position and name the mid-point and end-point salaries.

For example, if you want a job that in your geographic location within a salary range of $30,000 - $40,000 annually, state that you are interested in a salary range of from $35,000 - 40,000.

If you just graduated from college, you cannot reasonably expect more than about $30,000 - 33,000. If you have 5 years of successful experience that you can back up with hard figures, then you can expect probably $32,000 - 34,000. If you have 10-15 years successful related experience, you can expect to receive from around midpoint and possibly higher in the salary range.

Just for Comparison: US Congressional Salaries From the Civil War To 2000

Just for comparison
Just for comparison | Source

Ask For What You Deserve

Set your salary goals a bit higher, but do not set them entirely out of reach.

Facts, Figures And Reason

Emphasize Your Value with Hard Facts and Figures

Use numbers, dollars and percentages. When you negotiate, make sure that you are emphasizing all of your accomplishments on your previous jobs. Make sure that you have actual figures to discuss about cost savings and increased productivity at your last job.

For example, if you increased bottom-lines profits by 30%, you need to know this and talk about it. If you reduced customer product returns by 25% because you improved product performance, then you need to talk about this.

If you instituted a new training program that reduced employee turnover by 15%, you need to be able to discuss this in your negotiation. It is not going to be enough to say only that you increased profits and reduced costs. Further, if you have advanced education or have won workplace awards, then make this known, because it deserves a higher wage.

Do Not Display Nervous Hesitation

If you seem less than confident, the new employer may offer you a lower salary. Calmly listen to the total job offer package. When the interviewer offer you a specific salary, nod as a sign you heard it and don't answer right away. Look like you are thinking about it. And glance at the salary range you pulled up in your research about the job for which you are interviewing.

If the interviewer knows the offer is too low, he may increase it while you are thinking. If not , and you see that you have been offered the bottom of the salary range, politely ask why you are being offered the rock bottom salary when you have so much to offer their company.

Be Flexible and Reasonable

If you absolutely know that the offer made to you is too low, counter with a 10-15% increase from that figure and be ready to accept half of that. Be happy with that if you get it and negotiate for more on your imminent performance reviews. If you have 10-15 years of work experience that is successful, then you should be started at the mid-point of the appropriate salary range, not the bottom.

If you are just out of college, expect the lower 25% of the salary range and work your way up. Very few will be started at the top of the salary range and they have no place to go from there, if there is no chance for advancement through promotions and/or transfers. Such a person may start at the top of the salary range and never receive an increase.

Continue to negotiate for the other parts of your total job offer, like vacation, health and retirement benefits, tuition reimbursement, and other items. You might be happier with a slightly lower salary and more benefits, such as paid health insurance.

Professional Negotiation Tips

© 2007 Patty Inglish

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Comments 16 comments

Sonda 8 years ago


This is Guruprasad, salary can be negotiated by different ways, ex: experience, expertise knowledge, communication skills, (both Verbal & written) body language, perhaps all these facts qualification plays a key role while negotiating salary with the employer. normally the salary hike will be 30 to 40% based on the above factors, however the salary can be negotiated more than 50%, its all depend on our skill sets.



Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Thanks very much for your insights and experience. Welcome to Hub Pages!

Coach Gerry profile image

Coach Gerry 8 years ago from Loveland

Patty--Very thorough article and entertaining too.

One thing I've learned is to know my own value, know my walk-away, be bold and ask. Then follow through. There are always other opportunities.

Keep 'em comin'


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Thank you, Coach Gerry, that's a good affirmation. It is truly vital to know one's own worth, as you say. I finally learned to walk away after a couple of errors. Thanks for your comments.

Kat07 profile image

Kat07 8 years ago from Tampa

I've never been good at this, Patty. You've inspired me. Any suggestions for asking for a better raise?

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Yes. First, look at your company's most current Annual Report and determine if sales and profits or funding are up. Then gather your facts about your accomplishments on the job, epsecially productivity - how many more, how much quicker, how much more thoroughly, how many additional customers or whatever is appropriate, etc. Find out how much the cost of living has increased since your last raise. If you have not put firth very many health and medical insurance claims for which your employer has provided insurance, then you have helped keep their rates down farther tha nif you had had many claims.

So, ask for more than a standard 2-3%  - ask for 6-7% of your yearly salary and you may need to settle for 5 1/2% after the back and forth offers are complete.

Much success to you!   

webllinks profile image

webllinks 8 years ago from Michigan

Really nice hub with great imagery. Informative too. Well done!

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Salary negotiations are becoming more and more important. It seems that during the Bush Administration, the starting salaries of college graduates earning a Mastrers Degree went down considerably. After 2006, they seemed to raise again.

It's good to go to and find out your local salary ranges for jobs you are doing or wish to do.  I remember beikng a college grad and then a grad with a Masters Degree and both times, employment services offered me minimum wage jobs. That's not right and it does not need to happen. 

Success to all looking for jobs in 2009 and later - Green Jobs are on the upswing and the pay well! 

guidebaba profile image

guidebaba 8 years ago from India

Great explanation.

nancydodds1 profile image

nancydodds1 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

Good explanation about negotiate salary. Its very interesting and nice.

ajm5050 profile image

ajm5050 7 years ago from NY

Negotiating salary is tricky at best.. I suppose there are people who are really skilled at it, but negotiations have never been my forte. I like the advices you’ve given on this hub and I would definitely recommend this hub for anyone who needs tips on salary negotiation. Thanks for the good read Patty.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for all the nice comments!

ajm5050 - it took time for me to understand and practice negotiating for salary. Some people have an easier time of it. I still don't "get" haggling at an open air market, but need to practice - it's the culture of it all, whether salaries or a market stalls. Thanks for visiting.

H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 7 years ago from Guwahati, India

Negotiating salaries in any job will depend upon your type of profession depending upon your qualification and skill and the level of job you had been offered.Thanks.

Mark Meredith profile image

Mark Meredith 7 years ago

A friend of mine asked me about salary negotiation yesterday and I did a quick google search and found this page. I showed it to him and he enjoyed the information you've provided.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Thanks so much for the comments - they really give me a lift!

@Mark - I certainly am glad to be able to help. Thanks!

lewgard profile image

lewgard 6 years ago from Southern Michigan

Very good advice! Speaking from experience, doing the salary research first is so important. One can negotiate a better salary when armed with information.

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