Trying to determine your worth in the job market—whether negotiating a salary increase or starting at a new position—can be intimidating. It’s easy to feel guilty for asking too much, scared of losing out on an offer altogether or simply overwhelmed by the entire process. We understand these anxieties and have all been there before!

Don’t let the prospect of negotiating salary offer shy you away from asking for what your value is worth! Prepare yourself for this conversation by following these steps and make sure that you get paid exactly as much as you deserve.

How To Negotiate Salary Job Offer

Step One: Do Your Research

Before we dive in, let’s take a step back and discuss the nerve-wracking experience of being asked about your salary expectations during an interview. Don’t be frightened though– come prepared and ready to face this situation head-on!

Before your initial phone interview, make sure to do sufficient research. You should explore online review platforms such as Glassdoor and evaluate similar job titles in the company. In addition, compare the salaries of other individuals with a comparable title within the business industry too.

[Related: 9 Failproof Salary Negotiation Tricks From Kate White]

Make sure you consider where the job is located, as it can affect salary. Generally speaking, roles found in larger cities tend to come with higher wages due to a bigger applicant pool and increased cost of living. Additionally, be aware of how unique the role may be—if this position is not very specialized there’s probably less room for negotiation when it comes to paying than if you’re applying for something more uncommon or niche.

Now, assess how far you have gone beyond the job description at your current workplace. Create a list of all the things that you have achieved and compare them to what was expected from you initially. Have these results exceeded expectations? If your contributions can be connected to any company profits, make sure those figures are easily accessible and ready for viewing. This is where humbly presenting yourself while highlighting the successes from past experiences will prove beneficial.

Even if you don’t have much experience, you must be realistic about what you’ve accomplished and not overestimate your potential. We understand how difficult it can be to make a living on low wages but keep in mind that there is still time for reaching your salary goal! For now, prioritize effort and growth so that when the time comes you are fully prepared. {Click to Tweet}

Step Two: State Your Number

The interviewer queries you so nonchalantly, it’s as if she is inquiring whether cream would be a welcome accompaniment to your cup of coffee. “Where do you aim to be salary-wise?”

Remain composed. This is where men and women usually deviate in the negotiation process. Men typically present an exact number based on their research and self-assessment, while women tend to offer a needlessly uncertain response about what they would accept as payment. If you’ve carefully studied your market data, assessed your worthiness, and determined your requirements with certainty, then explain why that specific sum accurately reflects those elements.

[Related: 6 Negotiation Skills Every Working Millennial Should Know]

If the interviewer inquires about your requested number’s flexibility, simply articulate that you would be more than willing to reevaluate it once presented with a comprehensive offer. It is essential to bear in mind that this package could include anything from stock options and additional holidays off, growth potentials, airfare allowance, and bonuses – even free food at the office (yes please!).

If you are just starting your career, I strongly recommend investing more in growth opportunities than money. {Click to Tweet} During the early stages of your professional life, selecting a position that provides valuable lessons will undoubtedly equip you with essential abilities and increase your market value for years to come.

Step Three: Counter

With a preliminary offer in hand, you now have the upper hand when it comes to bargaining. After all, they desire your services and would rather arrive at an agreement that pleases both sides than begin the search yet again from scratch.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate for more money if the offer is lower than your initial salary expectation. If funds are tight, appeal for additional vacation days, a signing bonus, equity opportunities, or an extended annual bonus.

[Related: 6 Tips for Getting the Raise You Deserve]

To ensure that your negotiation is productive, keep the terms of your counteroffer within reason relative to the initial offer. After all, it was you who provided a ballpark salary expectation during negotiations in the first place! Reasonable expectations will likely guarantee an outcome where both parties benefit; most often resulting in a settlement somewhere near the center.

Linda Babcock, author of Women Don’t Ask, illuminates that only 7% of women negotiate their salary while an astonishing 57% of men do. Those who did inquire saw a whopping increase in compensation by approximately 7%. So, sisters, it’s time to speak up and ask for more!

Carefully read your offer letter to make sure that it meets all of your expectations, sign it, and submit the signed version back within 24 hours.

Congratulations! You’ve completed the negotiation process of your compensation. Now, feel proud and let the real work take off!

How to Negotiate a Raise

Step One: Be Proactive and Transparent

Proactively engage in a straightforward, transparent dialogue with your manager well before the review period. Make sure to express your aspiration for higher remuneration. Don’t delay until the day of evaluation – by then it won’t be feasible.

Accurately evaluate your efforts. What have you done to earn higher pay? Don’t be misled into believing that a raise is coming before achieving greater performance levels. On the contrary, it’s imperative to demonstrate upfront how capable you are of taking on more responsibility than ever before if someone wants to increase your salary!

Make a sensible request. Not only should you highlight your recent and most significant work, but also supply data on what other people in the same field earn – plus explain why you feel your efforts equate to theirs or surpass it.

When you’ve pinpointed the salary increase you think is appropriate, talk to your boss and inquire what type of performance they would like to see for you to receive that wage. Clarify that you’re more than willing to put in the effort required!

Don’t make your salary inquiry personal by trying to justify it based on “needing” more money. Your manager should not be concerned with the details of your bills, rent, and loan payments. Keep conversations related to a raise focused on what you can do for the company – don’t bring your financial matters into it!

Step Two: Work Hard

To ensure your hard work is noticed, don’t hesitate to connect with your supervisor and ask for feedback on how you’re doing. Moreover, be proactive by presenting ways that can help advance the role of your current position. It’s also beneficial to keep an eye on how far you’ve come – it might just land you a promotion down the line! Remember; if you want to reach higher levels in life, make sure to constantly strive towards excellence at where ever level you are now. {Click To Tweet}

Don’t be hesitant; take on more assignments and ask your manager routinely if there is anything else you can do. Try to make her life easier; bring back relevant tasks that have fallen off her radar, and proactively provide the information she needs before she even requests it.

Step Three: Network and Get Involved

If you’d like to gain the favor of higher-ups, you must learn how to network with people in positions above your own. You don’t have to say outright that you’re connected; just refer casually to projects in which more senior employees were involved and let their perception do the work for you! This will help create an image of yourself as someone on a level similar or equal, even if there is still some distance between ranks.

Follow these three steps and you can soon start getting the well-deserved raise during your next performance review. The only thing left is to work hard! Achieving big salaries and impressive titles is a result of prolonged commitment; therefore, remain steadfast in your efforts for success!

This article was originally published on Career Contessa.

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