Salary Negotiations. Get What You Deserve.

by QuickCert on February 23, 2011

The results of salary negotiations – upon being offered a job – can be the difference between being paid fairly or feeling cheated and unhappy. Not only that, all of your future raises and/or bonuses – be them 1% or 10% of your base salary – will also take a financial hit.

Although it can feel intimidating to ask for your worth, it’s not as bad as the feeling you’ll get when you find out people at other companies (with similar jobs and education as you) are earning more. Or worse yet, the people you work with in your department did negotiate, were given more money than offered and are now making more than you for the same job.

Keep in mind, you’ll have no bigger bargaining chip than the moment you’re offered employment. That’s because the company likely combed through tens (or more likely, hundreds or thousands) of applicants. And in the end, the powers that be decided you were the best of the best – and they want you.

But for those who need more encouragement, the following are 4 ways to make it easier to ask for the money you deserve.

1. Dress for the part. Dressing to the tilt, with your hair in place and shoes shined to a gloss, can boost your confidence. When you’re dressed sharp, you feel sharp. You stand straighter, you smile brighter and you speak more matter-of-factly.

And it goes without saying that you don’t want to look like a person who’s come to beg for a job… you want to look like somebody who deserves it because of the value you’ll bring to the company.

2. Don’t rush your pitch. Go with the flow by answering the would-be employer’s questions with careful, intellectual answers; but don’t show your hand in regards to your salary expectations. Wait for the employer to tell you the compensation being offered; keeping in mind he or she likely has 10-20% of wiggle room.

Just like shopping for a car, your potential boss if looking for a bargain. He or she wants a lot for a little, but would be willing to pay more for what he/she really wants. And that’s you!

3. Do your homework. Before you even walk in for an interview, know the approximate salary for people with your level of education who do the same job you seek. If possible, ask friends and professional colleagues (in your line of business) how much they make.

If that’s not an option, go to the Internet. There are countless online resources available that will estimate salary ranges and, while not always entirely accurate, they can at least give you a starting point.

4. Remember certifications payoff. Aside from your experience – no matter how vast it may be – your official education (and that includes IT certifications) is proof you possess the knowledge and skills to excel at the job at hand.

More importantly, your potential employer doesn’t have to just trust you have the abilities you’ve written on your resume; because a third-party, accredited, professional organization has tested you for them and has given you and passing grade. In other words, you have more credibility with that piece of paper than do those who lack it.

On the other hand, if you’re a certified IT pro without much work experience, your would-be employer might try to strike a bargain by claiming you’re only book-learned and without real world, hands-on practice. If that tactic is used, here are some counterpoints to try:

• Earning your certification gave (and validated) your vendor-neutral knowledge. It has empowered you with greater adaptability within complex and ever-changing technical environments. It has also made it easier for you to learn any vendor’s technology; which you will do quickly and with a fresh, up-to-date perspective.

• The employer may be able to earn more business (or the IT department more clout and perceived value) because you have advanced training and certification.

Keep in mind, attempting to negotiate your salary can’t hurt. Having a job offer withdrawn, because you asked for what you deserve, is unlikely. Even if it were to happen, you’d probably still be the better for it. Just imagine how bad it would be to have a boss who didn’t care about your opinions and/or feel you were worth what you deserve.