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This story originally appeared on DollarSprout.

The first time I negotiated a higher salary was equally empowering and terrifying. I just got a great opportunity to advance my career. Since I still had my other job that I enjoyed, I was comfortable enough to bargain for more money. So I got on my nerves and asked for $ 8,000 more than they offered.

I didn't get it, but got $ 4,000 more. Plus, the experience taught me a lot about negotiating, a skill I don't get to use often.

Negotiating your salary in a new company can be intimidating, especially when you really need the job. However, negotiating your salary for a new job is one of the most powerful things you can do to grow financially.

Any raise you receive is based on your salary. So if you start with the highest possible salary, it will have a positive effect on the level of your earnings throughout your career.

Don't personally accept a low offer.

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There are a number of reasons why the job you want may not get you the salary you were hoping for. Hiring managers are tied to budgets and deadlines and typically have few interactions and a resume to consult. Kate Dixon, a salary negotiation trainer, says not to accept low offers in person.

"The amount a company offers says more about how they value the job themselves than how they value you as a person," said Dixon. "If you can change the way you think about things to be less personal, it will be easier to get the emotion out of the negotiation, which will make you more effective."

So take a seat at the negotiating table with a clear head and use tried and tested negotiation tactics to improve your offer.

You have the best bargaining power for salaries when interviewing a new company.

Companies go to great lengths to find the right people to fill their positions. It is often cheaper to spend more money on a new hire than it is to spend more time and resources looking for more applicants.

Still, there is a right and a wrong way to negotiate salary offers. The better informed you are about how to negotiate your starting salary, the more likely it is that you will get what you ask for.

Learn how to prepare (and destroy) an interview.

1. Research the location.

Woman looking at laptopJacob Lund / Shutterstock.com

Most people are afraid, when negotiating a starting salary, that they will propose a number that is so fancy that the company will withdraw its offer. While this is rarely the case, you can avoid over-biding by investigating the position.

Sites like Glassdoor and PayScale offer free information about what companies typically pay for a position like yours and how experienced others are in that position. They also offer tips on salary negotiation.

When considering a job in another city, consider the cost of living. Use a cost of living calculator to see what you need to make in a city to keep the quality of life you currently have.

2. Communicate your worth.

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You spent a lot of time highlighting your resume. So don't forget the hard work when it comes to negotiating a starting salary. If the company isn't ready to change your offer after the first try, don't give up. The hiring manager may have been given a budget for the position, but that doesn't mean the money isn't available.

Clearly communicate the unique value you can bring to the company. Share with your prospective employer any skills you bring to the table that you may not have included on your resume or interview. Be as specific as you can about why these skills are good for the company and how you will implement them when you get there.

The more specific you can be, the more incentive the hiring manager needs to have to approve a higher salary for you.

3. Find common ground.

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A 2019 study found that our minds are determined to prefer relationships with people who are interested in the things we are or have backgrounds similar to us. Labor law mediator Courtney Anne Chicvak says finding common ground with your hiring manager can give you an edge in the negotiation process.

"Developing interpersonal relationships in negotiations can be helpful," said Chicvak. "A negotiator can build connections by identifying at least one thing in common that both negotiators share."

Check the LinkedIn profiles of those responsible for determining your salary and see if you have anything in common, such as: B. an alma mater or a favorite sports team.

4. Do not share your salary history.

Woman hides moneyVladimir Gjorgiev / Shutterstock.com

You are under no obligation to disclose your salary to a potential employer, even if they ask for it. In fact, 18 states have a downright ban on employers asking about an applicant's salary history.

This is because paying a new employee's salary in their last job has been shown to maintain the gender pay gap and eliminate eager candidates due to the fact that they are “too expensive” or underqualified due to low pay.

5. Start higher than you want to land.

A successful, high-income businesswoman works at her deskKinga / Shutterstock.com

After doing some research, you should be able to stand up for what you are asking for. You should still expect the employer to respond with a counter offer. Because of this, when you've found a salary range for your position, ask about the high end of the scale. You have room for a counter offer that you are still satisfied with.

If you can't find market data for your profession, start by requesting 10-20% more than the quote you get. About 73% of companies expect negotiations with new hires, which is why they deliberately submit a lower initial offer. You can encourage a higher counteroffer by keeping the negotiations positive and continuing to affirm the value you can bring.

6. Consideration of (or lack of) business benefits.

Woman who thinks about moneyMarijus Auruskevicius / Shutterstock.com

Before you start negotiating, take a look at the total compensation package that the company is offering. This includes 401 (k) matching, health insurance, paid time off (PTO), and unique benefits like free food or unlimited vacation days. See how it's doing with other employers in your industry.

Certified resume writer Adrienne Tom says to look at the bigger picture and take the time to think about what you want in your compensation package.

"Sometimes a company says they have no room to negotiate the base salary," she said. “What they don't tell you, however, is that you can negotiate other things. Benefits in kind can add 30% to 40% to your total compensation package. If an employer comes up with a number that isn't quite what you want, ask yourself if you can negotiate better advantage to make up for this. "

If a company has a lower salary but pays for health premiums, it may be worth more than a higher salary offer elsewhere. And if a potential employer doesn't have the budget to give you more money, they may be more willing to include corporate benefits like remote working.

You can also consider lifestyle benefits like commuting time, dress code, and remote working options to get an idea of ​​how much money you will save by taking on the job.

7. Use a salary negotiation script.

Man and woman discuss over a deskAntonio Guillem / Shutterstock.com

If you don't know what to say when negotiating salary, there are plenty of great negotiation scripts out there to follow. Here is an example of a salary negotiation script you can use after getting an initial offer:

Hello (YOUR NAME),

Thank you for contacting me. I really enjoyed meeting you and the other members of the team.

I have reviewed your offer and believe a (X) salary is more appropriate for someone in this position. Could you bring that together?

Watch out,
(YOUR NAME)

A script can also come in handy if you don't get a face-to-face meeting with your prospective employer and negotiate via email. Don't recite script word for word. Use it as a guide to engaging in constructive conversation.

Practice the script with a friend or family member so you don't sound like a robot or a fake. Your hiring manager has likely heard the script before. So try to customize it as much as possible.

8. Have a lawyer do it.

2 men black and white business lawyers work in conversationPressmaster / Shutterstock.com

Contract law attorney Lou Russo recommends that senior employees or individuals who are asked to sign a contract notify potential employers that their attorney will review the offer letter, employment contract, employee handbook, or stock option plan.

Looking through your compensation package from an expert, or at least giving it the impression that you have it, can take advantage of asking for more.

"If any of these documents have tightly restrictive restrictions preventing you from working in the industry after you quit working for the employer, you have a reason to ask for more money," Russo said. "This is especially true if the new employer is trying to prevent you from competing with them for more than a year and there are no geographic or industry restrictions."

Preparation is key to negotiating a starting salary.

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If you are currently in a position that you enjoy, there are many of these tips that you can use to apply for a raise. It's always smart to see if your current employer can match your new offer. They have invested a lot of time training yourself and you may find it more cost-effective to raise your salary than to hire someone to fill your role.

Also, decide in advance at what point you are ready to go away. Keep your options open until you have signed a contract and plan what you will do if the negotiations don't go as you'd like.

A recent study found that only 39% of workers tried to negotiate pay with their last job offer. Don't leave money on the table by not bargaining. Make sure you're prepared, confident, and ready to ask what you're worth on your next job opportunity.

Negotiating your starting salary may be stressful, but it will affect your earning potential for the rest of your career.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, sometimes we get compensation for clicking links in our stories.

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