You finally landed a great job. But now comes the part that many people find very uncomfortable. How do you negotiate for a salary that’s fair and acceptable to you, and also reasonable according to the company? Where do you begin?

Take a deep breath, and don’t let panic or urgency take over, making you agree to something right away. The key to a fruitful negotiation is to be very clear about the skills and advantages you have to offer and to discuss a salary that you truly feel you deserve. Remember, this doesn’t always mean the same thing as a salary that you want. Talk about the value you bring to your employer, and how you’ve contributed to your previous or current company – in measurable facts, not just lofty expectations.

  1. Know what the going salary is in your field. Look at similar job offerings by different companies or check out websites such as, or that offer average salary comparisons for a variety of jobs. Researching the current target salary for your position is a great starting point and will help you know what your parameters should be.
  1. Understand the current needs and financial state of the company. The hiring manager may have talked about budget cuts, doing the job of two people, or perhaps the department is ready to expand and grow. This knowledge will give you some leverage because it’ll help you position yourself. Can you can start lower and expect a raise or bonus, or ask to start with a larger salary because raises will be few and far between?
  1. Be valuable to your employer. Think about some of the obstacles your employer is facing and why you’ll be a huge asset. Take on a different perspective by seeing the big picture; put yourself in your boss’s situation and emphasize what you can do to make their life easier. They will consider your salary to be money well spent.
  1. Take all of your responsibilities into consideration. Your position might have a specific going rate, but if you’re being asked to do additional things such as manage a group of people, or give several presentations a year, those extras should enter into your conversation.
  1. Last but not least, notate very specific accomplishments on your part. Employers want to know what their return on their investment will be. Were you able to increase revenue or output? Did you make effective procedural changes, or cover for someone else in addition to your job? Specifics like these can be very powerful in a negotiation.

Again, we know it can be awkward, but it’s very rare that a salary is offered and accepted without some type of back and forth. Sometimes when job candidates have several offers, they end up getting exactly what they want because they’re willing to walk away. We’re not recommending that unless you truly feel that’s what you want to do, but we do recommend that you review your accomplishments in your own mind, know your abilities, and are confident in knowing what you’re worth.

Need help finding wage and salary information pertinent to the Cape and Islands? Contact us. MassHire Cape and Islands Career Center at 508-771-JOBS (5627)

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