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by Natalie Fisher | November 29, 2017


Rolled up dollar bills

Maybe you feel you're not being paid what you're worth right now, or you're afraid you won't be worth very much due to lack of experience. You're unsure how to figure out where in the salary range you should be, or if the range is fair. Money makes you uncomfortable, especially when they ask those awkward questions "What are your salary expectations?" or "What are you making now?"

But you do know one thing for sure, you don't want to wait for someone else to decide your worth, so here's how to understand and handle money conversations with ease and confidence. 

Sometimes, those who lack experience think they can't ask for much (if anything) above what they're offered. However, you don't need experience to ask for a salary increase from the start. In this post we'll cover three keys to negotiating for the first time and how you can easily ask for the money you want even if you have no idea where to start in the range. 

The only thing you need in order to negotiate - a job offer! 

Once you have a job offer in hand, you have leverage. At this stage of the process you know that the employer wants to hire you. They're now attached to that concept. They've spent a lot of time interviewing candidates and they've come to an agreement which has already taken resources and energy away from the day-to-day company business. 

To negotiate your future income, you need just one job offer in hand. If you have more than one offer, you have even more leverage. If the interview goes well, and they decide to hire you, your experience level is a moot point. You're now in demand and a highly sought-after candidate who will cost a little more. 

How to know where you are in the range

Salary ranges online are often confusing and can range widely. If you're wondering where in the range you should be, you want to be in the middle but at the high end of the middle. 

The lowest part of the range is for people who didn't negotiate, didn't ask, didn't try. They accepted what was offered. (Notice I didn't mention the lowest range was for people without experience.) 

The higher salary range is for people who have been with the company some time, or who drove a difficult bargain during negotiation. When you're starting out the key is to negotiate strategically. It could cost you thousands throughout your career if you don't understand how to do this. 

How to eliminate the fear of negotiating

Many people I talk to see negotiating as a 'fight for what they deserve'. The language they use sounds scary. I see it more as a collaborative discussion with the people you're having the conversation with, and hopefully the people you will be working alongside in the future—simply two people agreeing on what works and what is fair for both. If you frame the conversation in this manner, you'll approach it from a different perspective. Also, many employers expect to negotiate these days—keep in mind that they may offer a lower amount with this expectation. 

What to do if they say no but you still want the job 

At some point in the negotiation, you'll either be left with a number you asked for, one that's in the middle of your valuation and company's, or the original offer. In each case, you'll still have to decide what you want to do—with the hardest decision typically coming for those who have been told "no." 

If you've had some good back and forth negotiations and they're not going to go any further, and you still want the job, that's perfectly okay. You can simply say: "Okay, no problem, I needed to ask but I'd still like to go ahead and accept the offer as I feel this role is a really good fit for me." 

Natalie Fisher is an enthusiastic HR Generalist who loves her job. She's been on over 50 interviews and received 48 job offers.Click here to get her cheat sheet of 5 Lines That Will Catch You Off Guard In A Salary Negotiation.