You’ve been vying for that job. Your whole life seems to have led to this moment. It’s like this position was made for you, or you for it. You’ve received the callback, the offer, the opportunity, the potential realization of a dream.  But the salary they offered wasn’t quite what you expected after all the hard work it took to get there.

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So what do you do when your dream and reality collide? The most successful people negotiate. However, most people avoid this word like the plague. There’s something about discussing money, or one’s value that is terrifying. In a study of 800 people, only 31% said they negotiated salaries after receiving an offer.  Yet only 11% said they were actually happy with the first offer. The majority of people simply lack the confidence to own their truer value. 59% percent of respondents said negotiations make them nervous. But with a few tactics and best practices for approaching the (dreaded) negotiation table, you can be a pro and secure the pay you deserve.

So, without further adieu, here are the Do's and Don’ts you need to know to rock that negotiation.

DON’T Settle. Always negotiate

If you don’t take a proactive stand now for what your work hours are worth, you may find yourself resenting the job you had dreamed of, and more likely to slack in your responsibilities. True, you run the risk of losing that opportunity, but having an employer that cares about the well-being and happiness of their employees is one of the most important factors of job satisfaction.

DON’T accept the job too quickly

Ask for a few days to think about the offer. This will give you time to do your research and build your case. It will also show them that you aren't desperate and that you value yourself and want to ensure the best fit.

DO get the facts

Make sure you research the position, and what typical pay scales are. Don’t pull an arbitrary number out of a hat. Get the facts. If you can back up your proposition with evidence that your request is based on market value rates for your services and level of education, your prospective employer will be more open to increasing the offer. Don’t back down if they say their offer is fair. Remind them why what you bring to the job is worth the amount you’re requesting.

DO sell them on yourself (again)

Remind your interviewer why you deserve more pay. Highlight your education, professional experience, and how you can drive immense value in the new role. Thank them for the offer, but graciously let them know that based on the experience and knowledge you bring to the job, you were expecting something in the range of X amount, and ask if they’ll consider that.

DO have a number

Make sure that you can quantify the value you bring to the company with a specific number or non-monetary compensation figures. Since your counteroffer will likely be met by a mid-ground counteroffer, it’s a good idea to ask for a little more than what you’d be comfortable receiving. At the same time, don’t just focus on the money. Sometimes the perks can outweigh monetary compensation, so if more vacation days are important to you, see if you can tailor your job offer to fit your values.

DON’T keep talking

Maintain control of the conversation by presenting your case, asking for a higher salary, and stopping the chatter. Put the ball in their court. In salary negotiations, less is more.

By showing confidence in yourself and your abilities, you will show your potential employer that they can have confidence in you too. So negotiate away.

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