Part 5: Negotiating Your Salary 101

So … negotiating is uncomfortable. And important. And a guaranteed part of your job search.


Here are five ways to boost your confidence while negotiating, and improve your chances of getting what you want:

Know Your Market Value

Learn what you’re worth in today’s market before you interview. You can do this by performing an online search, talking to others who work in the same industry or company, or asking multiple recruiters what you can expect. (Remember that your value is based on what you’re worth in today’s market—not what you made at your last job.)

Know What’s Important

A job is more than a paycheck. When negotiating and considering different offers, rank what matters to you most—health care, retirement, stock options, vacation time, the company’s culture, the ability to work from home or bring your pet to work, opportunities for growth, commute time, getting experience on your resume, and so on.

Wait Until the Employer Wants You

For more leverage during negotiations, if possible, wait to talk compensation specifics until you’re sure that the employer wants to hire you. (You can default to “I’m expecting something comparable to the market rate” if an employer or recruiter presses you to name a number before they make you an offer.)

Be Specific, Be Ambitious

The first number spoken becomes the anchor of your negotiation. When it’s time to get specific, ask for the number that is at the top of your range (ambitious, but not impossible). And when the employer is the first to give a number, they are almost always prepared to offer more if you make a counteroffer.

Everything is On the Table

In addition to money, remember that you can negotiate other forms of compensation, like vacation time.

Just ask.

Part 1: Shy Guy’s Guide to Meetups

Part 2: Five Ways to Write a Better Cover Letter

Part 3: Build Your Online Brand

Part 4: Networking Beyond Meetups

Career development is a large part of our 10-week Code 401 curriculum. This article is the last of a five-part series and a glimpse into the training that students receive to polish their online presence and be successful in their job search. Learn More »

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