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Salary Negotiation 101 (According to the American Association of University Women)

Whether you’re graduating college or you’ve just figured out what you want to pursue for a career, it’s always smart to be aware of what kind of salary you’re going to get. I recently attended a workshop by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and gained some eye-opening tips on how to negotiate for a higher (and many times, fairer) salary for women.

Getting started with salary negotiation:

Why do women negotiate for a better salary? Negotiating your salary is something you can do not only for economic security, but also to help close the unexplained pay gap. Some effective tips are knowing what your skills are worth, making clear what you bring to the table, and having a positive attitude. Learn how to negotiate a better salary with these four steps:


1. Know your value

Take some time to reflect on the job you have accepted or are seeking. Ask yourself: how do my accomplishments, contributions, skills and work experiences match requirements in the job description? How do they demonstrate value contribution I can potentially make? Ensure to make note of professional accomplishments, niche skill areas and relate them to how you can contribute to the company.


2. Know your target salary range and benefits

Research target salary ranges of the specific industry you’re in, location, and job. Pay attention to the median annual salary. An example is shown below. Some online resources you should make use of are payscale.com and salary.com and always set a target range instead of a single number. Be objective based on the average salary versus what you want and identify a walk away point.


3. Know your strategy

When interviewing for the job, you might be asked questions about salary. Always try to deflect until you receive the job offer. Here are some possible responses: “I’d like to see if I’m a good fit first before we discuss about salary” or “I’d like to learn more about the role before I set my salary expectations.” If you have an offer, be sure to note the starting salary, along with other benefits. At this point, you can start negotiating right away or ask for more time. If you get an offer below your target, attempt to negotiate upward. Consider what benefits may bridge the gap to make the offer more reasonable. You can do this by anticipating responses from employers and use your value statements to prepare talking points for possible responses. One way you could respond is, “Thank you for the offer. Based on my research with comparable roles in this area, I was thinking of something in the range of [target salary range].” Don’t forget to discuss benefits too! Be sure to remain respectful and positive throughout the whole conversation, even if you don’t hear favorable answers. When you are almost done, be sure to get the agreement in writing.


4. Practice, practice, practice.

With each practice, you can improve your negotiating abilities to be more objective, persuasive and strategic. Try to practice with others — they can provide constructive feedback to improve your verbal and body language.

Sources: https://www.aauw.org/

Image: courtesy of Isabelle Tjokrosetio

Isabelle Tjokrosetio

U Mass Amherst '20

I am a Junior majoring in Sociology and minoring in Information Technology at UMass Amherst. A transfer at the university, I am passionate about writing, ethnography, User Experience and design research.
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