Settling on a Salary: How to Negotiate for What You’re Worth

Negotiating a better salary is at the forefront of many workers’ minds. In fact, nearly 40% of the workforce feels like they are underpaid for their job. However, nearly 37% of those same people refrain from asking for a raise out of fear. At some point in your career, you may feel like the value of your work is not reflected in your compensation. When this time comes, it’s important to know how to approach the subject objectively, and understand how to effectively negotiate for a higher salary. Don’t let the fear of negotiating hold you back from reaching your full potential. Instead, build evidence for your case and learn how to negotiate with confidence with the following tips. 

Know Your Market Value

The first step in getting paid what you are worth is to figure out your real market value. In other words, you need to find out what other people are getting paid for similar jobs. You can visit sites such as or to get a general idea of what someone with your experience, knowledge, and skillset is getting paid. Be sure to take things like geographic location and cost of living for your area into consideration. Now, look at this range as a starting point, and then consider your own experience and any additional skills that may add value to this number. If you walk into a negotiation without this information, you are at the mercy of your supervisor. 

Be Prepared to Show Evidence

It’s not enough to simply walk in and ask for a higher salary. You need to be able to demonstrate why you deserve it. In order to build your case, you will need evidence and examples of the value you bring to the table. Show how you contribute to the bottom line with concrete examples throughout your career, including in your current role. Share specific examples of how you have achieved driving revenue, savings, or increased efficiency within your role. This is also a good time to share awards, achievements, or accolades that you have received, as well as any special training or certifications you hold. 

Offer a Range Rather than a Specific Number

When discussing salary, it’s always better to have a range in mind as opposed to a fixed number. Having a range helps you negotiate and find compromise more easily. That said, make sure your range is a bit higher than you would expect, allowing your supervisor room to come down. Otherwise, they may offer the lowest end of the range which is below your expectations. 


Make the First Offer

While this is often up for debate, making the first offer puts the power in your hands. Otherwise, you risk your employer suggesting a number that is far below your expectations. All too often, supervisors will throw out a number just to see if you will take it, and then it can be uncomfortable to ask for a higher salary. You can avoid this by making the first offer yourself. 

Be Confident in Your Delivery

It is so important to maintain confidence throughout the negotiation process. Bring your game face and don’t sell yourself short. Bringing confidence lets your employer know that they are serious and it is more impressive than demonstrating fear or nervousness. The worst-case scenario is being told no, so you really have nothing to lose by asking for what you want with confidence. In addition, if the employer isn’t willing to increase your salary, you might consider other perks instead. If they aren’t willing to meet you in any of these negotiations, it might be worth moving on. After all, an employer that won’t pay you fair market for your skills is likely to undervalue you in other ways as well.