The Art of Great Salary Negotiation

Salary NegotiationNegotiating your desired salary is an art form. From benchmarking your role to assuring your rewards and benefits match your remuneration, successful salary negotiation can result in a high level of career satisfaction and progression.

It All Starts With Your Resume

An extensive, detailed and excellently written resume is the first and crucial step in winning your salary negotiations.

Every detail or factor that you will use to negotiate a salary MUST be included in your resume. This provides both yourself and the employer with documented evidence of your abilities, which will ultimately give rise to the money you are worth.

If your claims for better pay or benefits are not backed up by your resume, you won’t have much ground to stand on and the employer won’t have any concrete need to meet your financial expectations.

Don’t Share Your Salary Information

One of the biggest resume writing blunders I see is when candidates include their current or target salary in their resume. This is a critical mistake that can cost you both an interview opportunity and the chance to negotiate a higher remuneration. Why?

  • If an employer or recruiter knows your present salary or your target salary and decides the figure is too high, they might not bother even interviewing you for the role, because they think you are unaffordable.
  • If an employer or recruiter sees your salary as being too low, they might develop assumptions about how much you are worth and whether or not your experience and skills justify such a big jump up on the remuneration scale.
  • If you include your salary and it is below the client’s threshold, they can obviously take advantage of you by offering you slightly more than what you’ve asked for, even if this is much less than what you deserve or what the role is worth. This also means you lose any grounds for negotiation.

Similarly, you should avoid revealing any details about your salary throughout the interview process. If questioned, simply state that you would rather leave any salary conversations to the end, when or if a job offer is made. If you absolutely have to specify a figure, give the employer a salary range only.

Never Accept the First Offer

The first offer an employer makes is always intended to be the starting ground for negotiations. If you accept the first offer straight away, it means you’ve essentially lost your bargaining power and as a result, you can end up in a role where the salary is below par.

Instead of accepting, prepare to negotiate. Many employers will often expect a negotiation (particularly when they are recruiting for executive positions) and it is vital at this stage to make sure the financial reward corresponds to the skills and value that you offer.

When negotiating, you can:

  • Ask for more money – you will need to justify what abilities you have to warrant an increase. You can also use industry benchmarking here to support you.
  • Ask for additional benefits – this can include perks like a company car, company phone or laptop, paid expenses, yearly or quarterly bonuses or higher superannuation. Upgrading your benefits is especially ideal if a higher salary is not negotiable.
  • In some circumstances, you may also be able to negotiate better work conditions, such as the option of flexible hours, working from home or even shorter probation or notice periods.

Making a Counter Offer

When making a counter offer, you should remain friendly yet professional at all times. You should let the employer know that you are thrilled to be joining the business, but that the offer is not quite what you need or want in order to accept the role.

You can then ask the employer if there’s room for negotiation and specify exactly what changes to the contract you want to make.

Try to only make a counter offer once (rather than going back and forth numerous times) and use this opportunity to effectively cover off all your requests and concerns.

Resumes Australia is a successful career consultation firm offering salary negotiation, resume writing and career coaching packages. Learn more at Resumes Australia.


kylie hammond

About Kylie Hammond
Executive Search Consultant, Head-Hunter, HR Consultant, Executive Career Coach, Expert Resume Writer & Executive Talent Agent.

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