Asking for a higher salary can be daunting. A lot of people don’t even bother when they should. On the one hand, you’ve got inflation going up and wages not reflecting it, but on the other hand there is crippling anxiety and imposter syndrome running rampant.

There’s a lot to think about when coming up with the proposed figure for the salary, never mind getting to the negotiation process. But we’re breaking it all down here in an easy guide. When we’re through, you’ll find winning a higher salary no harder than winning Mario Kart against a little brother with the controller not plugged in.

Compare Salaries

The first step of negotiation is deciding what you’re asking for. You’ll need to take a look at the proposed salary and a few other things and come to a conclusion on what you’re going to propose. You don’t want it to be unreasonable, or they’ll laugh you out of the room, so you’ll need to get a few comparisons to ensure what you’re asking for is fair.

The first comparison is to the national average. You can visit job sites that will ask you what industry you are in and your job title and compare the salary to the rest of the industry in your area. Another comparison is to other jobs you see online. This will give you an idea for if this potential job is low-balling you a little. While doing this, try to see if there is a reason they are offering this salary specifically, as it could be a tax liability issue. Take the time to investigate and perhaps ask advice from those in the know. 

If this isn’t the case, however, then there are ways to adjust your desired salary. Look at the schedule, company culture and location. If you are working somewhere inconvenient, the schedule makes no sense or your required to travel for work, you have grounds to adjust your desired salary to reflect these points.

From there, you can determine the target amount you would like and the lowest amount you will take for your salary range.

Consider Other Benefits

Salary isn’t the only thing you can negotiate on if things aren’t going your way. If you have adjusted and you’re still wondering if the job is worth it, you can ask for benefits to bridge that gap between “worth it” and “not worth it”. A cherry on top, so to speak.

For example, if the job is far away and the commute will eat into your take-home salary too much, you can ask for some mileage coverage or a company car to make things easier.

Before you go into the job, ask for a breakdown of the full compensation package and include increases to these benefits to any adjustments on negotiations when they come up.

Hone In Your Negotiation Style

Be prepared to deal with a lot of different types of negotiators. Don’t expect everyone will be reasonable adults and try to see it from your side. Everyone wants more money, including the other party. Sometimes it’s like getting blood from a stone.

You typically get two types of negotiators: hard style and soft style. A hard style negotiator is going to counter everything you say and might even be defensive. Keep your tone positive and your voice calm and simply put out all your reasons to justify the amount you’re asking for.

A soft-style negotiator is likely to be more receptive to what is best for you, but it might be harder due to the relationship there.

Pitch And Justify

When it comes down to putting the new salary on the table, don’t just leave it there for your boss or potential boss to stare at. You will need to start talking to justify why you deserve that salary.

There are the industry and practical reasons that are listed above, but there’s also you as an employee. Point to any background, experience, or anything unique that you bring to the table. Use your past roles in more competitive markets, more experience in a competing company, etc.

Put It All On The Table 

Not only should you show your negotiator all the brilliance you have to bring to the table, as well as the industry averages, but you can also point out your previous job’s salary. It can be very valuable if you are coming from a higher salary, showing that you are worth it.

You can also bring up job offers from other companies that might have offered a higher salary. Make sure to point out that you are very keen to work with this company, and maybe mention a reason why, but you can’t ignore that the salary offered is less than the one this other company put on the table.

Remember To Be Confident

The most important step and often the hardest is gaining confidence. Some confidence should come with the justifications you have uncovered, including the fact that you are worth it. You’ve proven it in your past roles and experience, you’ve proven it in your current job offers and you can prove it even more once you’re in the role.

Do whatever you need to do to feel confident. Some people sing in the car to get their voice and mind going for easier conversation. Some people stand in the superhero pose. Some people give their mirror a pep talk. Whatever it takes for you to speak with confidence is good.

If, after all that, your hiring manager can’t meet the amount you proposed, you might need to still pass on the job.

Try not to close with ultimatums like saying “this is my final offer”. Instead say, “I would need this change in order to make the job work for me.”

You’re ultimately saying you’re about to pass but giving them one last chance to really think about letting you.