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Earning what you want? Didn’t think so

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Looking for a better-paying job? We’d advise gauging your actual marketability first in the great, wide world by snagging a job offer, then taking it back to your boss. But you can do it the other way, too, if you just want to be paid the full market rate at a current job that you love.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for negotiating the salary you’re worth:

1. Find out the going rate. Your boss isn’t stupid, at least not on this score. Simply stating that competitors pay better isn’t going to sway anyone. Research salary surveys and post questions one-mail lists to stockpile some real ammo. Of course, a hard job offer is the best proof of going rates.

2. Don’t fudge your earnings. Prospective employers may ask for a W-2. They also can ask previous employers what you were paid.

3. Prove your worth. Show a history of your value in cold, hard cash:  return on investment, conversion rates, cost savings, whatever. It boils down to how you helped your organization thrive and your boss look good.

4. Don’t nickel-and-dime. This is really important to your image as a leader. Once the offering employer has settled on a number within the range you said was acceptable, don’t haggle. You might seem cagey or dishonest.

5. Avoid extravagant luxuries. The current business climate leaves employers with little stomach for unreasonable perks. Examples:  first-class travel, fancy office furniture, limo service. Take what’s offered.

6. Go for performance incentives. If you need to tip the compensation upward to make an offer worthwhile, but you’re tied to a certain salary level, ask for benefits that cost little but will ratchet up your performance. Extra vacation for hitting certain targets won’t cost the employer much, for instance, and shows that you’re willing to work hard.

— Adapted from “Bargaining for Bigger Bucks,” Beth Brophy, Business 2.0.

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