You’ve almost reached the finish line. You’ve landed an offer for the job you really wanted — all you need to do now is negotiate your salary. If you feel hesitant about asking for more than what you were offered, you’re not the first. According to a recent Indeed survey, 58% of respondents said they never or rarely negotiate their pay.

The time to go for what you want is now. However, be careful. Indeed recommends that you counter the initial offer no more than twice. Additionally, you should avoid trying to renegotiate a salary offer that you’ve previously agreed to because it will show how little regard you have for the employer’s time.

To start, do not enter negotiations blindly. After all, your preparation could make the difference between an offer that’s thousands more than the initial offer. To help you get ready for what may be a financial turning point, here are 10 ways to negotiate a job offer successfully.

Don't Let Fear Hold You Back

Negotiating a job offer can be scary because the outcome is unknown, but employers are likely expecting you to do so.

“Many people are afraid that negotiating their salary will cause them to lose their job offer,” said SoFi career expert Ashley Stahl. “This is simply not true. Employers expect a counteroffer, so negotiation is low-risk. Remember that you deserve the optimum salary, so don’t underestimate yourself and be afraid to ask for a number that matches your value.”

Don't Make It Personal

Stahl said to remember that negotiating your salary is strictly business.

“I try to handle matters of money as if I’m placing my order at a sandwich shop– neutral, factual, and most importantly, impersonal,” Stahl said. “By accepting a job offer, you’re making an exchange of your time and energy for a monetary value based on the job market. No matter what challenges you’re facing, your salary should only correlate with the responsibility of your job, not your personal life.”

Here’s what Stahl recommends doing as an alternative:

“Instead, leverage your resume to garner higher pay (if the market compensation rates affirm it’s a valid request), and be honest with yourself: If you have a personal challenge for which you need to make more money, and you have the skill set to back it, remember the freedom you have to do better and find a job that is paying more.”

 

Know Your Value

Sharlene Mohlman, financial empowerment coach, negotiated her salary for her previous job with Sun Life Financial. “It’s really important that you research the going rate for your role in the industry. If not, you are not likely to get the higher salary that you are looking for. I researched the going rate for my role and negotiated it for $5,000 more than they initially offered. This is because I knew what the going rate was and I was able to expand on what I brought to the table, including the past experience and connections I had.”

Prepare Your Talking Points in Advance

Lisa Anne, the owner of The Financial Cookbook, recommends that you mention your value, worth and what you will bring to the organization and role. So take some time to work out what you will say before you start negotiating.
She also notes, “When you go to negotiate, make sure they understand the opportunity cost of you leaving your current job. For you to leave your current job, there are other things you will be navigating (starting a new company, learning a new job role, building relationships with new people). Basically, there are things unrelated to the job that you will have to undergo. Therefore, to make the change worth it to you, you will need enough in salary to compensate for that change.”
Anne also advises that you put together a 30-60-90 day plan to show the employer you are serious about the job. Then, you’ll need to let the hiring manager know that to implement those strategies you’ll need proper compensation, she said.

In order to nail all this, once you’ve decided on your bottom line and prepared your talking points, Claudia T. Miller, career coach, recommends setting aside at least two to three hours to practice. Doing so can help you deliver a smooth and convincing case for a higher salary.

Don't Use a Range

Sean Brennan, CMO for Coffee Channel, said that sometimes, in an effort to seem humble, a potential employee will give a salary range, but that’s a mistake. 

“When you state a range, what you’re really saying is, “I’d like to make that figure at the top,” Brennan said. “However, nine times out of 10, what the potential employer sees is that they can get away with paying you the number at the bottom of the range. Business is business, after all.”

Be Firm When It Comes to Your Bottom Line

Brennan advises those seeking salary negotiations to come to the table knowing their worth and not accepting less than their bottom line. “You must be firm and be confident enough in your ability to find another job (I promise, more opportunities will arise),” he said. “If a potential employer isn’t paying what you need, there’s no sense in going forward with that opportunity. Maybe playing hardball will have them coming back to you a few days later with a better offer, maybe not. The important thing is to not budge on your bottom line.”

Plan the Right Timing

“Timing matters — give some space between the offer, the counter-offer, final acceptance, and so on,” said Donna Shannon, president of Personal Touch Career Services. “There is a reason why car dealerships make you wait between each round of the negotiations.”
Hiring managers will give you at least a day — and sometimes up to one week — to consider salary offers, according to Indeed. If you are considering more than one job offer, having additional time will allow you to consider each offer and make the right decision.

Factor In the Benefits

If the salary offered is close but not quite what you wanted, you may want to consider the worth of the benefits offered.

“A salary that is less than what you asked for may be loaded with additional benefits,” said Samantha Moss, editor and content ambassador at Romantific. “Consider perks like health insurance and extra vacation days — these are some of the most attractive packages that a reasonable salary might include. On the other hand, a huge salary may not give you the perk of having flexible work hours, so weigh your options carefully.”

Be Ready To Walk Away

Israel Gaudette, the founder of Link Tracker Pro, said that you should be prepared to walk away. He was able to successfully negotiate his salary on his first job by using this tactic.

“During the negotiation, you need to ensure to manage your emotions and don’t let your doubts break you. The key here is not establishing your worth in front of the hiring manager or being aggressive. Instead, you need to stick to what you want. If you can’t get it, don’t hesitate to walk away. With it, you’ll be arming yourself with immense power. And when the employer senses it, there’s no way you’ll not win them over.”

Ask For a Written Offer Letter

Once you get a salary offer that meets your request, Stahl recommends that you ask for the offer in writing before saying yes. “And if they didn’t give you one yet, and you’re on the phone receiving the offer, the vibe is this: Be grateful, excited, and comfortable to ask when you’ll be seeing it as a written offer letter,” Stahl said. “While the offer may be a clear YES for you, don’t say yes on the phone because the truth of the matter is that you don’t know what the full offer is — benefits, and more — until you’ve taken the time to read it. This sort of diligence speaks volumes about the self-love and respect you build with yourself — and it also points to being the sort of detail-oriented employee that every company needs.”