If you aren’t negotiating your salary when you’re in an interview or applying for a new job, chances are you’re leaving money on the table. So many people are afraid to discuss income, that they don’t want to address it all. This is only doing both parties a disservice. The employer may offer you less than you are comfortable accepting and you may accept less than what you’re worth. Learning how and what to properly negotiate will assist you and your future employer in the long run. Try out these tips below! :

Think about What Your Needs Are

When determining your pay rate/salary, it’s important to start with WHAT you need. Start by reviewing your bills and expenses first. Record a list of everything that you are currently paying. All of your bills, monthly payments, etc. Next, add in necessities for “survival” such as groceries, gas, spending, and housing. Look back at the past few weeks/months to see how much you have spent to come up with an average for each. With your bills and necessities combined, this should be your base number. Then give yourself some cushion for emergencies, savings, etc.

What Is It You Can Offer?

Once you have the base of what pay rate/salary you need, this is the fun part. Factor in what you are worth and what you can bring to the company.  Do you have extra education? A college degree? Master’s Degree? Doctorate? Any licenses or certifications? Years of experience in that specified field? All of these accolades play a role in your income. When you are finished with that, look at your performance as an employee. Are you hard-working, determined, helpful, organized, bring new ideas to the table? Are you an expert in that specific field? Know what YOU can do to help the company.

What Does the Pay Rate Equate to After Direct Deposit?

Next, look at what you will be taking home. Sure, salary proposals can sounds great, but what will you actually be able to access and take home? How much of the paycheck is going to taxes? 401k? Health Insurance? Factor in anything else to where your money may be going. The number you should want to strive for is the number after these deductions. So be conscious of this!

What Do the Same Positions in That Industry Make?

Do some research and see what other similar jobs in your area are paying. If the pay rate/salary is not listed anywhere, ask around to people you know who are in that profession. It may feel uncomfortable asking how much someone makes, but try to approach the conversation as “I am looking to get a job in the same field and I was wondering what the pay is like?” Instead of “How much do you make”. It keeps the topic light and allows you to gather the information you need to determine what type of income that position generally is bringing in. Every company is different. Larger companies may be able to pay more than smaller companies or vice versa, so also make sure you are staying conscious of this.

 The Myth behind Negotiating and What Really Matters

Money has a stigma around it that it shouldn’t be talked about or that it makes people uncomfortable. Which can be true. However, it’s not necessary. Having an open conversation about money especially when it’s between an employer and employee, will actually be beneficial to both parties. As long as it’s a respectable and fair discussion. Bridging the gap between what the employer is wanting to offer you, and what you are looking for is why the discussion is important. Keep this conversation open and light. Asking and knowing, is better than not asking at all and accepting less than you deserve or declining an offer based on a lack of negotiating.