Learn how to snag a great salary without putting the job offer in jeopardy.
Step 1: Find out what similar positions pay both nationally and in your region by typing "salary comparison" into a search engine for web sites that provide this information.
Step 2: Wait to discuss salary until the interviewer has indicated interest in offering you the job – otherwise, you risk alienating them right off the bat.
Step 3: Try to get them to tip their hand first by asking what the position pays. Generally, the first person to name a number is the one who will be on the losing end of the negotiation.
TIP: Asking for the "salary range" gives you both some wiggle room.
Step 4: If they insist you give your salary requirements first, give them the number you arrived at based on your experience, your salary history, and the research you've done on the market value of similar positions in your region. Then add another 10 percent for good measure. If your number is negotiable, say so.
Step 5: Once they make a firm offer, see if you can push it higher by offering a polite, cogent argument for why you are worth more to them. Back up the argument with quantitative evidence relating to the business you'll bring to the company, or how you'll save money by improving efficiency.
TIP: Exude confidence. If you enter the negotiation feeling like you don't deserve a higher salary, your potential employer will know you aren't going to argue when they offer you less.
Step 6: After they counter your argument, remain quiet for a beat or two, as though you're pondering what they've said. The ensuing – and uncomfortable – silence just might prompt them to cough up some more dough.
Step 7: They're not budging? Try to negotiate other perks, like more vacation time. If they are asking you to take a significant pay cut, see if you can negotiate a four-day work week or working from home.
FACT: Women who consistently negotiate their salary increases earn at least $1 million more throughout their careers than women who just accept what is offered, according to one study.