Career Resources

Tips To Negotiate Salaries: How To Get The Salary You Want

Sarah Koszyk MA RD


Negotiation is an art form and an important skill to develop. People negotiate every day, both verbally and non-verbally, from driving, running errands, communicating with family members, to communicating in the workforce. After you land the job interview by impressing your new employers with your knowledge and personality, how do you use your negotiation skills to get a higher paying salary? This article will provide you with key tips to negotiate a higher starting salary through proper preparation, positive attitude, and stellar presentation.

Proper Preparation: Research the company you are interviewing with to see what the base pay is. Have a clear idea of minimum expected salary. Susan Laramee, MS, RD, LDN, FADA, former recruitment manager at Sodexo and recent retiree advises, “As a former recruitment manager, I would offer two points to consider regarding salary negotiations: During the interview phase, the recruiter will ask questions to establish the salary range that you are seeking for the position to assure that your expectations are within the range that they are able to offer. All positions have a budget that needs to be met; if you are not flexible and within the range they may not interview you as there is no need to waste everyone’s time. If your expectations exceed the budget, and there are other qualified candidates you will not likely move forward in the interview process. At entry level there is not a great deal of room to negotiate. Vacation (or paid time off) is generally not negotiable as there is a level assigned to each job, and in fairness to current employees, everyone has the same benefit. When you receive a job offer, this is the best to try to negotiate a salary, but be realistic (generally 5-10%) unless it is an especially unique position and you are uniquely qualified. Things you can negotiate are a review in 6 months based on agreed upon goals; a position review to see if the position can be reclassified to a higher pay grade/range (again, based on achievement or expanded scope of responsibility).” Determine what your minimum pay you will accept will be and make sure it aligns with what the company can offer based on Laramee’s 5-10% range.

Positive Attitude: Know your worth and value and maintain a positive, can-do attitude. When negotiating salaries, you are there to show the employer how you can enhance, optimize, and grow their company. Therefore, show them your worth with your confidence in your abilities and qualifications. Confidence will show the employer your benefit and overall potential contribution to the company. Mention awards and compensation you’ve received in the past for previous performances so you can be viewed as an achiever. If you have no previous experience in the job force, discuss other times you’ve been recognized for your successes.

Stellar Presentation: Stuart Diamond, author of Getting More: How You Can Negotiate To Succeed In Work And Life, recommends “listen first to the other side and ask questions. Validate their perceptions. In order to persuade them, you need to listen to what they are saying. The more you value them, the more they will listen to you.” Once you have an idea of where they are coming from, you can summarize what you are hearing. Next, present how your skills and expertise will align with their needs. Now you’ve incorporated your goals with their expectations, which can result in a successful negotiation.

Laramee closes with 3 final points: “Do some homework ahead of time on salary expectations to help you negotiate more realistically, which in the end will help you get near your goal. Salary should be discussed at each phase of the interview and hiring process. Be open and be clear about your goals: know what you want and what you will offer in return.”

Additional Resources:

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provides a free guide for members regarding compensation 2013 based on geographical location and more.

Stuart Diamond’s book: Getting More: How You Can Negotiate To Succeed In Work And Life


Sarah Koszyk is founder of Family. Food. Fiesta. A family-based wellness program and blog focusing on recipes, family health tips, and videos with kids cooking in the kitchen. She is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach specializing in sports nutrition and adult and pediatric weight management. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.

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