Self-Evaluate Before Salary Negotiations

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Salary negotiations are a tricky business, and it always pays to do a little self-evaluation before entering into one. Every candidate has a long list of skills and experience that can help boost his or her salary to new heights; at the same time, are the liabilities and issues that can potentially check even the most experienced pro’s bargaining power.

With all that in mind, here are some things to do before beginning a salary negotiation:

List Your Achievements: If you’re asking for more money, it’s useful to come to the table with a list of things you’ve done that have improved bottom lines or saved projects.

Compare Your Skills: Next, list your skills; compare them to what’s popular at the moment. A lot of overlap can give you some additional muscle when it comes to asking for higher pay—employers like pros who can do what’s in demand.

Review Your Performance: If you regularly exceed your job description, your employer will (hopefully) see little choice but to give you a pay bump.

And now for the liabilities…

Failed Projects: If you were deeply involved in a project that crashed and burned—even at another company—it can come back to haunt you in salary negotiations. In some cases, it takes years for the stigma associated with a high-profile failure to fade away.

You’re Already Overpaid: If you make a significant percentage higher than the average salary for someone of your skills and experience, it can be difficult to argue for even more cash.

Aging Skills: If you specialize in a programming language or skillset that few people need anymore, it could be that much harder (although not impossible) to negotiate for a significant pay-bump.

Whatever your situation, good luck: Even in a robust economy, sometimes it’s hard to convince companies to give you the higher salary you deserve.

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