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Fuel for Your Salary Negotiations

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Chad Mihalick

Owner at Malakye.com


Salary negotiations are a really tricky subject worth your thought, attention, understanding, homework, research, effort to find guidance, and rationality. It’s hugely important. You don’t want to ask for little and you don’t want to blow yourself out of the water. Anchoring yourself in a simple understanding of what’s at work can help you make wise decisions. Here’s a fast five on the topic which there are way, way more than 5 considerations.

1. Know your numbers. Your personal budget requirements can be a very good guide for a baseline number you need out of a job. Figure out what your take home salary would be based on the top line annual number of the job (if it’s an hourly job, multiple the hourly rate times 2,000 and that’s what the annualized income is). Make sure the take home number enables you to cover all of your expenses. You know you can’t work for less than that so that’s your low end number.

2. Understand companies have budgeted allowances for their jobs. Using a really extreme example to make it obvious – if you’re applying for a job that requires 2 years experience and ask for a base of 500K it’s just not going to happen. There are some very high paying jobs, and that could be possible on Wall Street or professional sports, but other than that not very likely. Use resources like Salary.com to get an idea of what standards are, ask around as much as you can, find out what standard salary ranges are for the job you’re pursuing, in the area you’re located, and for the type and size of company you’re targeting or interviewing with.

3. Think about offering up a range. An easy way to not pigeonhole yourself to a specific number is to offer a range and qualifying statement, like this one “My salary requirements are between _____ and _____ depending on the total compensation package.”

4. Consider value beyond dollars. In addition to raw dollars, don’t forget to consider the other benefits. If your medical benefits are covered by the company 100% and you don’t have to contribute anything out of pocket that puts more money in your pocket. But if there is an employee contribution required (either percentage or fixed dollar amount are standards) that can have a big impact on your monthly take home. In addition to that good considerations are 401K and employer matching contributions, paid time off, paid holidays, other perks like product discounts, work from home options, and other things that help you paint a picture of the total value. There can be a ton of hidden value that’s worth paying attention, learning about, and understanding.

5. Stay plugged into reality and be honest with yourself. If it works for you, it works and that’s great. If not, that’s okay and you need to keep looking. The only person who knows the answer to that is you and the only person who can make sure it’s honored is you. That’s probably one of the toughest parts of this process.

**And of course there’s your quality of life. Mental health is at the forefront of conversation at this point in time because of the taxing nature in the abrupt shift we all experienced due to the Covid-Crisis. It’s important to remember how impactful what happens in your life on a daily basis is to your overall well-being as a person.

It's always a good idea to talk with friends and peers about life's important decisions.  Networking on Malakye is a great way to find people who can offer you valuable insight and one day you'll be able to return that favor.


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