By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC
[email protected]

When it comes to job satisfaction, money is not everything.
It is important to be paid fairly for your expertise and experience, but you also want to feel valued and be able to meet your personal needs.
Negotiating salary is a bit like walking a tight rope. You have to find the right balance. Some people – even executive level professionals – can feel awkward trying to ask for what they need while respecting the company they are working for (or looking to work for).
Here are several key strategies for negotiating the salary you deserve.
Be Clear About What Works For You
First, identify the maximum amount that would represent a stellar offer. Then, figure out the minimum you would like to be paid.
So long as you are in between the two values, there is room for negotiation. But, never go below the minimum you have established.
Second, never start low and try to work your way up. This rarely works, and leaves you with no room for negotiation, as you’ve already laid your cards on the table. Instead, start high and work your way down if necessary.
Third, be honest about your needs. If a win-win scenario cannot be achieved, then one side is always going to end up resenting the other and the arrangement is not going to work out.
Research The Role You are Applying For
Ensure that you know everything there is to know about the role you are applying for. 
The most important question to ask is: ‘what are others in the same role being paid?’ This is something you should be aware of as you look to negotiate your salary. If possible, talk to current or former employees. Alumni of your college or university who hold similar positions or who are employed by the same company may provide you with useful information. LinkedIn can be a good source of contacts for this.
If you quote an amount that is too low, they may assume that you do not have the experience and skills necessary to take the job.
If you quote an amount that is in line with what others in similar roles are being paid, they will know that you are in the right ballpark.
Do not be afraid to ask for more based on the maximums and minimums you have established as guidelines for yourself.
Salary Calculators are a terrific aid for your research.;; ; Robert Half International Salary Guides (accounting, finance, financial services, technology, legal, creative positions, administrative jobs) are some that I use to investigate the latest salary information.
Demonstrate Your Value
As a leader, you must be able to demonstrate the value you can bring to a company. You need concrete examples of how you have increased a company’s bottom line, drove revenue, cut expenses, boosted productivity and efficiency, and so on.
These examples should always be relevant to the specific company or role you are applying to.
If there is enough evidence to suggest that you can help a business grow, an employer is more likely to take you seriously and pay top dollar for your tenure.
Prove Your Worth
Negotiations do not always go as planned and you may not get the amount you have asked for. The company may not have the resources to give you the amount you are asking for, or they may be looking for you to prove your worth first.
Work with the boss or HR department to come up with ideas on what you can do to prove your worth and set up deadlines for these goals. Take notes on these conversations and then report on your progress regularly. As you meet targets, you will likely get raises.
Additionally, it is important to understand that sometimes items besides salary are up for negotiation. This includes items like your preferred vacation accrual, work schedule, training opportunities, and tuition reimbursement.
So, if you can negotiate for favorable terms in this regard, the job may still be worth taking. Sometimes, you can work up to your salary goals over the long term.
Final Thoughts
Take genuine interest in the company and role you are applying for. Understand that their needs are and what they are looking for in a new hire. You will be better able to serve the company in the capacity they need to help them grow and move forward. And, that will increase your worth as a leader.
Let’s get to work!
If you have questions about your executive career search, please contact me at 203-323-9977 or [email protected]