SALARY: SHARPENING YOUR NEGOTIATION SKILLSWe all need the occasional refresher to sharpen our negotiation skills. Especially when it comes to salary negotiation — which, hopefully, is not something anyone must do on a regular basis. According to Career Coach, Lisa Quast, most women are not comfortable negotiating their salary for a new job. In fact, they rarely do so when they are offered a position. However, Quast also says that it’s a learnable skill — all it takes is a little homework and practice. Understand the job. This includes knowing and understanding the responsibilities, requirements, and expectations of the position. Study the company. After your digital interview, when HR calls you in for your face to face, talk to the HR person to find out how they handle performance reviews, pay raises, and promotions. Investigate salary information. Look at the salary ranges based on education, experience, industry, and geography. This can be found at several online sources. Identify your value. Examine yourself and determine your own strengths and special skills that set you apart in the market place. Clarify what you want to make. Sit down with everything you’ve learned about salary information, your skill set, and your most recent salary history. Determine the salary you would like to target. Determine what is appropriate. Based on your research on similar jobs in your area, determine an appropriate salary range. Your target salary should fall within this range. Set your “walk-away” amount. Determine the lowest salary you will accept and why. Write down why you’d be unwilling to take a lower amount — you may need to have these reasons available for your discussion with the hiring manager during negotiations. Practice. Work with a friend or family member. Have them play the part of a manager offering you a lower salary than what you will accept. Then practice what you will say to the manager to persuade the manager to increase the offer. Most companies do not try to low-ball their salary offers. However, they will start below what they want to pay because they normally put in room for negotiation — reason enough to keep your negotiation skills sharp.