Should You Negotiate Your Starting Salary? Yes!

Sheena Stemler All, Job Search Tips Leave a Comment


There comes a time in every job seeker’s life when he or she must discuss this sticky topic with potential employers: salary. “Salary” is not a swear word, but some people react to it as if it were. Do you feel you can confidently discuss your starting salary with potential employers?

It’s great to be able to handle a professional conversation about money with finesse, but it’s even better to be well versed in the art of salary negotiation. Salary negotiation is a skill that every job seeker can and should possess. Before this skill can be acquired, however, individuals must overcome mental barriers that prevent discussion of money in a professional setting.

Overcome Mental Barriers to Discussing Money

Here are a few beliefs most job seekers ascribe to that prevent them from negotiating the salaries they deserve:


  • “If I ask for a higher starting salary, I’ll seem high maintenance.”


  • “If I try to negotiate my salary, employers will rescind their offers to hire me.”


  • “It’s rude to negotiate a starting salary.”


Did you know that most employers do not consider it rude when someone calmly and respectfully negotiates a starting salary? The vast majority of employers will not be threatened by your negotiating skills, nor will they consider you “high maintenance” for using them. On the contrary, they’ll probably be impressed by your self-confidence, professionalism and ability to communicate what you want and need.

Educate Yourself About What You Should Be Paid

What salary should you receive for the position you were just offered? If you are unsure, you will not be able to confidently negotiate your starting salary. Forbes’ Lisa Quast advises job seekers to “spend adequate time conducting research to find out average salaries and salary ranges for similar jobs in your area, industry and geography.” She recommends checking out websites like,,,,, and for salary-related information.

The Right Way to Talk About Money with an Employer

When discussing your starting salary with a potential employer, be sure to use proper etiquette. For example…


— Don’t mention your salary before an employer does.

— Until you know precisely what a position will require from you, don’t discuss compensation.

— Whatever you do, don’t lie about your current salary to get an employer to raise their offer.

— Don’t behave aggressively when discussing money in a professional setting. It’s good to be assertive, but not aggressive.


Too many job seekers have forgone salary negotiation in the name of politeness, and in doing so have not been paid what they were worth. This doesn’t have to happen to you. Take charge of your financial future by being bold, confident and assertive about your starting salary.



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