Negotiating salaries is a stressful endeavor for even the most confident individuals. For introverts or those without a long history of employment, the obstacles to a successful salary negotiation are even more difficult to overcome. Despite all of the potential pitfalls, however, salary negotiations do not have to be daunting. Here are some tips for successfully negotiating a higher salary.

1. Prepare for the Worst 

The first step to salary negotiations is knowing what the worst case scenario entails. If you’re imagining a lot of red-faced hiring managers rescinding a job offer and being highly insulted, you’re probably over-thinking. In a professional workplace, salary discussions and negotiations are a common occurrence. In truth, the worst case scenario is likely a something more along the lines of “Sorry, that’s just not in our budget for this position”. Making peace with this potential outcome will save you a lot of anxiety down the road. 

2. Be Realistic 

While salary negotiations are common and you should definitely attempt to improve your compensation before accepting a new position, you also need to be realistic. Know the salary ranges for people in similar positions in the metropolitan area, know your skill sets, and know your limitations. If you only have a year or two of professional experience, don’t ask for a salary that is common for veterans of the industry. Know that your salary and compensation will likely grow as you go and be comfortable with that fact. At the same time, don’t sell yourself short. Have a fair salary range in mind rather than a specific dollar amount and be willing to have some flexibility with your hiring managers. 

3. Take Benefits into Account 

Don’t stop at salary. Benefits such as insurance, vacation time, bonuses, retirement contributions, and travel allowances can be very beneficial to you. Be willing to negotiate these terms if your hiring managers cannot or will not alter their monetary offer. Sometimes it may be easier to get an extra week of vacation per year than it is to amend salary offers and matched contributions to a 401K may make up for small salary differences. 

4. Be Confident 

No matter what, be sure of yourself. Know what you are asking for and be able to justify it. Practice your delivery in the mirror and think up strong answers to common questions or rebuttals. Don’t be afraid to take notes with you into a meeting or negotiation if you don’t feel confident in your ability to remember all of your points. Above all, know your worth. 

5. Know Your Needs 

The single most important thing is that you know what you need from your employer. Make sure that you have a bottom line and do not be afraid to refuse or counter an offer that doesn’t meet your needs and respect your worth. If you have these needs laid out beforehand, you can always be confident in your decision to accept or decline an offer without worrying about being disappointed or struggling later on. Don’t forget, you can ask for a day or two to consider your options if negotiations seem to stall out or you are presented with a surprise scenario. 

Before your next salary negotiation, set yourself up for success by finding your worth, setting your expectations, and being confident in your delivery.