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PODCAST: How to negotiate salary depending on your career level

Written on Feb 11, 2021

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager 

Even during a pandemic it’s important – and valuable – to negotiate salary, says Kris McGuigan. 

“It's always worthwhile to negotiate your salary, even in a troubled marketplace,” said McGuigan, CEO and founder of career services firm Professional Courage in the latest episode of The State of Business podcast. 

Woman smiling for camera.

The best time to negotiate salary is once you’ve received an offer during the hiring process; once you’re in an organization, then the best time to negotiate is before a performance evaluation and before annual budgets have been set. 

Regardless of your salary level, McGuigan said to be prepared with two things during the negotiation: position value in the marketplace, and what you can add to a company’s bottom line. The first is the rate for that role in a specific geographic region, and the second speaks to the impact that position and experience will make in the company. 

For those in entry-level positions, it’s helpful to practice what to say ahead of time since negotiating salary might be a new experience. 

“Negotiation is like a muscle,” she said. “So, the more that you practice, the stronger you become. The ability to negotiate anything in life can help you to still feel stronger about your presence when you come forward to have that salary negotiation.” 

Professionals in the middle of their career journey can benefit from emphasizing their specific career accomplishments and how that correlates and enhances the mission and goals of the organization. 

“By now they've been in a role, whether it's within an existing company or maybe a past company, that they can speak to meeting tight deadlines, managing projects, increasing sales, lead generation and solid contributions,” she said. 

One of the most common mistakes McGuigan said she hears is individuals asking because they’ve been at the company for a certain number of years or have had life changes that necessitate a higher salary. It’s crucial to go into that conversation prepared and consider the ROI from the company’s perspective. 

“This can make an exponential difference in your career journey,” she said. “Engage in that negotiation and see it as an opportunity to learn and to experience and strengthen that muscle.” 

Listen to the episode now, and let Jessica Salerno know what you would like to hear covered in future episodes.