Yep, you can and should negotiate your salary and benefits when looking for that career change. You can also expect hiring managers to ask salary related questions of your previous employers. Be sure to keep that information close to your chest until the appropriate moment. You need to convince the recruiter that you are THE candidate that they are searching for before discussing salary.

As a result of a great resume and interview, you have proved that you are “worth your salt”; you have done your pay scale homework and it’s time to negotiate. Be sure to include the benefit side of your compensation, especially healthcare. Healthcare costs have skyrocketed in the last several years and premiums may be 25% of your annual compensation package. Negotiable benefits can include paid time off, retirement savings, and dental, disability and life insurance. As for the word, Salary, it derives from the Latin word, salarium (“sal” is the Latin word for salt).

Locally, salaries have been on the rise over the last two years as a result of the tight labor market with many Miami Valley manufacturing salaries increasing by as much as 15% to 20%. We do not see an end to this trend, any time soon, as several of our clients continue to raise pay rates to attract and keep talent.

Rest assured, the recruiter you are talking with uses benchmarking tools to set salaries, as in comparing pay rates online with other companies in the industry and the same region. Salary.com is a great place to begin your salary and compensation research.

Always be comfortable in your shoes, if your prospective employer happens to offer a compensation package beyond your expectations, don’t hesitate, haggle for additional paid time off, healthcare benefits, etc. Hiring managers are expecting a counter offer and waiting for you to say it. Don’t disappoint, ask for more. Close the negotiation by saying, as I have done many times with car dealers, “If you can do (x), I am ready to be a part of the team.” This compromise tactic will diffuse most tense negotiations, putting the hiring manager at ease.

Be resolute, complete your career & salary research before you take the plunge into the job market and you will get noticed. Brighten up that resume, practice your interview technique and body language, and know the going rates of your skill set. Do this and your value will be front and center.

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