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Know your worth: Tips for salary negotiation

Establishing and maintaining your worth as a professional is not an easy task — especially when it comes to compensation. From directors to interns, and everyone  in between, many employees don’t have insight into salary expectations for their role. 

In fact, a 2018 working paper by Zoë B. Cullen and Ricardo Perez-Truglia that was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that “third-party aggregators of salary information, such as Glassdoor, PayScale, and Comparably play an important role for job seekers and employees.” The studies also show that this third-party research tends to happen in lieu of employees gathering salary information from their coworkers.

Regardless of where you find salary information, what remains most important — aside from accuracy — is that you do find what your work is worth.

In addition to what we already know about gender inequality and pay, there are a wide array of other factors that influence your salary. These can include your region, tenure, industry, and, perhaps most important, your confidence.

Below, we have gathered tips and advice from our network of trusted industry professionals to inspire your next negotiation. After all, there is no better time to stand up for your worth than the present. 

Looking for more on this topic? Check out our Salary negotiation guide.

Be intentional with your response

“Some tech recruiters are sharks that eat junior/mid-level people alive. Get an advisor and never make decisions on the phone. You are allowed to think about career decisions for more than 5 seconds.”

“Never commit in the first verbal response. You talk to others. Then, you respond in a careful email. That way, the more phone savvy recruiter can’t get you to commit to things that you shouldn’t.”


– Ryan P., industry professional

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Understand what’s important to you

“Increasing salary is a game of increasing one’s worth, expanding options, and limiting expendability. Keep in mind work-life balance is just as important as compensation.”

– Jason J., industry professional

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Use skills, successes, and facts in your negotiations

“Find the low, mid, and high points within your role. Then, objectively compare your skills to each of those points. Use the successes in your career to drive up your demand.”

“I use facts. Both in terms of industry norms and about my unique skills. Be open to feedback. Be clever on negotiating time off and training too.”

– Bryan H., industry professional

A headshot of Bryan H.

Be strategic in your approach

“Make them name the price first. Talk in general terms as much as possible. Try to get parallel offers. Apply for jobs so you have choice, rather than a serial ‘yes or no’ [for offers].”

– Golda V., industry professional

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Get comfortable with the topic

“Compensation has historically been considered a taboo conversation with your manager. Employees should be comfortable with negotiating their salary within their career.”

“Employees should have tangible details on the value they bring the company and why their salary should match it.”

– Kevin K., industry professional

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Know that you are worthy

“It only gets easier the more confident you are. Get past the imposter syndrome. You are in a lucrative industry.”

– Bryce C., industry professional

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Starting close to home: Networking with family and friends

When it comes to networking, it’s important to consider the context of your job search and the impact of your conversations on family and friends. The career coaches emphasize the need for authentic networking conversations.

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