With job markets opening and closing like windows and significant cultural and economic changes taking place simultaneously, many people wonder if they should negotiate salary when an offer is presented and if so, exactly how to do it?

Here are some tips from the Executive Alliance Thought Leadership Team.

First, you need data. There are some outstanding resources that can help you acquire the salary range for the job you will be hired to do. Having this knowledge adds so much to your ability to negotiate – if you need to negotiate and if you do, what number makes sense.

The Salary.com website offers data to help you an initial salary or a pay raise. You can get salaries for specific job titles, but it also allows you to compare rates for similar jobs to give you the big picture.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics website has the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which is packed with well-organized salary info on all aspects of specific job titles.

This includes very useful categories such as median pay, education level, job responsibilities, room for advancement, work environment and even potential hazards to physical and mental health. Before the internet, this was the only source of salary data.

Glassdoor.com is another excellent resource. We all know Glassdoor collects company reviews, but it also acquires extensive salary information from actual employees of companies.

Payscale.com is an excellent resource with a gigantic database based on job title, industry, and region. The data comes from a combination of employees and salary numbers from 2,000 participating companies from 100+ industries.

The graph of salary ranges can also be customized, based on education level and years of experience.

Indeed.com also has terrific salary info and an international reach. Just choose a location, enter your job title, and receive salary information.

Finally, be sure to look at Paylab.com, a great site because it offers half a million salary profiles from the most recent 12 months.

Next week we’ll explain how you can use the information you have found using the above resources to build a case that will improve your chances of negotiating a higher salary.

Until next week Happy Hunting.