This is a follow up to last week’s article on the resources available to help you determine your true value in today’s market. If you missed it and would like to review the best salary resources, click here.

Once you have checked the salary you can expect with with at least two different resources, it won’t be difficult to formulate a range and begin your salary negotiations.

The range must start with the lowest number you can comfortably accept and should top out where your research points to the highest salary you can reasonably expect.

Once you have the range, you can build a case in preparation for the negotiation. Even if a company has hard and fast salary guidelines, it can’t hurt to negotiate.

Prepare to make your case
The more reasons you can gather to warrant a pay increase, combined with the research you have done, the better your chances of receiving it.

Consider past performance reviews, letters from customers and management, and accomplishments that have made a difference to fortify your pitch. I have seen candidates use a word doc, spreadsheet or even a PowerPoint to display this info.

Whether you’re negotiating with a new employer for a starting salary or asking for a raise, lead with how excited you are to be on the team.

The Pitch
Ideally, a company will ask you, “what are your salary requirements?” Your answer should be strong, factual, and simple.

Example: “My research from multiple databases shows the range of pay for this role to be $90,000 – $100,000 per year. With 10+ years of experience and a long list of accomplishments that have helped my previous companies and will have direct impact on your expectations for this role, I see myself at the top of that range.”

If you have received an offer before the negotiation began and feel it is less than adequate, you can ask if there is any flexibility with the pay range. Basically, all you want to do is get them to, once again, ask, “what are your salary requirements?”

If there is no wiggle room, you can see if there are other perks you can negotiate, such as extra paid time off, flexible hours, remote work, more PTO, commuter benefits or paid education.

Final Thoughts
Head into a salary negotiation with the proper compensation knowledge, a list of attributes, a polished, confident delivery and a strong summary statement.

If the company thinks you will take the job no matter what they give you, you are in a less powerful bargaining position. You must be clear, firm, direct and most of all… accurate.