Improve your finances by negotiating your salary

Value shopping, coupon clipping and saving will trim the fat off a budget. But making more money will pump up financial muscle.

Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate showed improvement as it dropped to 10.4 percent, according to the state Labor Department. In March, 9,900 jobs were added in the area. To be sure, the pain is not yet over. However, increased income can turn a Band Aid into an antibiotic.

Whether newly hired or a company veteran, negotiating salary is an important component of financial security. Even in times of economic distress, asking for what you’re entitled to is acceptable, according to human resources and career coaching professionals.

“Companies are getting serious about pay for performance,” said Cathy Missildine-Martin, a board member for the Society for Human Resource Management in Atlanta. “If you’ve performed well, you should be confident about asking for money. When this economy heats up, they’ve got to be really serious about keeping their talent.”

Nevertheless, it is often an awkward topic to broach with employers, especially when so many people are taking furloughs, pay cuts or not working at all.

“Something about money makes people a little uncomfortable,” said Michelle O’Donnell from Georgia Coach Association. “It’s putting some worth on yourself and there’s a fear that a boss ‘May not think I’m worth this much.’ That’s where the anxiety comes from.”

So, how do you ask for more?

Know the job’s worth: There are multiple resources, from salary surveys done by professional organizations to Web sites like, and others that show what someone with your experience in the career field earns. After you’ve been offered a job, expect or ask for pay that is based on sound research, said Debbie Brown, president of D&B Consulting.

Know your worth: Document your accomplishments throughout the year for your performance review. Be prepared to confidently show how you’ve contributed to company goals. Be firm, but respectful.

Leave others out of it: The biggest no-no is mentioning the salary of a colleague. It’s about you and your job.

Give a range: When an application ask for your expected salary, give a range based on what the average pay of that position is. An incomplete application goes in another pile, said O’Donnell.

Question: Have you asked for a pay raise? Was it uncomfortable? In this climate,  is it proper to negotiate salary upon being hired or just take what they give you?

Follow me on Twitter @atlbargains or on Facebook at AJC Atlanta Bargain Hunter

4 comments Add your comment


April 27th, 2010
1:48 pm

i found this guy very helpful in salary negotiations.. his blog is good stuff too Rana i recommend you check it out


April 27th, 2010
2:11 pm

WOW where was this article yesterday when I needed it! I am one of those whose very confident about my job but not confident enough in asking for my worth, yesterday I stumbled and was uncomfortable when asked by the hiring manager what I was looking for, he did catch me off guard but I did all the correct things this article mentions now I only hope it goes through.


April 27th, 2010
2:52 pm

I realized my pay was on the lower end of the payscale for my company. I met with my manager and reiterated my performance over the past few years.(Consistently top sales officer). She agreed and submitted an increase for 7% along with a VP title. It was very uncomfortable for me but I am glad I had the discussion with her. She is also an amazing boss so my approach was also professional and humble.


April 27th, 2010
4:25 pm

Here’s one for you: Last July, I was asked to resign my position due to a “technical” violation of a company policy. At the time, I was making $42K with that company. They were nice and paid me for my remaining vacation and sick time that I had, plus an additional 2 weeks. After 22 weeks of job searching, I landed a job with a similar company doing pretty much the same job, but at $48K. Now after 4 months on the new job, the old company has called and wants to talk. They are offering $58K for the same job that I was doing.

What bugs me? Why I’m all of a sudden worth 16K more per year! It’s simle. My former boss has had to do some of the work that I used to do….and now he’s not wanting to do that any more. It’s not that he thinks the job is difficult, he just doesn’t want to lower hiself to that level. It’s making for a tough decision…..because now I really feel that they were taking advantage of me before and just being cheap!!