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Research on salary negotiation has shown that as many as 4 out of 5 companies are willing to negotiate compensation. However, only a small percentage of job candidates actually enter into negotiations with a prospective employer.

Job offer negotiations are considered intimidating, but you don't have to be an expert negotiator to successfully negotiate a job offer. Simply knowing the basic rules and strategies of negotiation means you can prepare for and plan your negotiation properly and feel comfortable with the process.

Negotiating your salary is composed of two major stages. The first is the preparation and planning stage and the second is the actual negotiation where communication and information sharing takes place.

The preparation and planning stage involves research, gathering, and analyzing information and planning your actual negotiation strategy. Take these 5 easy steps to a successful negotiation:

1. Determine your competitive market-value. Knowing what you are worth in the marketplace is essential to effective job offer negotiation. It provides you with a benchmark for any job offer you receive.

2. Determine your company-value. Understand what you are worth to this specific company and how much bargaining power you really have. How much does this specific company need your skills at this point in time?

3. Calculate your acceptable salary range. You want to earn enough to support your lifestyle. Use an "expenses calculator" to know how much money you need to live on and how much money you would like to live on. These amounts give you your acceptable salarly range.

4. Evaluate the entire compensation package including benefits. Look at both direct and indirect benefits. Compute the dollar worth of these benefits and add this figure to the base salary for a more accurate picture of the compensation amount.

5. Plan your actual job offer negotiations using all the information and data you have gathered.

Following each step diligently, along with employing a confident attitude, will increase your chances of a successful outcome. GOOD LUCK!!

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