The largest raises you'll likely ever get in your career are a result of your quitting your current job and going to work for another employer. At least that's true if you learn the strategies necessary to negotiate your salary and benefits. And, you must learn to avoid the minefield of mistakes common to most over-eager applicants.

A key concept to learn is this: Whoever mentions money first loses. That means if the employer asks you to mail in a salary history (one quarter of employers do) you need to simply ignore this request. Employers admit that they use the salary question as a device to screen out applicants. While you worry that the employer won't offer pay high enough, in reality, oftentimes, employers eliminate you because your previous salary was too low, thus automatically downgrading your skills. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than what happened to Kathy, one of my clients.

Kathy, who spent several years at a large prominent company, kept taking on new managerial duties as her job expanded. She excelled, but her requests to upgrade her salary seemed to get lost behind other items her boss found more important. When she left on maternity leave she just never went back to that company. Two years later she decided she wanted to return to work. In an early interview Kathy made the mistake of telling the hiring manager her previous salary. A friend inside the interviewing organization later told her that once the hiring manager heard the low figure her last employer had paid her, he devalued her skills, deeming them lower than the level he needed. It cost her the job. Too late, Kathy learned that the best salary negotiation technique is to never reveal a previous salary. She never made that mistake again. A few weeks later, she masterfully dodged the salary questions when interviewing with a prestigious high-tech company. Coupled with good answers to interview questions and solid work examples, Kathy landed the job that brought her a 45% increase in pay over the job she left behind.

Of course some people know they are underpaid and aren't sure how to negotiate. James had an MBA and wanted to get promoted but his company had a salary freeze. His worked was praised and he got new job titles, but no raises came his way. He got fed up and became a recent client of mine. He was motivated to get a better paying job. We created a resume that promoted his accomplishments and rehearsed how to deal with salary questions. An international marketing job caught his eye, and he was well prepared for the interview. He wrote to say, "My interviews went so well, I know they truly liked what they saw. Using the work examples as props and adopting a conversational approach was a real hit. I also followed your advice on salary, didn't disclose a thing."

He got hired, and wrote again to say, "I am really loving it here, and growth opportunities are everywhere. I just got my first paycheck, and WOW it's one BIG paycheck. Just wanted to say thanks again; this is more money than I ever dreamed I'd make."

Everyone should be paid a salary commensurate with his or her true value. There are three cardinal rules to all salary negotiations that you must master so that you can enjoy a more prosperous future.

Rule #1 -- Never reveal your previous salary.

Rule #2 -- Never break Rule #1.

Rule #3 -- Never EVER break Rule #1.

Why? Whoever mentions money first loses, so don't let it be you. This "secret" preserves your negotiating power! Once the employer decides they want to hire you they are more motivated to pay whatever it takes to entice you to join the team.

My advice is TRY to negotiate! Many applicants simply accept the offer as given. Too bad -- because in the last few months I've seen employers offer higher salaries and more lucrative benefits packages, simply because the prospective employee asked for them.

From India, Bangalore
Good to read, But How far it is practical in India, where employer insist employee to reveal the salary. Professional organization have a well defined salary structure and an experienced HR professional can easily judge your market value. Over Exaggeration can lose you the opportunity be very careful.
From India, Mumbai
That was really a good piece of knowledge that you have provided with. Presently i am looking for a change and that will surely help me in gaining the high package. but i have a question to ask
"Q. What if when the consultant calls then they ask for package, then i this case what could be the answer"? ( they ask what is the current CTC then what'?
Q. When in Personnel interview What should i say related to Expected Salary if they ask me, Because it sometimes happen the opportunity is good but fail because one has demanded more salary...?
I am working as a Hr Executive and looking for a change in my profile and presently i am getting 1.68lac P.A in hand and i am demanding 2.5 lac or 3.0 so, and i have normally 1.5 years of work exp in Corporate world.I am planning a change in big MNC?
is it incorrect to mention the Present CTC and Expected CTC on the resume?
Please guide.
Nidhi ( Hr Executive)

From India, New Delhi
Hi Nidhi,
The exact moral that i could extract is that reveal you package at the right time for a better hike.
So In India, I agree that they will question you about the salary. But generally this is asked by companies who have refrain to pay high packages. But If it were a good pay master, you can expect this question in the HR interview after all your technical or preliminary rounds.
So when you are aware that the company is a good pay master then put forward your expected as per their company standards.
Also include any pays, bonuses that you get which would not be a part of your ctc.
Consultancies you really dont need to worry.

From India, Bangalore
it was indeed a very true and good advise especially for people who work in Dubai Love Ancy
From Australia, Adelaide
Hi radsund,
Thank you for the reply......That really help me out...but i have one last query related to same....
As normally in India consultant generally call up for the vacant jobs on behalf of company and before proceeding further they ask first thing is Package as i have lost some good opportunities because of the same reason as i say my present salary is 14,000/-pm in hand and i expect 20,000/-pm in hand.
They do not go further in the same matter...i can also negotiate on the matter of money as it is my time to learn new things but they do not even consider me then in this case what should i say in First place to consultants that what is my CTC and what what is my expected salary... ?
If you could help me out in this....
Nidhi (Hr Executive)

From India, New Delhi
Hi Nidhi,
You can tell them something resonable say around 18k hike.
After you have attended the interviews you would be again asked for you ETC at that time you can convey what u really wanted. They wont take back as they have spent time and effort to conduct interviews and if you are the right candidate they will accept.
But one more thing when changing from one company to other expecting 25-35% hike is very reasonable and acceptable.

From India, Bangalore
I think the vice versa is also true. If you are sitting at the upper percentile of the salary range, you should be more than willing to tell the salary so that it covers up a lot of stuff. regards

Hi Radsund,
Thank you again for replying back....but i have one last query...hope i am bothering you.......If i say my ECTC is 18k then afterwards when I say that i m Expecting CTC as 20k then.....they will not comment why all of sunned you have changed your ECTC....
What reason i can give in that?
Thanx a tonne in advance for the Reply and i really appreciate that you are answering to my query.
Nidhi (Hr Executive)

From India, New Delhi
Hi Nidhi,
First time the consultants ask for the salary is for preliminary selection of ur profile. Once you are selected and then found eligible, You can put forth your expectation to the HR. As they found you very suitable for the requirement and spend their effort in selection and scrutiny so its not feasible for them to reject as such.
You can tell them that you would get a hike your old employer soon and so expecting the same here.

From India, Bangalore

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