21 Salary Errors to Avoid

  1. Engaging in wishful thinking - believing you are worth a lot more than you are currently being paid but having no credible evidence of what you really should be paid.

  2. Approaching the job search as an exercise in being clever and manipulative rather than being clear, correct, and competent in communicating your value to others.

  3. Failing to research salary options and comparables and thus having few supports to justify your worth.

  4. Failing to compile a list of specific accomplishments, including anecdotal one- to three-minute performance stories, that provide evidence of your value to employers.

  5. Revealing salary expectations on the resume or in a letter.

  6. Prematurely answering the question "What are your salary requirements?" before being offered the job.

  7. Raising the salary question rather than waiting for the employer to do so.

  8. Failing to ask questions about the company, job, and previous occupants of the position.

  9. Asking "Is this offer negotiable?"

  10. Quickly accepting the first offer, believing that's what the position is really worth and that an employer might be offended if one tries to negotiate.

  11. Accepting the offer on the spot.

  12. Accepting the offer primarily because of compensation.

  13. Trying to negotiate compensation during the first interview.

  14. Forgetting to calculate the value of benefits and thus only focusing on the gross salary figure.

  15. Trying to negotiate a specific salary figure rather than talking about a salary range.

  16. Negotiating over the telephone or by e-mail.

  17. Talking too much and listening too little.

  18. Focusing on your needs rather than the employer's needs.

  19. Trying to play "hardball."

  20. Expressing a negative attitude toward the employer's offer.

SOURCE: Adapted from Military Transition to Civilian Success (Impact Publications, 2006), pages 381-382. All rights reserved.