How to negotiate your salary and know your worth

Negotiating a salary is always nerve-racking but it’s the key to getting what you’re worth. 

In this episode of In The Know’s Getting Rich, Leanna Haakons speaks with financial expert Carmen Perez about navigating gender and racial wage gaps to get the pay you deserve. Haakons is the author of Young, Fun and Financially Free, a guide on how to master personal finance. 

“Negotiating is a necessary skill in the workplace. Factor in the gender and racial wage gap, it’s more important than ever to get comfortable talking about numbers,” Perez says. 

1. Know what you’re worth

“Before you get what you’re worth, you have to know what you’re worth,” Haakons says. “You really have to do your research. What is your potential worth and income opportunity in that field?” 

Haakons recommends using resources like Glassdoor,, and LinkedIn to figure out what you should be earning. Another option is reaching out to people who have the job that you want for information. Be sure to ask a diverse group of people, so you have a clearer idea of the salary range. 

2. Aim high

Once you’ve determined an accurate salary range, don’t low-ball yourself at the negotiating table.

“Start near the high end of that range or even within 10 percent above it. Don’t be afraid,” Haakons advises. “Do anything you can to get them to put a number out first, but if you can’t shoot higher; not too high, so you feel confident that it might be possible for you to get that.” 

3. Walk away when necessary 

Don’t be afraid to seek out better employment opportunities if you’re not being valued.

“If the potential employers are trying to lowball you out of that established range, be willing to walk away,” Perez says. “It’s not easy and it takes a lot of guts but once the adrenaline wears off, you’re going to be so proud of yourself.” 

4. Network

Taking a potential mentor out for coffee or lunch, paying the bill and respecting their time by being punctual can lead to some career-changing connections. 

“Your network is your net worth. I 100 percent believe that,” Haakons says. “There were many times when I reached out to people on LinkedIn, I said, ‘Hi, it looks like you have a great job, I would love to connect with you and learn more about what you do.'” 

If you liked this story, check out more episodes of Getting Rich here.

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