Salary Negotiation 101

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

Keep scrolling to see thelighthouse recommended salary negotiation process along with helpful resources, newsletters, podcasts, and more.




The Process

Step 1: Understand your market rate We recommend checking out comparable salaries on Glassdoor, reviewing the ranges for roles similar to yours on job boards, and understanding ranges at your own company. A great way to understand what your company is offering is to get involved in the hiring process and understand what candidates are asking for plus how leadership is responding to those numbers. 

Step 2: Think about your levers Base compensation is only one of many levers to consider when negotiating a raise. Other levers include bonus, vacation time, flexibility (work from home Fridays?), equity, part-time vs. full-time, benefits (401k, healthcare, gym access), growth (e.g. development programs that will arm you with new skills). Decide what's important to you and ask for it.

Step 3: Request a conversation Send your boss(es) an email asking for a meeting to discuss your compensation or you can frame it as a career check-in. You decide if you'll feel more confident meeting in person or over the phone. We also recommend not waiting until compensation review time, by this point budget may have already been allocated. Be proactive and make sure you give your boss the heads up on what you want.

Step 4: Prepare Make sure you go into the conversation feeling prepared. It's important to keep the emotion out of it and focus on 1) the impact you've made on the company 2) the market research that informed your ask  3) your ask. Practice with someone who knows your field and has the context. Looking to prepare? Book a lighthouse session.

Step 5: Have the conversation Start the conversation by demonstrating how grateful you are to them and the company for all the opportunities they've offered to you. Next, transition into how you're excited for what's next and are looking for a re-evaluation of your compensation package. Focus on the impact you've made to the company (your top 3 contributions and make it as quantitative as possible), your knowledge of market rates (here is where you reference the salary ranges you collected in step 1), your ask (be specific and realistic here), and wrap it up with how you're excited to keep contributing to and growing at the company.

Step 6: Follow Up At the end of the conversation, your boss will likely tell you that he or she will need to get back to you. It is completely fair to ask for a rough timeline. We also recommend sending a follow up email after your conversation where you thank them for their time and reiterate your ask and the logic behind it. Give them some time to figure it out and follow up over email/in-person if you haven't heard anything in 2-3 weeks. 

Step 7: Evaluate  At some point, your boss(es) will get back to you and share the updated offer. If it's in an in-person meeting, remind yourself that you don't need to respond right away. Once they tell you the number, you have the right to respond "Thank you for the offer. Let me take some time to think about it." Give yourself the time to reflect and evaluate and even come up with a counter-offer if you think it makes sense.

We know this is tough. It's personal and strategic and stressful. It's also incredibly important. That's why we created thelighthouse. To find out how we can help, book a 15 min informational call here.

Courses To Get The Hard Skills

Coursera Negotiating a Salary Price: Free Date: Online Develop a framework for analyzing and shaping negotiations, which will allow you to make principled arguments that persuade others.

Ladies Get Paid Negotiate Like a Pro Price: $95 Date: Online Learn the jargon and make a scary subject accessible and empowering.

General Assembly Salary Negotiation Price: $60 Date: November 22, 2019 Learn 3 keys to identifying how to prepare for a salary negotiation conversation and negotiation tactics.

Salary Negotiation Resources


  • What's one of the most important things to do during the negotiation process? Find out here.

  • The Muse shares 37 must-know tips for how to negotiate salary.

  • Make sure you do your homework and come prepared. Learn how to get a better offer from The Balanced Careers.

  • Are negotiation skills different for men and women? Check out this research from Harvard Law School.

Helpful Podcasts

  • Negotiate Anything is the top ranked negotiation podcast in the world and the perfect place to start.

  • 99U tackles the art of negotiation for more money and how to make it count.

  • Guidance Counselor 2.0 is making the job search process slightly easier, discussing everything from how to work with recruiters, write a good resume, how to negotiate salary and more.

Negotiation Newsletters

Check out The Black Swan Group's blog for all things negotiation.

Video Prep

  • Watch one or a few of these TED Talks to help prepare for the big conversation.

  • Consider these tips and strategies to increase your chances to increase your paycheck.

  • Learn the key to negotiating a higher salary at your new job, via GBR.

One-on-one support

Schedule a call with one of our members to start preparing for the salary negotiation process.

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