She Strives is discussing the dreaded salary negotiation. The title BBHMM hopefully adds some humor to the often dreaded topic.

Women on average make 79 cents to every dollar men earn, resulting in a wage gap of 21 percent. Additionally women of color make even less than 79 cents to every dollar men earn. African American women make about 64 cents, American Indian and Alaska Native women make 59 cents while Hispanic and Latin women take home about 54 cents to every dollar while Asian American women have the smallest pay gap at about 90 percent of men’s earnings. For young women the gap is even higher compared to the earnings of male-counterparts of the same age. The statistics are sad and I can say from personal experience they are true. My first foray into corporate America I had no real knowledge or understanding of negotiating salary and the inherit biases I would face. Equip yourself with the necessary tools to negotiate your salary.

1. Know your worth. Research median salaries for exact and similar positions in your area. The median wage for a Store Manager in Los Angeles is the not the same as in Little Rock, Arkansas. Know what others are making and determine what you want your desired salary to be. Remember you have to live off of this money.

2. Aim high. Employers are going to lowball you, so start your negotiation higher than what you actually want. This way you can work to settle somewhere in the middle, which will likely get to the salary you want or close to it.

3. Speak up and be open to negotiation. You were chosen for a reason. When negotiating salary be able to articulate why you should be given this wage. If it helps have your research regarding median salaries for positions with the same job duties and tasks you will be doing. Don’t fear the negotiation, embrace it. Think strategically and don’t take it personal, its business and YOU CAN DO THIS!

4. It’s not just your salary. When determining your wages, depending on your industry your offer letter may also state terms regarding bonuses and any additional income. Look into how your bonus is structured. Is your bonus guaranteed or based on performance? What determines the amount? You can also debate your bonus terms, and even your vacation days before you accept an offer letter. You only get one opportunity to secure everything before you sign on so be confident in everything you are agreeing to.

5. Pick your battles. Decide what you want to haggle over and what you can live with. If you are just starting and experience is more important go with the initial offer, it is your decision. If you are a seasoned expert and have the resume to prove it demand what your worth, and if the company wants you they will pay. You must know your strengths and be able to determine what you are willing to accept or sacrifice.

Remember, you are worth it. Don’t fear demanding what you are worth. Do you have any salary negotiating tips? Share the wealth (no pun intended)!