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I’m Jacob Cass, the founder of JUST™ Creative. I’m a multi-disciplinary graphic designer, working with clients all around the world. My specialty is logo & brand identity design. JUST™ Get in touch.

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A Must Know Salary Negotiation Tip

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Over the past few weeks I’ve been job hunting in New York and during this time, I’ve been researching a lot on how to negotiate salaries. One of the best tips I picked up, was when you are asked to state your expected compensation, is to state an amount that will make you blush.

“Your ideal number should make you blush a little – or it’s not high enough.”

With this said, it should also pass the ‘laughable test‘ meaning that the amount should not make the employer laugh. You need to aim just below this laughable number.

It takes a lot of practice, and every market place is different but after a while you will soon find out your worth.

Have a salary negotiation tip to share? Please do.

Photo by peasap.


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19 JUST™ Creative Comments

  • Jaime Reply

    My husband was offered his dream job with a starting salary of 45K. He said, no way, 60K is the minimum (was making 67 in his current). They wanted him, and it was his dream job. So he took a cut and they paid him 15K more.

    The bottom line is – are you the one that they want? If you have made it to negotiations, yes. Decide what is the minimum salary that you require, and don’t budge less than that.

    Here’s a funny twist. One year later, my husband goes into his annual review. The boss had stated after his hire that he was not eligible for a raise for a few years, given the initial negotiations. But then in his review, they said, “We really like you. What is it going to take to keep you here?” Over and over. He didn’t bite on the subtle offer to enter into another negotiation at the one year mark. Was this a good move, or a stupid one? Perhaps they were just seeing if he was a money hungry ladder climber? We may never know. Perhaps at the two year review, he’ll have another chance to re-negotiate.

  • 51 Website Designs Reply

    Great post Jacob. Would this work with clients as well, while being a freelance web designer?

  • Evan Reply

    Thanks for the tip :)
    I’ll be looking for something new next year, I’ll be sure to test this out.

  • movado outlet Reply

    I recently upped my salary in my current job. Its important to believe what you are worth and that you deserve more. Designers are often undervalued and you do need to spell this out sometimes..

  • Tom Reply

    Did this when I went to the Managing Director to ask for more £££. Asked for a 40% pay increase, ended up walking out with 35% increase and a brand new spanking macbook pro :D

  • Alejandro Reply

    Indeed -

    Great advice here. Underselling yourself is one of the easiest things to do, and also one of the most potentially damaging things.

    Make sure and check out payscale.com, salary.com, and glassdoor.com to find a composite of other peoples’ salaries who live in your area and have comparable expertise to your own. Then you will have done some research and you can be prepared. Always aim high because the negotiation process will bring your number down a little.

    @51 Websites – If you have a long list of clients and a killer reputation, then you can always ask for a little higher than you are worth. If you are at the early stages of a design career, you’d be better consider who the client is and try hard to find out their budget before throwing out a high number.

  • Evan Wilson Reply

    Here’s another tip: Ask the interviewer instead what the proposed salary or salary range is. When he tells you, sit silently across from him and stare at him — no matter how interminable it seems you’re doing this. Often after a while, you’ll get a commitment to see if the ante can be upped.

  • Logo Reviews Reply

    This makes me remember my first job interview, when I was really eager to work and had no other options. Working for peanuts was the only good option, I did say yes to the offer.

    And my last job, where my salary increased up to 200% in 6 months time period. Its rate but this does happen.

    One should definitely not underestimate himself. That can only be the case, when you really work at improving your skills.

    Jacob, you are very right with your suggestion. I do agree with you. Just like to add something, that it really depends upon the individual too.

    Some may successfully use this and get very successful in salary negotiation. But other times, when you really confuse yourself with high figures upfront. It can absolutely damage, make them laugh, as Jacob explained. You need to see your situation too and check for the possible reactions.

    Hope we all will double our income next year! :)

  • Virtual Agents Reply

    Salary negotiation is not about winning – unless both parties win. If either party feels they have capitulated, not negotiated, both parties lose.

  • Cloudburst Web Design Reply

    It’s good advice all around. I would add that salary research is a very important part, especially if an applicant lacks experience to really know the right salary number to throw out there. I think the same can also be said for discussing price with potential clients: know the value of your work, and don’t undervalue that!

  • Nexstair Reply

    Thanks for nice tip. I would test it

  • How Much Do I Make? Reply

    Maybe it’s just a linguistic quibble, but I wouldn’t say I’ve found out “what [I'm] worth” when assigned a salary… Anyway, the blush test is a good tip.

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Thank you everyone for your stories and tips, I appreciate reading all of them!

  • Jide Reply

    Great post “J”. This will sure help me out a lot with any negotiations i get into from now on. You’re doing a great job. Please keep it up. I’m so addicted to your website now!

  • Ian Reply

    Hi Jacob, the blushing and laughing stuff is great, but we don´t eat money. Just pick the job you like most. And if you´re good you´re gonna have so much work after few years you can even work for the money which exceeds the laughing limit today.

  • Luis Fabrga Reply

    A tip my father told me a few days ago about salary negotiation was that when asked what is your desired salary is better to ask them the following question: What is the estimated salary for this position?

    Sometimes they may be willing to pay you more than you expected, but since you give out your desired salary first you will lose that opportunity.

    Also, it is very important to negotiate the benefits, annual commissions, and others.

    @luisfabrega

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Ian,
    I get what you mean by we don’t eat money, but even the best still have to negotiate.

    Luis,
    This works sometimes but I find that most of the time the salary range is already posted.

  • Manu Reply

    I have recently completed my firts professional Portfolio – http://layoutworkshop.com/ – and started sending my resume to local job offerings. Unfortunately no-one responded, but I think my skills are already studio-ready. The thing that is a major problem I think is that where I live there is no need for medium-skilled designers. I live Poznan, one of the biggest cities in Poland (600k pop) and design agencies need either 50$-per-webdesign guys to make some truly bad designs or real professionals which are making thousands of $$ already in freelance.

    When I am trying to find some freelance positions in the US then I am mostly hitting the same wall. When I go under budget, then some Indian or Pakistanian comapanies are doing things 4 times cheaper than me and 4 times worse than me, and when I am trying to get some proper connection then they are picking either someone local or someone with huge experience.

    I am always trying to up my skills and I am ready to learn but I am finding the first step really big.

    You guys know any proper US work marketplace with freelance positions in medium range? I have tried Freelance Switch but in such a places there will be always someone better than me.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    And thanks Jacob for valuable tips on you website, enjoy every single one :)

  • Janna Hagan Reply

    Negotiating salary scares me. (I think it’s a women thing). Thanks for the tip though, will be useful when I start applying for jobs.

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