I don't like to brag, but credit (to me!!) where credit's due: I'm a pretty good salary negotiator.
I don't always get exactly what I ask for (and who does, right?), but I do get something, and feel better about myself personally and professionally when I do.
Now I am by no means a salary negotiation expert — simply a proponent of asking for more, knowing your worth, and all that jazz. But what I *do* know is that THIS WORKS. It's worked for me every time, and it should work for you too.
The trick to a good salary negotiation is balancing your needs with the needs of your employer. Your employer wants the best worker that they can get; and you want to be paid what you're worth.
If you're a hardworking employee who's damn good at your job (and I know you are, you rockstar you!), you should NEVER feel bad about asking for a higher salary. If anything, it shows your boss that you know they're getting a great employee by hiring you, and you're worth every penny.
But what do I SAY?
So your future employer calls you and says *congrats!* You got the job, and here's what it pays. (For the sake of this example, let's just say it pays $50,000.)
YOU: "Thank you so much for the offer, I'm very excited about it — but I was really hoping for ___ [fill-in-the-blank higher amount]."
And then wait. Don't say anything. Let them respond.
By phrasing it this way, you're not DEMANDING to be paid this amount, but you're not asking either. Asking sounds like you're unsure of yourself, and demanding will make your future boss feel like they made a horrible mistake by picking you. This is a kind-yet-assertive way to go.
They may need to go back and talk to whoever's in charge about whether it's OK to award you that amount, or they may agree to it on the spot. But even if they hem and haw over it and come back to you with another number lower than what you had asked for, it'll probably still be higher than their original offer.
And that's a great thing, which *you* deserve to be congratulated for.
Go get 'em, tiger.