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For employees, negotiating salary can feel like navigating treacherous territory. After all, what if you don’t get what you ask for? What if the employer laughs you out of the room? What if your salary-negotiation skills are so abysmal that you end up losing the job offer altogether?

“It’s such a tricky thing because there are so many faux pas,” says Jeremy Tolley, a Nashville-based member of the Society for Human Resource Management’s Special Expertise Panel.

But don’t fear. If you approach negotiating salary correctly, it’s one of the fastest, most efficient ways to boost your income. So, calm your nerves, take a few deep breaths and learn how to negotiate salary the right way.

When to negotiate salary. Experts agree that the best time to negotiate salary is when you’re pursuing a new job.

“Your time to get a raise, and to get more money, is when you’re switching jobs,” says Alexandra Levit, co-author of “Mom.B.A.: Essential Business Advice from One Generation to the Next.” You have more power as someone who’s just been offered a new role than you will as a current employee. Plus, employers expect that you’ll negotiate during the onboarding process, Tolley says. So, failing to negotiate when it’s appropriate likely means leaving money on the table

If you’re already at your job, don’t abandon your dreams of earning more money. You can try negotiating a pay raise during your annual review or when your job duties change, such as during a promotion. Negotiating salary with your current employer “depends on the company, the [work] cycle and how long you’ve been there,” says Dawn Fay, district president for Robert Half, which staffs workers in the finance, accounting, technology, legal, creative and administrative professions. But, she cautions, be careful not to threaten or use another job offer to force a salary boost. “Those bidding wars tend to backfire,” she says. And an employer may start to question your loyalty to the company.

There are a few situations in which you shouldn’t negotiate salary, including early in the job application process (it’s best to have an offer on the table), or if the employer had made an unusually generous, above-market compensation offer. READ MORE.

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