Get the bigger salary. Here’s how

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I’m Jean Chatzky, and this is Money Rules.

According to recent research, job applicants who negotiate can increase their starting salaries by an average of $5,000. That’s a hefty chunk of change, particularly as one salary builds on the next. I know, it can be tough to ask for more money, so let me tell you where to start:

  1. Research what you’re worth and what the position should pay, asking people you know and search online. No, you won’t get an exact figure, but you’ll get a range that can guide your negotiation.
  2. Be specific. Reiterate what you can bring to the table — highlight your experience and skills, then politely ask for a different figure over what was offered to you.
  3. Don’t forget about benefits. If the company won’t budge on salary — budgets do sometimes get topped out — ask for other perks, like the ability to telecommute or increased bonus potential.

Half of all job applicants say they happily accept the first offer extended to them — without countering for a higher salary. That’s several thousands of dollars a year you could miss out on … And it breaks Money Rule No. 4: If you don’t ask for more money, the answer will always be “no.”