Your negotiating ability is a strength and an asset to your prospective employer. By doing it effectively right from the start, you are proving that when you're on the other side of the desk, you will negotiate on behalf of the company to make the best deals, get the best prices, and generate the most profit. Some hiring managers even go so far as to say that when candidates do no negotiating at all, or stop negotiating too early in the process, they're disappointed!

Everyone knows that negotiating for your livelihood is "serious business." But in another sense, negotiating is a game! I'll be honest and tell you that employers win this game the majority of the time. Want to know why? Because most job seekers don't know the rules! It's pretty tough to win a game when you don't know how the game is played, right?

Here are the rules that you'll need to study and master, to achieve your salary potential:

1. Do extensive salary research, preparation and practice beforehand
2. Defer salary discussions until an offer seems imminent
3. Discuss salary only with the ultimate decision-maker
4. Get the employer to state a salary figure or range first
5. Wait until an actual offer is extended before negotiating anything
6. Discuss salary only after you have fully described your relevant accomplishments
7. Know your strategy before attending the negotiation meeting
8. Always negotiate the offer, no matter how good it seems initially
9. Finalize the salary first, before negotiating other items such as benefits
10. Never misrepresent your former salary
11. Don't confuse salary with the full compensation package
12. Avoid tying your potential salary to your old salary
13. Use silence as one of your most powerful negotiating tools
14. "Fit" is more important than financial compensation
15. Leverage one offer against other offers if possible
16. Be patient and disciplined throughout the process
17. You don't get what you deserve; you get what you negotiate
18. Never accept or reject an offer on the spot – do a thorough analysis
19. You can only win at negotiation if you're willing to "walk away"
20. Be sure the compensation package you finally accept is a "win-win"
21. Maintain a positive, upbeat attitude and enjoy the "game!"

Remember, compensation negotiation IS a game. Games have rules. Games are supposed to be fun. And as is true in all games, the more you practice, the better you'll do. By mastering the twenty-one rules of this game, you'll be on a more "level playing field" with a good shot at winning your next negotiation!

Copyright © 2012, Career Potential, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Copyright © 2012, Career Potential, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Ford R. Myers, a nationally-known Career Expert and author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.” Download your free career success gifts now at

Author's Bio: 

Ford R. Myers is President of Career Potential, LLC. Since 1992, he has been providing professional services in career consulting and executive coaching. After counseling thousands of individuals on their careers, Ford drew from his diverse experience to create Career Potential – a powerful new approach to career management.