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Silence Is Golden: How to Negotiate a Better Salary

Happy to land a job, especially in this market, far too many workers are doing themselves a disservice not asking for more money. "One in five people never negotiate" their salary, says Jim Hopkinson, a marketing director at wired.com and author of SALARY TUTOR: Learn the Salary Negotiation Techniques No One Ever Taught You. That's as silly as buying a used car without haggling over the price, Hopkinson tells Aaron Task in the accompanying clip.

UCLA coaching legend John Wooden was fond of saying, "by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." Along those same line, Hopkinson says do your homework and you're more likely to get better pay. "You don't want to go in there without a plan," he notes.

The two key questions to ask yourself at the start of this practice:

Was I prepared? Did I do everything I could?

Salary.com and PayScale.com are good resources to learn more about average pay based on everything from experience, industry and geography, Hopkinson says. Tapping your social network should also be part of your homework; it may prove valuable in discovering your fair market value or unveil a contact at the firm you want to work for.

Another tip: Use master FBI hostage negotiating tactics. Techniques such as mirroring, paraphrasing, and using silence can all help tip the scale in your favor. "Pausing dramatically can make the other person reveal information they don't want to," Hopkinson notes on salarytutor.com.

Companies don't always have the extra cash to offer. In those cases, these lessons can help with negotiating vacation, travel and expense budgets, and a more flexible schedule.

Another piece of advice, if you have a job and are looking for a raise, first keep track of your accomplishments so you can prove your worth. And, when it's time to plead your case, know your audience, Hopkinson says. If the boss is numbers oriented come with lots of data; if he or she likes a more laid-back style, spin a good tale that highlights your accomplishments.

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