Forbes accounts that “Those women who choose not to negotiate forego the extra pay, and women who do choose to negotiate can be perceived as too pushy or selfish.” But you are sure going to ask for what you are worth or else you will keep picking crumbs.

Most people, but especially women and minorities, aren’t very good at negotiating a good starting salary. For some, negotiating a salary and asking for more money is a hand-wringing, sweaty palm, stuttering mess of a process.

It’s natural to be nervous, but I encourage you to remember that at the end of the day, it’s just a conversation: A two-way conversation with a possible employer or your current employer to come up with terms that will work for both of you. (Emphasis on both of you.) This is about you, so you have to be willing to go to bat for yourself. If you don’t do it, who will?

If you have a friend who works in HR, ask them the current going rate for your field. If they don’t know, ask them if they have contacts you can speak to. Go online and do some research by visiting sites like Salary and Glassdoor.

Another good tip is to use social media to throw out the question. Ask your followers to send you a direct message if they know a good starting place to get the answer to your research. The last resort is to cold call recruiters you don’t know—look them up on LinkedIn and tell them you are doing some research. Most of them will be open to sharing since you could be a potential candidate whom they can call upon in the future.

Once you have received a written offer letter from your prospective employer you can begin the negotiation process. Be patient with the process. Don’t sweat it if they don’t call you back right away with their final offer. They’re most likely talking to internal folks about changing your salary. Let the recruiter work it out without you raising the white flag too soon.

While most benefits and vacation programs cannot be negotiated, you can negotiate flex time and work hours. If you’re interested in working from home or work during a specific time, this is the time to bring it up. Don’t wait until you’re on the job. Inquire if they have a flex policy and ask how you can be eligible for it. For working mothers, having a flexible work schedule is much more important than money at times. Be sure to negotiate that upfront

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