5 Bold Strategies to Negotiate Your Salary Like a Boss

Most often, the salary discussion is the most contentious topic of the entire interview process. The challenge — and tension — begins in the initial salary requirements conversation and then meets the moment of truth when the job offer comes in and you see the number on paper. Chicago Boss Babe Brunch, a new networking group for driven, career-oriented women, gathered to exchange their bold strategies for confidently entering and winning their salary negotiations. The question is not whether to negotiate, but how to negotiate the best offer possible. 

  1. Calculate your “worth” to the company. All of your marketable skills have value and contribute to the organization’s revenue and success. Negotiations are about numbers, and every dollar of your prospective salary comes out of a budget. Come prepared with data of your own — like revenue you garnered for previous companies or how you increased engagement, awareness, customer retention and satisfaction, or any other trackable factors.

  2. State your number and stop talking. There is power in silence in a negotiation. Someone who states their desired salary and does not follow up with explanation is sending two messages: They are confident in that number and their worth, and they are not signaling it is open for discussion (even if it may be). This move puts pressure on the employer to take that request seriously. 

  3. Know your “walk away” offer. Before entering salary negotiations, determine your bottom line — the absolute lowest salary you will accept. Honor that number and be prepared to walk away if it is not met. There’s a reason that number exists for you, and you should challenge the employer to meet that minimum. If they don’t, it’s likely not the right job match.

  4. Counter offer more than once. There is a really common belief that when an employer counter offers, that number is the “final offer.” That is not the case. If your salary expectations are still not being met, you can and should counter offer more than once. By doing that, you really find out what their ceiling is. Prior to the job offer, the company is fully aware of your salary expectations and knows their offer is below or at the bottom of your range. They are prepared for the possibility you will continue to advocate for the salary you requested from the get-go.

  5. Use your value-add as leverage. Take a deep look at the role you’re interviewing for and figure out what additional value and experience you deliver. You can gain substantial leverage in a salary negotiation by proving your ability to wear several hats and/or provide a unique or strategic perspective they don’t have on the team yet. That extra you bring to the role can be the bargaining chip needed to get the higher salary offer.   

Similar to the interview process, preparation is key to a successful salary negotiation. Every single boss member admitted that she feels some pressure leading up to salary negotiations but comes prepared with a plan and conveys confidence in her chosen negotiation strategies.


Chicago Boss Babe Brunch is all about fostering productive and honest discussions with career-oriented women to work through challenges together and compile actionable strategies for growth — while also building a personal and professional network of like-minded women. Inspired by the salary negotiation brunch, a CBBB member has already applied one of the negotiation strategies learned (Strategy #2) and won her recent negotiation.  

To join Chicago’s not-so-typical networking group, contact us here or follow the group on Instagram @chicagobbbrunch.

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