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They say the only certainties in life are death and taxes, but what about that awkward conversation you have about salary during the job interview process or your annual review?

I can guarantee that no matter the industry or the person, everyone has struggled at one point or another with these negotiations. They’re tricky, nuanced, and delicate—and the easiest way to ensure they go as smoothly as possible is to do your homework beforehand.

What exactly should you be considering? Check out these nine awesome resources to make sure you’re figuring out what a fair number looks like before you begin the discussion.

  1. While you might not necessarily want to ask your co-workers what they make, talking to friends in the same industry about general salary ranges is a easy way to start researching what a fair paycheck would be. (The Huffington Post)
  2. One of the best resources for figuring out a typical range for your position? Talk to a recruiter in your field. Chances are this person has a broad range to pull from and can give you the inside scoop. (The Ladders)
  3. While you shouldn’t trust a single salary calculator, checking out a couple of different ones and finding overlap can give you great insight. (Recruiter)
  4. Another really important thing to consider: What will that direct deposit look like after taxes? (ADP)
  5. Tools like Glassdoor’s calculator can give you comparisons of people with the same job title in the same city. (Glassdoor)
  6. Make a list of the skills you bring to the table. Do any of them automatically make you an invaluable asset? If so, know that. (USA TODAY)
  7. Whether you’re debating your salary before taking a job or looking for a raise in your current role, it's crucial to consider your motivations for diving into these negotiations. Is it the only thing that would keep you in this role? (Lifehack)
  8. Even if they don’t work in your field, turn to your mentors for sage wisdom and advice. Oh, and also see who they can connect you with for answers. (Inc.)
  9. Don’t forget that there are plenty of other things to negotiate besides your paycheck. (The Daily Muse)


P.S. Need some extra help with the conversation? Sign up for a session with one of The Muse's expert negotiation coaches.