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  • Knowing how much money to ask for in a salary negotiation is crucial for any job seeker.
  • Asking for 10% to 20% more than what you're currently making isn't a bad idea.
  • But you're going to have to put in some research before you just go with that formula.

How much money should you ask for in a salary negotiation?

It's a tricky question. The fact that salary negotiations can be extremely stressful doesn't help matters, either.

When you're finally down to the wire on your impending job offer, there will come a time to talk numbers, Lynn Taylor, national workplace expert and author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job," told Business Insider.

"That one last conversation — where you negotiate salary — can unnerve even the most savvy job seeker," she said. Fortunately, there are strategies for hashing out your salary or a raise with an employer.

Here's how to find out how much money you should ask for in a salary negotiation, and how to get it:

Do your homework

To prepare for a salary negotiation, you'll want to do your research ahead of time and figure out what someone with your experience and skills typically makes in this particular role. 

Once you hear their offer and it's time to negotiate, you should keep those numbers in mind, "but also consider the nature of the first offer and how much bargaining power you think you have," Taylor said.

You should also take into consideration whether you're currently under- or overpaid

Ask for 10% to 20% more than what you're currently making

As a general rule of thumb, it's usually appropriate to ask for 10% to 20% more than what you're currently making.

That means if you're making R204 000 a year now, you can easily ask for R210 000 to R220 000 without seeming greedy or getting laughed at.

"If the original offer is on the low side of the scale, you have more leverage," Taylor said. "If you get an offer for 20% over your current salary, you can still negotiate for more — ask for an additional 5% — but know that you're already in good stead." Asking for 10% to 20% more is also a good option if you're looking for a raise from your employer.

That being said, Taylor said to not be afraid to "go big on your first negotiation."

"Just be sure you're using market salary ranges as your data point," she said.

Put your knowledge to use

The first step of winning any negotiation is actually sitting down to negotiation. So don't just accept the first offer you get from a prospective employer.

While most employers expect you to come back with a counteroffer, many job candidates avoid the practice and leave money on the table. "You don't have to be one of them," Taylor said. "You'd be well served in your career to become comfortable with the process. You get one chance to accept a final compensation package at your company, so be prepared to make a persuasive argument."

Jacquelyn Smith wrote a previous version of this article.

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