How to Negotiate Salary Without Disclosing Past Earnings

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how to negotiate salary

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A survey by revealed that only 37 percent of workers always negotiate their salaries when starting a new job. And just 44 percent occasionally negotiate, while almost a fifth of workers (18 percent) never negotiate their salary, according to

But why is this such a big deal? Because if you don’t know how to negotiate salary, you could be missing out on a fortune.

As Business Insider demonstrates below, if you don’t negotiate a higher salary at the start of your career and negotiate periodic raises, you could miss out on more than $1 million in earnings. This is money you could use to pay off high-interest student debt, buy a house, or save for retirement.

how to negotiate a salary

Image credit: Business Insider

“The biggest mistake is not negotiating,” Julie Cohen, a personal career coach and CEO at WorkLifeLeader, said. “Even if you don’t have other options and would take the job at the salary offered, you’re likely leaving money on the table if you don’t ask.”

Learning how to negotiate a salary may soon involve a different process for would-be job seekers, as many cities and states have moved toward banning employers from asking about salary history.

In fact, the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio reported companies in New York City are now banned from asking applicants to disclose their salary history. And California is also moving toward a similar rule.

This is good news for job seekers. While past salary is often a starting-off point for negotiation, cities and states are banning questions about salary history because these questions could be perpetuating wage discrimination. Plus, without being boxed in by your prior salary as a starting-off point for negotiations, you may have more flexibility to argue for the salary you believe you deserve.

The only possible issue: When you don’t use your prior salary as a guide, you’ll need to do a little more research to find out what a reasonable salary might be so you’re prepared for the negotiation process. Here are a few key tips from experts about how to determine your desired salary and how to approach the negotiating process.

1. Know the market rate

Before you begin salary negotiations, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what’s realistic.

“Know what the approximate market rate is for the position you’re applying for in the specific field, function, and geography,” Cohen said. Going in with research — not anecdotal evidence about what your friends make — shows you’re serious about getting the money you’re worth and that you have evidence to back up your salary ask.

When you’re not allowed to disclose your past salary, it’s especially important to know what someone in the same job, in the same area, and with your experience level is paid so you have a basis for negotiations.

“Let them know that you have researched the field and the typical salary range for this job is X amount,” Hallie Crawford, a certified career coach and founder of, suggested. Crawford recommended using Glassdoor to research the prevailing wage for the job you’re under consideration for. and the Bureau of Labor Statistics also have comprehensive information on earnings for various professions in different parts of the country.

Even if you live in a state where you’re allowed to disclose your salary, you’re still better off referencing a researched number for your desired wage, rather than going off of what you’ve earned in the past.

“Unless you feel your current salary is especially impressive and you’re trying to get them to offer you more to lure you away from your employer, your answer should really be based on what the job at hand is worth — not what some previous hiring manager thought the job was worth,” according to Rita Friedman, a certified job and transition coach at Philly Career Coach.

2. Show you’ll add value to the organization

If you’re asking for more money than you were initially offered, be prepared to explain why you believe you deserve higher pay.

“It’s generally a more effective strategy and a better platform to advocate for yourself if you link your value to what you are offering the prospective employer than it is to expect your value to be based on some unrelated factors, like what you feel you need to live on, or what you feel you deserve because you are a certain age, or what a salary calculator website estimates is an average for the type of position you’re targeting,” Friedman said.

This should be something you focus on throughout the interview process so your employer is more likely to consider you a top hire. Jacqueline Twillie, a negotiation trainer and author of “Navigating the Career Jungle: A Guide for Young Professionals,” advised in  FastCompany that candidates who want more leverage in salary negotiations should consider the STAR method during interviews to show how they’ll add value.

The STAR method stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. When asked a question, think of a situation or task that allows you to illustrate your skills, explain the action, and detail the positive results.

By demonstrating you’re a strong hire throughout the interview process, you’ll maximize your chances of getting the salary you’re looking for.

3. Bring up salary at the right time

When hiring managers can’t base their offer on your past salary because they’re banned from asking about it, they may be especially eager to find out what you think constitutes fair pay. But, just because a hiring manager asks about your salary requirements doesn’t mean you have to disclose immediately.

“If the hiring manager asks what your salary requirements are, don’t be too quick to answer, especially if they bring it up early in the interview process,” Crawford advised. If salary issues are raised during the first phone interview, for example, it may be too soon to throw out a number.

So, how should you respond? “Let them know you need time to consider it. You can say ‘I’d like to ask about benefits. I’m sure that you are offering a competitive salary for this industry.’ This lets them know you are expecting a fair offer,” said Crawford.

Friedman also suggested another possible response to put the ball back in the employer’s court: “My salary requirements depend on the details of the position and the total package — I’d want to know more about your expectations for this role before slapping a hard number on it. Can you give me an idea of what the position is budgeted for?”

Delaying negotiations often pays off because you have a better chance to make yourself a must-hire candidate the further you go into the interview process. “After you get the job offer, and have shown your prospective employer how valuable you are, then you can negotiate,” Cohen said. “Don’t bring up salary before you sell yourself. They need to know you’re the right, best candidate. You are setting the stage for negotiation by showing that you are the best person for the position.”

4. Leverage other offers

While some locales may ban you from sharing your past salary, this doesn’t mean you can’t disclose what another company has offered you.

“The best way to maximize salary negotiation is by having multiple job offers to leverage,” Cohen advised. “You will want to keep as many irons in the fire as you search for your next opportunity.”

While it’s common for people to stop the job search when they’ve been on a few promising interviews and believe they’re on a path to being hired, Cohen recommends that you keep your search going. “You should aim to approach the job search with parallel opportunities.”

5. Don’t forget your other benefits

Finally, during the negotiation process, don’t limit yourself to just asking for a higher wage.

“Aside from your salary, find out what benefits the job offers,” Crawford advised. “This could be vacation time, health insurance, daycare, or education. You may find that it’s worth it to accept a lower salary amount if you also will get additional benefits.”

CNBC lists five other crucial benefits that can become part of your salary negotiations: Medical coverage; disability and life insurance policies; retirement contributions; paid vacation; and benefits that impact your work/life balance, such as flex time. If you can’t get your employer to give more ground on salary, they may be much more willing to meet you in the middle on these other valuable benefits if you know how to negotiate a salary effectively.

Why learning how to negotiate salary is so important

A CareerBuilder survey of 4,600 employers found that 52 percent of employers offer candidates salaries below what they’re willing to pay. For 26 percent of employers, the initial offer is $5,000 or more below the amount they ultimately expect the candidate to receive. This is a huge amount of money you’ll miss out on if you don’t know how to negotiate salary, especially if you consider that future raises are based on your initial starting salary.

This chart shows how much of an impact your failure to negotiate a salary could have on your earnings over your career. It’s based on the assumptions that you could get an extra $5,000 by negotiating and that you’ll earn annual raises of 1 percent off your starting salary.

Starting Salary of $40,000 Starting Salary of $45,000
Salary after 1 year $40,400.00 $45,450.00
Salary after 5 years $42,040.40 $47,295.54
Salary after 10 years $44,184.89 $49,708.00
Salary after 15 years $46,438.76 $52,243.60
Salary after 20 years $48,807.60 $54,908.55
Salary after 25 years $51,297.28 $57,709.44

If you didn’t negotiate, your career earnings would total $1,181,025.26 over 25 years — but if you started with that higher salary, you’d have earned $1,328,653.42 during that same time period. The difference is $147,628 — and that’s if you never negotiated a raise above one percent.

Don’t miss out on your chance to get the best base salary possible when you start a new job. “This is the time you have the most leverage, before you’ve accepted an offer,” Cohen said.

Of course, you also need to consider the big picture when considering how to negotiate salary. “Remember that it’s important to be flexible in a negotiation,” Crawford said. “Determine the lowest salary you could pay your bills with, and then ask yourself how much you really want the job. You may not get your ideal salary amount, but if you love the job opportunity enough, it may be worth it to you to accept the lower salary.”

Just make sure you’re earning enough to pay off your student loans, pay your other essential bills, save for retirement, and accomplish your financial goals.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 9 lenders of 2021!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
1.88% – 6.15%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

1.88% – 5.64%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

2.50% – 6.85%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit CommonBond

1.89% – 5.90%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.25% – 6.39%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.88% – 5.64%6Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit NaviRefi

1.90% – 5.25%7Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

2.39% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

2.13% – 5.25%8Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit PenFed

Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount

The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of June 1, 2021.

2 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

Interest Rate Disclosure

Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 2.59% APR to 5.79% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 1.88% APR to 5.64% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 2.04% and 5.8% to the one month LIBOR. Earnest rate ranges are current as of 6/8/2021, and are subject to change based on market conditions.

Auto Pay Discount Disclosure

You can take advantage of the Auto Pay interest rate reduction by setting up and maintaining active and automatic ACH withdrawal of your loan payment. The interest rate reduction for Auto Pay will be available only while your loan is enrolled in Auto Pay. Interest rate incentives for utilizing Auto Pay may not be combined with certain private student loan repayment programs that also offer an interest rate reduction. For multi-party loans, only one party may enroll in Auto Pay.

Student Loan Refinancing Loan Cost Examples

These examples provide estimates based on payments beginning immediately upon loan disbursement. Variable APR: A $10,000 loan with a 20-year term (240 monthly payments of $72) and a 5.89% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $17,042.39. For a variable loan, after your starting rate is set, your rate will then vary with the market. Fixed APR: A $10,000 loan with a 20-year term (240 monthly payments of $72) and a 6.04% APR would result in a total estimated payment amount of $17,249.77. Your actual repayment terms may vary.Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest. com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

Earnest Loans are made by Earnest Operations LLC or One American Bank, Member FDIC. Earnest Operations LLC, NMLS #1204917. 535 Mission St., Suite 1663, San Francisco, CA 94105. California Financing Law License 6054788. Visit for a full list of licensed states. For California residents (Student Loan Refinance Only): Loans will be arranged or made pursuant to a California Financing Law License.

One American Bank, 515 S. Minnesota Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104. Earnest loans are serviced by Earnest Operations LLC with support from Navient Solutions LLC (NMLS #212430). One American Bank and Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

© 2021 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved.

3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. ‍All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.

4 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

All credit products are subject to credit approval.

Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit

As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.

Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.

Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.


This information is current as of April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.

5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

Fixed rates from 2.74% APR to 6.74% APR (with autopay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.39% APR (with autopay). All variable rates are based on the 1-month LIBOR and may increase after consummation if LIBOR increases; see more at If approved for a loan your rate will depend on a variety of factors such as your credit profile, your application and your selected loan terms. Your rate will be within the ranges of rates listed above. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers, or may become available, such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license #6054612; NMLS #1121636 ( Additional terms and conditions apply; see for details. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

6 Important Disclosures for Navient.

Navient Disclosures

1. NaviRefi loans are made by Earnest Operations LLC, a member of the Navient family of companies, subject to individual approval and underwriting criteria. California residents only: Loans made or arranged pursuant to a California Finance Lenders Law license. Additional terms and conditions apply.

– To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or non-citizen permanent resident of the United States, reside in a state we lend in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Loan terms are subject to eligibility. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application. Loan approval is subject to confirmation that your debt-to-income, free cash flow, credit history and application information meet the minimum requirements. You must have a minimum FICO score to be considered.

– You can choose between fixed and variable rates. Fixed interest rates are 2.75% – 6.04% APR (2.50% – 5.79% APR with Auto Pay discount). Starting variable interest rates are 2.13% – 5.89% APR (1.88% – 5.64% APR with Auto Pay discount). Variable rates are based on an index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus a margin. Variable rates are reset monthly based on the fluctuation of the index. We do not currently offer variable rate loans in AK, CO, CT, HI, IL, KY, MA, MN, MS, NH, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA.

– You can take advantage of the 0.25% Auto Pay interest rate reduction by setting up and maintaining active and automatic ACH withdrawal of your loan payment. The interest rate reduction for Auto Pay will be available only while your loan is enrolled in Auto Pay. Interest rate incentives for utilizing Auto Pay may not be combined with certain private student loan repayment programs that also offer an interest rate reduction. NaviRefi rate ranges are current as of June 1, 2021 and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

– The information provided on this page is updated as of 06/1/2021. Earnest Operations LLC reserves the right to modify or discontinue (in whole or in part) this loan program and its associated services and benefits at any time without notice. Check for the most up-to-date information. Terms and Conditions apply. Call 855-284-4893 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

– Earnest Operations LLC – NMLS #1204917, CA CFL #6054788 – 535 Mission St., Suite 1663, San Francisco, CA 94105.
Navient Solutions, LLC – NMLS #212430 – 123 Justison St., Wilmington, DE 19801. Visit for a full list of licensed states.

7 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it  endorse,  any educational institution.

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of  5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.

As of 04/07/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% APR – 7.63% Fixed APR with AutoPay.

8 Important Disclosures for PenFed.

PenFed Disclosures

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rates range from 2.89%-4.78% APR and Variable Rates range from 2.13%-5.25% APR. Both Fixed and Variable Rates will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. For Variable Rate student loans, the rate will never exceed 9.00% for 5 year and 8 year loans and 10.00% for 12 and 15 years loans (the maximum allowable for this loan). Minimum variable rate will be 2.00%. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.