Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Negotiating salary in bad economy

Q.  I love my job but I just got an offer from a competitor to do the same work for the same salary. I really want to take it because it's closer to my home and I like the management people better. But I don't want to make a move without a raise. Is it possible to ask for that in this economy?

Ans. Yes, Virginia, you CAN negotiate your salary in bad economy. And an amazing book, Salary Tutor: Learn the Salary Negotiation Secrets No one Ever Taught You by Jim Hopkinson shows you how. Too often, in today's workplace, people are so thrilled to be offered a job they don't question the salary even if it's not fair. Instead, stand your ground. This book shows that the main trick is to do your homework first and be ready to counter the first offer within reasonable range. Don't be mesmerized with the thought of f getting a job you want. Since in this case you've been told the salary, be honest. Call the interviewer back, thank him again for the opportunity, and then say you really can't consider the change without making more than you earn now. He should ask how much you want him to "sweeten the deal." Have your reasonable, but fair, figure ready and tell it. Chances are it will be met with approval. Of course it makes you nervous to do this. But in this case, there's no loss in trying. And no win either.

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