For the vast majority of workers, the issue of pay is at the forefront of our minds whenever we’re on the hunt for a job. Once that late-round interview comes and it’s time to negotiate the best deal, however, not every job-seeker is prepared to bargain properly.

And here’s another kicker — most people, when looking for a new job, don’t even bother bringing the salary up and will just accept a “reasonable enough” offer out of fear of torpedoing their opportunity.

So, how can you prepare yourself to come to the table and make the best deal possible when you head for an interview or get that job offer? Use some of the following tips, and you’ll find yourself in a much better position when it comes time to bargain.

Know What You’re After And Do Your Research

It pays to be prepared. How can you make an offer, after all, if you don’t really know what you’re looking for? Before the interview and negotiations begin, you should know what’s typical of salaries in your field, then determine two numbers for yourself.

The first is your high-end, the “golden amount” you’re after that you might immediately say “yes” to if given the offer. The second is your low-end, the bare minimum you’ll accept that’s still within a reasonable range. You can negotiate between these numbers, but remember not to budge on your lower limit.

Speak Up, Be Honest, And Negotiate

To put yourself in a more advantageous position, you’ll want to be sure to make the first offer when it comes to salary. Be direct, be honest, and make the case for why you’re worth what you’re asking for. 

This might sound daunting, but you can make a big impression simply by presenting yourself as likable during the interview process and courteous as you broach the topic of salary concerns.

With the right attitude in place, you’ll then want to show how you can contribute to the organization’s bottom line with your skills and experience. Though you may not get your high-end number, you should be able to negotiate yourself something better than what you’d have gotten had you simply come to an interview ready to accept any offer.

Protect Your Worth

Salary remains important even after the interview is complete and you’ve started a job. If, down the line, you feel you’ve been undercut on the salary you negotiated, you’ll want to take whatever steps you can to ensure you receive what you’re worth. You may need to speak with an employment lawyer or work compensation attorney to determine the best course of action, but make sure you don’t let all your hard work in negotiating a good salary go to waste.