When faced with wage negotiation, many women simply opt out, a decision that could have long-term consequences.

When faced with wage negotiation, many women simply opt out, a decision that could have long-term consequences.

"Women tend to negotiate or not negotiate a lower wage than men start out at," said Rebekah Smith, program coordinator for the Wyoming Women's Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Laramie that promotes the self-sufficiently of women a girls. "Oftentimes, the salary you negotiate at determines the salary you'll make in the future."

Just one year after college graduation, women who worked full time earned earned 82 percent of what their male colleagues earned, according to a 2009 study by the American Association of University Women. As a result, a woman will earn $1 million less than her male counterpart over the course of her live.

Culture is one reason women may approach wage negotiation differently than men. Surveys show that 2.5 times more women than men feel a great deal of apprehension about negotiating, according to, "Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide," by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever. Women tend to expect less, and view the world as having fewer negotiable opportunities, according to the AAUW.

"Sometimes we're too coy and act as if we have to be quote-unquote feminine," said R.C. Johnson, president of the Wyoming American Association of University Women. "You have to understand that you're an equal partner when you're negotiating."

However, acting like one of the guys may not be the solution. Self-promotion has been shown to work for men, but can garner negative responses for women. In a 2006 study by Babock, when women negotiated, both men and women were less likely to want to work with them or hire them.

This shouldn't stop you from negotiating, says Kate Farrar, director of campus leadership programs for the AAUW. She manages Start Smart, a program the brings wage workshops to college women across the country.

Before negotiating, consider the following tips from Farrar and the Start Smart program:

1. Do your homework.

First, figure out how much money you want and the minimum you'll accept.

Farrar suggests using www.salary.com or www.glassdoor.com to get a general idea of the salary for the position.

Then adjust your numbers based what's going on in the industry and your local economy. To do so, look at the business sections of local newspapers and other business publications as well as the chamber of commerce. Find out if business is expanding in the area, if unemployment is high and whether your field is vulnerable.

"It's really important for you to get a sense of what the market says about that position to get an idea of a reasonable salary," Farrar said.

Also, consider the demographics of the area. Ask:

Is the market flooded with competitors? Are more students graduating with your same degree this year? Do they want to be in your destination city, or are they going elsewhere?

Then, consider your personal financial goals. Write a budget to figure out the amount of money you need to meet your goals. This is the minimum amount of money you can accept.

Finally, look on the company's website to find out what benefits it offers.

2. Be patient.

Don't start negotiations until you've been offered the job and let the employer be the first to name a figure.

If an employer tries to talk money before doing so, Farrar suggests deflecting the question.

"Certainly do your best to either say, 'I expect a salary based on market needs and my qualifications,' " she said. "If they push you for a number, give a range -- not an exact number."

3. Negotiating the salary

Congratulations, you've been offered the job!

"When you get to the point where the employer wants to hire you, you've got a lot of bargaining power," said Richelle Keinath, executive director of the Wyoming Women's Foundation.

You still want the employer to name a figure first, so if he or she asks if you have a salary in mind, reply:

"I'd be interested in what you think this job is worth."

"I'd consider any reasonable offer."

At this point, the employer will likely name a figure. Again, if urged to name a figure offer a range, and aim high.

"You want to aim as high as possible in that first ask," Farrah said. "You're only going to be negotiating and compromising from there."

Once an offer is made, consider how it compares to your target salary. If you get what you want, congratulations! Skip to No. 5 to negotiate your benefits.

If the offer is too low, give another price range. You could say:

"I really thank you for that offer. With my knowledge and skills in this market, I think we should really be considering ... " and then give a price range.

When negotiating, be positive and persuasive. Use your research on the company a local economy to help justify your target salary. Also, anticipate the companies needs and really sell how you can fulfill those needs.

"Don't assume that the employer has memorized your skills and knowledge," Farrar said.

Stress your work ethic and talk about what you can do for the company. Keep your personal problems out of it -- the employer doesn't care about your student loans.

If you need some time to consider the offer, take it. You do not have to respond on the spot. Say you will call the next day, and you can continue the negotiation then. But listen carefully: If the employer says, "here's our only offer," negotiations are over.

4. Negotiating benefits

Don't forget about other benefits -- they can really make a difference to the final package, especially if the salary is lower than you prefer.

Remember those benefits you researched earlier that the company typically offers? Make sure they are being offered to you.

Nothing is off-limits to negotiation, Farrah said. Here are some possibilities:

signing bonus relation expenses faster promotions larger bonuses onsite, free day care college tuition reimbursement, training or conferences flexible schedule travel assignments equipment, such as that used to work at home

However, beware of added items that have little monetary value -- they won't make up for a low salary.

5. Know the review process

Reviews are also an opportunity for promotions and raises.

Find out when and how your performance will be reviewed, and whether it includes a salary review. If it's only done once a year, ask if you could have an additional review at the six-month mark. Also find out what kind of promotional opportunities are available and what kind of salary progression to expect in the first three to five years.