Yes, salary negotiations can be stressful. However, it's a big part of the hiring process. If you choose to forgo the negotiation process because you're afraid, you'll risk selling yourself short. Don't do that to yourself!
You never know when an employer will bring up the salary question—it could be in the job application or it could be during your final job interview. That's why you want to be prepared for it. Know your numbers before you apply for the position so you're not caught off guard.
A common mistake people make during the hiring process is bringing up salary too soon. This can hurt your chances of getting the job offer because the employer might think you're only in it for the money. Wait until the employer brings it up, then go from there.
Do your homework. Know what's competitive for that role in that industry. You can use websites like Glassdoor.com, Payscale.com, and Salary.com to research competitive salary rates for similar positions.
When you're thinking about your range, it's important to know your "walk away" rate. This is the absolute lowest offer you will accept without eating Ramen noodles for the rest of your life. You don't want to take an offer that's not going to pay you enough to live comfortably. Otherwise, you'll likely be on
the job search again looking for a role that pays you more money. However, you do want to understand the going salary rates for that position so you don't a) price yourself out of the job, or b) sell yourself short.
While you should aim to get a competitive salary, don't focus only on the money. You can negotiate for other things, too, like work-from-home opportunities, flex time, vacation days,and other perks. It depends on what's most important to you. Again, this will give you some wiggle room during negotiations.
In order to get the salary you want, you need to prove that you'll be a valuable asset to the company and that your unique skills/experiences make you the best fit for the role. You need to show them that you're worth the investment.
During salary negotiations, it's okay to say "no" to a job offer if it's not inline with what you feel is appropriate based on your research and needs. Remember, saying "no" opens up negotiations. If you know your numbers, have a "walk away" rate, and demonstrate your value
to the employer, you're more likely to negotiate for an offer that works for you. If not, it might not be the right opportunity for you at this point.