Students often ask me how to go about negotiating a salary. It’s something that doesn’t come naturally to many (myself included), but it is a part of the job search process that should not be missed. Your current salary will most likely be the baseline for your next salary increase, whether it’s internal or external, so negotiation benefits you both short and long term. But what do you ask for? And how?
1. Never negotiate in writing.
It’s best to discuss salary over the phone, not via email.
2. Decide what to negotiate.
Determine what is most important to you. I can’t recommend trying to negotiate every aspect of the offer package, so pick what is most important to you and start there.
3. Do your research.
If you are asking for more in the base salary, be prepared to justify why you are worth that extra money. Needing it to pay bills is not a valid reason to the employer. Compare your background/experience to the job description and see where you add the most value.
Many websites offer salary comparison information including www.salary.com. If you are a new graduate, your university’s career center will have information on what other recent graduates are making in your field.
4. Start with the positive.
Before you ask, let the employer know how excited you are to receive the offer and that you look forward to working there. Then let them know that you were hoping for more money.
5. Sound confident.
You need to sound like you believe you are worth that extra money. If you don’t believe it, neither will they.
6. Be prepared for silence and “no.”
Most likely, you will not get an answer on the spot, but they will get back to you. Don’t fill the silence with more talking. If they say no, be prepared to negotiate another aspect of the offer (bonus or review period, for example) or make your decision based on the offer at hand.
Remember, having an offer is a wonderful thing! Even if you are happy with the offer, it’s expected that you will negotiate. The worst that can happen is that the offer stands as-is. In the best case, you earn an even stronger offer!