So you’ve decided it’s time to get a new job. You’ve emailed hundreds of copies of your resume, filled out thousands of fields in online applications, and memorized the protocols for Zoom interviews. All your hard work paid off and you finally have it — a job offer.
What’s the next step?
It’s time to negotiate a higher salary. Negotiating a job offer usually feels scary — what if the employer rejects your counteroffer, or even worse, cancels the original offer?
Having these thoughts and fears is normal, but it’s important to remember that most employers expect you to negotiate the original offer. As long as you can make your case clearly and remain professional, you have a great chance of getting what you want.
Are you ready? Here are our top tips for successfully negotiating your salary for a new job.
Decide what you want
Chances are you have a fairly good idea of the typical salary range for the job you want. But you should also run the numbers for your household finances to determine exactly how much income you need. Work with your partner to figure out your ideal salary range.
It’s a good idea to calculate two numbers: your ideal salary and your minimum requirement. That lower limit may be based on your financial needs, what you’re making now, and your long-term goals. Remember, the salary you start with affects your future income too, especially when you consider percentage-based cost-of-living adjustments and raises.
Once you have that minimum requirement, decide whether you’re willing to walk if the employer won’t meet that number.
Do your research
It’s vital to go into a salary negotiation with as many tools as possible. Prepare yourself with relevant information and statistical data.
Research national salary statistics for your profession (check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*NET). Also, see if you can find salary data for the employer and its competitors (use sites such as Salary.com and Glassdoor.com).
Finally, figure out where you think your pay should fall in the salary range. Consider your education, professional certifications, years of experience, and career achievements. If you’re changing careers, you need to think about transferable skills. What’s the value that you’re bringing to the table?
Think beyond the paycheck
Remember, salary isn’t the only thing you can negotiate. It’s also not the only form of compensation most employers offer. Consider the other parts of the job offer: retirement benefits, health insurance, vacation, and perks.
You may find that you’re willing to accept a slightly lower salary in favor of benefits like free public transportation, on-site childcare, more vacation days, or college tuition reimbursement. It all depends on your personal values and priorities.
Ask for what you want
You’ve decided what you want to ask for, so go for it! Take your time to create a clear and comprehensive counteroffer that explains exactly what you’re requesting.
Ask for everything you want at the same time — don’t negotiate your salary and then bring up other things later, like more vacation days. Make your case using the salary data you researched, and don’t be afraid to mention the unique benefits you can offer.
Be persuasive, not arrogant
Frame your request in the right way. You want to help the recruiter see how much the company will gain by bringing you on as an employee. The right salary offer is a win-win for you and the employer.
It’s a good idea to bring up some of your professional achievements to prove why you deserve the salary you’re asking for. Be confident, but don’t be aggressive or braggy. Don’t exaggerate your qualifications or frame your request so it sounds like an ultimatum.
Embrace the fear
Even with all the research and preparation in the world, the salary negotiation process is still intimidating. You’ll probably feel nervous and afraid. Do it anyway. If you’re waiting until you don’t feel scared, chances are you’ll never negotiate your offer.
Remember that negotiation is a standard part of the hiring process. Knowing your worth and communicating it clearly shows dedication, intelligence, and tenacity — all qualities that employers want.
Get paid what you’re worth
Accepting a new job can be both exciting and overwhelming, especially if you decide to negotiate the salary. You might feel scared that you’re jeopardizing your offer, but most employers expect a salary negotiation. By taking the time to do your research, decide what you really want, and make a clear case, you can give yourself the best chance of a positive outcome.
Part of figuring out your ideal salary is having a good understanding of your financial needs. The Everyday Money Workbook gives you and your partner the right tools to discuss your finances and make wise decisions. Once you’ve finalized the job offer, use BudgetingBlocks™ to allocate your new salary according to your priorities and values.