Whether you just got a job offer or you have been working with the same company for a while, you need to know how to negotiate your salary. Negotiating your salary ensures you get paid what you deserve for your qualifications and the responsibilities you perform. You should learn how to negotiate your salary and other important factors, like vacation time and benefits. In this article, we offer the steps you can take to negotiate your salary.
The importance of negotiating your salary
You should understand that salary negotiation is a normal part of the hiring process. It's also normal to ask for a raise as you advance in your career. It determines how your employer shows their appreciation for your work and how much they value your skills and experience.
Your salary is also partly about how your employer supports your work-life balance with health-related perks, work flexibility and career development. Here are some other factors you can negotiate for in addition to your salary:
- Flexibility in hours and telecommuting
- Fitness and healthcare
- Coaching and mentoring
- Certifications, training and professional development
- Tuition reimbursement
How to negotiate your salary
Here are steps to take when negotiating salary:
- Determine your value
- Research the market
- List your expenses
- Prepare an outline
- Practice your conversation
- Remain confident
- Stay flexible
- Know when to say 'no'
1. Determine your value
It's important to approximate the value you can bring to the company. Knowing your value can help you define a salary that best compensates you. When determining your value, consider the following:
- Your education
- Your related experience
- Your overall experience
- Your skills
- Your licenses and certifications
- Your location
- Your leadership abilities
- Your current salary
Combine these factors to get a general idea of how much you can ask for. You can list your strongest features when you negotiate to help the employer see your value.
2. Research the market
Take some time to see what other professionals make in the same or similar positions can help you determine how much you can ask for. Look for the average salary of the job title nationally and locally, and if possible, check to see what companies in the same industry usually offer. You should also consider factors that can influence the average, like experience, licenses and higher education.
3. List your expenses
Make sure any additional expenses you may need to make are offset by a higher salary. For example, if you'll need to move to a new city for the job, you need to factor in moving expenses. Here are some other expenses you should consider:
- Longer commutes
- Loss of other benefits, like retirement plans or flexible hours
- Additional childcare hours
4. Prepare an outline
Have an outline of your talking points ready, especially if you're going to negotiate in person. Start with a statement of gratitude, such as thanking the hiring manager for the opportunity. Then, explain that you feel you deserve a higher salary and some key reasons why. Be specific as possible so the employer is more likely to acquiesce to your request. Detail related achievements, experience and skills, and use numbers where possible to put your qualifications into perspective.
5. Practice your conversation
If you're going to negotiate your salary in an in-person meeting or over the phone, it's helpful to rehearse the conversation so you know exactly what to say. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to help you practice and give you feedback. If they're comfortable with the idea, they can act as your manager and ask questions that could come up during the meeting. You can also practice in front of a mirror, which can help with your body language.
6. Remain confident
It's important to stay confident throughout your negotiation. Exhibiting confidence shows you believe in your qualifications and ability to contribute to the company. When you stay composed, the hiring manager will be more likely to consider you. You can stay confident by remembering that you performed the research necessary to find what you're worth in the current market. Keep your research available and reference it to show the employer that you're serious.
7. Stay flexible
Though the salary is probably one of the most important factors for you, it's helpful to stay flexible throughout negotiations. A common tactic in salary negotiation is to ask for slightly more than what you expect. This gives you room to talk, and even if the employer offers less, you'll like get a salary that you're comfortable with.
If the hiring manager can't negotiate the salary, you can try asking for other perks that they can give you. Ask for additional vacation time, a stipend for a longer commute or money for moving expenses. Consider the benefits that matter to you most, and include them in your outline.
It's also helpful to consider your future with the company. If there's plenty of room for you to grow and get a higher salary in the future, then it may be worth it to accept the job. Similarly, if you feel you can gain valuable experience in the role that you can apply elsewhere, consider accepting a lower salary initially, then negotiating for a raise later.
8. Know when to say 'no'
If the employer can't be flexible with the salary or other benefits, then it might be in your best interest to decline the offer. This is especially true if you're considering other offers or interviewing with more companies. Consider if the job can help you grow in your career, if it offers a better work-life balance or if the company has a good culture. If you feel hesitant accepting the offer, it's acceptable to decline it and continue interviewing.
If you decline an offer, be sure to express your gratitude. Thank the employer for their consideration and tell them that you hope to keep in touch. Maintaining an open line of communication with the employer can benefit you in the future should you want to work with them.
Salary negotiation examples
Here are two examples you can use to help you negotiate your salary:
For a job offer
This is an email example of negotiating a salary for an initial job offer.
Thank you for sending the package for the project manager position. I want to thank you again for giving me this great opportunity to work with such an incredible team.
Before I can accept the offer, I want to ask about the salary. When I interviewed with the department head, I had the chance to discuss how I could contribute to the team. I have an excellent track record of delivering projects both under time and budget. At my current position, I have saved clients over $100,000 without sacrificing quality. With my current experience and PMP certification, I believe my salary should be $90,000 instead of $85,000.
I know I can bring a great deal of value to Hepburn Company and help you create the best products possible. Please let me know when we can discuss the salary further.
I look forward to hearing from you soon!
For a raise
This is an example of an in-person meeting to discuss a raise:
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. As you know, I've been working with Sophisticated Solutions for nearly two years, and during my time here, I have made it a point to help my team however I can and learn as much as possible about my department. I believe I deserve a 10% raise for my efforts throughout this year specifically.
Over the past year, I stepped in as interim leader when my shift leader was on maternity leave. During that time, I worked additional hours to cover my regular duties in addition to the shift leader responsibilities. I was able to increase revenue during my shift by 5% over four months.
I'm also ready to accept additional responsibilities in order to receive a raise. With my current skill set, I believe I can take over the daily shift reports, and I'm more than capable of counting all of the cash drawers at the end of my shift.
I'm happy to answer any questions you may have or further discuss my qualifications. Please let me know what I can do to aid your decision.