Did you know that if you took 15 minutes when accepting a job offer you could end up earning an additional $20,000 or more money over the next 10 years? It’s completely possible too. All you need to do is learn how to negotiate a job offer.
I know, this might sound scary or intimidating to some of you reading this. But it isn’t. Companies actually expect you to negotiate your salary.
This means they purposely offer you a starting salary towards the low end of the range for that position. By negotiating, you are simply starting off a little higher in the pay range for the job.
By not negotiating a job offer, you are leaving thousands of dollars on the table! Think of what you could do with the extra money. By simply getting a $2,500 raise (which isn’t out of the question) you could bring in close to $100 more per paycheck.
What would you do with an extra $100 every paycheck? Would you have less stress over money? Pay off debt? Save for a nice vacation?
In this post, I am going to teach you the tricks so you learn how to negotiate a job offer. You’ll learn the following:
- The importance of negotiating a job offer (click here to go to this section)
- Salary negotiation tactics (click here to go to this section)
- Sample salary negotiation letter (click here to go to this section)
- Sample salary negotiation email (click here to go to this section)
- Sample salary negotiation counter offer letter (click here to go to this section)
At any time reading this post, you can click the links in the above list to be taken directly to that section.
Let’s get started so you can start making more money today!
How To Negotiate A Job Offer
The Importance Of Negotiating A Job Offer
As I mentioned earlier, the main reason you want to negotiate your starting salary is for higher earnings down the road. Let’s look at an example to see just how this plays out in real life.
We will assume you are offered a starting salary of $35,000 and you don’t negotiate your salary. You earn a 3% raise each year for the next 5 years.
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After 5 years, your annual salary is $39,393. This is an increase of over $4,000 in those 5 years. You went from earning $1,346 per paycheck to earning $1,515 per paycheck, an increase of more than $150 per paycheck.
I’m sure anyone reading this would be happy with this scenario.
But let’s say you negotiated your job offer and earned a 5% increase to your starting salary. You are going to start off making $36,750 and will earn a 3% raise each year for the next 5 years.
After 5 years, your annual salary is $41,362. This is an increase of $4,600 in those 5 years. You went from earning $1,413 per paycheck to earning $1,591 per paycheck, an increase of over $175 per paycheck.
By taking just a few minutes to counter when you were offered your starting salary, you earned yourself and additional $9,290 over those 5 years!
Let’s take this example out farther and see how negotiating a job offer plays out over the course of 10 years.
Again, you are offered a starting salary of $35,000 and you get a 3% annual raise each year for those 10 years.
Below is a chart with the $35,000 starting salary and the negotiated $36,750 starting salary. In each case, you earn the 3% annual raise.
After 10 years, by negotiating your job offer, you end up making $20,000 more in total salary! If you keep working this same job, you will continue to earn more money every single year until you quit.
And if you decide to leave your job after 10 years or even 5 years, by making it a point to negotiate your salary, you will start off earning more money in your new job.
For example, after 10 years you were making a little more than $47,000 without negotiating. Here, you can expect to start your new job making close to $50,000.
But if you negotiated and ended up making just over $49,000 after 10 years, you can expect to start your new job making over $50,000 a year.
Salary Negotiation Tactics
I know that as great as the extra money sounds right now, the thought of negotiating your salary is scary. You don’t want to risk losing your potential dream job by asking for more money.
But remember that all jobs have a salary range. When you are offered a job, odds are you are going to be in the lower end of this range. This means you can comfortably negotiate for a higher salary.
Of course, you have to be reasonable. You can’t ask for $25,000 more if you are offered a job with a $35,000 salary.
Here are some other critical salary negotiation tactics for you to follow to ensure you get the highest starting salary possible.
#1. Let the interviewer make the first offer. If you can get the interviewer offering you the job to provide a number first, this puts you at a great advantage. For example, maybe you came into the interview hoping to get $40,000 but by letting the interviewer throw out the starting salary of the job, you might be offered $42,000.
By simply letting the other person make the first move, you have the advantage. Now you can negotiate based on $42,000 and not $40,000. You already are $2,000 ahead!
Unfortunately this doesn’t always work. Many interviewers are great at getting you to name your salary first. How do you overcome this?
Simply tell them what you are making at your current job and follow that up with you want to be paid fairly and then ask what the range is for the position.
Here is what you could say:
My current salary is $38,000 annually and I am looking to be paid fairly based on my skills and experience. What is the salary range for this position?
This forces them to provide you with the salary range and gives you more insight into how much higher you can counter when they do make you an offer.
#2. Do your research for the company and position. If you can’t get the interviewer to offer the salary range of the position, you are going to have to do some digging.
Simply visit GlassDoor.com or Indeed.com to find out what current employees are being paid in your position at the company.
When using GlassDoor.com, the salary ranges are provided in the job listings themselves.
When using Indeed.com, just click on “Find Salaries” at the top of the page and type in a company name. From there the site lists salaries for various positions.
#3. Draft the reasons why you deserve more money. You are going to have to show why you deserve a higher starting salary when you write your salary negotiation letter.
So, take the time now to come up with the reasons why. Here are some things to think about.
- Do you have more education than the job requires? Are you in the process of getting an advanced degree?
- Do you bring additional skills to the job? How would these skills translate into making you more efficient at the position?
- Have you had great success in a similar position and are certain you can translate that level of success to the new job?
- If you are having trouble figuring out reasons why you stand out, consider completing a SWOT analysis.
#4. Always give a salary range. When you only offer a set salary, you box yourself in. Going back to the point above, if you say you want to make $40,000 annually and the company was willing to pay you $42,000 odds are you are going to be starting off at $40,000.
By giving a salary range, you open the door to earning a higher pay rate.
#5. Use an odd number. When it comes time to counter the salary offered, don’t use a round number, but make it an odd number.
For example, don’t counter with $37,000 but with $37,250. By having the smaller amount after the comma, it psychologically makes the person think it is a smaller number.
And it gives you a little extra in salary without it looking like you are asking for a lot more.
#6. Always counteroffer. This is the whole point of this post. No matter what the salary they offer you, by sure to counter offer. There are a few ways to do this, either in person or via a letter or email.
In the next section, I’ll walk you through the steps for creating a salary negotiation letter and counter offer.
#7. But never counteroffer more than once. While it is critical that you counter when a salary offer is given to you, you can only do so once. If you continually drag out the negotiations, the hiring manager will lose interest in you and will most likely begin to look at other candidates to offer the job to.
Therefore, it is important that your counter offer is completed correctly. Again, I’ll get into more details about this in the next section.
#8. Check your emotions at the door. Don’t get caught up in the negotiations and think the hiring manager is the bad guy for not offering you more money. Remember that in the end you want to be on the same team, working for the same company.
Try to put yourself in their shoes. Is the economy in a slump and as a result companies aren’t willing to payer higher wages? Maybe your skills that you think make you stand out aren’t looked upon as highly by the hiring manager.
By keeping your emotions in check and working through the negotiations strategically, you can get the higher salary and job you want and the company can get the stellar employee they want.
#9. Practice. The last of the salary negotiation tactics is to practice. Role play with a loved one by having them be the hiring manager and give reasons as to why they won’t offer you a higher salary.
You play the role of you and work on formulating solid examples and reasons as to why you do deserve a higher salary.
This will help you be ready when the hiring manager asks you questions. By being prepared with well-thought out answers, it only increases the likelihood of getting a higher salary.
Sample Salary Negotiation Letter And Email
Now that you understand how much money you can gain from negotiating a job offer and you want to move forward with doing so, how exactly does it work? What is the process?
Typically, after your interviews are completed, you will receive a phone call, email, or letter in the mail with the job offer, job details and proposed salary.
Once you have this, it is time to create your salary negotiation letter. You could also draft an email as well. I usually respond in the same manner as the offer. So if I received an email, I would reply with an email.
The first thing you need to do when writing your salary negotiation email is to thank the hiring manager for the offer.
The next step is to talk about how excited you are about the position. You do this so that the hiring manager knows they aren’t wasting their time negotiating with you. Of course, you can still decide to turn the job offer down, but you don’t want to lose it at this point.
After this you want to state your case as to why you are countering on the proposed salary and give concrete reasons why you deserve a higher starting salary.
Finally, you want to end the letter by restating your interest in the job. Again, you want the hiring manager to know for certain they aren’t wasting their time by negotiating with you and if you can come to an agreement over salary, you will take the job.
Let’s look at this written out in a sample salary negotiation letter. Feel free to copy this letter and replace the parts to fit your situation. This also works as a sample salary negotiation email as well.
Dear HIRING MANAGER NAME,
I want to first thank you for offering me the position of INSERT JOB TITLE. I am very interested in working for your company.
I understand you have carefully considered how much you believe the job is worth. As we discussed in our interview, I believe I can do this job MORE EFFECTIVELY/MORE EFFICIENTLY/MORE PROFITABLY/ETC. by DOING/OFFERING LIST OF REASONS.
Because of this, I believe my contribution to this job would be worth ENTER DESIRED SALARY AMOUNT.
Please let me know if you are open to discussing this in greater detail, either in person or over the phone.
I am eager and excited to begin working for INSERT COMPANY NAME, assuming we can work out the salary.
ENTER YOUR NAME
There is your sample salary negotiation letter. You can also use this as a sample salary negotiation counter offer letter since you are countering what they originally offered you.
In terms of the amount to put into your salary negotiation letter, this is where all your research comes into play, along with what you feel you are worth.
For example, if you have found the salary range for this position is between $40,000 and $50,000 and they are offering you $40,000 you have to determine how much you are worth.
Just remember, that you only get one shot at this and most times, the goal is to come to an agreement. Many times this means meeting in the middle.
So if they originally offer you $40,000 and you counter with $45,000 most likely the agreed amount will be $42,500. Therefore, it is important that you counter with a higher number than you expect to get, but within reason.
You can’t just counter with $60,000 in hopes of getting a $50,000 starting salary. First, because $60,000 is out of the salary range for the job. And second, you have to be reasonable and take into account what you bring to the table.
So take your time and really think about what is a reasonable salary you should be paid and add 10% to it. Then counter with this amount.
Additional Points To Negotiating Your Job Offer
Ideally, once you make your counteroffer you will come to an agreement by meeting in the middle and you will start your new career. But what if the company isn’t open to negotiating salary? Are you just left with accepting the job offer as is?
Not exactly. You can always negotiate your job perks too. You could ask fore a larger bonus, more days off, a flexible work schedule, etc. The catch here is you need to up front with many of these things in your interviews.
For instance, during the interview it may come up that you have young children. If the hiring manager won’t budge on the salary, remind them of your young children and ask if they would be open to a flexible work schedule instead.
Here is how something like this played out in my last job. I was making roughly $40,000 and the new job offered me the same starting salary.
I pointed out what I brought to the table and why I deserved more and countered with $47,000 with the hopes of getting close to $45,000.
But the company came back and only offered me $42,500. While this salary negotiation was a success in that I negotiated for a higher salary, I still felt my skills were worth more. The catch was that I really was excited for this opportunity.
So I followed up and told them again how excited I was for the opportunity. Then I countered in another way. I had 2 more classes left to complete my graduate degree and my current employer was paying part of the bill.
I asked the hiring manager if they would be willing to pay for my 2 remaining classes in full. I then reminded them what I would bring to the table with this additional education. If they agreed to this, I would be happy to accept their offer of $42,500.
I received a phone call later that afternoon that they agreed and I received the updated job offer details the next morning.
While I didn’t get the starting salary I desired, I did earn a higher salary by negotiating and I got the company to pay the $8,000 for my remaining graduate courses.
Another option is to simply agree to the salary they offer, but ask for a performance review in 6 months. At that time, you can sit down with your manager and review your job performance and if you meet or exceed certain benchmarks, you will get a pay raise.
If you do go this route, just be certain everything is in writing.
The moral is, don’t just accept the offer if the company says no to a salary negotiation. Be ready to counter with another option. Just make sure what you are countering with makes sense and you have valid reasons to back it up.
There is the process for learning how to negotiate a job offer. As you can see, it is critical that you make an effort to get a higher starting salary. Not only will you be making more in year one, but each year you earn a raise, it will be larger thanks to compounding.
Use the salary negotiation tactics laid out here to negotiate the right way and then use the sample salary negotiation letter to make sure you get the starting salary you want.
I know it can be intimidating to ask for more money. But you are worth it. Don’t make the mistake of leaving money on the table thinking that it won’t make a difference. It is enough money to change your finances for the better starting with your first paycheck.