All your hard work has been for this. Scrolling through job ads, putting together customised applications, preparing and practising interview answers, and keeping your cool during interviews have landed you a job offer. Congratulations! It’s just the salary isn’t where you want it to be… How do you tactfully negotiate your salary so your compensation package aligns with your expectations and reflects your skills, experience and value?

Is It OK to Negotiate Salary?

When you’ve been offered a dream job or the clock is ticking for you to find a new job, it’s tempting to accept whatever salary you’re offered. But I wouldn’t recommend you accept any job offer without careful thought and consideration because there are ongoing implications of agreeing to an underwhelming job offer. 

For most people, their job is their main form of income. Are you happy for the salary offered to determine your level of income for the next couple of years or more? Opportunities for promotion are brought up as a selling point in the recruitment process but don’t rely on the promise of a promotion because it’s not guaranteed. 

Your salary impacts your experience of the job too. Does it feel like you’re being paid your worth? Consider all the hours and energy you will put into the job and the skills and experience you will bring to the team. If you are left feeling undervalued, you won’t be as satisfied in the workplace and this can reduce your confidence, engagement, productivity and performance, making it harder to do your job. 

If the salary doesn’t align with your worth or expectations, negotiate. Salary negotiation is a standard part of the recruitment process. Employers expect it. So there’s nothing wrong with negotiating your salary. It shouldn’t be an issue as long as you follow these salary negotiation best practices. 

8 Salary Negotiation Tips

Negotiating your salary can be intimidating but with the right approach and preparation, you can secure a compensation package you’re happy with and that reflects your value.

1. Wait for a formal job offer

A company may offer you the job after a follow-up interview or over the phone. That’s not the time for salary negotiation. Express enthusiasm and gratitude for the job offer then wait to discuss salary until you’ve received a formal offer letter. Once the offer is on the table, again express appreciation for the opportunity and ask for some time to review the details before providing a response. This allows you to carefully consider the offer and formulate your negotiation strategy. 

2. Do your research

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to negotiating your salary. Research industry standards and salary ranges for similar positions in your geographical area. Websites like Glassdoor, PayScale and LinkedIn can provide valuable insights into what professionals in your field are earning. If you have industry connections, ask them their perspective on an appropriate salary. Consider factors such as your level of experience, education, and the company’s size and industry when assessing salary expectations. Use your research to determine a reasonable salary benchmark.

3. Set your limits

Salary may be something you are willing to compromise. You might be willing to accept a relatively lower salary because the job allows you to get your foot in the door of a new industry or has flexible working hours, enabling you to spend more time with your family. Set a lower limit. When you know how much you are willing to compromise on your salary, you won’t say yes to a number, on reflection, you’re not happy with. 

4. Widen your scope

Salary is just one component of your total compensation package. Consider other benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, stock options, bonuses, flexible working and vacation time when negotiating. Working from home a couple of days a week might be more important to you than pushing for a higher salary. Alternative compensation is also a good fallback in the negotiation process. If their final salary offer falls short of your expectations, explore opportunities to negotiate for additional perks or benefits that can enhance your overall compensation package.

5. Provide compelling reasons

Reflect on your worth so you can help your new employers understand why you are asking for a higher salary. You need to be prepared to articulate why you deserve the salary you’re requesting and back it up with concrete examples of your achievements and contributions. Consider your unique skills, accomplishments, and the value you bring to the table. Confidence in your worth is key to successful negotiation.

6. Communicate carefully

Effective communication is paramount during salary negotiations, both for achieving an outcome you’re happy with and starting your new job on the right foot. Approach the conversation with professionalism and diplomacy, emphasising your enthusiasm for the position while advocating for your desired salary. Be clear and concise in your communication and avoid making ultimatums or threats. Instead, focus on the mutual benefits of reaching a fair and equitable salary agreement.

7. Demonstrate flexibility

Negotiating salary is a two-way street so it’s essential to remain flexible and open to compromise. The recruitment team have limits that they can’t ignore even if they really like you. Approach the negotiation as a collaborative process aimed at finding a solution that satisfies both parties. It sets the right tone for the negotiation and your time at the company. If the employer is unable to meet your salary expectations, explore alternative options such as performance-based bonuses or opportunities for advancement and professional development.

8. Get it in writing

Once you’ve reached a mutual agreement on salary and benefits, be sure to get the details in writing. Request a formal offer letter outlining the agreed-upon terms and conditions of employment. Review the offer letter carefully to ensure that it accurately reflects the terms discussed during negotiations. Having a written record of the agreement helps prevent misunderstandings and provides clarity for both parties.

Salary Negotiation Email Examples

I’ve put together some example emails that demonstrate how to effectively navigate the negotiation process once the formal job offer has come in. 

Receipt of Job Offer Email Template

Your initial response to the formal job offer should be to show your appreciation and enthusiasm and let them know that you are going to take time to review the offer. This demonstrates responsiveness while giving yourself time to think and craft a compelling negotiation request. For example:

Dear [name],*

Thank you for the [job title] job offer. I’m excited about the prospect of working with the [department] team at [company name].

I will read through the formal job offer and get back to you by [day you will respond].

Kind regards,*

[Your name]

*Ideally, you’d replicate the greeting and sign-off the company used when sending you the job offer to match their chosen level of formality. 

First Salary Negotiation Email Template

When you are ready to respond to the job offer with your first negotiation request, use this email template as an example of putting the above tips into practice. 

Dear [name],

I’m very grateful to be offered the role of [job title]. I’m keen to join the [company name] team. [Optional: Add what you’re looking forward to most about the new job] 

However, before accepting the job offer, I would like to discuss my starting salary. You have offered [the salary stated in the job offer]. I believe [the salary you would like] would be more appropriate because [your reasons such as the market rate or previous experience]

Please let me know if this salary adjustment would be possible. I am flexible and look forward to reaching a mutually beneficial compensation offer.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Kind regards,

[Your name]

Negotiating Total Compensation Package Email Template

If you aren’t able to reach your desired salary, use this email template to request alternative compensation. 

Dear [name],

Thank you for considering the salary adjustment for the [job title] job offer. I appreciate you cannot offer any more than [their maximum salary offer]. Considering [reiterate the reasons you stated to justify the salary adjustment], I would like to discuss other aspects of my total compensation. 

I would be happy to accept [their maximum salary offer] alongside [other adjustments to your compensation package].

Let me know if this is possible. I look forward to discussing the total compensation available for the role of [job title].

Kind regards,

[Your name]

 

Negotiating your salary can be nerve-wracking but it’s an important part of finding a job you thrive in. With careful preparation and effective communication, you’ll secure a compensation package that reflects your value. Remember to do your research, know your worth, and approach the negotiation with professionalism and confidence. By following these tips, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the salary negotiation process and land the job of your dreams on your own terms.

 

If your interviews aren’t currently resulting in job offers, I can help you refine your interview skills to present yourself as a top candidate. In my interview coaching sessions, I share tried and tested strategies for crafting standout interview answers and building confidence. Additionally, I’ll take you through a practice interview with personalised questions and provide objective feedback so you know what you can do even better. Book an interview coaching session to ensure you have the opportunity for thorough preparation before your next interview. 

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