The process of finding the right job can be a challenging one, from putting a resume together and submitting an application, to making through an interview. One of the most challenge situations you may find yourself in during the process is when you’re negotiating with an employer for salary and benefits. Situations like these can seem to be very intimidating, especially for a young graduate or someone who is relatively new to the field their applying for. Negotiating is a skill that doesn’t come naturally for everyone, and depending on how well you do it and what type of job you’re applying for, it can be seen as a major asset to a potential employer once you actually have the job. Even if you’re not a great negotiator, or it makes you feel uncomfortable, try to remember that the entire purpose of putting together a resume and going to interviews is to sell yourself. Employers are always looking to hire workers to do the same job for lower costs, so while you shouldn’t go into negotiations with unrealistic expectations on pay, you also shouldn’t undersell yourself either. It’s very important to know what your skills are, how much you can benefit the company, and what the average salary is for the position being applied for. With all that said, let’s go over some important things to know when negotiating for salary and benefits.
My first point may seem repetitive, but it’s worth repeating; it is ok to negotiate. Some people are ok with taking the first offer given to them, but if you think your worth more it doesn’t hurt to negotiate. Being afraid to negotiate out of fear of souring the deal could add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars in missed income overtime. Remember to do your research on the company and position you’re applying for, keeping the average salary for the job in mind. Of course during the negotiation process you should be honest, professional and considerate, but you also shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions and counter offer. Even if it seems like the best offer you could’ve imagined, weigh your options and don’t feel pressured into accepting an offer right away. While it’s ok to not accept right away make sure that you eventually respond in a timely matter as you don’t want to leave an employer hanging for too long. In addition to questions on salary, one question you will want to ask when discussing salary is if the position comes with any benefits. Some full time positions may not come with benefits but others can come with great health or insurance benefits that can end up saving you a ton of money.
It’s true that negotiation is perfectly acceptable but it’s also just as important to keep your expectations in check. According to Kristen Hamilton who is the CEO of a Seattle-based company that provides career training and coaching to college grads, a typical yearly increase in salary is between two and three percent, and promotions are usually between eight and twelve percent. So in other words if you’re offered a salary of 30,000 but counter with 40,000 you’re basically asking for a twenty percent raise which is the equivalent of two promotions. Like I’ve said previously, do your research, figure out the math and make smart counter offers. Also know that if you do ask for more in salary or benefits that you should be prepared to make your case as to why should be given more. This is when you really want to sell your talents and experience, being sure to back your case up with facts and not opinions. No matter the offer in the end you’re going to end up accepting or declining, either way show that you a grateful for the offer. If it works out great, but if the offer isn’t satisfying remember to be polite and professional as you don’t want to ruin the chances of the company giving you a better offer upon hearing your decision.