The most stressful part of applying for a new job might just be when the time comes to talk money. Specifically, how much money you’ll earn in your new position. The last thing anyone wants to do is open a new chapter in their career thinking they’re getting paid less than they’re worth. This also holds true for anyone who already has a job and is seeking a raise. Companies still face competition from other businesses seeking the same candidates. That’s why the most in-demand professionals can still command competitive wages. The good news is, most hiring managers will give you the opportunity to do some thinking about the offer and won’t expect an immediate answer.
Let’s look at a few tips that will help you negotiate a competitive salary.
You need to enter a salary negotiation as informed as possible. Pay particular attention to the In-Demand Positions in any Salary Guides. You can respond to the job offer more confidently if you find you’re in the running for one of today’s hottest jobs. The employer may be having a tough time finding someone with enough skills and experience, and that opens the door to negotiate higher pay.
Once you receive the salary offer, don’t just counter with a higher number. Even if your research supports it, you’ll be more successful if you explain why you feel you deserve more. Highlight your strengths, detailing all the extras the firm would get from someone with your track record. Before negotiating, jot down concrete examples of how your skills and experience will benefit your new company’s bottom line. Possessing certifications or specialized technical skills, for example, can enhance your ability to do the job.
Salary negotiations often include some give-and-take on employee perks and benefits. It may be less costly than a bump in salary for the employer to give ground on extra vacation days, flexible hours, or, especially today, a work-from-home schedule. Consider what’s valuable to you and what would make an offer more attractive.
Once you and the hiring manager settle on a compensation package, ask for written documentation. Besides the salary amount, it should include any special arrangements, such as a signing bonus or allowance for moving expenses, and a job description and a list of responsibilities for your new role.
In some cases, an employer may not be able to meet your minimum salary requirement or offer additional benefits that make it worth your while. Or the employer may counter-offer with a salary that’s higher than their first offer but not as high as your request. In this case, you’ll need to decide if the job is worth the lesser amount. If it’s less stressful than your current position, closer to home, or offers you more flexibility or more free time, you may be open to taking a lower salary.
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