Salary Negotiation

In a perfect world, your dream job would come with your dream salary. However, that usually isn’t the case. A lot of the time, you are going to have to ask for what you want and negotiate you way to a salary you and your employer are comfortable with. The tips below can help you prepare to negotiate your salary in an effective and professional way.

Know Your Worth

Many factors can influence what salary you make. It is especially important for you to know your worth as an employee. Start by finding out what the standard salary is for the job. If you are unsure of what the salary should be there are websites that can help you with your research:

Use these websites to help you determine the average salary for the type of position to which you are applying. This can give you a great starting point for negotiation.

Know What the Employer Wants

When going into the interview familiarize yourself with what the hiring manager or company’s top challenges are. Then know how you can positively affect those changes, or what experience you have with those areas. This can give you leverage when negotiating.

Never Name Numbers First

When it’s finally time to name the numbers, never be the first to name a figure. Once you put it out there it is hard to renegotiate, and you don’t want to short yourself. Instead, ask them to name what they are offering first. An example of how you might ask this is:

“My salary expectations would be based on consideration of the full salary and benefits package. What is the compensation level for someone with my skills and experience?”


“I am interested in finding a position that is a good fit for me.  I’m sure whatever salary you’re paying is consistent with the rest of the market.”

By not naming the first number, you can get a better idea of what the employer is looking to offer before you begin negotiation.

It’s not all About the Money

When entering into a negotiation you’re most likely focused on your salary. Sometimes employers simply aren’t able to pay what you want or need. Don’t count yourself out because of this. You negotiation can include benefits as well as salary. If your desired salary isn’t met some things you can negotiate for are:

  • Payed time off
  • Vacation days
  • Travel reimbursement
  • Sick days
  • Loan repayment
  • Health care options
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Retirement savings plan
  • And more…

Don’t be afraid to negotiate benefits as well as your salary. It may work out better for you and the employer in the end.

Wait to Accept the Offer

Once you get an offer that you feel good about, don’t accept it on the spot. While you may be excited about the opportunity, it is always important to take time to evaluate important decisions. Ask the hiring manager for time to consider the offer. Most companies will offer twenty-four hours for you to review the offer. Finally make sure to get it in writing. Once you discuss the details orally, have the hiring manager write down the offer. Oral agreements can be forgotten easily, so it is best to have the offer written down.

It’s likely that you will be nervous going into your first salary negotiation, or even your second or third. It can help you to practice ahead of time. The CPDC staff can help you by giving you tips and tricks on salary negotiation, to make sure you are prepared. Come in during drop-in hours, Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:00 am – 11:00 am or Tuesday Thursday 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, or make an appointment to practice your salary negotiation skills.


By Liz DeNoncour
Liz DeNoncour