When you first start working full time, it can be very exciting. You successfully passed the interview, and you were extended a job offer with a salary! But before you accept out of pure excitement, you should negotiate your salary.
The majority of people don't negotiate their salary because they're afraid, including adults twice your age. According to Salary.com, 32% of people they polled were scared of losing the job offer if they gave any push back to the pay. You're focused on getting the job, and not always thinking of getting paid what you're worth.
Don't be afraid of "scaring off" the company by asking for more money. You're not being greedy.
What Salary Should I Ask For?
So how do you go about negotiating your salary? The work starts before the job offer. When you're doing your research for the position and the company before the interview, you should take a look at the average salary is for that position.
You can look for what the pay is in your area, as well as compare it to other areas in the country. Set a goal for what your compensation should be, but also be realistic in regards to your level of experience. Many companies' job listings will list that salary is DOE, or depending on experience. If you're toward the lower end of the experience spectrum, expect to be on the lower end of the salary range for that job.
Next, when the job offer is extended to you, be gracious. Of course you're excited that you got the job, as you should be. However, now is not the time to be arrogant. Of course you want to be paid what you're worth, but you should never come off entitled during this stage. You want to be humble, yet firm.
How Should I Position My Counteroffer?
When the salary is mentioned, you have a right to counter. Throw your number out there, and explain that you've done research and emphasize how this is beneficial to the company. What are you bringing to the table? How will they benefit from having you on the team? Don't throw out a number because it sounds good. Have a legitimate reason why you deserve $Y as opposed to $X.
Now is also the time to ask about additional compensation with the company, in the form of benefits. Does the company offer medical, dental, vision, and life insurance? Are you able to invest in the company's retirement program after a certain amount of time? Is there a tuition assistance program you can enroll in?
While these things don't necessarily add to your paycheck, they are other ways the company is investing in and paying you. A benefit package can make a job offer more feasible, because these are things you don't have to pay for, and if so, you don't have to pay as much as you would if you purchased it on your own.
What If They Say No?
If, by chance, they say a hard and firm no, that usually means "not right now". This should not be the last time you negotiate. You may have more supporting evidence in the next 6 months, such as your superb performance and contribution to the company. This information will add to your case, and numbers are hard for people to ignore. They want to retain top talent, and if you're a proven top performer, they will work with you to keep you there.
Now is the time to negotiate. You don't want to simply accept the offer with the pay the company gave you, if you had the chance to make more money. A $5,000 bump in the offered salary is an extra $416 every month, and can translate into big money years down the line. So in the excitement and nervousness, don't forget to have a dialogue about your compensation, rather than having a company dictate it for you.