Negotiating Your Salary

By Timothy Ring
BGE Career Strategy & Professional Development

When considering a job offer, your compensation is often a key deciding factor. Salary is not always negotiable, but below are some tips and strategies for conveying your maximum worth to an employer that may help increase your compensation.

The first step in negotiation is to assess whether or not you’re satisfied with the package your employer is offering you. Remember to consider all that your offer includes. Insurance packages and benefits are crucial and one can get high-quality health insurance for extremely subsidized prices through a business. Additional perks can include number of vacation days, matching retirement savings through a company-run 401K, stock options, or even a parking spot or office location.

Negotiation Tips

If the salary and benefits line up with what you want, then congratulations! For some, this may not be the case. If you choose to negotiate, here are some tips:

  • Wait for an appropriate time – Do not discuss salary until you have been offered a position
  • Base your salary request on data – Do your research on industry standard pay for this position and be sure you can articulate why you deserve such pay based on your skills, experiences, etc. that you bring to the position
  • Give the first number, make it high, and make it exact – Once in negotiation, don’t be afraid to open talks with your ideal salary, or more than you expect to get. The first number is what the rest of the negotiation is based on, so give yourself some wiggle room and put it at the top of the expected range. They’ll negotiate down but you might get more than you hoped for. Likewise, a more specific number convinces the employer you’ve done your research and they’ll be less likely to push that number down.
  • Prepare a “brag sheet” – Make sure you have a shortlist handy to demonstrate your value to the company based on accomplishments, awards, testimonials, etc. That way you can bring out reasons to support your request for a higher salary in the midst of negotiation.
  • Look Beyond Base Salary – If salary is non-negotiable, see if you can discuss additional perks or benefits. Some companies have expansive resources and can potentially offer a number of services. If you have to move for a job, consider requesting relocation assistance. Companies may be able to pay for travel, temporary residence, and may even help you in finding a new permanent residence as you settle into your new position. You also may be able to negotiate for a signing bonus, or the option to occasionally work remotely. 

All in all, there is a lot to consider when you receive an offer. Feel free to make an appointment with a CSPD Career Advisor to talk through your specific situation.  

Janet Li, a BGE Alumna, shares her personal experience with the negotiation process. Read Janet’s story now for her firsthand account of negotiating with a potential employer.

More Career Advice

Learn from faculty, staff, postdocs, students and alumni through our Career Catalyst blog.

Career Catalyst

Job Search