When and How To Negotiate Your Salary After the Job Offer

Updated March 15, 2023

An increase in salary is one of the many reasons why people look for a new job. When you get a job offer, you're likely eager to see what salary and benefits package the employer offers you. Sometimes their offer is lower than what you anticipated and you start to consider negotiating a higher salary.

In this article, we share when and how you can negotiate for your salary after receiving a new job offer.

When should I negotiate my salary?

After receiving a job offer, you may ask yourself "Should I negotiate my salary?" Depending on your situation, this may be the right choice. After all, you deserve to be paid the right amount for your skills and experience.

Here's when you may consider negotiating your salary:

1. It doesn't reflect your experience

If you feel that their offer is too low for your education level, experience and skills, this may be a good reason to negotiate your salary. For example, if you worked hard to earn a master's degree, you want your salary to reflect that. Similarly, as a mid or high-level employee, you often make more than an entry-level employee.

Related: How To Effectively Negotiate a Promotion Salary Increase

2. It may impact your lifestyle

Many people want to upgrade or at least maintain their lifestyle when starting a new job. If the company's offer can't support or improve your current living situation, then it may be too low for you to accept. Before negotiating, decide if this new salary allows you to achieve your financial goals, such as saving more money or affording a new home.

Related: What Is a Competitive Salary?

3. You're going to require a raise at some point in the future

Asking for a higher salary now is much easier than asking for a raise later. It's okay to want a salary that improves your standard of living. You want to start your new job with a salary you're happy with because that's likely one of the reasons you initially started looking for a new job. Get the negotiating part done now, so you can start your job fully invested in the company.

4. The company can afford it

Only negotiate for a higher salary if you think the company has the funds to pay you more. Sometimes they may say that's their final offer, so you may want to decide to accept the offer or decline it and look for a higher-paying job.

Related: How To Negotiate Your Salary During Economic Uncertainty

How to negotiate salary

Knowing how to negotiate your salary can help you maximize your earning potential throughout your entire career. You deserve to be paid for your level of expertise and to feel confident while negotiating.

Here's how to successfully negotiate your salary:

1. Wait until you get an official job offer

Make sure you have an official written job offer before considering negotiating your salary. This gives you more leverage since you know that they for sure want you as an employee. This also gives you a little more time to prepare for your negotiation.

Related: Salary Increment: Definition and How To Negotiate for One

2. Do your research

Determine your ideal salary based on research. First, look up the market average for your position. Then, consider the following factors:

  • Location

  • Level of education

  • Additional certifications

  • Years of job experience

  • Career level

Related: FAQ: What Is a Full-Time Salary vs. a Contract Employee's Salary?

3. Come up with your ideal amount

Use your research to help you determine your ideal number. You may also take your living situation and goals into consideration. For example, you may want to make a certain income to support your family or pay off your student loans.

Determine the amount you're going to ask for and then determine the lowest salary you're willing to accept. This could be the original amount they offered or something slightly higher.

It's important to know this ahead of time, so you feel prepared and confident while negotiating. Also, consider counteroffers such as more paid time off, future raises, tuition assistance or reimbursement or remote working opportunities. These could be worth more to you than a higher salary.

Related: Competitive Pay: What You Need to Know

4. Decide if it's a deal-breaker

Sometimes, the employer doesn't change the amount they offer you. This may be all that they can afford to pay you, or perhaps they want you to prove yourself before offering you a raise.

Before talking to them about a salary increase, decide if their current offer is a deal-breaker. If you feel comfortable walking away from their offer, then you can be more persistent about earning a higher salary.

Related: How To Negotiate Your Salary From Multiple Job Offers

5. Create your talking points

The more prepared you are, the more likely you can succeed in the negotiation. Think of your talking points in advance. Explain to them why you deserve a higher salary. Use what you found during your research and your qualifications as evidence for this.

6. Practice with a friend

Before scheduling a time to talk about your salary, practice your negotiation skills with a friend. You could act out different scenarios with them. For example, you could have them pretend to be a flexible employer and then have them act like someone who's firm with their offer.

Salary negotiation tips

Developing strong negotiating skills takes practice. Before you talk to your potential employer, learn how you can be more persuasive. Use these tips to get started:

Be confident

Give yourself a pep talk before your negotiation. Tell yourself that you're a skilled employee who deserves a higher salary. By going into the meeting confidently, the employer is more likely to listen to your talking points and see your point of view. Wear professional clothing that fits the role and makes you feel confident.

Be polite

When negotiating, remember that you still want to impress your new employer. You can be firm in your stance but remember to still be polite. It's important to be able to start your job on good terms with them.

Express gratitude

Before telling them you want a higher salary, say you're thankful and excited about their job offer. You may also want to ask them more questions about the role, so you have a better idea of all your responsibilities.

If the negotiation goes well, express your gratitude for their flexibility. If you decide to walk away from their offer, still thank them for giving you the opportunity. They may offer you a higher-paying position in the future.

Related: How To Negotiate Price With a Customer (Plus 9 Tips)

Salary negotiation examples

You can negotiate your salary over the phone, face-to-face or by email. You may decide to do it over the phone or face-to-face based on your strengths and preferences. If you would rather carefully craft what you say, then you may consider using email. If you're confident in your public speaking skills, you may try to negotiate in person.

In-person example

Here's an example of what you could say over the phone or in-person:

"Hi, Mrs. Jones. Thank you for speaking with me about the job offer. First, I want to say how much I appreciate the offer to be the marketing manager of your company. I am honored to have this opportunity, and this company seems like a great place to work.

Before I officially accept this job offer, I would like to discuss the offered salary.

Based on my skill set, level of education and number of years in the field, I think a higher salary would better suit my position here. In my previous role, I led a team of marketing specialists for three years. During that time, I completely revitalized our marketing campaigns and rebuilt our social media presence.

Due to these experiences, I am looking for an offer between $60,000 to $65,000 for this position. I am also open to discussing additional benefits to offset the increase such as more paid leave."

Related: How To Negotiate Equity in 9 Steps

Email example

Here's an example of what you could write in an email:

Dear Mr. Martinez,

Thank you for offering me the role of senior librarian. Elmgrove Library would be a great place for me to share my love of literature and research with the community.

Before accepting this exciting position, I would like to further discuss the salary and benefits the library has offered me.

I have over 10 years of library experience. During that time, I started a reading program for underprivileged children, helped redesign our senior activities and organized various book talks. Since this is a senior-level position, I feel that a higher salary would be necessary for my expertise. I am looking to increase your offer of $50,000 plus 10 days of paid time off (PTO) to $60,000 plus 15 days of PTO.

Please let me know if this is a possibility since it would be my honor to work for a pillar of our community.

Thank you,
Patty Gilman

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