Salary Negotiation

Salary negotiation is an important part of your job search and career management. According to CNBC, neglecting to negotiate your salary can be a costly mistake that adds up to $750,000 (!) or more in lost income over the course of your career. 

Negotiation (noun): Mutual discussion and arrangement of the terms of a transaction or agreement. 

Know Your Market Value and Consider Your

  • Experience
  • Educational background
  • Accomplishments/Skills
  • Credentials 

Salary Negotiation Do’s

  • Research the market rate for the position and geographic area. This will ensure you know what is fair and won’t unknowingly accept a low salary. Start with or
  • Know your strategy. In addition to being objective, it’s important to be persuasive and strategic when negotiating.
    Avoid discussing salary or negotiating until you have been offered the job. Specifically know your:
    • Target Salary— Your worth based on objective, market wage data. Your target salary is the "anchor" at the bottom of the range, and the top of the range should not exceed 20% more than the target salary.
    • Bolstering Range— that you use to negotiate with an employer.
    • Resistance Point— the lowest salary you are willing to accept.
    • Take-home Pay— the net pay you receive after deductions such as taxes and benefits.
  • Try to get a potential employer to name a number first. The negotiation should be based on a fair salary given your experience and qualifications, and the responsibilities of the job.
  • Practice! Negotiation skills will not improve without practice. This will help you navigate those trickier parts of negotiating. With each practice session, you can improve your abilities to be objective, persuasive, and strategic. The more you practice with others, the more assistance you are given with positive and constructive feedback to improve your verbal and body language. Practice with your roommates, friends, or career service practitioners to hone your skills.
  • Show up with confidence. Communicate to the employer that you are serious about your career and want the best for yourself and your family (if applicable).
  • Recognize a fair offer when you see one. If the offer falls within the competitive market rate and is reflective of your level of experience, realize that some offers are reasonable and leave little need to negotiate. 

Employer Point of View

Employers consider salary equity within the organization as the top factor when making an offer

Negotiation Starters

  • "Thank you for meeting to discuss the details of your offer."
  • "According to my research, a fair salary range for people doing this job in this area is from $____ to $_____."
  • "Given my previous experience doing ____, I believe this is a fair salary range for the position." 

When Asked About Salary History/Expectations

  • Since 2017 California law has prohibited employers from asking job applicants for "salary history information."
  • Under this legislation, California employers must provide "applicants" with the "pay scale" for the position upon “reasonable request.” A reasonable request is defined as a request made after the applicant has completed the initial interview. 

If an Employer Proposes a Starting Salary

  • "Do you have any flexibility on the salary number?"
  • "Thank you for the offer. Based on my research with comparable roles in this area, I was thinking of something in the range of $_________."
  • "Based on my prior experience and familiarity with this role, I believe that an additional $______ would be fair."

Benefit Negotiating Points

Salaries only represent 70% of total compensation; the other 30% is made up of other benefits such as: 

  • “After reviewing the benefits, I have a few questions. Looking more closely at the package, could you consider providing transportation assistance for my commute?”
  • “After reviewing the benefits, I am pleased with the package and just have a few follow-up questions."
  • “First, is there a possibility of receiving professional development or telecommuting?” 

Resources To Keep in Mind

Extra Tips for Negotiation

  • Remember, it's a conversation!
  • Be objective!
  • Practice with a Career Counselor