You have an offer. It's lower than what you expected. You know that the higher your starting salary in a job, the more money you make over your lifetime. If you get “behind” in your salary, it's difficult to catch up. How do you know what to ask for and how can you do it?
- Understand your value. Read Four Tips for Defining Your Value. Now you are prepared to explain it.
- Select three or four recent scenarios at work (or at school if you are a new grad) to show your value to the hiring manager.
- Ask about the salary range for this position. Have they offered you something up to the midpoint for that range? Many organizations do not offer past the range midpoint.
- Make sure you talk to the hiring manager. HR is not your ally. Your hiring manager is your ally. Explain your value. Explain where you want to be in the range.
- Decide what you want for your entire package. I have taken book allowances, conference attendance, and not-quite-40-hours/week as part of my compensation. In one job, when I negotiated an increase in salary, I also took an extra week of paid vacation at the same salary. In effect, they paid me for one more week a year.
- What is your rock-bottom minimum? Decide what you will not take, what makes the job not worth it to you.
I recently coached someone to do this, and she successfully negotiated an extra few thousand to her yearly salary. Once you know your value, you can ask for what you are worth.