Career Center

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logo Salary Negotiation

CONGRATULATIONS - YOU HAVE THE JOB OFFER!

Now what?

The following are a few points to consider on negotiating salary.

1. You are in the best position to negotiate a salary after you receive the job offer, but before you accept it.

2. Not all job salaries are negotiable.

3. It is considered unethical to accept a job and salary and then immediately try to renegotiate the salary.

4. To figure out the amount to negotiate, do your homework:

a) Identify the salary median and range for that type of job. In the Career Center Resource Library you can find the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Salary Survey. This publication is put out several times a year and offers salary information for entry-level jobs.

b) There are also resources on the Internet that may help. To negotiate with facts is to negotiate with strength. BE REALISTIC!

c) Think about your salary requirements, including rent, other financial obligations (loans, etc.), and the cost of living in your geographic area. What amount must you have to live on?

5. The decision to negotiate is yours. As your career within that organization continues, your salary is not likely to increase rapidly. It is more difficult to negotiate for a large increase in pay once employed than it is to negotiate for a higher initial starting salary. To decide, go back to #4 and do research.

6. Try not to give your salary requirements before being hired. Say "negotiable," but know that on occasion you may be pushed for an amount. If so, give a range based on your research. This will allow room for negotiation when you do receive the offer. Also, consider the "total compensation package" when giving a range. For example, a lower salary may be more acceptable if health insurance, vacation, retirement, and tuition benefits are generous.

7. If you try to negotiate the salary and are unsuccessful, remember that you can still accept the position at the original offer

To negotiate: When offered a position, try not to accept it on the spot (again, the decision is yours. There may be times when an immediate acceptance is warranted, e.g., you have all the details of the job and you’re thrilled!). Instead, be enthusiastic about the offer, but ask for time to make a decision. In general, the more likely an employer is to hire recent college graduates, the more likely you are to get a reasonable length of time to decide.

Use the time to gather information as recommended in #4 (if you haven’t already done so.) Remember, you need to not only know the salary, but also the benefits, vacation, health insurance plan, and any other financially related information that will affect your decision.

If you want to negotiate, be upbeat in your interactions with the organization. Salary negotiation can be a lesson in assertiveness training; if you are uncomfortable at the thought of negotiating, practice your technique and what you will say with a friend, family member, or a career counselor first.

Remind the organization, without seeming overly confident or arrogant, of what they will be getting - what will you bring to the job?

Here are some lines you may incorporate (there is no one right way to do this):

"I am very interested in your offer. I believe the position is an excellent match for my skills and experience. Is there any flexibility in the starting salary?"

"Is the salary negotiable?"

"I’m thrilled to have the offer; I was hoping for $_____."

"Having read articles, I know/learned the median salary for _____ in New York is ____."

"Can I let you know on ____ (date)?"

"I was hoping for an offer in the range of $____ to $____."

Remember, the employer will probably choose a number at the low end. Books recommend you choose a low end number that is 3-10% above what you’d really accept.

Good luck! And remember – Career Center counselors are happy to talk with you about your negotiation strategy.

The Career Center, Muhlenberg College
2400 W. Chew Street, Allentown, PA 18104-5586
Ph: (484) 664-3170    Fax: (484) 664-3533


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Last Revised March 25, 2008
Questions and comments? Send e-mail to careers@muhlenberg.edu
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