There’s no better feeling in your career than being offered the job of your dreams. All the hard work you put into your job search and interviews finally paid off big time, and you can’t wait to sign on the dotted line and make it official. Just when you think it’s too good to be true, the employer hits you with a curveball that makes your career dreams come crashing down: a low salary offer. You want (and deserve) a fair salary, but will countering their offer make you lose out on the job?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t cut-and-dried. If you’re like many professionals, then you’ll probably take the first offer handed to you, out of fear of having the offer pulled out from underneath you. Part of the problem is that negotiating salary can feel greedy. However, if you truly know your market value as a professional and are confident you’re worth a certain dollar amount, then that’s a pretty valid reason to not settle for less, wouldn’t you say?
What’s the Big Deal?
The obvious fact is that, by not negotiating, you’re cheating yourself out of hard-earned money now — but you may not realize that you’re also cheating yourself in the long run. As a matter of fact, in their paper, Who Asks and Who Receives in Salary Negotiation, researchers Michelle Marks and Crystal Harold found that “employees who negotiated their salary boosted their annual pay on average of $5,000,” reports Fast Company. More specifically, the researchers pointed out that with “a 5% average annual pay increase over a 40-year career, a 25-year-old who negotiated a starting salary of $55,000 will earn $634,000 more than a non-negotiator who accepted an initial offer of $50,000.” Now do you see why asking for what you’re worth is so important?
A New Perspective
The good news for professionals is that most employers actually expect you to negotiate your salary, which may explain why they tend to offer lower salaries off the bat. Therefore, instead of viewing the initial offer as an insult, it may be helpful to view it as a starting point to negotiate a higher dollar amount that is fair for both you and the employer.
Build a Solid Case
However, that’s not to say that every employer feels good about candidates negotiating their starting salaries — because not all do. Your best bet is to build a solid case for yourself so that you can go into the negotiation with facts and figures backed by research. Here are some tips on where to begin:
- Take PayScale’s personalized salary survey to figure out what you’re worth based on your experience, location, job title, etc.
- Use PayScale’s Salary Negotiation Guide for tips and resources on how to research, strategize, and negotiate your way to a higher salary.
- Familiarize yourself with some common salary negotiation mistakes.
- Read these “rescinded job offer horror stories” and learn from the unfortunate mistakes of the candidates who went about their negotiations in all the wrong ways. (Bottom line: the way you ask might provoke an otherwise reasonable hiring manager to revoke an offer, so make sure your technique is helping, not hurting.)
When it’s all said and done, do you really want to work for an employer that doesn’t know or appreciate your value? If you were to take the job for a lesser salary than what you feel you’re worth, then you’re already starting off at a disadvantage — and, most likely, you’ll end up feeling overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated. That’s a surefire way to turn your dream job into a dead-end job.
Tell Us What You Think
Have you lost out on a job offer because you negotiated a higher salary? If so, share your experience with our community on Twitter and let us know how it all went down. You can also leave your story below in the comments section.