In a perfect world, you’d always be able to negotiate the salary you want (or at least, one that’s appropriate for your role). However, the reality is that sometimes, budgets are closed or your expectations are otherwise misaligned with reality, and there’s just no more room to negotiate … at least as far as salary is concerned.
When you find yourself in this situation, it’s time to look beyond salary. Negotiate the right perks, and you could wind up saving yourself some serious cash.
Plus, money isn’t everything.
“When my dad was a young lawyer supporting his growing family, he went to his boss and said ‘You know, if I just had another $1,000 bucks, I’d be fine’ and his boss replied ‘No, if you had another $1,000, you’d still be $1,000 short,’” writes Mykkah Herner, PayScale’s Modern Compensation Evangelist, in our Salary Negotiation Guide. “At some point, once the organization has done its part to pay fair market value for the job and your skills, it really becomes about everything else. Do you want more flexibility in your hours or your role? Are you looking for work that has a clear impact? Perhaps you like more public recognition for your success. Whatever it is, this is the time to identify ‘what else’ and ask for it.”
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. A Better Job Title
What’s in a name? When it comes to job titles, a lot.
“The title on your resume today can have a major impact on your employment prospects in the future,” writes Angela Smith at The Muse. “People use your job title to quickly understand how you fit into an organization, what you do, and your level of expertise or authority.”
This is especially important if the job title seems misaligned with the role — if it reads as junior, but the job requires more experience, for example, or the job description doesn’t quite match the title (especially possible if you’re looking at a hybrid job role).
2. Telecommuting Privileges
Commuting is the pits — it’s expensive, stressful, and (unless you’re a devoted podcast listener or able to get work done on a bus or train) often a waste of time. Negotiate a flexible schedule, and you might be able to cut down on your commute … or cut it out entirely.
Even if full-time telecommuting is off the table, working at home a day or two a week might be a nice break in your routine. And if that’s not possible, shifting your schedule around so that you’re not traveling at rush hour could make a big impact on your quality of life.
3. Relocation Assistance
If you’re moving for work, relocation assistance might be on the table — and pretty valuable. The average move between states costs over $5,000, according to the American Moving & Storage Association.
“Keep in mind that although everything is negotiable, your employer is more inclined to agree to with your asks if they benefit the company as well,” advises Daniel Bortz at Monster.com. “For example, ‘I will be able to work longer hours and be more productive from the start if I can get a few important matters settled quickly.'”
4. Education and Training
At a certain point in your career, you’ll probably need to move up the ladder in order to increase your pay. The best way to do that is to learn new skills. Your employer might be willing to help: according to the Society for Human Resource Management, 61 percent of employers offered tuition assistance (as of 2014). But even if your employer won’t spring for a new degree, they might help you out with training via online learning programs, certifications, etc. You won’t know until you ask.
5. Additional Responsibilities
What’s next for your career? If you’ve got a career path mapped out, you might be aware of some holes in the experience section of your CV. Certifications and skills are important, but experience is also key to getting ahead. Ask about adding tasks and projects that will broaden your work experience and make you an attractive candidate for your future dream job.
Tell Us What You Think
What’s the best perk you’ve ever negotiated? We want to hear from you. Share your tips in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.