Negotiating Offers

Salary negotiation is a key step in the hiring process that many post-graduate students do not take. While asking for more money may feel awkward, negotiating a job offer can lead not only to a higher salary, but better benefits or job flexibility. A CareerBuilder survey found that 56 percent of workers do not negotiate when offered a job, yet 52 percent of employers say they are expecting to negotiate with entry-level post-graduate students. By understanding the steps to a good negotiation, you can fill this gap and increase your overall compensation.

1. Know Your Value

When preparing for a negotiation, it is important to understand the salary range for your position. This will vary by company, industry, and location. Resources like Glassdoor, Payscale,, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data are great places to start. This will help you understand what you are worth and keep you from asking for too much or too little.

In addition to researching an appropriate salary range, you must also prepare to highlight your skills. Understanding your unique value add and being able to articulate this with the hiring team will go a long way in your negotiation. A career coach from the Career Enrichment Network can help you think about the best ways to market your Liberal Arts education.

2. Initiate the Negotiation

The hardest part of negotiating is beginning the process. Once you receive an offer letter, thank the employer for their consideration and ask whether there’s room to negotiate. If they say yes, this will open a back-and-forth dialogue.

3. Reach an Agreement

In response to your negotiation techniques, an employer can do one of three things to reach a compromise in salary negotiations:

  • Accept your counteroffer. An employer may accept your counteroffer outright, and you will have successfully negotiated.
  • Respond to your counteroffer. Another possibility is that the employer may respond with a compromised offer. You can either counter again or accept this offer to reach a compromise.
  • Decline completely. In this scenario, the employer has a strict budget they must stick to for new employees. In this scenario, you will have to decide if the job is the right fit for you. It is important to remain professional and respectful during salary negotiations to leave a good impression. If you decide to decline the job offer based on the salary, you can do so with grace to show you appreciate the job offer.

Get your negotiation information and agreement in writing so there are not any misunderstandings or confusion about each party’s responsibilities and gains.

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