Negotiating your salary is a tricky situation. Whether it is for a new position or your current one, there is always some risk in asking for more money. The best way to approach this delicate matter is in the form of a letter. Here are some valuable tips on how to create a balanced salary negotiation letter. With this preparation, it will make you more comfortable and prepared with learning how to negotiate your salary.
Why Should You Ask for More?
Picture yourself hiring someone to mow your yard or repaint one of your rooms. When you think of how much you will offer for payment, you consider how much you can afford, with a little room in the event there are unexpected costs, correct? Well, put yourself in your employer’s shoes. They are hiring or interviewing you because they see the potential for you to make them a profit. A business owner has to make money in order to stay open. Part of that strategy means cutting expenses wherever possible.
So, when they give you your first salary offer, you can be sure that is not the best offer. However, if this is your first job out of college, or you are returning to the work force (after a break) you might be so excited that you accept it then and there. Even if you think your experience warrants a higher salary, you might be too afraid to ask for more. I’ll let you in on a little secret – employers actually expect you to negotiate. Hence, their first offer gives them room to grow.
So, why should you negotiate? Well, you never know when you might get a raise. If you don’t negotiate, you could be leaving money on the table. What if you could increase your offer from $50,000 annually to $55,000 annually. Wouldn’t that be a lot better than waiting for a raise in a few years?
Ask for Time
If you have received a job offer, do not accept the offer right away. Ask for some time to think about it. Most employers will give you a grace period for you to consider their offer. This time is your most valuable resource, as you cannot really negotiate, once you have accepted. Use the time to do some research. The Occupational Outlook Handbook issued by the Bureau of Labor is a good source for most industries, as well as online searches.
Examine the Whole Package
When dealing with salary negotiations, it is very important not to be totally focused on the annual amount. There are a number of different elements within most job offers, and each one of them is usually negotiable. In some cases, the salary may be non-negotiable due to salary brackets, or some other restriction. Look at alternatives like a signing, or performance bonus. Consider the benefits on offer, and compare them to similar companies. Another good area to consider is the frequency of performance reviews, and the timing of the first one.
Write Down and Emphasize Your Key Points
Armed with your research, you are now ready to formulate your main points. Doing this will help you to have a nice flow when writing the letter. Match the results of your research with each point you want to negotiate. Picture each point from the view of the company, as well as your own. Do not forget to make notes about things in the offer that are good, and do not need changing. This will make your argument appear balanced. Not to mention, even if you are a contractor, you will still need these vital skills.
Start the Letter
The first paragraph should not focus on any of the negotiating points. Instead you want to set a positive tone, ahead of your suggestions for changes in the salary package. Make sure to emphasize your interest, and enthusiasm, in working for the company. Start by thanking you potential employer for considering you for the position, and for the offer. Talk about the positive things you will bring to the company. Remember to include the details of the original offer, which person made the offer, and how you received it.
The Main Body
The main part of the letter is where you get down to the negotiating. The outline you have drawn up will help you greatly with this section. If you are negotiating several different parts of the salary package, deal with each one in a separate paragraph. Clearly outline your counter offer, and back it up with the research you have found to support your position. For example, if you have found that the average salary for this position is higher than the offer, state the figures, and your source. Include a positive aspect from your past performance at other relevant jobs, to show the value that you will bring.
There are several elements you need to include in the closing paragraph. The first is to summarize the details of your counter-offer. It is important that you show that this is not an ultimatum, but merely a step in the negotiating process. Reiterate how much you are looking forward to completing this negotiation, and starting work with the company. After summarizing your counter offer, suggest a meeting to discuss the points you have raised. Include details of the best ways to contact you. Mention some goals that you plan to achieve soon after joining the company. The good news is you can learn these techniques in only one day with this negotiation skills course.
Write the letter on good quality paper. Try and keep it no longer than a single page of A4. Make sure you use a standard business letter format. Keep the language professional and positive. You should either mail the letter or hand-deliver it to the company, addressed to the person who made you the offer. Do not use email unless there is no other alternative. In addition, it is crucial to understand these four key steps.
By following these tips, you should be able to write a very successful salary negotiation letter. The most important point is to take your time, and do your research. Around 80 percent of employers are open to negotiation, so by taking the initiative on this issue, it has a good chance of being rewarded.