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Getting a job offer is a big step in the right direction -- but the challenges of job-seeking don't end there. If your future employer offers you a salary that's less than you think you deserve, you owe it to yourself to put on the brakes. Do your homework and negotiate an offer that's good for you and your employer.
Know What You're Worth
Before you negotiate salary, research earnings for the job in your area. Only then will you know whether your prospective employer has seriously lowballed you or made a really great offer for your city and your profession. Check with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and industry-specific organizations that list averages salaries. Your college or training program, LinkedIn and job sites such as Indeed are other resources to consult. If possible, arm yourself with this knowledge well ahead of the interview.
Ask for Some Time
After you receive a job offer, show your enthusiasm for the job regardless of the salary details. Politely let the employer know that you'd hoped for a higher salary, and ask for time to fully review the details of the offer. This gives you both time to prepare for a further discussion about a higher salary amount. Don't make the employer wait very long; a day or so is adequate.
Suggest a Specific Amount
When you return to the bargaining table, mention again that you're thrilled about the opportunity, then give a few reasons that support your request for a higher salary. Remind the employer of your sales record, your experience level or another factor that will make you an asset to the company. Don't bring up personal circumstances, such as student loan debt or a high mortgage, which do not reflect your worth to the company. Suggest either a salary range or a specific, slightly odd amount, suggests an article in "Business Insider." This can show that you've done your research. Name a slightly overinflated amount so that there's room for negotiating.
If your prospective employer is unwilling to budge on salary, that's when you have to decide whether you can live with it. Don't take the low offer personally or assume that the employer is just being cheap. Sometimes, budgets simply don't allow for a higher salary. In any case, don't give up on getting more value out of your new job. Counter with a request for other perks, such as a bigger office, flex time or other part-time telecommuting options, company stock or extra vacation days.
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Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.