Your job search has finally paid off. After all the networking events, resume re-dos and mock and real interviews, you finally got an offer for the job you
wanted. So now what? Do you just take it or do you dare negotiate?
“You should always negotiate a higher salary,” say Vanessa Jackson, assistant director of career services at The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago. Jackson adds, “Hiring managers expect this so
they do not offer the highest salary in their range.”
Be polite. “Say ‘Thank you very much for this opportunity. I am so excited to join your company.’ Then move into the negotiation,” adds Shannon Delecki,
assistant director of career services at The Art Institute of Michigan.
But before you ever get that offer, make sure you’ve done your research caution Jackson and Delecki. “Know the average salaries for the position and for
the market,” says Delecki.
And this isn’t a time to be modest about your potential value to the company. “Tell the company why you are worth more than you are being offered. Show
them how you will contribute to the company’s profits and help their bottom line,” advises Delecki.
How much should you ask for? Jackson recommends anywhere from $3,000 - $5,000 above the companies offer. After thanking your future employer, you should
say something like: “but I’m hoping to negotiate a salary closer to $XX”
There are times that companies may not be able to budge on the dollar amount. This could be an opportunity to negotiate other benefits like vacation time.
“Ask the company whether they can be more flexible about vacation or PTO days,” says Delecki.
And those extra benefits don’t end there. Companies sometimes pick up the tab for day care, can offer flex time and even allow employees to work from home
on certain days to defray commuting costs. “I’ve known people who negotiated immediate vesting in the company’s 401K,” observes Jackson. She also stresses
that the higher you are on the food chain the more perks you’ll likely be able to negotiate. If you’ve just scored your first job, your new employer may
not accommodate as many requests.
And speaking of requests, make sure yours don’t sound like demands. If they do, you could negotiate your way right out of a job. The negotiation is a
balancing act. You want a higher salary but you have to remember that you’re looking to work with the on the other end of the negotiation. So be gracious.
“That’s why it’s important to say ‘thank you’ and ‘I was looking for a salary closer to’,” says Jackson.
Finally, make sure you can live with and on your salary. Jackson counsels job seekers, “Know what you need to make to sustain your lifestyle.”
The Art Institutes (www.artinstitutes.edu) is a system of more than 50 schools throughout North America. The Art Institutes schools provide an
important source for design, media arts, fashion and culinary professionals. Several institutions included in The Art Institutes system are campuses of
South University or Argosy University. OH Registration # 04-01-1698B; AC0165, AC0080; Licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education,
License No. 1287, 3427, 3110, 2581. See aiprograms.info for program duration,
tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.