When you’re offered a job, it’s so common for young people to take the very first employment package presented to them, failing to understand how to negotiate salary. But, remember, compensation includes more than just salary, and additional benefits can earn you thousands of dollars more each year, or can help you boost your career earnings.
Since so many millennials either don’t know how to negotiate salary, or are just afraid that they’ll rish an offer by talking about more money, here are tips for how to score a better compensation package, whether that includes a bigger salary or non-cash extras.
Use Online Tools To Find Salaries
When you plan to negotiate salary, it’s important to learn what a potential employer might have to pay for top talent in its marketplace first. You can do this by checking out websites like Glassdoor or Indeed and researching salaries at the company, or figure out the average salaries for the position you want in your market. Indeed, for example, allows you research what companies are offering for specific job titles in a specific area, based on advertised salaries.
If you’re applying for a nonprofit job, check out Guidestar.org. The site provides many nonprofit organization’s Form 990, which shows their annual revenues and key employees’ salaries. You won’t find many salaries, but you’ll get an idea of how big or small the nonprofit is.
Find A “Mole”
Use LinkedIn to find friends, fellow alumni or others you can contact to see if they can help you get some inside information about a potential employer. In some cases, HR managers don’t mind telling salaries to internal employees if they think it will help get a good employee referral. Your contact can then pass that on to you.
Split The Difference When Negotiating Salary
Can you use an extra $3,000 to $5,000 a year? It might not sound like a lot, but it can help you pay off debt, reduce interest payments and improve your credit score. You can also invest that extra money and start earning compound interest for the next 30 years or more, padding your retirement nest egg.
In many cases, an employer won’t want to lose you over an extra few thousand dollars, so always provide a comfortable salary range and see if both sides can “split the difference.” If they really want you, they’ll usually meet in the middle.
Show Actual Relocation Costs
If possible, get bids on movers, new connections for cable and internet service, early termination fees, mileage or gas costs, lodging, meals, etc. Have them with you so you know whether or not the relocation amount you’re offered will cover your expenses. If the company is short, you can show them your list of expenses. Since the point of relocation reimbursements is to pay an employee’s costs, most employers will either reimburse you for your actual expenses or offer to connect you with their service providers to reduce your costs.
Negotiate Extra Benefits
Here’s where you can really negotiate a nicer compensation package, especially if you’re working with a small company that doesn’t pay big salaries.
A Better Title. Smaller companies are more willing to give you the title you want, which can be a big boost to your career. No, you can’t get the CEO title, but you can get a more accurate IT, HR, accounting or marketing title to make sure your title lines up with the industry standard for your position. Ask for a manager title instead of a coordinator title if that will be your role.
Specific Equipment. Let a potential employer know you can do more for them with the right hardware, software or other tools, including a company phone.
Continuing Education. Tell an interviewer that you’ll be able to help the company more if you can sign up for a specific seminar, attend a tech boot camp (or equivalent in your field), or pick up a night school class at the local community college. Tell the interviewer you’ll agree to reimburse the company for any expenses if you leave within six months of the continuing education reimbursement.
Subscriptions And Memberships. If you subscribe to any trade magazines or websites (or want to start), ask the employer if it will make subscriptions part of your comp package. Are you a member of a trade association? See if your employer will pay your monthly or annual dues.
Certification. If you’re not certified, but it would benefit the company, ask if the employer pays for certification training, testing and membership dues.
Mentor. Find out if the company will provide you with a mentor. Mentors want to be successes, which means they’ll want to see you get promoted during your time with the company.
Flex Time. If you live in an area with a difficult commute, ask about flex hours, such as 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. or 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Telecommuting Option. Approximately one-third of the U.S. workforce either now, or in the future, will be working remotely. This saves companies money in office space, furniture and other costs. Ask about telecommuting, but only if you can demonstrate a benefit to the company, such as the ability to use extra hardware and software you have at home.
Knowing how to negotiate salary and a better compensation package will pay huge dividends in your career and future earning power, so don’t be shy when it comes to asking for what you want. Be realistic about your goals, but hold firm on the things you think you’ll need for career success.
Lead image via Getty