When presented with a job offer, many people tend to accept the first salary figure they're offered. If you’re hoping for a higher pay grade, though, the short window between being offered a position and formally accepting it is the best time to speak up—and according to U.S. News, you should do it in a particular way.
By this point, you already know that the company in question wants to bring you onboard. They’ve spent a fair amount of time and resources on interviews, and employers would like to avoid going through the process all over again if they can help it. All of these factors work in your favor, but that doesn’t make negotiating your salary any easier.
Most importantly, take the time to do some market research. Figure out how much similar positions pay in your particular city, and be sure to factor in your unique skill set and years of experience. Indeed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale, and Salary.com are a few of the online resources at your disposal. When you find a figure you’re comfortable with, add a little more to it (maybe a few thousand dollars) so that you’ll still be satisfied if they come back with a counter offer that’s less than what you requested.
Once you’re ready to get that conversation started, here’s a sample text you can use, courtesy of writer and communications consultant Robin Madell:
"I'm very excited about the position and know that I'd be the right fit for the team. I'm also excited about your offer, and knowing that I'll bring a lot of value to the table based on my experience that we discussed during the interviews, I'm wondering if we can explore a slightly higher starting salary of $60,000. My market research showed that as the industry average for this area, and I'm confident that you'll be very happy with how much I can contribute to the team and department."
Expect some pushback, but stand your ground. If the hiring manager says they can only offer you the amount originally stated, reiterate that you want to remain as flexible as possible but would also like to explore whether your desired salary is feasible. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get a better offer, but you won’t know until you try.
[h/t U.S. News]