As a girl growing up amidst the corn fields of southern Indiana, I didn’t realize how fortunate I was to have a father who “talked business” with me until much later in life. We would discuss company profits, the challenges of the manufacturing sector, and the importance of a good education along with many other topics. We would also discuss the value of people.
When my offer letter arrived from my “dream” company (Intel) prior to my graduation from Purdue, I shouted with joy and was ready to sign the bottom line after a quick glance over the details. My father, so proud of his newly minted college graduate, was excited as well, but wanted to walk through the entire document with me. Afterward he said, “I suggest you negotiate your salary and your start date since you are moving across the country for this job.”
Needless to say, I shocked my manager as I asked for more money (and got it) and requested a later start date (and got that too). This was the beginning of many salary negotiations throughout my career.
The sad reality is that most people never negotiate a thing as it relates to a job offer.
Per a recent Fast Company article, 49% of job candidates take their initial offer. The result is an income loss of over $600K during a 40 year career. Studies also show women negotiate less often than men.
After helping a colleague negotiate her package for a new job just last week, I suggest the following:
- Evaluate your entire compensation package, don’t just look at the salary (401K, vacation time, healthcare benefits, bonuses, etc. are all important factors)
- Research and know the salary ranges of jobs in your industry and city for comparison (knowledge is power)
- Take the emotion of out it – this is a business deal
- Be honest with yourself in terms of what’s the most important to you right now (Tuition reimbursement may be a top priority right out of college while great health benefits may be a priority when starting a family)
- Take into consideration the title – especially if further along in your career as this too can be negotiated