How to Negotiate Your Salary – With Example Emails

Master the art of salary negotiation with our comprehensive guide on techniques and strategies, including sample emails for every stage of the process. Boost your earning potential today.

Posted January 10, 2024

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For young professionals and seasoned industry experts alike, negotiating your desired salary can be a tough challenge. Unfortunately, with the volatile job market and financial time we are experiencing in 2023, the negotiation process for a salary increase has become an increasingly difficult task. But no need to fret! From initial preparation to knowing when and how to accept the offer, we’ve got you covered with our top salary negotiation tips for how to reach that higher salary and maximize your income.

The Importance of Salary Negotiation

There are many considerations to take when deciding on a new role. Salary is an important one but so is location, company, culture, other benefits, healthcare, manager/team, potential for promotion, and much more. When comparing different roles and weighing pros and cons, or when feeling stuck in a current position, salary negotiation can be one way to tip the scales. Before we delve into tips and strategies, it’s important to understand why this is important and how it fits into your larger career trajectory.

Though there are contradicting opinions on the effect of higher salaries on happiness levels, generally, higher pay provides the opportunity to improve well-being and quality of life through increased financial flexibility. This means you can pursue economic decisions that will help to prepare you for the future (investments) or simply enjoy more personal passions, like traveling, hobbies, etc.

In addition, negotiating a fair salary can help you feel valued and motivated to perform at your best; if you currently feel underappreciated at work, a salary negotiation may be a great remedy. Lastly, recognize that your salary sets a baseline for future raises and promotions. Negotiating a higher starting salary now can have a compounding effect over time, leading to a higher overall earnings potential and career growth opportunities.

Salary Negotiation Misconceptions

Let’s debunk a few common misconceptions about the negotiation process. Many people believe that negotiating a higher salary is only appropriate for top performers, but the truth is that anyone can and should negotiate their salary. Good employees are difficult to come by and many companies genuinely want to help them succeed.

Some may also believe that salary negotiations are confrontational or risky; however, when done professionally and respectfully, they can actually stimulate the employer-employee relationship and help to ensure that management has an understanding of your short and long-term goals. You’re not asking for a favor–you’re asking to be fairly compensated for the many hours you spend on hard work.

Finally, after a long job search and interview process, people are often reluctant to negotiate and believe the initial job offer to be set in stone. But, this is not usually the case. Most employers actually expect candidates to negotiate and have a more flexible salary range than you think.

Now, let’s dive into what the process looks like and you can negotiate effectively.

How to Navigate the Salary Negotiation Process

The starting salary offered by your employer during the discussion may not be the number you ultimately accept. Likely, you’ll go back and forth a couple of times. Here’s an overview of the whole process, from start to finish.

  1. Research and Preparation
    1. Understand the industry standard for your position, title, location, etc.
    2. Assess your skills, experience, and achievements
    3. Determine your target salary range
    4. Prepare a list of accomplishments and reasons for the desired salary; quantify where possible
  2. Wait for the Right Moment
    1. Wait for the job offer to be extended
    2. Be prepared to negotiate after receiving the initial offer
  3. Initiate the Negotiation
    1. Express gratitude for the offer
    2. Express your interest in the position and company
    3. Start the conversation about salary negotiation
  4. Present Your Case
    1. Use researched data to support your desired salary
    2. Present your achievements and accomplishments
    3. Highlight your unique skills and value to the company
  5. Handle Counteroffers
    1. Remain calm and confident
    2. Be open to compromise
    3. Consider non-monetary benefits, such as additional vacation days, flexible hours, equity, etc.
  6. Close the Negotiation
    1. Obtain a final offer in writing
    2. Express gratitude and excitement for the opportunity
    3. Review the final offer carefully before accepting or rejecting

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How to Prepare for a Salary Negotiation

Preparing for salary negotiation is arguably the most important step in this process as doing your research will ensure you enter negotiation meetings with confidence and a clear understanding of what you want out of the discussion. The first step is knowing your worth. Research the salaries of others with a similar job title, experience, and education in your geographic location and industry, and see if your expectations match general standards. If you’re right at the average, there is usually still room for improvement, as long as you’re able to make a compelling case for your value proposition.

You’ll also want to make sure you are cognizant of your company’s size, financial health, industry trends, and salary policies so you can open up a constructive dialogue with your employer. The room that a startup has for negotiation will be very different from a Fortune 500 company.

Tips and Techniques for Effective Salary Negotiation

At this point, you should now have an idea of the industry, role, and location standards, an ideal salary, and a value proposition or justification for the increase. When it comes to the actual negotiation, strong communication skills are key. It’s important to approach the negotiation with poise, but also patience and a willingness to compromise. Make sure you are calm going into the discussion, have an upbeat tone, and keep an open mind. Think of it less as a demand, and more as a discussion of your skills, goals, and trajectory.

To achieve a successful outcome, you’ll need to employ a variety of negotiation tactics, such as emphasizing your accomplishments and quantifying the value you bring to the table (data and statistics are your best friend here!). However, you’ll also need to be aware of your employer’s needs. Finding common ground is essential. This can consist of exploring mutually beneficial solutions, discussing alternative compensation options, or considering flexible benefits and long-term incentives.

Here are a couple of other tips to keep in mind.

  • Be confident and assertive: Clearly articulate your value and be confident in your abilities. This will help you make a strong case for a higher salary.
  • Practice active listening: Pay close attention to what the employer says during the negotiation process, and respond thoughtfully to their concerns and offers.
  • Be flexible: Be open to discussing various aspects of the compensation package, such as bonuses, stock options, or other non-monetary benefits.
  • Use the "anchoring" technique: Start with a higher salary request than what you're aiming for, as this may influence the employer to make a higher counteroffer.
  • Show enthusiasm for the role: Employers may be more willing to meet your salary expectations if they believe you're truly excited about the position and committed to the company.
  • Don't be afraid to walk away: If the negotiation isn't going well or the employer is unwilling to meet your salary expectations, be prepared to walk away. This can demonstrate your value and potentially lead to a better offer.
  • Follow up professionally: If you don't receive a response right away, follow up with the employer in a professional and timely manner. This will show your interest and commitment to the position.

By combining these tips and techniques, you can approach salary negotiations with a strategic and persuasive mindset, ultimately securing a fair and satisfying deal for all involved.

Negotiating Beyond Base Salary

Negotiating beyond base salary is an essential aspect of evaluating a compensation package, and it’s important to be aware of the other benefits an employer can offer. These may include a bonus structure, stock options/equity, extra vacation days, remote work, and professional development opportunities. It’s important to weigh the value of each of these against the base salary to get a clear picture of the overall compensation package and analyze if these options are right for you.

In addition to the monetary benefits, there are also non-monetary benefits to consider such as retirement plans, healthcare coverage, and work-life balance. By considering the entire package, both in monetary and non-monetary terms, you can make an informed decision and negotiate effectively to secure the best possible job offer and outcome for your career.

Example Salary Negotiation Emails

When possible, negotiations should always be done face-to-face or over video/phone as live conversations will allow both parties to accurately and empathetically verbalize their thoughts. Below are some sample emails that you can use to set up a live meeting as well as templates if you are in a situation where a live meeting is not possible. Remember, though, these emails are just general examples and should be customized to reflect your writing style, experience, and salary expectations.

Email Template 1: Request for Salary Discussion Meeting

Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],

I hope this email finds you well! I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to join the [Company Name] team as a [Job Title]. I am excited about the role and look forward to contributing my skills and expertise to help the company achieve its goals.

Before finalizing my acceptance, I would like to discuss the proposed salary package in more detail. I believe that a conversation will allow me to present my research and accomplishments, which I think would help us both come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

Would it be possible to schedule a meeting at your earliest convenience to discuss this? I am available on [date and time] or [alternative date and time]. Please let me know if either of these options works for you, or if there is another time that would be more suitable.

Thank you for your understanding and for considering my request. I look forward to our discussion.

[Your Name]

Email Template 2: Alternate Request

Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],

Thank you so much for offering me the [Position Title] role at [Company Name]! I'm excited about the opportunity to work with such a great team and contribute to the success of the company!

I would like to discuss the salary offer and see if we can come to an agreement that reflects my skills and experience. Based on my research and market value for similar roles, I believe a salary of [Your Desired Salary] would better suit my short and long-term career goals.

I'm open to discussing other forms of compensation, such as stock options or additional vacation time, if that would be more feasible. I'm also willing to consider a performance-based bonus structure.

Thank you for considering my request, and I look forward to hearing back from you soon!

[Your Name]

Email Template 3: Request to Set Up a Phone Call for Salary Negotiation

Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],

Thank you for extending the offer for the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. I am genuinely excited about the prospect of joining the team and contributing to the company's success.

Before accepting the offer, I would like to have a conversation to discuss the salary package in more detail. I believe that a discussion over the phone would be an efficient way for us to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

Would you be available for a brief phone call at your convenience? I am available on [date and time] or [alternative date and time]. Please let me know if either of these options works for you, or if there is another time that would be more suitable.

Thank you for considering my request. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

[Your Name]

Email Template 4: Offline Salary Negotiation

Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],

I hope this email finds you well. First, I want to express my appreciation for the job offer as a [Job Title] at [Company Name]. I am thrilled about the opportunity to contribute to the organization and work alongside the talented team members.

I have carefully reviewed the offer and would like to discuss the proposed salary before finalizing my decision. Based on my research, the industry standard for a [Job Title] with my level of experience and skills in [City/Region] ranges between $[X] and $[Y].

Given my accomplishments and the unique value I can bring to [Company Name], I kindly request a salary of $[Your Desired Amount]. I believe this amount better reflects the market value and the expertise I will contribute to the company.

I understand that salary negotiations can be a delicate matter, and I want to emphasize my commitment to finding a mutually beneficial agreement. If there are any additional factors to consider or if there is room for flexibility in other areas of the compensation package, I would be open to discussing these options.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you and hope we can reach an agreement that reflects my value and potential contributions to [Company Name].

[Your Name]

Email Template 5: Alternate Offline Negotiation

Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],

I wanted to thank you for taking the time to meet with me last week! I was excited to learn more about the [Position Title] role and the opportunities it offers at [Company Name].

Based on our conversation, I believe that I would be a great fit for the team and could make significant contributions to the company’s success. I'm confident in my skills and experience, and I'm excited to work with such a talented group of professionals.

I'm interested in discussing the salary for this role and would like to propose a salary of [Your Desired Salary]. This reflects my research and market value for similar roles, and I believe it is fair compensation for my skills and experience.

I'm also open to discussing other forms of compensation, such as stock options or additional vacation time, if that would be more feasible

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

[Your Name]

Conclusion

You are now well on your way to maximizing your earning potential and mastering the art of salary negotiation! Even after you secure your new income, always remember to advocate for yourself throughout your career and never shy away from taking the steps necessary to achieve your objectives.

We have tons of coaches here at Leland who would love to help you prepare for salary negotiation. From reviewing emails to helping establish expectations, researching industry standards, and conducting mock negotiations, they can help with every part of the process. Below are some of our top general career coaches, find specific ones for your field by heading to “Browse coaching” and selecting your goal.

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