Congrats! You got a job offer. However, the worry isn't over yet. You may need to figure out how to negotiate your salary, regardless if it's for a nursing job or a medical assistant job. If this is your first job, that can be a daunting task. Many people may be afraid to negotiate, believing it's too brazen. Others might fear they may negotiate incorrectly or ask for too little. Consider these tips to figure out how to properly negotiate your salary.
Not saying anything
You may know that what you're getting paid is less than what it should be.1 Most people can find out the average salary of their position from a quick Google search. However, if you're offered less than that, the worst thing to do is to accept the offer without any attempt at negotiating. Even if the company doesn't accept your offer, you may be able to find a compromise or receive benefits in some other way. Many people who have just gotten their first job offer usually commit this mistake. Once you accept a smaller salary, you may deal with long-term consequences such as smaller raises and less of a pension. If you choose to avoid the topic or accept the offered salary, you'll end up regretting it and possibly developing a grudge against your job or employer. Don't do this – take the initiative to speak up and make a counteroffer.
Negotiating your salary is like playing a game of poker – you don't want to show your cards right away. When people get an offer, they're excited, especially if it's their first one.2 However, don't let these emotions take control and give yourself away. Instead, play it cool. Note that you're excited that the company has offered you the position, but ask for a few days to think it over. Many applicants are fearful that the employer will rescind the position – they won't. Use those few days to mull the position over and investigate to see how much people are often paid for it. Try to find out how much that specific company has paid in the past. Also be sure to make a list of priorities, such as a 401k, vacation days, technology and so on. Then, contact the employer for a meeting and bring a notepad. That way you can listen to their requests, have a set of your own and find a middle ground. Ease into the questioning during the meeting, asking lighter questions at first and then getting into the nitty gritty.
Revealing your ideal salary
Don't immediately let the employer know what your desired salary is. However, they may ask. Some employers may be sneaky about it with questions about what you'd previously earned at another job or if you have a salary requirement. Inexperienced applicants may blurt out an answer without even thinking. Try to avoid this topic if possible. Try not to commit to anything too early.
Asking for too many changes
When you give your counteroffer, it's important not to push it. Negotiating your salary is a game of give and take. You probably won't get everything on your wish list, but you might get a few items if you play your cards right. Try to stick to one or two main priorities. After that, you're asking for a little too much. If you know the company won't negotiate on salary, pick a few other easier choices, such as more vacation time or a signing bonus. Be sure to do plenty of research – you don't want to go into the negotiation process and make assumptions or claims about the company that aren't necessarily true.