Whether you're new to the workforce or are looking to make a change, landing a job offer is certainly no small feat. But if there's one thing you should know about job offers, it's that they're not set in stone. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans seem to have missed that particular memo, because data from staffing company Robert Half reveals that 61% of job searchers don't negotiate offers.
Not surprisingly, women are less likely to negotiate than men. While 46% of males are apt to ask for more money when presented with a job offer, only 34% of females are similarly inclined.
Of course, the problem with not fighting for a better salary is that if you accept a lowball offer, you could end up limiting your ability to earn more throughout your career. Because each time you get a new job, your salary will likely be based at least in part on your present earnings, the less money you make at any given point in time, the less you might make in the future.
If you're not sure how to go about negotiating a job offer, here are some tips that'll help you make a strong case.
1. Play up your uniqueness
Maybe you hold a number of software certifications -- something the average IT professional at your level doesn't have. Or maybe your marketing prowess landed you several awards in your field. No matter what specific skills you bring to the table, the more you're able to highlight those factors that set you apart from the pack, the more likely your prospective employer is to recognize your value. So don't be shy about tooting your own horn. Remind the folks you're negotiating with that while they might find another worker to accept their offer in its present state, they're unlikely to find someone as talented as you.
2. Know your worth
It's crucial to come in prepared when negotiating a job offer, so to that effect, be sure to do some research to get a good sense of how much you should be earning. Job site Glassdoor, for example, has a "Know Your Worth" tool that lets you compare salary data based on inputs such as job title and geographic location. Dig around, compile some numbers, and see how your offer stacks up. If you can prove to your potential employer that your offer is on the low side, or isn't as generous as it could be, you stand a stronger chance of eking out a little something extra.
3. Don't focus just on money
When we talk about negotiating a job offer, we tend to focus on salary -- and that makes sense. But don't forget that there are other aspects to discuss as well. When you evaluate your offer, take a look at your total compensation package, and see how your benefits read. If they're not particularly compelling, make the case for something better.
Along these lines, if your prospective employer refuses to budge on salary (whether due to stubbornness or a lack of budgetary flexibility), you can request improved benefits in lieu of money. For example, you might try asking for 12 vacation days a year instead of 10, or a partial work-from-home arrangement that will save you money on commuting costs.
Remember, just because you're presented with a job offer doesn't mean you must accept it exactly how it is. If you're interested in the role but aren't thrilled with the terms, make the case for why you deserve better. As long as you go about it respectfully, you have little to lose and a lot to potentially gain.