Salary Negotiation Tips

A few basic salary negotiation tips:

1. Let the employer give you a number first. Try not to answer questions about salary first—rather ask them what they had in mind.

2. Once an offer is on the table, sound grateful but don’t accept on the spot. Ask for time to think about it. Any reasonable employer will give you at least a day or two. If you are worried about asking for time, you can even ask if it would jeopardize the offer just to have a day or two to consider it since it’s a big decision etc. Nearly all employers will say you can have time.

3. After you’ve “thought about it” then respond with your case:

a. You have researched salaries (i.e. by looking at what alumni from your graduate school earn:  or using salary data from sources like,, the United Way Salary Survey of King County nonprofits or something similar,, etc. and found that salaries for people with your background, or for the job title in question in organizations like theirs, usually earn more than what they are offering; and…

b. You exceed their qualifications in so many ways (give specific examples of how you can go above and beyond!) that you are worth a few extra dollars. You will make their organization run so much more efficiently, charm so many stakeholders, raise so much money in grants, save so much money through process improvements, expand their impact and reputation through your great programs, etc. etc., that they will gain financially and in their mission’s impact by hiring you.

c. Your degree has given you a new, improved market value, to the point that your prior salary history no longer is relevant.

d. Therefore, you are asking for the maximum amount of the range.

4. Wait. Hold your breath. Give them time to respond. Show enthusiasm for the job and organization throughout.

5. Get your best offer, seal the deal, and then consider any other requests, like a delayed start date, any other perks or benefits you want to still negotiate.

My favorite site on this, from which most of these tips arise, is Jack Chapman’s site. As Jack would probably say, have a prosperous day!


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