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How to Negotiate The Best Salary and Benefit Packages

Salary and Benefits Negotiation

One of the most difficult aspects of job searching for many people, especially those who are just starting out or who are making a mid-career change, is actually the salary and benefits negotiation aspect. This is true partly because some people are just naturally uncomfortable with negotiation in general and also because they may not feel knowledgeable enough about the job market to be able to effectively negotiate for better pay and benefits. In other cases, certain job seekers may not feel confident enough about their talents and skills in order to attempt salary and benefits negotiation.

For the most part, employers expect that there will be some negotiation regarding salary and benefits packages. Today, this tug of war has become somewhat of a game where both sides take pride in honing their skills. In a small number of cases, employers have absolutely no room to maneuver regarding the salary and benefits they offer and therefore negotiation will not be effective. That said, however; you will never know unless you ask and give negotiation a try.

If you are unsure how valuable your own particular skills and experience are to the current job market it is worth it to take the time to perform some research. A number of job market and labor statistics are now available on-line to help you determine just exactly how valuable you are to a current or prospective employer. The figures are generally listed according to low, average and high; depending on the area of the country in which you live and the exact amount of experience you possess.

Individuals who are a little on the shy side and feel uncomfortable with trying to negotiate for a higher salary and benefits package can work out some of their anxiety by practicing with friends and relatives. It can be quite helpful to write out a sample script ahead of time so that you can work your way through it as you take a practice run. Take a look below at one way in which a salary and benefits negotiation might be handled:

Ms. Employer: "I'm really impressed with your skills and experience. We would like to offer you the position at a starting salary of $45,000 per year."

Mr. Job Seeker: "Thank you. I'm excited at the prospect of working for Rutherford Enterprises, however; my salary needs at the $55,000 level. As you know, accepting this position will require that I relocate to the Seattle area. Accepting anything less than $55,000 would simply be far too costly given the moving expenses."

Ms. Employer. "Hmmm, I can understand your position; but I simply can't offer you more than $45,000 per year. Our company policy is to bring all new hires at this management level in for $45,000 per year. We are looking at raising salaries on a cost of living adjustment sometime next year?."

Mr. Job Seeker. "I'm afraid that simply would not work, as I would need to make the move this year in order to begin by your requested hire date."

Ms. Employer. "I really hate to lose you. I believe we need someone with your experience on our team. Perhaps we could work out something else. As I said, I can't start you out any higher than $45,000 per year, but I could possibly offer you a $3,000 sign on bonus. That would help to defray your moving costs. Would that be acceptable?"

Now, obviously all conversations are not going to go exactly as the one in the example did. In some cases, the employer will remain adamant that they simply can't pay any more and they won't offer any other type of compensatory benefit on their own either. In this situation the job seeker will need to come up with a creative idea and nudge the employer. Just keep in mind that not all of the money you bring home is tied up in your paycheck. Sometimes you can do as well as or better than a higher salary by negotiating for sign on bonuses, moving expenses, company stock options, better retirement benefits, extra time off, etc.

Employers will rarely offer you everything you need and want with the first job offer. It's up to you to define the parameters of the negotiation and determine whether or not you will simply accept the offer on the table or sell the employer on your unique skills and experience and thereby obtain the best deal possible.

Roger Clark is senior editor at Top Career Resumes who provide free information to job seekers on all aspects of finding a new job and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on many medical, health and lifestyle topics.


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