Although discussing salary can be a nerve-wracking experience, it is important to understand the value of your experience so you neither get paid too little for your work nor make yourself too expensive as a candidate. Consider your salary as well as monetary and non-monetary benefits (see benefits list below) as items to be negotiated.

For more details, visit the Offers and Negotiations section of Moving On.

Understand Your Value

When you accept a position you are agreeing to make a significant investment in the organization.  It is realistic and fair to expect that organization to make an equitable investment in you.  As long as you are tactful and realistic, it is unlikely that an employer who has a vested interest in you will withdraw an offer because you tried to negotiate a better compensation package.

Consider the Complete Compensation Package

When considering an offer, take the complete compensation package into account. Keep in mind that these benefits may also be negotiable!

Benefits List
  • Flexible Work Hours
  • Cell Phone/Laptop/iPad   
  • Life Insurance
  • Disability                   
  • Flex time                              
  • Holidays
  • Retirement Benefits
  • Tuition Reimbursement   
  • Stock Options
  • Health Insurance    
  • Transportation Allowance
  • Training 
  • Relocation Benefits
  • Telecommuting Option     
  • Sick Leave
  • Parking                      
  • Professional Development
  • Dental Benefits
  • Paid Vacation           
  • Childcare Options              
  • Annual Salary Increases

Most Offers are Negotiable!

Do not assume that an employer's first offer is the best offer.  Many employers will initiate salary discussions by proposing a salary figure that is at the lower end of the position's allocated pay scale.  This is to allow room for the candidate to negotiate.

However, it is important that you understand the appropriate salary range for both the job and your skill level.

For more details, review the Offers and Negotiations section of the Career and Internship Guide

How to Negotiate Salary

Salary Negotiation
Determine an appropriate salary
Determine an appropriate salary by becoming familiar with the organization's size, budget, typical salary range for that position, in addition to their usual benefits package.
Pursue market research.
Pursue market research and determine what similar organizations offer for that particular position.


Know what you are worth.
Know what you are worth by talking to people already in the industry with a similar background and training. Ask them what a competitive salary range is.
Make the ask!
"I am very excited to have received an offer from your organization and understand the benefits you are offering. Is the salary negotiable? Based on my research, I was expecting a salary in the range of __. Again, I would love to use my __ skills to support the mission of the organization and add value to your team!"