You know that you should negotiate salary before taking a new position, lest you leave money on the table and cost yourself hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary over the course of your career. But what about when there’s honestly no more room in the budget?
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“Companies often have strict guidelines in terms of base salary ranges that they can offer for particular positions,” writes Jane Turkewitz at iMedia Connection. “For example, a Director–level position might offer a range of $125K-$140K on the base, based on one’s experience. Well, what if you were most recently earning a $155K base and are excited about this new opportunity put forth, but do not want to take a cut in salary and $140K is the final offer?”
After you do your research and find out whether the company’s salary range is reasonable for the position, and then determine that yes, even at a reduced rate, you really do want the job — what then? Well, then you concentrate on laying the groundwork for more money down the line.
1. Ask for a review in six months.
This is Turkewitz’s first piece of advice, and it’s a good one. If you can’t get every dollar you want right now, asking for a review sooner will put you in a better position to get more money at an earlier date, potentially helping you catch up. It will also start a valuable conversation about raises, which might give you insight into whether your prospective employer is generous with merit increases, without the awkwardness of having to outright ask that question.
2. Ask for better benefits.
What’s worth money to you? For some of us, it’s more time off. Others would prefer a flexible schedule, paid cellphone service, or a free gym membership. If the hiring manager can’t budge on the salary, maybe they can make the money up to you in other ways.
3. Look for ways to increase your worth.
Will you learn something at this new job? Certain skills and types of experience are worth cash down the line. If this job will help you build a better resume, it might be worth it to take (a little) less right now, in exchange for more bargaining power the next time you’re on the job hunt.
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