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Negotiating the Offer

Being offered a position is a great thing, which is obvious. What is a little tougher is figuring out how to seal the deal with the best possible job offer you can get. Keep in mind that there is much more to a job offer than a salary, although that is certainly the biggest piece and can best place to start. Know beforehand what a comparable applicant for your position is paid.

Sometimes an employer may even ask what you think your salary should be. Often companies may have a set pay scale. So, if an employer makes you an offer that you think is a little low, don't be afraid to ask for a little more. They choose you and they picked you for a reason, which gives you some leverage. However, greed is not good so watch and careful not to be greedy. Greed is a quick path for a company to pull back a job offer. So make sure you have the most current labor Market Information for your location in your field. You can obtain this information from your local employment office. Another part is this is asking why they selected that dollar amount in their offer. It could be as simple of lack of information you have not provided. 

It is OK to negotiate at this time salary increases and percentage, or to take an increase of wage replacing medical insurance that you may have through the VA or Tricare. Just don't make too many demands since your future with the company will be based on the work you'll do over the year and not the credentials you bring.

Other non-financial items can include and that maybe up for discussion as well. Health, dental insurance, company car, reimbursement for gas and mileage, and moving expenses.

1. Be sure that the issue is so serious you would not take the job unless it were changed. Remember, when you ask to negotiate, the employer may withdraw the offer. The employer may have other candidates who would be willing to take the job as offered. In some cases the employer may not be able to change the offer due to contract or budget limitations.

2. If money is the issue, be sure you know the salary range you will accept. Having a range is better than an exact figure because it allows for compromise. For example, it may be easier for an employer to provide more in benefits than in salary by providing perks, like free parking or tuition assistance. The Living Wage link will help determine a salary and benefit table in order to calculate an acceptable wage. 

3. Keep your military benefits in mind. When you calculate the value of the many benefits, use it as a negotiation tool for your entry into the private sector. Online calculators are available and links are available on the transition website.

Following are some general suggestions and guidelines on negotiating. Keep in mind the idea is to let the employer know you are very interested, but there are some things that make you uncomfortable. Remember, always keep a positive attitude.

1. Salary can be an issue to negotiate. Salary does not include benefits which are a large percentage of your annual earnings. Benefits may include health and/or life insurance, parking, flexible work hours, training/education opportunities,
use of a company car, relocation assistance, administrative leave, sick leave, vacation, participation in professional associations, and so forth. Look at the total compensation package.

2. Do your homework and find out the salary range for the job. Also, find out what working conditions are like throughout the industry. Be sure you get the information for the state or region in which the job is located.

3. Do not ignore job progression as a salary issue. You can sometimes make a compromise by accepting the job at the salary offered and asking for a review sooner than company policy normally allows. Focus on what the job pays after two year’s experience.