Dear Job Searcher

Hey Jess,

I’m currently employed with a job I don’t love, and I’m actively looking for my next opportunity. I have a couple offers on the table, but one of the roles just screams my name—I would be PERFECT for this position!

The problem is that the bonuses they’ve offered aren’t great, and the salary is lower than the other options I’m considering. My husband says I should ask for more money. If I’m being honest, he’s telling me to ask for astronomically more money and I’m just not sure I’m comfortable doing that. And if I can get comfortable with it, I really don’t even know how to have the conversation. What do I say? How to I present it?

I really want this position and I know I would be a great hire for them, but I just can’t wrap my brain around asking them to increase the offer before I’ve even proven myself and my capabilities. Help!

Job Searcher

Congrats to you for having multiple offers on the table at once, and for finding an opportunity that gets you excited about what’s next! Now it’s time to pump yourself up in the mirror, practice your best power pose and employ my top tips for negotiating a job offer:

  1. Know that it’s totally appropriate to negotiate if the offer isn’t what to you need to confidently take the job. Don’t negotiate just to negotiate, but also remember they made the offer because they want you. Helping them understand how to make that happen is good for you and for them (so stop worrying about “proving yourself,” please and thanks).
  2. Assume good intent, but don’t assume it’s the best offer. The first offer is rarely the best offer, but that doesn’t mean they’re trying to trick you either. If they can get people for less money, they will, but it’s not malicious. There’s always room to bargain and negotiate.
  3. Put your request in writing and follow-up with a phone call. As a CEO who has been in a lot of job offer negotiations, I hate getting hit cold with things like this. I want time to react emotionally in private, so I can react professionally and logically with you. Include some insight into why you’re asking for what you’re asking for. Understanding your current compensation is helpful, too. All this info will help them come to the table with solutions and avoid multiple phases of back-and-forth negotiation.
  4. Establish your number and then tell them where you need to be (really—don’t be shy). There’s nothing I hate more than when people beat around the bush or aren’t direct when asking for what they want or need. Come to the conversation with some ideas of how we can turn your hesitation into a resounding yes, including the number you need.
  5. Be willing to get creative. Compensation isn’t just salary. There are commissions, bonuses, time-off, professional development dollars, title changes, remote work, car/phone/internet allotments, and much more that are a part of the total compensation package. All those things are on the table as a part of the deal. Be willing to creative get to your final goal.

Don’t forget to write back and let me know how it turns out.


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