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Tips for Negotiating a Salary and Compensation Package

Salary variation. Flat design business concept cartoon illustration.

Negotiating a salary is one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the job-hunting process and one of the parts people fear the most. For many, it’s like a monster at the end of your search, and many people want to know just how to wrestle that monster.

The best way to do this is to be aware, apart from base salary, of everything you want or need in terms of a total compensation package.

What Is Negotiable?

First off, remember everything’s negotiable, so when you begin negotiations, think of what’s important to you. Ask yourself what you need versus what you want, where you can be flexible, and what’s a deal breaker.

Go in knowing your bottom-line requirements, what you would be willing to trade, and what benefits/perks could help you if you hit a salary snag. Basically, you want to have a clear picture of your own goals as you go into the negotiations.

Apart from salary, other items you can negotiate might include:

  • The timing of the first review
  • Relocation package
  • Use of a company car
  • Association or club memberships
  • Reimbursements for education
  • Bonus pay
  • Incentive compensation (short- and long-term)
  • Sign-on bonus
  • Matching investment programs
  • Profit sharing
  • Extra vacation time
  • Insurance packages
  • 401(k), pensions or other retirement programs
  • Pretax childcare

A Word of Warning

Many people are lured in by an attractive signing bonus. Everyone’s getting them, right? Perhaps, but there’s a trade-off, and it usually comes in the form of a lower base salary.

The bottom line? Negotiate a signing bonus to make up for a lost bonus if you leave your current job. Otherwise, try to get money in your base pay instead. In the end, it will probably mean more money for you!

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