Salary Negotiation

Negotiating for salary and benefits is really intimidating for a lot of us. Many people just feel lucky to have a job offer so they can stop searching. It is critical to go into the negotiating process knowing the average salary for your industry and location, along with what benefits (examples – insurance, educational benefits, retirement savings, parking, vacation and sick time) are included in the offer. Use the quick checklists below as a guide for planning to negotiate successfully. Consider talking through your strategy with a Career Network coach to build up your confidence. 

Before you get an offer 

  • Network with people you know in the field to learn about how salaries and benefits vary by organization and city  

  • Calculate the cost of living after graduation including rent, transportation, clothing, food, and loan payments, along with the salary you need to meet the basic cost of living  

  • Use your research to quantify a pay range based on your qualifications and your field  

  • Do not base a target salary on personal bills, your ideal salary, or what your friends are making  

  • Your goal salary should be in line with other similar positions and reflect your level of experience  

  • Prepare for the offer to be given over the phone or by email following an interview 

When you get an offer 

  • Enthusiastically thank the employer for the job offer  

  • Ask about benefits, if not shared in the offer, including insurance, retirement, vacation and sick leave  

  • Ask for the offer in writing to confirm the salary and benefits information  

  • Determine when you can follow up with the employer (24 hours is typically a reasonable amount of time) 

Negotiation considerations 

  • Have a strategy for why you would negotiate more money or additional benefits  

  • Skills above and beyond the requirements for the position  

  • Calculate a salary increase that is reasonable based on the initial offer, the market, cost of living, and the company  

  • Have a figure in mind when you return the call to negotiate the offer  

If you are uncomfortable about starting the conversation, ask if the salary and benefits are negotiable. If salary is not flexible, consider benefits that may be negotiable:  

  • Specific technology needed for the position  

  • Relocation expenses  

  • Parking or public transportation reimbursement  

  • Flexible scheduling or telecommuting  

  • Fitness center membership  

  • Funds for continuing education  

  • Position title  

  • Vacation time  

  • Daycare support  

  • Office environment needs (e.g. window, enclosed office)  

  • Money toward professional clothing (especially if a certain look or quality is expected)  

Formally accept or decline the offer within the agreed-upon amount of time with the employer. 


Use this tool to conduct salary research by position type and location. A cost-of-living calculator is also available. 


This site allows you to create pay report for your position based on your job type and location.