Skip to main content
Negotiating Salaries

When you do accept an offer, it’s a good idea to notify the hiring manager of your decision by telephone and then to confirm your acceptance in writing. Re-state the position title, salary, start date, and other specific information that relates to the offer. Ask the employer for a letter confirming these details, as well. Once you’ve accepted an offer, your active job search will end. It is also courteous to notify all other employers you’ve been talking to about your decision and remove yourself from the search process.

As in all interactions with any employer, be courteous, direct, and honest when negotiating. Once a job offer has been made, it is appropriate to discuss salary. Salary negotiation is an acceptable part of the job search process, especially if the salary doesn’t fall within your target salary range. Employers are generally willing to negotiate salaries. Reasons to negotiate include: a competing offer from another organization, an offer lower than the national average, a high cost-of-living index, or unique skills/experience you possess.

Before negotiating, be prepared with USU and national salary averages in your field (available at Career Services); cost-of-living estimates for the area; and your experience, education, and skills that warrant a higher starting salary.
Based on salary averages and the area cost of living, have an acceptable salary range in mind; a $3,000 to $5,000 range is suggested. The bottom of the range should be the lowest amount you are willing to accept. When asking for a higher starting salary, convey your enthusiasm and interest in the position.

An example might be, “I am very interested in this opportunity and excited about my future with ABC Company. Based on my research, however, the average starting salary in similar fields is $44,000. Given my excellent internship experience and communication skills, I was hoping for a salary in the range of $44,000 to $47,000.” A simpler statement might be, “Given my qualifications and skills for this position, I was looking for a salary closer to $44,000.” You and the employer can then negotiate a figure from here.

Keep in mind that many employers have formal pay structures or set entry-level salaries at fixed levels, both of which may be non-negotiable. Given this, employers may negotiate benefits, signing bonuses, vacation time, relocation costs, and flex-time schedules. The only way to know if an employer is willing to negotiate is to ask.


Excellent Resources:

PayScale

LinkedIn Salary Tool

Cost of Living Calculator

The NACE Salary Calculator Center

The NACE Employer Salary Calculator by Occupation

Step by Step Guide For Negotiating Salary

Step by Step Guide For Negotiating Your First Salary

Once you accept a position, you should be prepared to fulfill that obligation. It is highly unethical and unprofessional to renege on an offer.