Sometimes it’s necessary to write a salary negotiation letter to clarify your position and ask for higher pay or a raise. You need to negotiate your salary to make more money right now. It can be scary–especially in a tough economy, but do yourself a favor and make it happen! While we recommend you do as much negotiation as possible in person, over the phone, through a recruiter, or even an HR rep–a letter can be a powerful way to justify your request for more money.
What You’ll Lose If You DON’T Negotiate
A joint study by George Mason University and Temple University surveyed employees across many jobs and industries. People who chose to negotiate (rather than accepting the company’s first offer) got an average of $5,000 more in annual pay. And that starting salary builds on itself. Let’s give an example. Two people start a job at the same time, both getting offers of $50,000. One accepts the $50,000, and the other negotiates for an extra $5,000, bringing her salary up to $55,000. Now, if they both perform equally well and thus receive the same percentage raises throughout their careers, the one who negotiated the higher starting salary earns $600,000 more over a 40-year career.
That’s right: $600,000.
Now do you see why you MUST know how to negotiate?
First Things First…
Before we get into the Two Main Goals of your salary negotiation letter, you have to do one thing: Identify Your Situation. Knowing your situation gives you INSTANT CREDIBILITY in your negotiation which increases your chances of success exponentially.
- Currently negotiating for an increase in your new job offer salary, promotion raise, or job raise
If you’ve already begun negotiations in all cases, you have to KNOW HOW STRONG your current offer is. Until you know that, you can’t credibly negotiate.
2. You WANT to negotiate an increase in your new job offer salary, promotion raise, or job raise.
If you want to negotiate, but haven’t started yet, you must first COMPARE your current salary (or offer salary) to peers in that position to develop your strategy. If you’re already very well paid (or have a very high offer) relative to peers, you have to consider your perception to the employer as to not seem greedy.
Two Main Goals of Your Salary Negotiation Letter
If you must write a salary negotiation letter, it must achieve two goals:
1. Justify your request for higher salary
Justification of a higher salary request or raise can be difficult because there are few external sources that a company will consider valid to justify your request. The best way is to justify using the quality of your work if you’re looking for a raise. If you’re negotiating salary for a new job offer, you’ll want to know how much they want to pay FIRST, right when they ask you for your salary at your current job.
2. Convey that you’re willing to walk away
Positioning in negotiation is key. The ultimate power in a salary negotiation is walking away. Companies spend thousands of dollars to get people in the seats to interview. When they like someone, they WANT that person. If you are that person and there’s a credible threat that you’ll walk away from the offer or leave your job for a competitor, companies tend to negotiate. Let me make this clear:
It is cheaper to increase your salary than it is for them to search for new candidates.
I have hired many people throughout the course of my career and this is generally accepted law, not theory. It’s a secret employers don’t want you to know! So have confidence and don’t be afraid to walk away if the salary isn’t right.
Here’s The Next Step:
If you need a reference to get you started writing your salary negotiation letter or talking points for your discussions with HR Reps or hiring managers, Click here and enter your email address to get
six (6) 11 FREE sample salary negotiation letters (or click the image below).