Real talk: How to get the most out of your job offer 🚀

A lot is going on now Reader,

It’s hard to see where the economy is going. The job market is strong, but banks are going under, stocks are dropping, and layoffs are still a thing. Since we don’t know what’s happening in the job market, I figured I would drop some timeless information that will never go stale.

My ability to negotiate a job offer has provided me immense wealth over the years. I recently taught a college class on the subject, along with coaching someone into a new high-paying tech job. They increased their salary by 30K! My current teaching/coaching experience has proven this topic is relevant, additionally if you’re facing an unexpected career change in your future, it’s a skill worth sharpening.

Why must you always negotiate a job offer?

It’s no secret that well paid employees typically work harder and have higher chances of longevity— which is important to companies. Negotiating your salary increases your chances of higher pay. Higher pay = happier employee. Being fairly compensated is one of the top factors of job satisfaction. While there are several articles to support this, my personal experience is evidence that higher pay can lead to a better appreciation for the work you do. My best work has come when I felt well compensated. Look, the cold hard truth is your job is typically your biggest source of wealth, and maximizing it will help you build it. Most of my long-term assets were purchased with income from a salary.

I’m always going to advocate for getting more money, so I’m sharing 5 crucial points to remember when negotiating your next job offer.

Think Beyond Salary

When considering a job offer, it's important to understand the total compensation package. Total compensation includes salary, benefits, bonus, and equity. When I was coaching my client, it was clear in our initial coaching sessions that they were solely focused on increasing their salary but not considering the other aspects of their potential compensation package. Do your research and know your worth. It’s important to evaluate your skills and knowledge and what the market salary is for the role. Google is your friend. Use online resources such as Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and to get an idea of the typical compensation for similar positions in your area. You can also reach out to friends in the industry or friends who work at the company (outside of the recruiter) to get an idea of the typical compensation for the company. Find out if the company offers equity or other incentives. The more information you have the more clear you will become about what’s important.

Get clear about what's important

So what is important to you? Only you can answer that. In order to crystallize your goal, start by taking the time to identify what matters most to you in a job offer. Is it the compensation, the job opportunity, the flexibility to work remotely, or something else? Determine a realistic minimum salary that meets your needs. Remember that equity can be a valuable asset, but it involves some degree of risk. So, weigh the potential benefits and risks carefully before making your final decision.

Let them make the first offer

Let the employer make the first offer, which avoids you selling yourself short by asking for too little. If they ask for your salary expectations, deflect the question by saying your current salary is unimportant and you don’t have a range expectation. Once they make an offer, you can counter with your own.

*Job application hack: When applying to a job, if they request a salary range don’t put one. Either put N/A, leave it blank (if possible), 0, or willing to negotiate. By putting the number out there early you could be removing yourself from immediate consideration and/or selling yourself short.

Get a Competing Job Offer

If possible, try to get another job offer to use as leverage. Ideally, you should have two job offers in the works or an idea of a company that could quickly get you an offer. Be mindful that you may be wasting the company's time, so try to choose one that can stomach it, like a large corporation with a robust HR team compared to a small startup where a wasted interview day is crucial. Once you have the other job offer, if it's higher, ask for more money. If it's lower, ask for more money and don't disclose the offer, just say you have a competing offer. Don't negotiate an offer you won't take.

Confidently Ask for more

Don't be afraid to ask for more. Be clear and confident in what you want. You can ask for a signing bonus, a higher salary, better benefits, or more equity. If they can't meet your request for one aspect of the compensation package, ask about the other aspects. However, it's important not to burn any bridges in the negotiation process. Recruiters talk, and you want to make sure you leave a good impression. I’ve been shocked how many times old recruiters show their faces again at a new company. Smiling, being nice, and being enjoyable to work with, made them happy to see me again.

In the end …

The moral of the story is … get your money. The ability to get a job isn’t enough, you need to know how to maximize your salary if you are serious about building wealth. Small improvements here can pay off for years to come.

- Damien “Show me the Salary” Peters