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Advice / Job Search / Job Offer

How to Negotiate Other Benefits When the Salary Offer's Low—A Handy Template

person contemplating email message

The call you’ve been anticipating finally came, and the job is yours! Time to rally the troops for a celebratory dinner.

But hold up: Before you accept, you’ve got to negotiate. That much you know. You are ready for this. You even know that when it comes to negotiating a job offer, it’s not all about the salary.

Far from it, in fact. In an era when the 9-to-5 is dying a slow (albeit, too slow) death, you might consider requesting a work-from-home day or half-day Fridays in exchange for longer work days Monday through Thursday (hey, it could happen…). Is the proffered title worth rejiggering? How do you work that into your negotiation?

Asking for more money seems like a breeze compared to these less-than-traditional factors. Fortunately, Muse Career Coach Melody Wilding has some excellent insight on the subject. Here’s how to go about it:

Hi [Name of Hiring Manager],

Before I accept your offer, I want to be on the same page about compensation. As I mentioned, $60,000 is my salary floor, and my research shows that $80,000 is the current market rate for this role. What is the best way for us to bridge the gap in pay?

I look forward to hearing how we can work together on finalizing the offer so that it meets both of our needs.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

According to Wilding, “using this method invokes the contrast principle. It's much more attractive for an employer to ‘throw in’ extra PTO days or a work-from-home option rather than boosting the salary offered.”

Wilding urges creative thinking to “remove barriers to make a ‘yes’ easy and a no-brainer for your counterpart. One way of doing that, if you’re proposing a remote workday be figured into your offer, is to “lower resistance by proposing a four-week trial run. That reduces risk for both sides.”

If the hiring manager comes back with a question along these lines, “Well, what did you have in mind?” you have all the opening you need. You also come across as someone who is flexible, fair, and willing to find common ground. You want the job, but you have reasonable asks, and unless it’s a totally off-the-wall request (“I’d like to expense my lunch every day”), approaching the negotiation in the manner suggested above is likely going to produce the end result you’re looking for.