Getting the job offer is a time to celebrate. But if that offer didn't include the salary you were hoping for, your acceptance letter is one place to document your desire to get just a little more. After all, the new employer may take your desire to negotiate as a sign that you're a high performer, says "U.S. News & World Report."
See What You're Worth
Before you craft the letter, spend some time trying to figure out how much you're actually worth. Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics' salary-range information to find out what people in that position typically get. Check out a few more job postings and look for salary information. Ask around to some of your current or former colleagues -- always keeping in mind that cost of living variations may mean someone in New York makes a lot more than someone in Topeka.
Open with the Details
When you start crafting the letter, don't forget to type today's date near the top. Address the letter to the person or people with whom you interviewed, include a "Dear Ms. X" greeting, and then launch into the first paragraph. In it, state clearly that you are happy to accept the offer for the position at hand. Then name the position, the department and workplace location, and any other details about the job you've been given. In large companies, human resources officers may need you to remind them of what job offer you're accepting.
The Big Ask
In the second paragraph, delve into the details of salary. Say something like "I am thrilled to be working at X company, but I would like the opportunity to discuss the salary." Then name the salary that the employer offered. As politely -- yet confidently -- as you can, say something like "with my skills, I feel I am worth more," and then state your desired salary. Ideally, you'll have upped the salary a little from what you'd settle for, so you'll have room to negotiate -- within reason, of course. For example, a grade-school teacher may put in enough time and effort to make her job worth more than $100,000 a year, but in reality the average school teacher pay is only about $51,380, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Remind Them You're Worth It
In the third paragraph, bring out the bargaining chips. Provide some details about your work experience, performance, or the clients that you'll be bringing with you, and how that special thing means you're worth more than what was originally offered. Do your best not to sound disdainful or ungrateful. Ask for a meeting to discuss the salary further, and then provide some dates and times that work for you. Cordially sign the letter using "In gratitude," or "Looking forward to a long and successful business relationship," and then sign the letter. At the bottom, provide your full contact information so that nothing gets lost in the shuffle.
- U.S. News & World Report: The Exact Words to Use When Negotiating Salary
- Virginia Tech Division of Student Affairs: Career Services: Accepting a Job Offer and Withdrawing from the Job Search
- CNN Money: Can You Negotiate Higher Starting Pay at a New Job?
- U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers
- Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images