You Can Negotiate Anything: Negotiating Your First Salary Offer

June 7, 2016

Recently I accepted my first job offer post graduate school. I still have a number of months to go before I finish, but like many of my other colleagues, the race to secure employment post graduation is in full force.

I will admit, I was at a disadvantage narrowing my job search down to the state of Indiana, where as most of my other colleagues were more ‘geographically numb’. In essence, they were applying to the jobs they were interested in regardless of location. After a number of interviews and rejections I landed a job, and I was ecstatic!  When the company extended me an offer, they initially asked how much I wanted to make. As an individual who was employed full time before coming to college, the desire to make more than I made in my previous position was at the forefront of my mind. I knew that my education, was worth a tangible dollar amount.  However, I am also aware that some of my peers are going to make far more than my new position would offer. So I threw out my first offer, which was about $15,000 above what I was realistically willing to accept.

The company came back with an official offer, which was nothing to bat an eye out. It met my requirements of what my degree was worth to me, in comparison to my last job. However, I took cues from my interviewers and the hiring managers. On several occasions during the interview process, they made note about how impressive my core competencies were. One of my interviewers also went so far to say that I was the best candidate that they had interviewed thus far. Now, back to the offer…. when the first offer came down, they did not say that it was non-negotiable. Most individuals would have accepted the offer, and not thought about negotiating. However, I have been fortunate enough to be under the current tutelage of one Dr. Jay Edwin Gillette. Dr. Gillette, has continuously told our management team 221M, that you can negotiate anything.

Before accepting the offer, I asked my liaison, if I could present the hiring managers with a formal counter offer. When I was given the go ahead I did my research. To start I gathered the official positing of the position. I wanted to gather the list of job tasks that I would be performing. These are needed especially when you title is unique. Thus you can find job titles with similar tasks in order to determine the median salary. Wait….you said median and not average. Don’t I want the average salary? You would think that you would want an average, after all, we use averages for everything. However, in this instance the Median is a more accurate representation. Once I had determined the job titles most closely related to my own, I visited the Bureau of Labor and Statistics , Indeed, Glassdoor and a number of other sites to collect the appropriate data to substantiate my counter offer. I formulated a professional email, with my new desired salary and the references I had used to determine the salary.

Now, before I finish. My situation was unique. They came back almost immediately and offered me exactly what I countered with. Most organizations will meet you in the middle. Negotiation is a powerful tool, however do not get greedy, and use resources to substantiate your claims that you deserve more. Below is a copy of the email I sent, I have removed actual numbers to protect my own privacy. But, remember do not sell yourself short, and you can negotiate anything!






First let me say thank you for being so flexible with allowing me to push back my potential start day by one week, and for all of your help during this process. I am truly very excited about the opportunity to be a part of this team. I am really, very flexible, but I feel as though I would not be doing my due diligence and a young professional if I did not counter offer based off of my findings.


As any good professional would I took an evening to think about the initial offer, after doing some research of my own, and speaking with the Director of my Master program I would like to purpose a counter offer. After looking at similar positions XXXXXXXXXXXX, and XXXXXXXXX, and the median and average salaries for those positions, along with my personal variables, education level and professional experience I would like to counter with an offer of $$,$$$ annually. My research has shown that the median salary for individuals in the XXXXXXXXXXXX role is $$,$$$annually, and $$,$$$ annually for those in the XXXXXXXXXXXX role. I also sought information from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, while they did not offer annual take home for this specific position, the annual take home for individuals in computer professions working in higher education $$,$$$. Those figures in conjunction with my education level, my diverse skill set, which makes me a great asset, as I am more capable of evaluation challenges from perspectives outside of Information Technology, and my previous professional experience will warrant some negotiation with the initial offer.


I would also like to say thank you again for making an offer to me and I look forward to coming on board.  Please let me know if there is any additional information that I can provide. I look fowl to hearing back from you.



One comment on “You Can Negotiate Anything: Negotiating Your First Salary Offer

  1. Profile photo of jaygillette jaygillette says:


    Outstanding post with praxical advice to any professional, of any age or standing.

    We owe you a penny.


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