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Four Strategies to Evaluate and Negotiate a Job Offer

With graduation creeping up on seniors, many are feeling the pressure to find a professional job after college.  Hopefully, your first post-graduation offer will come with an outstanding compensation package.  You may feel uncomfortable during a salary conversation if you need to negotiate an offer, but your skills and time are valuable. You should feel confident that a potential employer will compensate you fairly for what you bring to an organization.  Here are four strategies for building confidence and successfully negotiating salary and benefits with a potential employer:

1. Know your value.  You must know your value in order to set realistic and fair compensation standards.  Realistic and fair standards should consider your education and experience levels, your (expected) location, salary, and employment trends. Some helpful resources are salary surveys such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook and online compensation tools.  

2. Take your time.  Knowing the right time to discuss salary is very important.  Don’t try to negotiate compensation during an interview.  Instead, invest some time in your decisions by requesting to review details of a formal offer.  If any employer pressures you to accept an offer immediately, seriously consider if this is the right move for you and your career.   

3. Evaluate an offer.  Take the time to review the details of an offer you are interested in.  It can be helpful to create a checklist so you can compare pros and cons.  Don’t forget to consider the value of benefits like vacation time, insurance, or retirement packages.

4. Consider countering.  Countering an offer can may feel strange and uncomfortable.  But, if after evaluating an offer, you reasonably believe you are worth more, you may want to request a meeting to negotiate.  The Balance’s article “Counter Offer Letter Requesting a Meeting” offers great advice to help you open up discussion, arm yourself with evidence, and prepare to compromise if negotiations begin. 

The content for this post is provided by WKU’s Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD). The CCPD helps students and alumni identify and reach their career and employment goals, helps employers access an educated and highly trained workforce, and supports faculty and staff by providing opportunities to increase student learning and skill development.  Students and alumni interested in our services can reach out by emailing us at or calling (270)-745-3095.

More than 20,000 students grace WKU’s four campus locations in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, Glasgow, and Owensboro. For more than 50 years, WKU has offered courses beyond the Bowling Green campus at regional locations. WKU serves students at three regional campuses in Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, Glasgow and Owensboro. Two of the principal goals for WKU’s Regional Campuses are to provide access to higher education and to improve the quality of life in the communities they serve.

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 Last Modified 5/2/17