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Job Search Strategy
To Get The Job You Want.
Tour Overview
1. Assess Yourself
2. Research Potential Employers
3. Establish Your Fit
4. Write Your Own Resume
5. Start Networking
6. Get In On The Ground Floor
7. Create Your Own Job
8. Informational Interviews
9. Interview Preparation
10. Tough Interview Questions
11. Negotiation Skills
12. The Key To Hirability

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11.  NEGOTIATING SKILLS - Wrapping it all up! Accepting a job offer today may require you to successfully negotiate salary, bonus, commission, stock options and more.

The purpose of any negotiation is to achieve a "win-win" situation where there is no loser. Both sides must feel that they are satisfied with the outcome and that no one feels like they have had to give up too much.

To prepare to negotiate with your potential employer about salary, bonus, commission, stock options etc., you need to do your research to find out what is comparable in your industry. What are other companies paying for someone with your background, skills and experience? Ask others in your industry for guidelines. There are a number of Internet sites you can check like,, or,,,, (economic research) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics at There are also fee-based services like, and Abbot Langer & Associates that you could research at your local business library. The librarian can be a big help directing you to resources within the local library. Check the Career and occupational guides for your industry. They will include some broad references to expected earnings for each field or discipline discussed.

When assessing the job offer, you need to carefully consider several aspects: How does it compare to your needs as far as salary, benefits, culture, location etc? Do you clearly understand your primary duties, to whom you report, your authority level and your potential and time frame for advancement? A friend accepted a position and after relocating discovered the scope was not managing 4 people in 1 state but 10 people in 3 states - and that was with a major Fortune 100 company!

When it comes time to negotiate, make sure you negotiate reasonably. Here are several suggestions: salary increase, (but not double). Legitimate benefits (they may simply not have a facility for day care but maybe you can start working toward one when you are hired). Tuition reimbursement to finish your master's degree, training on competitors products, or to enhance your own knowledge. More vacation time (within reason). Flexible time, stock options, profit sharing, company car etc. Your research here is critical. If they are asking you to relocate, for example, you will have calculated the cost of the move, living expenses in the new city, spouse's new job opportunities etc. and be prepared to present those as reasons for your needing a specific salary or benefit. (see to compare the cost of living for your relocation) They may even be willing to give you a hiring bonus to help offset some of the differential. Be creative. Can they give you the relocation costs as a hiring bonus and you move yourself? Can they issue more stock options? Offer more benefits like a company car, on-site childcare, home office set-up etc. Review the particulars of the relocation package carefully. Are they offering a couple of house hunting trips? What expenses are covered? Do they provide temporary housing until your escrow closes or your apartment is available?
Additionally, do they offer a retirement program or 401K program? These are all the items you need to review carefully before making your decision. If you have several offers, you will want to weigh each of them carefully on all of the above items.

Keep calm during the negotiation process. If you are reasonable, chances are they will be too! Always leave the door open for negotiation - they may be testing your negotiation skills especially if that will be a part of your job! Ensure that you have gone through all of the particulars of the offer before reaching the one that is really bothering you. Reassure them you are truly interested in the position and there is just one item that could possibly hold up your decision. You also need to weigh the pros and cons. Maybe the medical and educational benefits can offset a salary that's a few thousand less than you expected.

If the offer is not what you expected let the interviewer know it but still let them know you are interested in the position. If they are interested in you, they will either ask for a couple of days to "see what they can do" or explain that it is simply company policy to bring someone in your position into the organization at that level of salary and benefits. If that is the case, you have to decide if it's better to accept the position because it's one you really want and go for a salary review after six months or be prepared to walk away altogether.

If the offer seems like a good one, the best advice is to avoid accepting it on the spot. Ask for an offer letter that spells everything out so you can review it over 24 - 48 hours (or longer) to make a truly thoughtful decision. Of course, there is always the exception to this. If you have done your research and you have found the perfect company and they have made a great offer, then go ahead and accept with the understanding that they will put everything you have discussed in writing for your final signature and approval.


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