Negotiate Your Dream Offer with These 6 Tips

Are you confident you can snag your dream job and negotiate the compensation package you deserve?

That’s not a trick question or an attempt to riddle you with anxiety.

Negotiate Your Dream Offer

For many U.S. employees, their ideal job is a dream deferred, if it is ever realized at all. Six out of 10 workers are not in their dream jobs, according to a report.

But this statistic clashes with another reality: helping workers realize their dreams—not only in the workplace, but in their personal lives—isn’t just good for the employee—it’s good for the company, boosting morale, innovation and productivity.

“The future of your organization and the potential of your employees are intertwined—their destinies are linked,” writes Matthew Kelly, author of The Dream Manager. What’s good for you should be good for the company, whether it’s conquering a longtime goal like climbing a mountain or reaching your potential in the workplace.

Your success in obtaining the job of your dreams will be realized in large part by showing that you and your employer are indeed joined at the hip in a journey toward mutual success. Your pitch is essentially “help me help you.” Toward that end, negotiate your dream offer with these tips in mind:

  1. Know Your Worth In The Marketplace

Learn what others with your experience and skills are paid. Research salary information from sites like Glassdoor or Simply Hired. Talk to recruiters and your LinkedIn network. Then answer these two questions: What do you have in common with these employees? How can you align your professional story with their stories? As far as salary, bring data to your negotiation discussion. Women should know that studies show they tend not to negotiate as much as men and end up with lowball offers that translate to as much as a $500,000 loss over a career.

  1. Clear Communication Requires Preparation

Negotiating is just another form of story telling, said Carlota Zimmerman, a New York-based career strategist. So before you get into your meeting, spend time “writing out talking points from the POV of the company, its mission statement and its goals, to tie in with the responsibilities of the position at hand. It’s one thing to gush, ‘Wow this is my dream job!’ It’s quite another thing, to present yourself, your experience, your education and your passion in a light that makes HR gush, ‘Wow, this is YOUR dream job!’

  1. Sharpen Your Negotiating Skills with Mock Interviews

Write out at least three good reasons for why you’d be ideal for this job, suggests Zimmerman. “Ask either a good friend, or a coach to challenge you, and call you on your answers. Mock interviews are crucial; I do them all the time with my clients. Your confidence and belief in yourself is vital.”

  1. Be An Active Listener 

Active listening works best by asking open-ended and probing questions. It also includes the ability to read body language, which can provide essential non-verbal cues during the meeting. It is crucial to listen to the other party to find areas for compromise. Active listening will also allow you to clarify information and prevent any misunderstandings during negotiations.

  1. Ask For What You Want

State your case and be ready to negotiate to get what you want. More than likely the first offer will be the lowest. Another salary negotiation tip: avoid being the first one to mention it. Focus on your value first. Once that message has been effectively delivered, it’s time to move on to the salary discussion. Ask for 20 percent more than you really want. Explain why a higher salary is justified. Offer quantifiable reasons. Don’t forget to discuss non-monetary compensation such as more vacation, a company car, flexible schedule, bonuses, remote work and maternity/paternity leave. Consider the total package.

  1. Stay Positive and Control Your Emotions

A positive attitude and good manners are a winning combination that can help build rapport. Always thank the employer after an offer is made. If the initial offer isn’t ideal, express surprise instead of anger. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want in a non-threatening way. You cannot negotiate unless you are willing to push back to protect your interests. You can be assertive and still find areas of agreement. Whether you decide to persuade, compromise or yield, remain respectful and professional.

Always pursue your negotiation deal-making with eyes open. A realistic approach to all the work you must do—from marketing yourself to countering an offer—may serve as the springboard that helps you land your dream position.

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