Negotiating Salary

The Right Reasons to Negotiate Salary

When you've been offered a position, the thrill of the offer may be offset by disappointment when the salary doesn't meet your expectations. Negotiating salary can be done, but you must approach the conversation carefully.

Consider negotiations after you research current wages for your experience level and geographic location. Consider using resources like or Glassdoor and review the average salaries of recent CWRU graduates as reported in the First Destination Survey. Following your research, approach salary negotiations if:

  • The salary range is less than the industry average.
  • The offer does not reflect the cost of living for the job location.
  • You've received multiple competitive offers from other source.
  • If salary is not negotiable, consider negotiating for moving expenses, a sign-on bonus or immediately available vacation hours. 

When to Negotiate

The best time to negotiate is after an offer is extended by the employer. Avoid discussing salary during the interview process. When asked what your salary requirements are by a potential employer during an interview, indicate a range, not an exact dollar amount. For example, "Based on the industry average and my level of experience, I am seeking between $54,000 and $59,000."

Occasionally there will be circumstances where salary is discussed prior to an offer. It is important to handle each situation with confidence. Here are some examples of situations where salaries may be discussed and suggestions on how to handle these discussions:

  • When responding on an application, indicate "open" or "negotiable" under salary requirements.
  • Under salary history, you can indicate "competitive" unless it asks for specific dollar amount.
  • Be truthful as many companies attempt to verify past salaries with previous employers.

Need help negotiating salary or determining if a position is right for you? Make an appointment with a career consultant.