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When we first enter the workforce, we are just happy to have an offer. But as we continue to gain responsibility and experience, we realize there’s much more we can ask for upfront. Outlining what those needs are before you start can create a more balanced work dynamic (or least tip the compensation scale in our favor). Make this list part of your negotiation process. Ask for the sky; you may just get it.


Let’s start with the most important but possibly career-altering ask, negotiating for a more senior-level title. It’s not always possible, but it’s an obvious way to create non-monetary value for yourself. You may not get a salary increase, but this title may be valuable later at this or another company.

Make sure to outline what you have done in your previous job experiences to deserve a change in title. Research what you have to offer consistent with the company’s future plans. If you get rejected, ask about the process for getting to the title you want down the road.


Performance Incentives - Incentives are reward systems that tie pay to performance. There are many incentives used by companies, some tying pay to individual performance, and some to companywide performance. Don’t assume that the quantity and timing of payouts of the Incentives are set in stone. Review each part of the reward system and tweak them to your advantage.

If your compensation offer is less than you were looking for, consider requesting quarterly performance incentives followed by an early salary review to get your compensation level to where you want it to be.

Signing on and Exiting – Make sure you review your signing bonus and exit package line by line. Consider using our Negotiation Services and work with our compensation legal experts to make sure you get the best offer and severance package NOW before you sign on. Recently a client was told after 12 years with a company that his position was being eliminated. “I wish I had looked more closely at the details of my severance. The package will only pay me six months of my base salary but does not include my bonus. My bonus is the majority of my paycheck.”

Long-Term Options – Know what the stock, shares, and equity options are in the company and the vesting schedule for those shares. Can you get additional equity grants after you start work or a cash delivery that invests as stock options do? If the offer comes with equity, find out what it is worth and what percentage of that value the company is equating to. Here’s a good reference site for more information or speak to one of our experts to help you navigate the nuances of your offer.

Annual Bonus – Don’t just accept that you will receive a bonus; negotiate how much and the terms. You can also ask the potential employer to pay out the bonus you are leaving on the table at your current position. Often, companies are willing to make you whole and will pay your upcoming bonus if it means you can start immediately.


Most companies offer a basic vacation package but don’t be afraid to ask for more if the amount does not seem adequate. Before you sign the dotted line, think through any upcoming holidays, or special days that are important to you. Companies often support summer Fridays, so go ahead and ask if it’s important to you.

Religious Observance: I learned from my friends of faith that they always outline religious days that are not negotiable. These should not be included in total vacation days.