Crafting an Effective Salary Negotiation Email

Turquoise background with graphic image representing a man and a woman having a conversation with dollar signs around them.

So, you've made it through the interview process, and it's time to accept the offer. You know you should probably negotiate your salary, but you're afraid of rejection, plus you simply don't know how to get the conversation started.

We get it. Salary negotiation is uncomfortable and sometimes awkward. It's a sensitive subject and can evoke internal conflict about how much you're worth and how much you're willing to advocate for yourself. Although younger generations are more open in talking about their salary with colleagues as well as asking for a raise, it’s still a taboo for a majority of those in the workforce.

Although measures have been put in place in many places around the world to promote pay transparency, talking about salary is still a delicate matter, due to various cultural, social, and organizational factors. Historically, salary discussions were discouraged to maintain workplace hierarchies and prevent potential conflicts among employees. Additionally, societal norms often dictate that financial matters, including individual income, are private and inappropriate for open discussion. Fear of judgment, jealousy, or unfair treatment can also contribute to the reluctance to disclose salary information.

These deeply rooted social conventions dissuade individuals from being forthcoming, potentially hindering their career advancement. One 2023 survey on salary revealed that the main reasons individuals refrain from requesting a raise discomfort discussing finances and concerns about their employer questioning their dedication.

In essence, individuals who believe they deserve a raise or require one to cope with escalating living expenses often suffer silently rather than initiating a conversation with their employer. Considering the stigma around asking for a raise and the consequences it could bring if done wrong, it's crucial to master the skill of negotiation to secure a salary that matches your skills and expertise.

Here at PowerToFly, we’ve heard countless stories from our partners and our community about salary negotiation blunders and triumphs. Based on what we heard from both sides, we created a guide on how to write a salary negotiation email. And when you’re ready to push for that raise or negotiate your salary before accepting a job offer, you can use our Salary Negotiation Email Template to craft your message.

How to write a salary negotiation email

1. Research

Don't respond impulsively. Give yourself a moment to think. Resist the urge to reply promptly upon receiving the offer. Employers typically expect candidates to take time for deliberation. This pause grants you the chance to thoroughly review the offer, including salary details and additional benefits.

  • Know your value: Take a moment to stop and think deeply about your value to the organization. Highlight your years of experience, educational background, certifications, and pertinent skills such as leadership or industry expertise.
  • Salary range research: Conduct thorough research on the market salary range for similar roles in your area. You can use online tools like Glassdoor to help you. Be aware that if the offered salary aligns with the market range, negotiation may be limited. However, it's worth pursuing if you can demonstrate that you merit a higher salary. If the offer falls below market standards, communicate this in your email.
  • Consider expenses: Factor in any potential expenses associated with accepting the job, such as relocation costs, and address them during the negotiation.
  • Benefits: Explore alternative forms of compensation beyond the base salary, such as additional benefits or perks like increased annual leave, gym membership, healthcare, etc.

Gathering information and considering the offer are essential to starting the negotiation. With this information, you can organize everything into a clearly worded professional message.

2. Communication

Having the correct information, choosing an appropriate tone, and providing relevant rationale for both parties (employer and employee) is essential to demonstrate that you know your value and respect the company's culture and needs.

  • Determine your point of contact (POC): You want to make sure you’re sending your email to a decision-maker or advocate who can relay your message to the right people. This is usually the hiring manager or recruiter with whom you've been in contact throughout the hiring process. If you are negotiating within your current position, your direct manager will likely be your POC.
  • Greetings: Choose an appropriate greeting according to your initial interactions. It may be formal, like "Dear Ms. Gates," or informal, like "Hi Alice." When in doubt, opt for a more formal greeting. When emailing an existing manager, go for a greeting that feels natural to you.
  • Subject title: Pay attention to the subject title and ensure it is pertinent to the email's content. Something like, "Response to sales manager position offer" effectively communicates the email's purpose without explicitly mentioning salary in the subject line, which can be addressed within the body.
  • Show appreciation: In the opening paragraph, express gratitude for the offer, extend appreciation to the employer, and convey enthusiasm for the opportunity. If the offer was conveyed verbally, take this chance to reiterate the specifics for clarity. Remember you are trying to create a positive connection with the recipient at the beginning of the message.
  • Clarity and transparency: In addition to formalities and best practices, your requests must be clear. When addressing the salary offer, outline your preferences. Before initiating negotiations, it is vital to have a precise figure or salary range in mind. Communicate transparently if the offered salary falls short of your expectations and inquire about the possibility of a review.
  • Experience and qualifications: Incorporate your experience and qualifications to showcase your value. Consider five or six areas where you have strong capabilities in the role and jot them down to craft specific examples to share in the message. The stronger your argument for a higher salary offer, the more plausible your request will appear.
  • Reaffirm your interest in the position at the end: Finish the message with a positive tone that assures the employer of your value, and your intention of finding a mutually beneficial solution. Include your full name in the sign-off to ensure clarity and professionalism.
  • Reviewing: Miscommunications are frequent, especially in writing. So, review your message before hitting send to gauge its tone. Simplify any unclear or potentially confusing language. Maintaining a polite and enthusiastic demeanor is essential to accurately conveying your interest in the offer.

There’s so much to keep in mind, right? Don’t worry, we’ve provided some templates you can use to craft your negotiation email in a concise, professional manner. But first, let’s look at the final part of writing a negotiation email — negotiation!

3. Negotiation

  • Stand up for your value: Maintaining a firm yet courteous approach is crucial during negotiations. Articulate your reasons for the request with clarity and politeness, leveraging your expertise and research findings to support your stance.
  • Be ready to negotiate: Salary negotiations often entail several conversations and may span over a several-week period, depending upon the role and industry. Therefore, exercising patience, professionalism, and courtesy throughout the process is imperative.

Negotiating your way through fair compensation requires skills that leaders value. Being flexible and self-conscious at the same time is challenging, yet rewarding. Give yourself time to find your professional identity, which includes identifying your values, mission, and core skills.

Don't forget to look at your goals as part of a process. It takes patience, flexibility, and awareness to identify and evaluate opportunities that can lead you to reaching your goals.

Download our Salary negotiation email template

Salary negotiations can take on many forms, and you have to adapt to each unique situation. With that in mind, we’ve created a series of 8 email templates to help you negotiate your salary. Feel free to adapt them to your needs. Click ‘download’ to get started!

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