How to Negotiate a Job Offer

Congratulations, you got an offer! That’s great news and here’s more: negotiating the details of an offer is part of the process of getting hired. One important thing to remember is that entry-level jobs are not always open for salary negotiation but that doesn’t mean that you can’t work with an employer to make sure you get a combination of salary and benefits that will work for you.

In order to make the process as easy and effective as possible, here are some things to remember as you negotiate.

Do your research.

Do you know the going salary for an entry-level job in customer service? What about for a computer science major with several internships under her belt? If you’re not sure of the answers, it’s time to do some research. Luckily, there are several sites that can help make the process both quick and easy. To get a better idea of the average salary for a specific job or industry, head over to Glassdoor. In addition to providing detailed salary information for entry-level roles, Glassdoor also has a breakdown of how salaries vary by city. This is great news for graduates who are looking to relocate or those who are comparing several different jobs at once.

After you’ve gotten a good grasp of the salary range for your dream job, dig a little deeper by finding out more about the company you’re negotiating with. Our company pages are a great resource for this type of information, and they can offer you fantastic insight into your potential employer.

Know your value.

Whether you’re coming to the negotiation straight from a well-paid internship or starting from scratch without much professional experience, you don’t need to tell potential employers what you earned at previous part-time jobs. Not even if they ask directly. Instead, use your research to come up with a salary that’s within the range for an entry-level job in your chosen field, and tell the hiring manager that you’re looking for a salary within that range.

The conversation will usually go something like this:

Hiring Manager: “Let’s talk a little bit about the salary for this position.”

You: “Great! Based on my experience and skillset, I’m looking for a salary in the $35,000-$40,000 range. I think that I would be a great fit for the role and would love to discuss compensation if that salary is in line with what you had in mind.”

Be confident but not cagey. Employers appreciate you coming to the table informed and enthusiastic, but they’re likely to be put off if you’re too aggressive or hesitant during the negotiation process.

Don’t get discouraged if the offer is lower than you expect.

If you do receive an offer that’s lower than you expected, your first impulse might be to panic. Don’t. While salary negotiation isn’t possible with some entry-level roles (like investment banking or consulting), a lower often doesn’t always mean that your potential employer. This is where your research will come in handy. In addition to giving you the confidence to negotiate effectively, it will also give you the opportunity to see what other perks the job might offer. For example, if you’re looking for a role that allows for great work-life balance or you really like the company culture, those benefits are likely to also play a role in your decision. Think about the offer as a whole and see how you can work with the employer to make it fit your needs.

Be grateful, not entitled.

One of the most important aspects of negotiating a job offer is saying thank you as soon as you receive it. Receiving an offer is a great sign that an employer sees your potential and believes that you would be a good fit for the role. Here’s how to show your excitement and keep the conversation going:

“Thank you for the offer, I’m really excited about the prospect of joining the team! I appreciate the current offer of $35,000 but based on my skills and experience, I was expecting an offer in the $40,000 range. Can we look at a salary of $40,000 for this position?”

Negotiating a job offer can feel a little intimidating, especially if it’s your first one. The best way to maximize results is to go into the process flexible and informed. And if you need a little extra boost of confidence, remember that the person on the other side of the table wants to work with you and they’re invested in helping you succeed.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How Do I Get a Job in Another City or State? and find answers to common interview questions such as Would You Work Holidays And/Or Weekends?

What’s the Difference Between An Offer Letter And A Contract?

Understanding the difference between an offer letter and a contract is one of the key ways to set yourself up for success in your career. Since the terms are closely linked, many recent grads tend to think of them interchangeably when in fact, an offer letter and a contract have some important differences.

Here are the key things you need to know about offer letters and contracts.

What is an offer letter?

Once you’ve successfully gotten through the interview process and received a verbal offer, you’ll soon receive an offer letter. So, what is an offer letter? It’s a formal job offer that includes most or all of the following things:

  • Job title
  • Start date
  • Salary
  • Manager’s name
  • Employee benefits
  • Employment relationship

Intended to lay out the terms of employment, an offer letter is the employer’s way of letting you know exactly what the job entails and what you can expect from accepting the role. Once you receive an offer letter, you typically have anywhere from 24 hours to a week to sign it. If you choose not to do so, the offer will expire.

What is a contract?

Similar to an offer letter, a contract lays out the details of a role and includes many of the same key pieces of information. However, unlike an offer letter, a contract typically has a specific time period attached to it and is used in cases where employers are hiring someone for a certain amount of time. Contracts are likely to be used in the following cases:

  • Freelance positions
  • Temp to perm positions
  • Contract positions for specific projects

Like offer letters, contracts are time sensitive and generally require a signature within about a week.

Are you likely to receive both an offer letter and a contract?

Generally speaking, the answer is no. Although offer letters and contracts serve similar purposes, they’re generally used for different types of work. While an offer letter indicates the beginning of a long term full-time role, a contract is more often used to a establish short-term work relationship or one that does not fit the terms for full-time employment. For example, while you might work standard full-time hours on a contract, you’re unlikely to receive the same benefits as a full-time employee such as health insurance or a 401k plan.

Pro Tip: Temp to perm employees (employees who begin as contractors before transitioning to full-time members of the team) are the exception to the rule. Since these types of employees start off as contracted workers, they work on a contract basis before receiving their offer letter to join the team full-time.

Knowing the difference between an offer letter and a contract is a great way to manage your expectations when it comes to accepting a job offer. This will ensure that you know what each type of offer means and that you’re able to make an informed decision about accepting it.

What Should You Do If You Have A Verbal Job Offer But Not A Written One?

After successfully applying for a job and going through the interview process, the hiring manager says the phrase you’ve been hoping to hear. “We want to offer you the job!” But what happens when several days have passed and you still haven’t received the offer letter? Do you follow up to ask when you can expect it or just sit tight waiting for the email?

Here are the steps to take if you have a verbal offer but not a written one.

Send a follow-up note asking for a timeframe

If it’s been over 48 hours and you still haven’t received a formal offer, contact the hiring manager to express your enthusiasm about the offer and to ask about the status. Keep your note short and to the point, and be specific about what you’re asking.

Say something like:

“Dear Ms. Blocs,

Thank you so much again offering me the social media coordinator position. I’m very excited about the role and looking forward to being part of the team at XYZ company.

One quick question: When can I expect to receive the offer letter? I’d love to review it and understand the timeline by which I must make my decision.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you again,

Understand what might be causing the delay

Waiting for a job offer can be nerve wracking, especially when you’re not sure of the exact timeframe. A good way to stay calm is to understand some common reasons for a delay. These can include things like the time it takes to coordinate between different departments or the fact that a key member of the team may be away and unable to offer their approval until they return. Whatever the case, there are likely to be several reasons why the offer letter hasn’t arrived yet that have nothing to do with you personally. Sending the follow-up note is a great way to address these issues directly and to get the hiring manager to give you some clarity about the hold up.

Keep going with your job search

Another key thing to do while waiting for the offer letter is to keep going with your job search. Since job offers do occasionally fall apart before an offer letter is sent out, it’s important to keep your options open by continuing to apply to jobs and to go on interviews. This will ensure that you’re not losing momentum in your job search and that you’re able to move on quickly if the offer doesn’t come through. Added bonus: You might get a second job offer in the process.

Although waiting for an offer letter can definitely cause some anxiety, by following these steps you’ll be sure to stay on top of the process and to get hired as quickly as possible.

Ultimate Guide to Dealing with Multiple Internship Offers

Getting multiple job offers is a good thing… a very good thing, given the current job market. You submit your resume a few times, you cross your fingers and you get an offer! But wait a minute, a few days later you get another offer and then another. Rather than panic or attend more interviews when you’ve already accepted somewhere else, it is best to respond to each offer in a timely and professional manner so that you don’t burn any bridges in an industry you are still new in.

A couple important points to consider:

  1. Chances are if an employer liked you enough to give you an offer this time around, they will be open to interviewing you again. Following-up with a kind, professional email like one of the ones we have below (tailored, of course, to your specific situation) will reinforce the idea that you are a grade-A professional and someone they will want to work with down the road. A LinkedIn connection isn’t a bad idea either.
  2. You are a hot commodity now. Some employers might be willing to give you a counter offer. If this is something you are interested in, then a follow-up is definitely worth writing.

Sample Email: To Turn Down an Offer

Dear (Name of Person Who Made the Offer)

Thank you for your time and offer — I really enjoyed the opportunity to
interview with you and the rest of the xyz team.

I wanted to let you know I recently accepted another position. While I
am extremely passionate about the work you are doing, the offer I
accepted was at another top choice of mine.  I wanted to tell you as
soon as possible so that this does not interfere with your candidate

I hold your company in high regard, have connected with you on LinkedIn,
and hope we can stay in touch!  Thanks again for your time and for
considering me as a candidate.



Sample Email: Inquiring About a Counter Offer

Dear (Name of Person Who Made the Offer)

Thank you for your offer! I am thrilled to have been selected as a
potential employee. I wanted to let you know I recently received another
offer that I am also strongly considering. The positions are a bit
different and I wanted to see if you’d be available to speak briefly on
the phone with me today or tomorrow to discuss a few remaining questions
I have about this role?

Thanks again for your time and interest.



Sample Email: Turning Down an Offer Alternate

Dear (Name of Person Who Made the Offer)

Thank you for your offer! I appreciate you taking the time to teach me
more about the company. I am a strong believer in your mission to… and
hope to become directly involved with your work at some point.
Unfortunately at this time I have accepted another offer that I think is
a better fit for the specific interests I am looking to develop this
summer. I hope this doesn’t interfere with your candidate search.

If you are free at any point to get coffee or lunch I would love to
continue talking and hopefully explore the option of reapplying later
on. Thank you again for your time and interest.



What to Do After You Get a Job Offer

Nice work! You got a job offer. However, before you celebrate too much, it’s important to note that your interactions with the company now are just as important as your interactions with the company during the interview process. After all, if you do decide to work for this company, you want to make a great impression every step of the way.

Typically, job offers will come via phone call (or voicemail, if you don’t answer). Here are some steps to take if you get a job offer on the phone:

If the person leaves you a voicemail:

1. Listen to the voicemail from start to finish, and write down any important notes. Listen one more time to make sure you have all details written correctly. Assuming they ask you to call them back at a specific time, call them back at that time, and follow the steps directly below.

2. If they do not tell you to call them back, then email them within 24 hours to thank them, and say that you are excited to learn more details about the offer over email.

If you are on a live phone call with them:

1. Thank the employer graciously and tell them how excited you are to have received an offer of employment. (They probably spent a lot of time choosing you over other candidates, so it’s nice if you let them know that you appreciate their time!)

2. While on the phone, ask the employer about any deadlines you should know about. For example, when do you need to let them know if you formally accept the job offer?

3. If they have not mentioned information about salary (or benefits) on the call, ask them when they plan to follow up by email with more details. Tell them you’re excited to learn more about the offer.

Pro Tip: Unless the offer is in writing, it’s not official. Make sure you get everything in writing!

4. If they DO mention salary information on the call, and you are surprised or confused, ask them if they can email you the information, and tell them you may follow up with questions for clarification.

Pro Tip: The offer phone call is not the time to negotiate. You should make sure you have everything in writing first.

5. For ways to negotiate or ask questions about your offer, see How to Negotiate a Job Offer.

Some employers prefer to extend a job offer in writing.

If you get a job offer by email:

1. Send them an email within 24 hours (the sooner, the better!) to thank them.

2. If the offer’s details (such as the start date, salary, deadline to accept, etc) are included in the offer email, then read through all information thoroughly. Reply with any questions you may have.

3. If the offer details are not included in the initial email, mention that you are excited to learn more about the offer when you email them to thank them. You can also ask about when you should expect to receive more details, such as the official offer letter and start date.

Here is one example of a “thank you” note:

Dear Ms. Blocs,

I just received your voicemail; thank you so much for extending me an offer to the Boogity Bank internship program for this summer. It means the world to me that your team believes I’m a good fit for Boogity Bank.

One quick question: When can I expect to receive more details about the offer? I’d love to review the offer letter and understand the timeline by which I must inform Boogity Bank of my final decision.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you so much again,

Final Pro Tip: If you have a question about something in the offer letter, don’t be afraid to ask your main point of contact (usually someone in HR). It’s vital that you understand all that details of your offer ahead of signing so that you don’t find yourself quitting after one week!

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Check in With a Recruiter When You Haven’t Heard Back and find answers to common interview questions such as What Are Your Weaknesses?

What to Do When You Want a Second Job Offer

You have been interviewing for an entry-level job with both Company A and Company B for the past few weeks. Company A is by far your top pick, but you’re still two weeks away from finding out their decision. Meanwhile, you have an offer from Company B and need to give them a response soon. What do you do?

The most important thing is what not to do. You should never accept a job offer that you don’t plan to see through. Reneging, or going back on a contract or promise, is often perceived as very unprofessional and is likely to burn bridges. Employers talk, so you want to make sure that when you’re accepting an offer, you are fully committing to that company and that you’re putting your best foot forward. So you if you don’t accept Company B’s offer right away, what should you do instead?

Ask for more time to make a decision.

Tell Company B that you’re very interested but need more time to think over the offer. Most companies will allow you a couple of days or a week to decide. If you start asking for more than a week, a hiring manager may think you have other options in play and question your interest and level of commitment, so timing this well is important.

Here’s what you can say in your email: “Thank you so much for extending me an offer for the position of X. It means the world to me that your team believes I’m a good fit for Company B. I wonder if I could have until Friday to get back to you on this opportunity.”

Let Company A know that you have another offer.

Once you’ve emailed Company B asking for more time, be sure to reach out to Company A right away. Let Company A know that they are 100% your first choice, but that you just received an offer from Company B and need to let the other company know if you’ll accept their offer in X number of days.

Here’s what you can say in your email: “I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity to work at Company A and the position at your company is by far my top choice. I received an offer earlier today from another company and have to give them an answer by the end of the week. I know we initially scheduled my final interview for ___, but would it be at all possible to reschedule to an earlier time? Thank you again for your consideration, and I’m very eager to follow up soon.”

If you are a competitive applicant that Company A is highly interested in, it’s very possible that they will find a way to speed up the process and get you an answer sooner.

If you don’t get a second offer immediately, don’t panic.

But what if Company A still isn’t able to give you an answer before you have to tell Company B your final decision? This is a definite possibility. If Company A doesn’t budge on their timeline, it leaves you leaves you with a tough decision to make. Do you decline Company B’s offer and hold out with the hopes that Company A will pull through? Or do you take Company B’s offer, minimizing the overall risk and opting for a solid, albeit not ideal, option?

This is something only you can decide. That said, you can trust that you have handled this situation with the professionalism and graciousness that all employers want their employees to embody.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Turn Down a Job Offer and find answers to common interview questions such as Would You Work Holidays And/Or Weekends?

How to Tell An Employer About Competing Job Offers

Having competing job offers is generally considered a great problem to have. It means that multiple companies are interested in working with you and that you’ve proven yourself to be a competitive candidate. However, there are a few things you should consider as you navigate this process, from how to keep both companies in play while exploring your options to whether to tell each company about other offers you’ve received.

It may seem tricky, but we’ve broken down the steps to make sure that you’re able to juggle everything without dropping the ball, and that you end up with the internship or entry-level job you want.

Step 1: Make sure your offers are in writing.

A verbal offer is not an official offer. Before you attempt to negotiate with various companies, you need to make sure their offers are in writing — outlining not only base salary but other important benefits like health insurance, vacation days and flexibility.

If you’ve only received a verbal offer, contact the hiring manager, recruiter or HR representative that you’ve been interacting with to firm up the offer. Consider saying, “This all looks great. I’m looking forward to reviewing all of the offer details. When can I expect to receive a written offer?”

Step 2: Don’t accept an offer if you may back out. Instead, extend the timeline.

Let’s say Company A just gave you an offer, but your top choice – Company B – has yet to finalize their offer in writing. Company A is pressuring you to get back to them with your final decision. What do you do?

Ideally, you want more time. Unless you think asking for more time would be so damaging that it could put your offer at risk, it’s worth saying, “I’m very excited about this offer and the chance to join Company A. I know that you asked for my response by Tuesday, but  there’s a lot to consider here. Could I have until Thursday to communicate my final decision?”

It’s possible that Company A may decline your extension request, in which case you have to make a choice to either 1) accept Company A’s offer without knowing the outcome of Company B’s offer or 2) decline Company A while banking on Company B’s offer. While it might be enticing to accept Company A’s offer while also keeping the door open for Company B, accepting and then rescinding an offer could easily burn bridges. It’s best to avoid that scenario if possible.

Pro Tip: A final option, and one we recommend, is to reach out to Company B and tell them about your situation. Let them know that they’re your first choice but that you’re under a deadline to make a decision. If they’re planning to make an offer, this will

Step 3: Carefully time when you’ll inform each company about the other offers.

If you’re going to inform Company B about Company A’s offer, it’s best to do so in the final interview or final follow-up, once you’ve had a chance to gauge where you stand relative to competing candidates. That said, you don’t want companies thinking you’ve pitted them against one another in a salary war. You could run the risk of having your original offer pulled if you mishandle this conversation.

Only if you’re feeling confident in the offers and your ability to manage the conversation carefully, should you go ahead and share this information. The goal here is to get all of the offers on the table at the same time for you to consider them and maximize your chance to make the best decision.

Say something like:“I’m very excited about the opportunity to work for Company B, especially the ability to have an impact. Company B is by far my top choice, but I have just received another offer this week at a company that would allow me to build out a different skillset. They asked for my response in a few days, and I was wondering when I could anticipate to find out Company B’s final decision. Thank you again for a great interview process, and I very much look forward to hearing your response.”

Step 4: Show appreciation.

Wrapping up your communication with a company should be done with grace and tact. Showing sincere appreciation for the hiring managers involved respects the time and energy they invested in your hiring process. When you’re ready to turn down one of the job offers, find out the right way to turn down a job offer.

With this tricky part of the journey managed, you’ll be ready to dive into your new job.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What to Do When You Want a Second Job Offer and find answers to common interview questions such as Tell Me About Yourself.

How to Turn Down a Job Offer

You’ve prepared yourself for the challenge of a long job search, multiple interviews and even rejection, but now comes the unexpected part: turning down a job. Whether this comes up during your search for a paid or unpaid internship or an entry-level job, it’s certainly not a bad problem to have. It can, however, be difficult to navigate.

Whether this job was a near second choice or one you would have never actually considered, here are some best practices to follow when turning down a job offer.

Be prompt and appreciative.

Interviews can often be time-intensive for you and especially for the hiring manager. It’s likely that he or she spent hours looking over LinkedIn profiles and resumes as well as doing phone screens and follow-ups. It’s possible that the hiring manager even advocated on your behalf. Because of this, you want to decline promptly in a way that is appreciative of the time and energy that went into your hiring process. Your “thank you note” should be genuine and specific.

Say something like: “Thank you so much for offering me the Partnerships position. I really appreciate the time you took to share information about the company’s goals and to answer all of my questions. It’s clear how passionate the entire team is, and I very much enjoyed getting to learn about how everyone works together.”

Be honest and concise.

Another way to communicate respect is to share an honest and concise reason explaining why you’re declining the job. Hiring managers are people too, and they probably would like to know why you decided to go in another direction. No need to go into detail or to indulge in all of the pros and cons of your decision-making. Keeping it short and sweet is your best bet.

Say something like:

  • “After careful consideration over the past few days, I’ve decided to stay with my current company. “
  • “After careful consideration, I’ve decided to accept another position at a different company.”
  • “While this job is an exciting opportunity, I’ve ultimately decided to accept another position in a role that better aligns with my interests and long-term professional goals.”
  • “After careful consideration, I’ve realized that my current class schedule does not allow me enough time to handle the demands of the role.”

Consider the future.

You want to do everything you can to avoid burning bridges. Who knows what the future may hold? You may cross paths with this company or hiring manager again, so communicating a desire to stay in touch is a small gesture that can go a long way.

Say something like:

  • “It’s been a true pleasure getting to know more about the company over these past few weeks, and I hope our paths cross again in the future.”
  • “I hope to see you at the upcoming PR conference this spring.”
  • “Wishing you and your team the very best on your upcoming projects, and I hope to stay in touch.”

With these tips, you should feel confident in your ability to decline a job offer graciously and to keep your networks intact. Turning down a job offer may be tough, but remember that this is a necessary step in the pursuit of a great and rewarding career.


Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get a Mentor at Work and find answers to common interview questions such as What is Supply Chain Management?.