You got the job offer – congratulations! Time to accept it and get to work, right? Hold up - before you rush to accept that first offer, you should consider writing a salary negotiation counter offer letter.
You likely have more power than you think you do when it comes to the terms of your job offer. You don’t have to accept what is first offered to you.
Instead, you can write a counter offer letter detailing your terms.
Interested in learning more about how to write a salary negotiation counter offer letter of your own? Read on to learn all about counter offer letters, including counter offer letter examples and salary negotiation email examples!
What is a salary negotiation counter offer letter and how can it help you?
A counter offer letter is a candidate’s response to a job offer that wasn’t quite what they hoped it would be. Most job offers come in the form of a formal offer letter detailing important things like annual salary and benefits.
Many candidates assume their only options are to either take the offer or walk away from it. But you can ask about your options.
The letter usually indicates a candidate’s interest in the position, while at the same time outlining their concerns with the offer. It's a great tool to help you get compensated for what you are worth.
Who should write a counter offer letter?
Anyone who isn’t satisfied with what they’ve been offered should feel free to write one! Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and ask for what you think you deserve.
And, don’t worry – sending a counter offer letter will not get your job offer taken away. The worst that can happen is the company says no to your proposed terms and then you have to decide whether to take the original offer or walk away.
Here’s some more guidance on who specifically might benefit from writing a counter offer letter:
You haven’t been offered what you think you deserve
Whether it’s the salary, benefits, or both, sometimes a job offer is just not what you hoped it would be. Perhaps you have years of industry knowledge and know that the pay you’ve been offered is not commensurate with your experience. Trust your instincts and ask for more.
It’s harder to ask for a raise or salary increase after you’ve already started work, so take advantage of the time before you accept the offer to negotiate for what you are worth.
Don't be afraid to ask for a higher salary
Often, a company starts with a low offer, but they really have room to increase it. Of course, if you don’t ask, they aren’t going to give it to you, so don’t shy away from asking.
Also, remember that women especially often undervalue themselves. So, whatever you think you are worth, add 10% to that and see what they say!
The offer is not up to par with the market standards
If the offer is not in line with the market, you should consider writing a salary negotiation counter offer letter. How can you figure this out? This is where doing your own research helps.
Using websites like glassdoor.com and asking friends and colleagues in your industry, figure out the going rate for your job and position.
If the salary or benefits you were offered are not up to the market standard, use that information to ask for more.
You have more than one job offer on the table
By playing your two offers off each other, you have the best chance of getting both your dream job and dream salary.
Someone with more than one job offer can really benefit from writing a salary negotiation counter offer letter.
Let’s say you have two offers – one from Company A and one from Company B. Your dream job is with Company A, but they have offered you $20,000 less than Company B.
Don’t be afraid to be open and honest with Company A, letting them know you have another offer that you’re going to take unless they can match it.
What should you include in your salary negotiation counter offer letter?
Below, we’ve included sample salary negotiation letter after job offer examples (and salary negotiation email examples). But, first, let’s talk about the basic structure of a counter offer letter and what you should include.
1. Professional greeting to the hiring manager
Counter offer letters should be addressed to the hiring manager (or whoever your contact in the hiring department is). Keep it short and simple and address them formally, no matter your relationship, as this should be a professional and formal letter.
This is where you emphasize your interest in the position and thank the hiring manager for the offer. Reiterate a reason or two why you are a great candidate and why you will bring so much to the organization.
3. The counter offer
This is where you get to the meat of the letter. You have two choices on how to approach this part.
You can either (1) clearly spell out your counter offer (e.g., “I would like to counter with a salary of $75,000 per year”) or (2) outline your concerns with the offer and request to discuss a counter offer in person (e.g., “while your offer is generous, I would like to discuss an increase in the salary before I can accept the offer”).
Be sure to include your reasons for your request, too. For example, is the salary way below the market rate for the position?
If so, include your research showing what other companies pay for similar roles. (You’ll see how this looks in practice in the sample salary negotiation letter after job offer below.)
4. Conclusion reiterating your interest in the job
Conclude your offer letter reiterating your interest in the job. Say thank you to the hiring manager for their time and for their consideration, and suggest a call or meeting to discuss your counter offer.
End with a formal but cordial sign-off and wait to see what they have to say!
Key things to remember when writing your salary negotiation counter offer letter
Before we get into a couple of counter offer letter examples, and before you write your own, it’s helpful to keep in mind a few things:
Do a lot of research
Doing your research and having evidence to back up your request will help bolster your position. For example, knowing that companies in your industry routinely provide more time off, better parental leave benefits, or more comprehensive medical coverage, will put you in a better position to ask for that.
Reiterate your skills
Don’t forget to remind the hiring manager why they offered you the job in the first place! Reiterate your skills and what you will bring to the table.
Highlighting these will help put your request into context and remind them of just how valuable an asset you would be to their company.
Be respectful but firm in your request
As you write your salary negotiation counter offer letter, keep in mind that your tone should always be respectful. But that doesn’t mean deferential! You should still feel confident and be firm when advocating for yourself.
Counter offer letter examples
By now you have a good idea of what to include in your counter offer letter. But it never hurts to see some counter offer letter examples!
Here are two examples to help you get started on drafting your own.
Sample salary negotiation letter after job offer – discussing a salary increase request:
Subject Line: Offer Letter – Salary Discussion
Dear [Hiring Manager],
I appreciate the job offer of Senior Vice President at Honeybell Corporation. As we discussed, working as a Senior Vice President at Honeybell is a dream position for me. I’m confident that my experience working at Jamwell Corporation would bring a lot to the table and that I would bring a new, fresh perspective.
I would like to talk about the possibility of an increase in the base salary you’ve offered me. Based on my research, the average salary for a similar position in our industry is between $125,000 and $140,000.
Because of my ten years of experience in the preservatives industry, as well as my master’s degree in business administration, I believe the higher end of this range is more appropriate.
Please let me know if you are available to discuss this and, hopefully, we can come to an agreement. Again, I’d love to accept this position but would first like to discuss my salary with you before I make a final decision.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Salary negotiation email example – request to discuss salary and benefits:
Subject Line: Offer Letter – Salary & Benefits Discussion
Dear [Hiring Manager],
I appreciate your offer of the position of Administrative Assistant to the CEO of Daisy Corporation. I am looking forward to possibly working with your CEO and know that my prior experience working as a research assistant to my college business administration professor will bring a lot to the table.
I would like to meet to discuss the salary and benefits package you have offered me. While I appreciate the offer, I believe that it is not in line with either my experience or that of the market.
Please let me know if it is possible to meet or schedule a call to discuss my compensation and benefits further.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to continuing our discussion.
Take the next steps to get the job of your dreams!
So, what happens after you’ve sent off a salary negotiation counter offer letter (or email)? The hiring manager will likely want to discuss the terms with you (especially if you didn’t outline them clearly in the letter).
Or, they might accept your terms (go you!) or reject them. It’ll then be up to you to accept their offer, negotiate further, or walk away.
The hardest part of salary negotiation is getting the ball rolling, and that’s just what you’ve done by writing your counter offer letter. No matter what happens, you’ve got this!