You already know to negotiate a company’s opening salary offer. But “there’s more to compensation than the check you receive as an employee,” says Sharlyn Lauby, president of consulting firm ITM Group Inc., founder of HR Bartender, and author of Essential Meeting Blueprints for Managers. There are things, Lauby says, that “cost the company nothing or very little, and can add value to your career both now and in the future,” if you’re savvy enough to snag them before you sign on the dotted line. Here are five job perks that you may not have thought about, but that you can and should negotiate—with tips on how to get them, of course.
1. Your job title.
Your job title isn’t just a line on your email signature—it’s a marketing tool, says Lauby. “Your job title says more to the outside world than internally,” she explains, “because certain job titles contain preconceived notions about your experience and knowledge.” So after your initial interview, hit the Internet to find out how the job’s title translates in your profession beyond your potential employer’s walls. Then, “see if you can build the case for it to be classified as manager or director,” Lauby suggests.
2. Industry perks.
Many industries—think: hospitality, food services, and arts and entertainment—offer benefits and perks only found in that industry, such as discounted travel, free meals, or more, says Lauby. So while “the pay might not be what you’re looking for,” she says, “the industry perks could make up for it.” If the hiring manager doesn’t mention perks in his or her offer, don’t be afraid to bring them up. “You can ask about receiving perks earlier,” Lauby says, “or at a different level.”
3. The ability to telework.
Who doesn’t dream of working from home in her pajamas? While “it might not be possible to work from home every day, it’s a good idea to see if you can negotiate it one day a week,” says Lauby. It’s still work, she points out, but work from home has it’s advantages, “especially if you’re not getting offered as much in salary as you had hoped.” Telecommuting can be a tough sell to employers who don’t often dole it out in their offer packages, so focus your negotiation on how working from home will benefit the company. Demonstrate how you will still be productive, Lauby says, while perhaps saving the company—and yourself!—money.
4. Professional development.
If you’re a lifelong learner, negotiating professional development classes, workshops, and online courses could be the quickest—and least expensive—way to get you back into school. “Negotiating professional development not only benefits the employee but the company,” points out Lauby. Start out by asking for a promise that you can attend one conference a year, with an event already in mind so you can tell your potential employer just what you’d bring back to the table after attending. It’s also smart, Lauby says, to mention past speakers, panels, and more to show the manager just how valuable this conference or workshop could be.
5. Professional membership association dues.
Been dying to become a member of your city’s young professionals organization, but it’s pricey dues put you off? It’s OK to ask your potential employer to absorb that cost as a job perk because, yet again, it would benefit both of you, Lauby points out. “Be prepared to share the name of the organization and some stats about them,” as part of your negotiation, she says, and explain why your membership supports your profession and your new company. “Many times the club or association offers member-only resources that are worth the membership cost alone,” Lauby says.
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