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Say few sentences for an extra $5000!

October 22, 2007

This is a money making trick that doesn’t work except in a very special circumstance–negotiating a job offer.

I’m in the process of relocating to California, primarily for personal reasons. I had an interview last week and received the official offer today. My current salary in a low cost of living midwestern city is about 56k. I was offered 65k to move to California (plus relocation costs!). I was excited to get the offer, but I immediately asked if that was negotiable. I had anticipated an offer in the 70-75k range. (Some random cost of living calculator states: To maintain the same standard of living, your salary of $56,000 in XXXX should increase to $103,122 in XXXXX, California. I think that is a bit high, and certainly less than I would expect them to offer me, but at least, a point of reference.)

The HR rep seemed surprised (which surprised me!), and said something like “Well, it is a 15% percent increase, but if you have justification, I can talk to the hiring manager.”

Luckily, I wasn’t negotiating for the sake of negotiating–I had my reasons ready to go:

  • The position is typically entry level, I have 1.5 years of directly related experience and am on the verge of a raise/promotion at the end of the year
  • I am 1/3 of the way done with my Masters Degree
  • I already have my security clearance (something that costs them several thousand to get!)
  • The cost of living is significantly different

The HR lady then called the hiring manager, and then called me back about 10 minutes later. She only could offer me an increase of salary to 67k, but they would throw in a 3k signing bonus. She reminded me that performance reviews happen early in the year, and that there would be tuition reimbursement.

The offer is much more attractive. I got enough money to fully fund a 2008 Roth IRA, just by listing a few reasons.

I have a phone interview tomorrow with another company for a different type of position. I think that the offer I already have seems like a more appealing job, but I want to see what this other position really entails.

This is the first time I’ve negotiated salary, and I’m quite proud of myself!

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