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How to Negotiate a Job Offer

Negotiating a job offer is stressful for most people, but it’s a necessary endeavor if you want to arrive at the best possible terms for a new job. Whether it’s a higher salary, more vacation days, the ability to work remotely, or any other perk you’re looking for, writing a job offer negotiation letter can help you outline your terms clearly and make the case for why a company should agree to them. 

Here, we’ll explain when to write a job offer negotiation letter and what to include in it. Plus, we’ll share a sample letter you can customize to fit your own negotiation and hopefully, accept a great new position. 

What is a job offer negotiation letter?

In a perfect world, the company you want to work for would make you a job offer that’s completely aligned with your expectations on pay and benefits. In the real world, however, this isn’t usually the case. When you receive an offer that’s not quite what you’d hoped for, it’s time to negotiate. 

A negotiation letter, also known as a counter offer, is a candidate’s response to a job offer. In it, the candidate makes a professional yet straightforward counter that states the terms they’d require to accept the job. 

Why is it important?

Though many candidates don’t see it this way, a job offer is the starting point for a negotiation. Negotiating isn’t rude or presumptuous–it’s crucial to getting paid what you’re worth. 

Eighty-four percent of hiring managers expect candidates to negotiate salary after receiving an offer, yet 41% of people said they didn’t do this when accepting their current job. If you believe a higher number is fair, you might not receive it unless you ask. 

Despite being so commonplace, negotiating still makes most people nervous. A job offer negotiation letter can alleviate some of the stress, helping you clearly articulate your thoughts ahead of a live conversation. Taking the time to lay out a thoughtful negotiation letter can help maintain your tone of enthusiasm about the job and convey confidence that you can arrive at terms that are mutually agreeable to both you and the company.

When to send a letter?

A job offer negotiation letter is sent after a candidate receives an official job offer from a company. It’s a good precursor to a follow-up conversation with the hiring manager either on the phone or in person. 

As for timing, it’s typical for a candidate to take a day or two to consider a job offer before responding with a counter offer. Ideally, you want to send a counter offer as soon as you’re reasonably able to to keep the hiring process moving forward. 

What to include:

Your appreciation for the offer

Begin by thanking the company for the opportunity to join the team.

Your enthusiasm for the position

Reiterate your interest in the job and the contributions you could make.

The terms you’re proposing

Clearly state the terms you’re asking for and support them with your research, like market rates for the position or standard benefits offered  by competing companies.

A positive tone

Remember, the end game is to accept a position, title and salary you’re happy with and this is part of the process to get there.

What to omit in your letter

  • An aggressive approach. The company will be more likely to consider your counter offer if you approach the conversation with poise and professionalism than if you go in with guns blazing. 
  • Excessive details. Avoid sharing personal reasons you require more money or time off. Keep your letter focused on the terms and your supporting argument. 

Sample negotiation letter

Mrs. Adams, 

Thank you for your invitation to join The Monet Group’s operations team. I’m very excited about the opportunity to work alongside such a dedicated, innovative group, and I appreciate the time you’ve invested in speaking with me.

I’d like to discuss the base salary with you. Based on my research of the market and my eight years of experience, I was hoping for a starting salary of $80,000. If you’re able to meet or come closer to this number, I’d be eager to accept your offer.

Thank you for your consideration. 


Marvin Shortman

Writing a strong job offer negotiation letter will help you open a conversation with the hiring manager that can bring you across the finish line to accepting your dream job.