The obvious thing to remember when negotiating for a new job is to maximize the pay you’ll receive, if possible. Perform some research before you enter into your negotiations to try to determine what others in your position earn, recommends career management expert Barbara Safani. Visit the website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and industry trade associations, contact recruiters and check out job boards to see if they have pay scales for particular positions. Turn the table when an employer asks you what you think you are worth by asking what he thinks your position is worth to the company. If you are an hourly worker, negotiate your overtime and holiday pay rate if you think you’ll be working extra hours. Ask about annual raises or bonuses tied to performance.
Get a detailed, written job description as part of your new job. Ask that this document be used to conduct your annual review. Negotiating a job description will not only help prevent miscommunication during your first year, but it also will reduce the chances your boss can keep piling new tasks on you without increased pay.
Ask about benefits the company offers to ensure you get the most out of what the company has. Your position level might not come with certain perks, but during negotiations, you might be able to leverage these. Think about asking for the company to pay for voluntary benefits it offers such as dental or vision insurance or pet health insurance. See if you can add an extra day or two of personal time off. Try to negotiate for free or reduced parking or a paid pass for your area’s mass transit system. Ask about training and tuition reimbursements, which help the company as you build your skills.
If you are moving to a new location, negotiate your moving expenses to determine exactly what the company will reimburse. This could include the transportation of your household items, lodging, meals and your water, electricity, cable, phone and Internet connection fees.
Make sure you know whether you will be an employee or a contractor. Being a contractor gives you more flexibility, but you’ll pay higher payroll taxes and might not qualify for benefits.
Being able to work from home reduces your commute time and expenses and might allow you to deduct home office expenses. If you can’t work your entire job from home, consider asking to work one day per week from home. If you live in a high-traffic area, ask about starting your day one hour earlier and leaving the office one hour earlier each day — you’ll work the same number of hours for your employer but might be able to trim two or three hours off your commuting each week.
Make sure you get the title you want, if possible. Especially at smaller companies, different titles won’t cost the company extra pay or benefits but can boost your career. A director title is better than a manager position, which is better than a coordinator job.