Evaluating a Salary Offer

You’ve got a number, now you need to know more.

Evaluating a Salary Offer

Getting your first job offer and seeing the salary is a thrilling experience. Before you accept the offer, you should be sure it’s competitive and prepare to negotiate if appropriate.

  • Where to find information about salaries in your industry. 
  • How to prepare to negotiate a salary. 

Analyze Your Needs

In addition to analyzing the salary itself, you need to assess how much you’ll need to make to pay your bills and save.

Analyze Your Needs

  1. Sit down and write out your expenses, and be realistic.
  2. Identify sacrifices you can make for a “dream job.”
  3. From there, you should be able to figure out an absolute minimum salary that you cannot go below.

Analyze Your Skill Set

  • Take a look at your resume – What makes you a stand-out candidate for this position?
  • Write down any unique skills, credentials, experiences, or knowledge that will be an asset to the company.
  • If you choose to negotiate the offer, articulate these assets clearly to the employer.

Identify the Position’s Market Value

Using some of the sources below, you’ll likely end up with a range of salaries. When talking to an employer about a salary, it’s always best to give a range instead of one number. That way there’s a little wiggle room.


  • Glassdoor.com
  • Salary.com

Glassdoor also includes employee reviews and reviews of benefits.

Government Salary Surveys

  • Careerwise.minnstate.edu
  • ONetOnline.org

When possible, look at salary information that is local to the area of the employer, or at least the same state, country or region.

Trade/Professional Organizations

Many professional organizations collect data or are places you can connect with folks who may be willing to share and help you negotiate.

Your Network

Reach out to people you trust to give you accurate salary information.

Questions to Ask Yourself as you Begin Negotiations

What objections might the employer have to my request? How will I respond to these objections?

What objections might the employer have to my request? How will I respond to these objections?

What other non-salary items do I have to negotiate with (benefits, vacation, perks)?

What combination of salary and benefits is the minimum I will accept?

Take advantage of the following tips:

  • Take notes as you’re doing your research to easily back up your claims if you negotiate an offer.
  • Write out your opening statement. Be careful how much more money you ask for. Generally, between five-ten percent of the original offer is acceptable.
  • When you receive an offer you wish to accept, get it in writing!