Here are 12 things you can negotiate beyond salary. Just make sure you get these alternatives in writing.
1. More vacation time.
This one seems like a no-brainer. You might resent your anemic salary less if you have an extra week to spend not working.
2. The option to telecommute.
Unless you have a job that requires constant face-to-face communication, there’s probably a good deal of work that can be done remotely. Do you do your best work from your sofa, backyard, or bed? See if you can work from home one or two days a week. Your output will be better, and you’ll save money and time not commuting.
3. Parental leave.
If starting (or continuing) a family is even a remote possibility, you should be aware of your company’s parental leave policy from the get-go—assuming your company has one, that is. If it’s not to your liking, try negotiating a parental leave policy that’s more in line with what you need.
4. Flexible hours.
I don’t know a single person who effectively gets everything done from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. Instead, you might work best early in the morning, or at 2 a.m. Ask for flexible hours—you’ll spend the same amount of time working, but your work will be better quality since your new schedule is based on when you work best, not some arbitrary workweek.
5. Membership perks.
Is there a professional organization or guild you can join? What about an airline club membership if you travel a lot? See if you can get your employer to foot the bill, giving you access to discounts and perks.
6. A title change.
If this job is a stepping stone to a better company, ask for a better title. That way, if you aren’t being paid what you want you can at least improve your resume to make getting to your next step that much easier.
Think about your career in the long run: Don’t you want higher-ups to notice you? Ask whether your supervisor will facilitate regular meetings with high-level company members. Not only will you gain some mentorship, but you’ll have an opportunity to get in front of top brass who otherwise might not interact with you.
8. A project you want.
Why not ask to be transferred to a project you’ve been eyeing? If you can’t get paid what you want, it’s reasonable to ask to work on a project that invigorates you.
This one is pretty standard, but won’t apply at all companies. If you’re at a startup with equity to hand out, you can certainly ask for more than they’re offering.
10. A signing bonus.
When it comes to getting money out of your employer, you might have success with a signing bonus when your salary doesn’t match up. It’s a one-time expense for them instead of an ongoing one.
Say you’re joining a new company that has the potential to fail (cough, all startups). As part of your hiring package, you can ask to sketch out what happens if the company goes under; for example, if the company folds, you will still be paid your full salary for three months. Even if it’s not the salary you wanted, it’s a nice security blanket.
12. Bonus structure.
Instead of waiting each year for an unknown bonus to pop into your bank account, try negotiating a performance- or time-based bonus structure, so you always know exactly how much you’ll get.
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