Your biggest salary jumps typically occur when you accept a new job at another company. Once you're inside the system the policies for raises and promotions aren't very flexible. Your manager has a little wiggle room, but not much.
That new job offer is your chance to make the biggest impact on your lifetime earning potential.
The bonus is where the manager has the most flexibility to sweeten the deal. Just saying "No" to a job offer resulted in a crazy bonus increase for one job I was considering.
Stock options can be another way to sweeten the deal. But there is a maximum based on the level of the job. And remember that stock options are "funny money." Sometimes they really pay off, sometimes not so much. I remember watching my stock options at one company start at a value that meant "New House!" and then slowly drop to end at $0.70/share before they vested. ?
There is some flexibility in your base salary within the offered level. However, no manager wants to bring you in too high within the salary band where you'll be stuck until you're eligible for a promotion. It's much harder to get a promotion vs a raise. But, an increase in salary is the gift that keeps on giving for the rest of your career. Fight for it! The manager and HR expect some level of negotiation (a couple times back and forth). They won't be offended if you're reasonable, but you have to know when the negotiation is over and stop.
Level is the real golden opportunity. Your total compensation is based on that. Stock, bonuses, base salary, and some other perks. This is where you'll get the biggest bang for your negotiation buck. If you are on the cusp between two levels (e.g., Director vs. Sr. Director), make the case for the next level up. As with any pitch, support your proposal with solid data and examples of why you really are performing at that next level. Negotiate hard because a level bump REALLY impacts your lifetime earning potential, as well as a myriad other opportunities and doors it will open for you later.
Take Charge of Your Career
Don't be shy about negotiating for what you know you are worth. As hard as it may seem to do during the offer process, it's even harder once you take the job. Asking for a raise or promotion later will be more challenging. Not that you shouldn't always ask for a raise or promotion when you deserve one, but it is certainly a different experience when you are already an employee sitting across the desk from your boss.
I know that it can be hard to judge the quality of a job offer. It's also not easy to compare competing offers from different companies when there are so many different factors involved. It helps to involve someone who has a fresh and unbiased perspective. That can be a trusted friend or loved one. Or, it can be a trusted advisor. As always, let me know if I can help.
Redefine your career and reclaim your life
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