Dear Sylvia: How Do I Negotiate a Compensation Package for a New Position?

For several months, we ran “Dear Sylvia” questions and answers on this blog. We just received another question and thought we would share it with you. You can send your business questions, in confidence, to

Dear Sylvia,

Do you have any tips for asking for negotiating the compensation package for a new job or a promotion/new position in this economy when employers may think you should be lucky just to have a job or a job offer?


Thank you for your question. It is certainly relevant to life in our society today, given the economic situation.

When you seek a raise or job promotion within your current organization, make sure you clearly discuss your performance value over the past year, for example. Showing emotion in this conversation is not appropriate, and it won’t get you anywhere. Your boss—and the organization at large—are mostly interested in what you can do for them, not how you feel about your salary and benefits. So focus on how you meet and exceed the demands of your job. Be as specific as possible as you talk about your accomplishments. Generalities are not effective or memorable. In other words, prove your case. Show evidence around WHY you should receive a promotion. Avoid talking about the fact that you want a bigger, better apartment, need a newer car, or can’t afford the rising cost of groceries. Stay focused on the VALUE you add to the organization/department/other people. Talk about the ways you outperform others in similar jobs if you can get information about that.

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