Job hunting can sometimes be a frustrating process.
You’ve reached out to job adverts, gone through the nervousness and hassle of attending multiple interviews in-person and online, and finally gotten a job offer after multiple rejections and not hearing back from various interviewers and hiring managers.
Everything about the offer seems perfect, from the actual position to the location of the office. The people you will be working with, your supervisor, and the company culture all seem to provide excellent opportunities for growth.
Nevertheless, there’s one thing that seems glaringly incorrect: the salary.
Not only is it not much of an improvement on the salary you had at your previous job, but you feel undervalued and unappreciated. You know that your time and skills are worth more; you know your self-worth and what you bring to the table, and this just isn’t it.
What should you do next?
Should you ignore the job offer? Send an email saying you are no longer available for the position?
Absolutely not! All is not lost.
The best course of action in such a case is to send a counter offer letter or email. Today, I will be showing you how to write such a letter, give you some helpful tips to help you craft your counter offer, and provide some examples and templates you can use.
A counter offer letter is an email or physical letter you send to a company in response to a job offer that doesn’t satisfy your needs.
A salary that isn’t high enough based on your experience and what you bring to the table is the most common reason people write counteroffer letters. Perhaps the salary doesn’t offer the increase in earnings you were looking for when you quit your old job.
Or, perhaps the salary just isn’t right for someone with your credentials and experience. If you’re moving to a new area, you also have to consider the local cost of living before deciding whether the new salary is enough.
However, there could be other things that make a job offer unsatisfactory.
If you’re looking for additional job benefits, for example, you might send a counter offer letter requesting them. Things like a commission on top of your salary, reimbursements for transportation and other costs, and paid time off can all be requested via a counter offer letter.
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If you’re truly desperate for a job offer and willing to take whatever you are offered, sending a counter offer letter might not be right for you.
Additionally, if you recently graduated and/or have no experience in a particular field, you probably shouldn’t be too bold to request a counter offer either.
Sometimes, it’s best to accept a position temporarily to get some experience and build your resume. Some job positions are simply stepping stones to a better career in the future.
However, many times, sending a counter offer is the right thing to do. If you have a lot of experience and a solid education, and you feel like you could do better, go for it and send that counter offer.
You need to know your worth.
A counter offer is also appropriate if you have multiple job offers. If you like one job more than the others, for example, but the salary doesn’t match your expectations, send a counter offer letter.
You can even send counter offer letters for most of the job offers you got, while keeping one or two to ensure you retain some options if the other companies reject your counter offer and rescind the job offers entirely.
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Photo by John-Mark Smith/Pexels
Here is a general template that you can follow when writing your counter offer letter. While following this outline is recommended as a general rule, there are times when you will want to make the letter a bit shorter.
For example, sometimes, you’ll want to get straight to the point and present your counter offer, without explaining why you feel it is warranted. If you know your worth and have a lot of job offers to consider, you don’t even need to explain yourself.
The general outline will differ slightly based on whether you’re writing a letter or email. If you’re writing a physical letter, here’s how to start it off:
Your complete address
Your phone number
The recipient’s name
Their job title
The full company address
The introduction and the body of the letter
The conclusion and your signature
You can also use this template if you are writing a digital letter in a PDF format and attaching it to an email.
On the other hand, if you are writing an email instead of an actual letter, all of that might be a bit unnecessary. Instead, work on your email subject line, which can be:
- [Your name] Job Offer
- Getting back to you on your offer
- Let’s discuss
- About [Job position]
- Counter offer for [Job Position] for [Your Name]
You would then proceed with the greeting, body, and conclusion. Here’s a general template for that:
Start with thanking them for sending you the offer and affirming you still want the position.
Next, explain why it’s not enough – you could mention your education, expertise, things you bring to the table, your past performance at your previous job, etc. Don’t be afraid to point out hard statistics, such as how you helped increase sales at your previous job by 20% last year.
Proceed with your counter offer, such as an increased salary, a better commission rate, or more PTO.
Express your eagerness to talk about things further and negotiate.
Sign off with something like Sincerely, Best Regards, etc., followed by your full name and contact details.
Photo by nappy/Pexels
Counter offer letters can be tricky, and many people get them wrong. These tips will help you out.
This part is so important. Find out what others are getting paid for the same job position in your industry when working for similar-sized companies.
You need to compare yourself to others with a similar background of course, with around the same amount of experience and similar education. If someone has better credentials than you, it’s not surprising if they get better job offers than you.
Typically, you’ll discover that there is a range most salaries fall into. It could be anywhere from $50k to $65k, for example.
In that case, your counter offer shouldn’t be more than $65k.
Sometimes, you’ll want to point to actual salaries that other companies have offered you or are paying their own employees as proof. Don’t overdo this, however – one or two examples are usually enough.
A lot of people are afraid to send counter offer letters, worrying that they will lose the opportunity altogether. Of course, there is a chance that will happen – it is a risk you are taking when sending the letter.
Nevertheless, you need to know your worth. Over the long run, sending counter offer letters when you get job offers that don’t satisfy you will allow you to advance in your career and make more money.
Use your words sparingly. It’s better to be concise and get to the point quickly, rather than write long paragraphs of why you think you qualify for an increase in salary or other benefits.
The most critical thing is to show confidence – demonstrate that you believe yourself worthy of a better deal. You can explain why, but overdoing it makes it seem like you’re trying to justify something you don’t truly believe in.
Besides, hiring managers are often busy communicating with many candidates for various job positions. If they see a long email from you about how you think you deserve more, they may not bother reading it.
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A common mistake many people make when writing counter offer letters is only trying to get a better salary. There are other things you can try to negotiate in addition to or as an alternative to a better salary.
In the examples, I will talk about some other things you might want to talk about in your counter offer letter.
It’s critical not to come across as arrogant. Write your letter respectfully.
Start it off in a respectful tone by using a professional greeting (“Dear Mr. So-and-so”). Conclude the letter respectfully as well.
Never accuse the hiring manager of not appreciating your worth.
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It always helps to start your letter by thanking them for offering you the position in the first place. Show your appreciation and gratefulness, but respectfully ask for more.
While asking for a better offer, you don’t want to come across as uninterested in the position. Hiring managers don’t really want employees who are not enthusiastic about the position and who are only in it for the money.
Affirm your excitement and willingness to work there. Talk about some things you liked about the position other than the salary or benefits.
For example, you can talk about how you’ve always wanted to work for a company like theirs or how you truly believe in their mission. You can admire the company culture or workplace environment.
Some people are a bit self-conscious about asking for a better offer and try to overcompensate by waxing poetic about how much they want the job.
You should confirm your enthusiasm for it, as I just said, but make sure you’re not overcompensating by using too many phrases like “fabulous and amazing job opportunity.”
This is an important thing to consider. If the company is a small business or startup that is struggling to get on its feet, sending a counter offer asking for a better salary might not get you anywhere.
The hiring manager might truly want you, but small businesses and startups often just don’t have the budget to give every employee higher salaries right off the bat. The same applies to nonprofit organizations.
You may still be able to ask for other benefits, though.
It could also help to show some flexibility instead of adopting a “take it or leave it” approach. For example, instead of saying that you require a salary of $75,000, say that you’re looking for something in the $70,000-$80,000 range.
Dear Ms. Lee,
Thank you for offering me the position of General Manager at Jaco Industries. I truly appreciate your generosity in extending me this offer. Nevertheless, due to my extensive experience in the field and the other job offers that I have been offered, I feel that negotiating a higher salary of $60,000 is justified.
I’m excited about this opportunity, and I feel like I would be a great asset to the team. I have thought this through carefully, and I’d love to hear back from you soon. Let me know when you’re available for another meeting, so we can discuss this further.
Dear Mr. Jennings,
I enjoyed meeting with you last week to discuss your offer of a position at Chau as a sales representative. Truthfully, I found your base salary offer quite generous.
Despite that, I’d like to discuss whether it’s possible to raise the commission rate from 4% to 6%. Based on my performance in my previous two positions, I’m confident I will be able to bring in a healthy amount of sales. Furthermore, I’d like you to consider an additional bonus commission of 1% once I exceed my yearly target sales goal.
I’m waiting to hear from you to negotiate this further. I’m flexible on commission rates and bonuses.
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Dear Mrs. Davidson,
Thank you for offering me a position as National Communications Technician at Protekt. I’m reaching out to present my counter offer of a 10% increase on the base salary I was offered.
Due to my education and background, I believe that this counter offer is fair and valid. I have researched base salaries for National Communication Technicians with my expertise in the field before making this counter offer. I trust that you will take my counter offer seriously, and I humbly await your response.
Dear Mr. Jennings,
Thank you for offering me the available position of Computer Systems Administrator at your company. I’m truly excited about the opportunity, and I believe I am the perfect fit for your company and company culture.
That’s why I’m willing to negotiate the base salary you have offered me. While I believe your salary to be generous, raising my salary by $4,000 a year would make it in line with the national average. I also feel this increase is warranted due to my limited time off and the significant daily commute I will be required to make.
If you’re interested in discussing this further, do reach out to me and let me know when you are available to meet.
All the best,
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Dear Mr. Webber,
I’m reaching out to show my appreciation for your offer of Marketing Manager at Legacy Front. Your offer is truly generous. However, while the salary is within the range I am looking for, I’d like to negotiate paid time off before I can accept your offer. While three weeks is ideal, I understand if you can’t offer more than two weeks of PTO.
Please let me know about your flexibility in the matter.
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels
Dear Mrs. Chan,
Thank you so much for offering me the position of Customer Branding Orchestrator at Anono. I very much appreciate your offer, but I don’t feel that it accurately satisfies my needs. Ultimately, due to my 15 years of experience in customer branding, I feel a base salary of $70,000-$75,000 is warranted, though I am somewhat flexible on the exact number.
As evidenced by how I helped my previous employer grow sales by 15% by running targeted branding campaigns, I believe I would be an asset to the company, more than making up for the slight increase in salary I am asking for.
I hope you will carefully consider my counter offer.
All the best,
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Dear Ms. Holt,
I’d like to express my gratitude to you for offering me the position of Receptionist at AllGate. I’m truly excited about this opportunity, but I still have a few questions before I can start.
Would you be able to reimburse transportation costs in addition to the base salary? While it might seem like an insignificant request, the added cost of the monthly subway pass in NYC comes out to more than an additional $1,500 a year.
Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock.com
Dear Mr. Kim,
I truly enjoyed our meeting last week to discuss the open job position of Lead Designer at your company. I have carefully considered your offer and researched other companies with similar job offerings in our market.
Thus, I have come to the conclusion that while the job is perfect for me, I feel that my experience warrants a slightly higher salary. Due to the skills I bring to the table and based on what others are making in the same role, I’d like to request an increase of 3.5% on the base salary you offered me.
Please reach out so we can continue to negotiate this a bit further. I’m also open to other forms of compensation.
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Photo by Anna Shvets/Pexels
Dear Mr. Smith,
Thanks again for offering me the opportunity of Senior Operations Administrator at your company. Unfortunately, at this time, I am unable to accept your offered salary of $60,000. I’m more than happy to discuss this opportunity if you can offer a base salary of $70,000 instead.
Please get back to me as soon as possible.
Portrait Image Asia/Shutterstock.com
Dear Mrs. Paul,
I’m reaching out to discuss the job offer of Regional Data Technician at Flans. I’d like to present my counter offer of $50,000/year in base salary. Please let me know if this is something you can accept.
There are a few possible responses to counter offer letters.
The first type of response is the one you’re hoping for: The hiring manager agrees to your requests completely. If they truly want you at the company, and they have the financial means to comply with your requests, they’re likely to do just that.
The next-best response is that they get back to you saying that they can’t comply with your demands but are willing to negotiate. In that case, you may be able to schedule a call or meeting to find some middle ground.
Another good response is a counter offer to your counter offer.
They might not be willing to go through negotiations to make you happy, but they may counter an offer with half of the salary increase you asked for, for example.
What often happens is that the company rejects your offer. Perhaps they are entertaining other candidates and don’t feel willing to bend to your demands, or perhaps they simply don’t have the financial means to pay you more.
What happens then? The manager usually has every right to rescind the job offer entirely.
However, many hiring managers will tell you that they can’t offer you extra but are still willing to take you according to the terms of the original job offer. In that case, it is up to you to decide whether you want to accept less than what you really want.
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If this is your first time writing a counter offer letter, don’t sweat it. Write and proofread your letter and send it – sending a letter that isn’t perfect is frequently better than not sending one at all.
Most of all, stay confident. If the hiring manager responds positively to your letter and invites you for a meeting to discuss it, go in with confidence, play it cool, and stick to your original counter offer.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.