As you apply for jobs, many employers will ask you to include your desired salary in the cover letter. If you’ve done your research, you likely know how much you can ask for given your location, education and level of experience. But even if your salary requirements are spot-on, it might be too much for a company.
You have a choice: either walk away from a job offer or accept a lower salary. The decision really depends on how badly you need a job and whether you’re flexible regarding salary. However, if you don’t have any other offers on the table, you might suck it up and take less pay.
But even if you can’t squeeze a higher salary out of your employer, you might be able to negotiate a few other things.
An Extra Week of Vacation Time
If your new job comes with one or two weeks of paid vacation every year, see if you can negotiate. An extra week (or two) of vacation can compensate for less pay. All your employer can say is yes, or no. Given how your work history and education typically commands a higher salary, your employer might comply and offer this as an incentive.
Childcare Tuition Reimbursement
Depending on where you live and the age of your children, you can easily pay upwards of $150 a week per child for daycare. And as your family grows, you might seek higher paying jobs to help with the cost of childcare and other family expenses.
If your new employer can’t pay a higher salary, the company might be able to offer childcare reimbursement. This can help drive down your monthly out-of-pocket cost for daycare. And although the company isn’t likely to offer 100% reimbursement, something is better than nothing.
A Flexible or Telecommute Work Schedule
If you and your partner both work, you might have difficulty finding suitable childcare for your kids before and after school, and it might be easier if one of you could be home during these times.
This isn’t always feasible given how workdays can start before the kids leave for school and end hours after they return home. However, if your new employer can’t meet your salary requirements, this is an opportune time to negotiate a flexible work schedule.
Maybe a traditional 9-to-5 schedule doesn’t work for your family, yet you’re able to manage a work schedule between 7 a.m to 3 p.m.
If your job involves local travel and you’re required to use your personal vehicle, you might incur additional maintenance costs from wear and tear, and your monthly fuel cost will probably skyrocket. Since you can’t negotiate a higher salary, ask your employer to reimburse a percentage (or all) of work-related transportation costs.
Additional Maternity or Paternity Leave
The majority of companies let their female workers take off up to eight weeks for maternity leave. However, if you’re unable to snag a salary that’s commensurate with your worth, you might be able to negotiate a longer maternity leave – up to 12 weeks.
You can also put an offer on the table if you’re a male employee. Paid paternity leave isn’t offered by some employers, but it doesn’t hurt to ask for this perk. You shouldn’t expect six weeks off from work, but you might be able to negotiate a two-week leave.
Understandably, you want to be paid what you’re worth. But realistically speaking, what you’re worth might not be in the employer’s budget. However, if you put on your “negotiating hat” and ask for other perks, the employer might comply with your request.