Negotiating Your First Contract

What to Negotiate

Everyone has heard about senior level management or CEO’s that negotiate car and driver, housing allowances, private planes, vacation homes and in some cases hefty severance packages. Although you may be there some day, for entry level positions, your negotiations may not be as lucrative. However, here is a list of some of what may be negotiated for entry level positions (depending on the industry):

· Salary
· Signing bonus
· Vacation time
· Flex hours
· Stock options
· Salary increase after probationary period
· Overtime pay/rates
· Bonuses/incentive payments/commissions
· Training and development costs
· Car allowance/travel rates
· Relocation allowances
· Start date
· Anything else that you may want in a total compensation package

It is important to divide your list into the MUSTs and the WANTs. What are the things that you must have, and are your “walk away” items, vs. the “would be nice” wants. Having a bottom line prior to beginning the process is key. It will help narrow down factors that truly are unacceptable to you and those that you are willing to let go. Prioritizing your want list as well is a good idea to determine which of these are more important than others. However, the employer will also want to negotiate items with you, whether that be severance packages, terms of employment, hours worked, knowledge ownership etc. Ensure that when you are negotiating you are aware of what the terms of employment are from the employer’s standpoint and what you would like to negotiate on that end as well.