How to Write a Salary Negotiation Email (With Examples)

Updated 22 May 2023

A salary negotiation email is one that you send to a potential (or existing) employer to begin negotiations on the initial salary offered for a role (or to negotiate your current salary). Salary negotiations can be uncomfortable for some, but knowing how to negotiate is an important skill. Understanding what to include in a negotiation email can help ensure you earn the appropriate salary for your skills and experience. In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide for writing a salary negotiation email, tips for salary negotiations and examples for different scenarios.

Related: 6 Tips for Your Next Salary Negotiation

How to write a salary negotiation email

Here is a step-by-step guide showing how to write a salary negotiation email:

1. Keep it professional

When composing your email, include the full name of the person you're addressing the email to. In most cases, this is the hiring manager or the recruitment adviser you've been dealing with. If you're seeking a negotiation in your current role, this may be your current manager.

2. Create a clear subject title

Make sure your subject line is relevant, but don't include salary in the subject. For example, Response to your offer of sales manager position clarifies what the email entails but doesn't specifically call out salary in the subject. You can get to that in the body of the email.

3. Select an appropriate greeting

Be professional by using an appropriate greeting. Depending on your initial interactions, this may be formal, for example, Dear Mr Brown, or informal, such as, Hi John. Use your experience to determine the most appropriate greeting. If in doubt, opt for formal. If emailing your existing manager, the greeting depends on your relationship.

4. Thank the employer for their offer

Show your appreciation for the offer in the first paragraph. Thank the employer and outline your excitement for the opportunity. If you received a verbal offer, now is an excellent opportunity to re-state the details for clarity.

5. Be specific about salary

When responding to the salary offer, be specific about what you want. Having a specific number in mind or a salary range is a good idea before starting negotiations. Be upfront, so each side knows if it is possible to progress. If you would prefer not to be specific, clearly state that the salary doesn't meet your expectations. If that's the case, ask if there is an opportunity to review.

6. Reinforce your experience and qualifications

This is your opportunity to show your worth, so include your experience and qualifications. Think about five or six things you know you could excel at in the role and write them down to help create specific examples to include. The better your case for increasing the salary offer, the more reasonable your request may seem.

7. Include other negotiable items

Check your offer to determine if there are any other items you are willing to negotiate. Outline those details in the email. For example, consider if there are any benefits you could ask for.

8. Finish with positive language

Sign off the email by again reiterating your genuine interest in the role. That way, the employer knows it's worthwhile to try to make your request work. Thank them again for the offer and confirm the next steps. For example, I look forward to hearing from you via phone or email to discuss further. Include your full name in the sign-off for clarity and a professional appearance.

Related: Interview Question: ‘What Are Your Salary Expectations?’

Tips for negotiating your salary in an email

Here are some tips to consider when composing your salary negotiation email:

Take your time

Give yourself some time after receiving the offer to reflect. Don't respond immediately. Companies usually allow time to consider the offer. Having this time provides you with an opportunity to go over all the details included in the remuneration package and the base salary component.

Keep it concise

While it is important to highlight your skills and expertise, aim for no longer than three to four paragraphs for the entire email. The email can feature an intro, body and conclusion.

Consider tone

Miscommunication issues can be a common result of email communication, so re-read your email before sending to consider tone. If anything is unclear or could be confusing, simplify the language. It's critical to stay polite and enthusiastic and ensure it portrays your interest in the offer.

Know your value

The negotiation email is an opportunity to show the value you can bring to the employer. Include your years of experience, level of education or any certifications you hold, and specific skills relevant to the role. For example, you may want to emphasise your leadership skills or industry specialisation skills.

Do your research

Check the market in your area for the salary range of similar roles. If your offer is in the market range, it is unlikely that there is much room for negotiation. If you can prove to your prospective employer that you are worth more, it's worth a try. If the offer is lower than the market, be sure to mention this in your email.

Consider your expenses

Include this as part of your negotiation if the role requires you to relocate or incur other costs to accept the job. The expenses should only ever relate to accepting the job. For example, don't state you need to meet general living expenses as part of the negotiation.

Consider other forms of compensation

If the base salary isn't negotiable, consider asking to review the additional benefits included in the package. For example, there may be flexibility in offering more annual leave, a gym membership or including an early performance and salary review. Employers may find it difficult to increase salary but can look at other options as part of the negotiation.

Be firm

Being firm but polite is important when negotiating. Clearly and politely include reasons that justify your request. Remember to draw on your expertise and research.

Related: How to Develop Negotiation Skills

Be prepared for further negotiations

Salary negotiations may involve multiple discussions. Depending on the role and industry, it can also take some time. It's essential to be patient, professional and polite throughout the process.

Salary negotiation email examples

The examples below provide some templates that can be useful for different scenarios.

Using average salary data as a guide

If you believe the offer is below market value, here's an example of how you can respond:

Subject: Response to your offer (Marketing Manager)

Dear Ms Hayes,

Thank you again for your offer of the role of marketing manager at FireBird Communications. I'm very excited about the opportunity, and I am confident that I can achieve great results for FireBird Communication. My proven track record of generating new business and my experience developing results-driven marketing campaigns demonstrate my ability to succeed. First, however, I would like to discuss the salary offered before I accept the offer.

After undertaking some research, I have established that the average salary for comparable positions with my experience is in the area of $130,000. I would therefore like to propose increasing the salary offered to closer to $130,000 in line with my skills and experience, along with the expectations of the role.
Thank you again for your offer. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Jessica Smith

Example of email to negotiate salary with current employer

The email below is an example of how highlighting your skills, experience and specific examples of performance can demonstrate the value you bring to your organisation when negotiating your current salary.

Subject: Performance feedback - follow up

Dear James,

I hope you are well.

Thank you for your recent feedback on my performance to date with GLR Financials. I am pleased to hear that you are satisfied with my abilities. I genuinely believe I am a solid asset to the team with my experience working in finance as a data analyst over the past five years. I look forward to continuing to provide critical insights to shape GLR Financials' business strategy.

Based on my performance, I would like to discuss a review of my current salary. Over the last 12 months, my responsibilities have included analysing trends and providing insights that have shaped business decisions and helped improve results. To date, the insights I developed have helped to launch into a new market that generated a 25% increase in overall revenue for the business.

Given my experience and proven success within the finance industry specifically, I feel that a salary between $95,000 and $105,000 is more in line with my skills and experience. This is slightly more than my current salary of $85,000. This salary also reflects current market averages for data analysts in our area.

Thank you for your consideration. Please can you let me know a suitable time that we can meet to discuss further. I look forward to hearing from you.

Ben Thompson

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