When you land a dream job there's nothing that can temper your excitement -- that is, unless the employer gives you a salary offer that's lower than expected. But a low-ball offer isn't the end of your good news. Use a low offer as a starting point to negotiate a higher salary.
Keep calm in the face of a low-ball offer. You may be angry and even insulted by the offer, but showing your anger won't help matters. Keep in mind that a low-ball offer may be a mistake or simply a negotiating tactic.
Ask for a clarification about the job responsibilities. It's possible that you and the employer have different understandings about what the job entails. It may turn out that the job is much smaller than you believed and not truly something you would want to be doing.
Ask how the employer arrived at the salary offer. Understanding the company's rationale will allow you to counter aspects of their thinking in your counteroffer.
Research the salary for your industry to know what the going pay rate is. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov) and GlassDoor.com provide salary information about specific jobs. Also talk to friends and colleagues in the industry to find out what the gong rate of pay is.
Select three salary figures for yourself: an ideal salary that you hope for, a walk-away salary that is too low to accept and a salary between the two with which you would be satisfied.
Counter the salary offer with your ideal salary. Justify this salary by telling the employer what you can do for the company and citing past examples of your contributions to a business.
Try to reach a mutually agreeable salary with the employer. If the employer is unwilling to budge or will not bring the salary up to a satisfactory level, don't be afraid to walk away from the offer. You won't do your best work or be satisfied with your job if you are resentful of your salary level.
M. Scilly is a writer and editor who writes for various online publications, specializing in business and management. He has a fondness for travel and photography. In his free time he enjoys marathon training.