Here’s one word to describe your first salary negotiation: intimidating.
It’s the first time in your life you’re being told what you’re worth. And you might even be told that you’re not worth the princely sum you thought. While this can feel like a kick to the stomach, consider this: One-third of millennials have taken a salary lower than what they expected, according to research by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
It’s not that you’re not valuable. "Some companies have more rigid salary structures," says Beth Carroll of the Society for Human Resource Management. This means there’s often more room for negotiating employee benefits and perks for incentives like additional training, health and wellness programs, and a flexible work schedule.
So, if there’s no room in the budget for a higher salary, be ready to negotiate these other great perks and benefits.
Although the salary range might be fixed for your prospective position, you may be able to nab more money by negotiating for a signing bonus, says Lydia Frank, senior director of editorial and marketing at PayScale, a compensation data and software firm.
Moreover, approximately one-third of employers budget for sign-on and retention bonuses, according to a 2014 WorldatWork survey, which found that organizations are paying them out at higher rates. If you are offered a signing bonus, make sure you understand the terms. Some companies don't actually issue the check until you have been there a certain length of time.
Although it won’t reflect in your paycheck, taking a job where you can develop your skill set can pay off in the long run. Consider that one-third of employers report difficulties filling job vacancies, often due to a lack of hard skills and industry-specific certifications, a recent ManpowerGroup survey found.
"Always ask how much professional development funding is available," advises Linda Barrington, executive director of Cornell University’s Institute for Compensation Studies. If there’s room in the budget, request that the hiring manager builds an annual allowance for third-party training into your job offer.
Odds are you’re among the 64% of millennials who would like to work occasionally from home or the 66% who would like to shift their work hours, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey. Fortunately, eight in 10 employers offer some form of flexible work, a recent Trends in Workplace Flexibility survey found.
To make your case, explain how the arrangement will benefit the company, says Chris Collins, director of Cornell’s Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies. Want to work from home one day each week? Mention that having fewer interruptions from coworkers can help you get more work done, says Flexjobs.com founder and CEO Sara Sutton Fell.
In an ideal world, you’ll be working for one of the growing number of companies offering employees unlimited vacation time. If not, don’t fret. Given that more than 85% of human resource professionals say they think that vacation time is crucial to work performance, SHRM reports, your prospective employer may be open to giving you more paid vacation days.
If you’re being asked to move for the job, ask your prospective employer to cover the expenses, including moving and temporary lodging costs, job search assistance for your spouse, and/or assistance selling your house. "Relocation assistance is often negotiable," says Collins.
Keep in mind that although everything is negotiable, your employer is more inclined to agree to your asks if they benefit the company as well. For example, "I will be able to work longer hours and be more productive from the start if I can get a few important matters settled quickly."
Specify your request by calculating the approximated costs and present the estimate to the hiring manager. Once you and the company have settled on your relocation expenses, make sure to get your agreement in writing.
Don’t forget to ask for extras like free parking, travel allowances, and subscriptions to professional journals. (Those costs can add up.) Plus, "If you’re applying for a lower-level position, transportation is going to be a much larger part of your budget than it would be for an executive," says Barrington.
This article originally appeared on Monster and is reprinted with permission.