The sooner you start looking at your compensation from work as not just your salary, but as an overall package, the sooner you’ll be able get the raise or perk you need most — and that might not necessarily be straight cash. Here are some more things you can and should negotiate for other than your base salary before accepting a promotion or new job. Feeling shy? Keep in mind that you won’t get what you don’t ask for, and the answer to any question you don’t ask is always “no.”
- A better title. Why be “Associate Marketing Manager” when you can be “Head of Strategic Marketing?” A new title can be just the thing to reflect all of the interesting projects you’re working on, and to boost your confidence and that of those around you with more responsibility (even if it’s just in name, the real stuff will follow). Plus, a fancier-sounding title will help you down the road if and when you decide to look for a new job.
- Transportation costs. Calculate the travel expenses you plan to incur each month, and ask for a stipend to help ease this expense. Think of what you’re spending in gas, bus fare, or even flights for work-related commitments, not to mention car maintenance and the opportunity cost lost by being behind the wheel instead of at your desk. If it means you’ll be at work and meetings on time, and safely, your company just might build this allowance into your contract, or at the very least help with pre-tax transportation, pay-per-mile gas reimbursement, parking or public transportation vouchers.
- Personal development: There are few better ways to ensure future job security than by continuing your education — on your employer’s dime. From workshops to seminars and conferences and even a secondary degree, see if your employer will help you pay for additional education or certification within your industry. Many companies are willing to do this, since they view it as a direct investment back into the company.
- Extra vacation days. Your boss will immediately want to know if there will be a gap in workflow if you ask for extra time off. Anticipate that push back and assure them that you will monitor email while you’re away. You should also say that you will brief co-workers on the ins and outs of projects you have your hands on. I know I sound like a broken record talking about how time is so valuable, but think about it this way: getting an extra week off will yield you the equivalent of a salary bump. Say there are 200 business days per year. That means 1 vacation day is 0.5% of your salary (1 divided by 200).
- Your bills: Are you always on your cell phone for work? Ask your employer if they might consider covering your plan. Highlight all the work calls made on your personal phone and then present it to your employer, especially if those outnumber your personal calls. Are you in the media? Ask for your cable bill, newspaper, magazine and/or online subscriptions to be covered if they aren’t already. If you are in the media or in one of the many other industries where you need to stay informed, staying current is absolutely part of your job.
- A fatter expense account. If you already have an expense account and want the cap raise, present a list of who you’ve taken out that has resulted in money for the company. Showing your track record of success helps you be in a great position to get even more. Heck, if you were working for me and a $40 lunch with a client turned into $4,000 in business, I’d let you go to town with those expenses!.
Remember this: A lot of the time, these perks for you are tax deductible for your employer. So, yes, they are giving you perks but in a way they are giving themselves a perk, too, by reducing their tax liability. It’s a win-win, and don’t you forget that when you confidently ask for one or more of the above.