Salary negotiations

Has anyone ever successfully negotiated a raise with their initial job offer? Let’s say your ask and what the company wants to pay are different. They met you in the middle… Has anyone ever had experience with negotiating a raise for what they left on the table?? Say in 2 yrs you get a raise for the remainder of your ask?

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The best way to get within or as close to your desired salary range is to not only properly communicate your skills, but to quantify them as well. This needs to be done at ALL stages of your job candidate process: on your resume, in your cover letter, during the interview, follow up/thank you letter, etc. But you have to do it in a way you are not repeating the exact same words during each stage…it has to sound organic. Find different ways to say the same thing…practice saying it so that when it’s time for your face-to-face meetings, you’re talking in a natural tone and with confidence!

When you quantify your experience, you get the listener’s mind to start imagining how you could bring value to the company within a relatively short period if time…it shows what type of workload you can handle. The more value you bring and the more you can handle…the more a company should consider paying you. Not sure what your role is within fashion, but mine is merchandising/product development. Instead of saying on my resume “Communicated with overseas factories in reference to development and pricing,” I would say something like:

-Maintained daily communication with 8 China-based factories while briefing development projects, negotiating pricing, and sourcing requirements

-Developed 10 annual collections for seasonal and replenishment programs for mass and department store accounts (Sidenote: Somewhere on your resume, perhaps in a summary section, you should note the different major accounts you have worked on. I notice many job ads want people who have either developed or sold products specifically to luxury accounts, or Walmart/Target, Amazon/ecommerce, or specific niche within the industry. The more accounts you can list on your resume, the better.)

-Composed design briefs and request for quotation documents for overseas factories (up to 70 styles per program)

-International business travel to Asia and Europe (3 to 4 times annually) to review development, attend trade shows, source trends, and new supplier opportunities (I would list the trade shows in the summary section of your resume).

While you’re at a company, be sure to keep notes on all of this info so you’re not struggling to remember things when it’s time to update your resume. If you are trying to follow up on that raise a company promised you a year after joining a company, keep a spreadsheet (maintain this at home) that way no one will be aware you are doing it, do NOT tell any of your co-workers…and bring the spreadsheet to your meeting with your supervisor or HR person.


Great advise. Very helpful insight

Thanks for the very detailed reply on trying to showcase your worth during the interview process…which I’m very aware of. I asked a very specific question because Covid job offers are well below what the same position would have been pre Covid. And I totally understand that this is just the nature of a normal economy. So that is why I wanted information on how to negotiate a raise to be bundled in an initial job offer. The economy will recover in time but those who accepted positions during Covid will be locked into low salaries.

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@KTMERCH is exactly right. If you can build a personal ROI (return on investment) analysis for the hiring manager with your resume AND in your interview, you’ll be able to justify the salary you want.

Very true but as I stated job offers during this time are low. Even with the best skills companies are still low balling. They think everyone is out of work and desperate… which is not the case for everyone being interviewed.

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But here’s what you need to understand…there really isn’t any other way other than the method I suggested that will give you the best shot at getting as much money as possible…whether we are in a pandemic, market crash, or even a healthy economy. Think of it this way:

If a particular company honestly doesn’t have the money to pay you your market value…they are not going to be able to.

If a particular company is crooked and they actually have the money to pay you, but they choose not to for ANY unethical reason…they are still not going to do it! In this type of situation, the company will either flat out say they can’t pay you and “maybe” you can discuss it again a year or 18 months from now. And then you have to HOPE the company is being honest. Not sure how long you’ve worked in the industry, but even before covid-19, it’s not uncommon for a company to do this, the employee works their behind off…only to fast forward 1 to 2 years later…and they only get a 20% to 30% increase of what they requested, if even that.

Just like you can’t make a company hire you, you can’t make them pay you what you should be making if they can’t or don’t want to. All you can do is put your best self forward to back up your claim/worth in the way I suggested.


Because of Covid-19, I honestly don’t think it makes a difference right now whether a jobseeker is employed or unemployed…it’s still not a jobseeker’s market due to the abundance of talented people looking…when it comes to salary, the ball is in the employer’s court…and likely will be for at least the next 12 to 24 months.

Most people who are currently employed and they haven’t been furloughed (who are truly making their market value, love what they do, they aren’t working within a toxic workplace, and they have no fear of being let go)…MOST of these people are staying put and riding things out until the pandemic goes away and our economy gets better. More than likely, one or more of these elements is what’s making an employee want to jump ship…with the exception of a jobseeker who is moving to a different region, or wanting to change careers, even if it’s within the same industry.

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I was looking to move before the pandemic, even had an interview scheduled 2 weeks before the city started to shut down. I had no intentions of leaving my company once Covid completely gutted the market. The companies recruiter reached out to me. While recruiters can sometimes be overly aggressive with finding potential candidates… I had to ask with so many job seekers currently in the market why is she contacting someone not applying.? She clearly sees something in my profile that she isn’t seeing in the current applications. Certainly there is no shortage of applicants during these times… she’s swimming in them.

While I do believe the company can pay more than they are offering (ie what I asked for) it’s an all together better company than I’m currently at. It will be amazing on my resume and will help me secure better jobs in the future. I will learn far more there than I can at my current position. It is an all around better move. I just feel like they are penny pinching… for no good reason. And I think like most job offers during this time it’s a bit lower than it would be non Covid.


I’ve had friends over the years who have worked in recruiting. It actually isn’t uncommon for recruiters to reach out to potential candidates who have actually applied AND even ones who haven’t (since they can easily do this if you have a LinkedIn account, have posted your resume on a job site, or if you had forwarded your resume to the recruiter’s agency for prior roles…many agencies keep your info on file for several years).

It also isn’t uncommon these days for companies to actually reach out to several recruiters to fill the same job…I actually HATE when they do that! (Sidenote: During a 6 MONTH period, I once had 8 recruiters, from different agencies from all over the US, reach out to me for the same job…when I didn’t even apply, nor had I ever interacted with the particular agencies!) If the company is a popular company that people would love to work for due to consumer perception (even if the actual workplace is toxic)…a recruiter’s strategy may be to reach out to candidates who haven’t applied…in hopes that you are a different candidate who perhaps hasn’t applied to the same ad that different recruiters from other agencies have posted! Often times, they don’t get paid until whoever they send gets hired and makes the 3 month mark…it’s not uncommon for them to forward a curated pool of 5 to 10 resumes to the company for consideration. Many recruiters will DEFINITELY be enthusiastic with you if they feel you will help them get paid…and some will think nothing of ghosting you once they know the actual company isn’t interested, even if you actually got to the interview point.

And since you said this company would be a heavy hitter/great asset to your resume, I’m sure the actual company is well aware of this too…meaning they definitely could take advantage of candidates applying at this time…and depending upon the level of toxicity within the company, it could be worse for candidates who don’t know influential people within the firm, are ethnic minorities, and/or if you physically aren’t “the type” who they typically hire within their company or department where the role is. That’s why I said all you can do is hope for the best, put your best self forward, and quantify your experience throughout your entire interview process with them. Think of your resume and the info you communicate about your skills as literally MONEY. Good luck :slight_smile::moneybag::crossed_fingers:!

Very true! I work for the number 2 retailer in the US - double digit comps weekly, and they pay 30-40% under market rates in normal times and now they are on a recruiting push to get talent for even cheaper - those were the exact words of HR when someone who reports to me quit (over how poorly she was being paid) “there’s so much talent out there we can get someone really experienced to fill the role for less money” I did not let them proceed that way because the person with 3-5 years experience would be miserable acting as an assistant making 50k

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My last two positions I negotiated and successfully got more than their initial offer. Part of this was because when I first spoke to HR, I gave the top of what my aspirational range would be. That way you’re setting the bar high. Both times they offered me below that number - which I expected. But once they offer you the job, you have a bit of an upper hand. They want YOU, and you have to remember that. Most companies (or at least ones worth working for that respect their employees) don’t want to go back to the drawing board and find a new candidate after they finally offer someone the role.

My last role, I said I wanted $95k at the beginning of the interview process, which was $10k more than what I currently made. HR didn’t tell me that was unrealistic, they just said “ok”. I got the job, and they offered me $90k - below my number, like I expected. But here’s the trick - they offered me the job with the knowledge I wanted $95k, so they knew my value. So I very politely rejected their initial offer and stated that since we initially discussed $95k, I was hoping to get closer to that number. One key - when you reject the offer, make sure you are clear that you want the role and are very excited for the opportunity. You need to be strong but still appreciative of the offer. And guess what? They ended up coming back and meeting me half way, which I accepted happily. This happened again with my next role - so the strategy works.

I hope that helps! Just remember your worth. I know the job market is a much different place than a year ago, and you might have to lower your salary expectations a bit. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still try to fight for what you deserve. Good luck!! :slight_smile:



That’s SO disgusting a company is blessed to be doing so well (especially within the past year)…yet they STILL choose to pay people well below market value simply because of their name. I kind of “get it” when companies pay low for people where it’s their first job out of college, as the name of the company and HOPEFULLY the mentorship has definite value…but once someone has 4 years experience or even 10 or 15 years yet they’re still underpaying people…that’s just grossly wrong. Sounds like you’re likely at a company who potentially “picks and chooses ‘who’ they properly pay” as well. :confused:

That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you… this is what’s happening now


Not sure how old you are… but I’ve been hearing and seeing stories like this for YEARS. I’ve even had conversations with people who are significantly older than me in their 50s who have experienced this many years ago as in the early 2000s! This has ALWAYS been a common thing for some within our industry…it’s just gross that it’s STILL going on. And it happens mostly to employees who aren’t in the “inner circle” of the cliques or typical demographic of the company, or they aren’t personal friends with someone high up within their company…whether it’s a mainstream company, or one within the community.

I have a friend (nonJewish White woman) who was working for a company within the community for about 5 years in production. She’s college educated, excellent at what she does, and she had experience well before being employed at her company. She was in charge of production for her entire division…yet they were only paying her 50K 😒...consecutive stellar performance reviews and asking for raises. Production Managers and Directors make GOOD when paid according to their market value in NYC. She got fed up and found another job. When she gave her notice to the owners of the company, they actually tried to offer her $2K more to make her stay :roll_eyes::smiley::smile::laughing:. I practically spit out my drink when she told me…thank God this was well before Covid-19, LOL! It pissed her off even more. The owners would have been better off not offering her anything…and simply wishing her well. By offering her that pittance of a raise, they basically double-confirmed to my friend what they REALLY thought of her.

I also have a Black colleague who has multiple degrees and substantial experience. She found out a few years ago her then salary was around $35K LESS than the WHITE person who had the same job before her…the White employee didn’t have the same amount of education as her AND had substantially less work experience than her. My colleague suspected it from the beginning (because this actually isn’t uncommon, regardless the industry). So told me she “played the game,” smiled like a Cheshire cat while on company time…and eventually got another job doing the same thing making $20K to $25K more. And when she professionally gave her 2 weeks notice, a few people started acting funny towards her. She still had friends at that company. Fast forward, she eventually found out the company hired a White person to fill the role…and conveniently had no issue paying the new person the correct market value for the job…the type of salary she should have been making.


That is so sick what happened to your friend worked in the “community” definitely passing those companies (nor I ever wanted anyway,but never say never…:confused:)
Now I’m thinking back I was played those racial game…a long ago- this was due to more complicated back ground, but now I’m thinking part of it was!!
I got laid off back in 2008 recession, took me a long time to find a job back (that is why now makes me even more scary from the nightmare happened before)
I finally got a job through network of network. The pay was like a joke- with my 5yrs experience but I had no choice just getting back in the industry. Back then my boss told me, this is just start, understood my experience- but my experience doesn’t align in same category exactly…etc…(I’m from sportswear- but that was one of specific category from it)
A while later, she told me she is looking to hire someone has more experience but from same category, which I was like okay if someone with more specific experience comes, I can learn more.
Guess what, a White girl started who has less than 3yrs experiences and much later I found out her exact salary 20K more than mine- we had a same title.

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The are certain companies (regardless of who owns/operates them) within the fashion industry that are not as kind to Black people (even if the higher- ups smile in your face)…sometimes even Latinos as well. There are some companies out there that will strictly hire them for low-paying coordinator, assistant or associate level roles (with no desire to mentor them or room for growth, no matter how great their work ethic)…some, if they are lucky, will reach a manager or director role, but they might later find out their salary is significantly lower than their White predecessors and co-workers with the same title. Been going on for YEARS…older people, White and Black, have told me of situations.

A while back, I caught up with a university friend who I always remembered wanted to work within fashion. Black woman…graduated at the top 25 percentile at a university which was approx 5% Black at the time…GREAT work ethnic…earned her master’s as well…but the bullshit of the glass ceiling in terms of salary and opportunity at the fashion companies she worked for was too thick for her to stay…she worked at companies that has anywhere from 300 to 500 employees at their corporate offices. She got sick of seeing her White female counterparts (yes, some who worked just as hard as her and actually deserved the advancements)…but particularly the situations where just as many who went up the totem pole because they were “the pretty skinny fashionista who had the look,” but not the work ethic…they had that “fake it til you make it attitude”…they were friends with the right people within the organization. She finally left the industry after I think 12 years and she’s been at one of those major consumer household products companies…making a healthy 6-figure salary…left NYC and is living in a 3,500 sq ft home in the burbs which she OWNS…but she’s still the “skinny fashionista with a killer wardrobe”…she just now has a walk-in closet for that wardrobe…and less bullshit.


Welll this thread was very helpful… and after all the back and forth…them coming in 7k under what I asked, then coming up to 2k under. I stuck to my guns and got what I asked for!!! Which I knew wasn’t unreasonable anddd knew that a company their sz who’s largest account was totally open during the pandemic in every state could afford it and then some. I totally could have had an ask of 5k above my original and still have been reasonable. POC’s definitely get lowballed and I really want to get a fair salary. This was the 1st job I really felt like I could demand what I knew was far. I had so many things on my resume and two big ppl in the industry backing me (both white).

It’s very upsetting to know how underpaid we are when compared to our peers. I’m a true believer I sharing your salary!! It helps everyone. I did this with an old coworker (White foreigner) only for her to discover I was being paid more and I informed her, her pay was around what they were paying the kids they hired fresh out of college at our company. These platforms in addition to Glassdoor and LinkedIn are really helping to close this gap…somewhat.



Congrats :slight_smile::tada::champagne:!! I like seeing people who are driven and passionate about what they do, regardless of demographic, do well. Because of the multi-ethnic/multi-religion family I come from, in addition to where I grew up…I was raised to feel it’s very important to have personal friends and professional allies of ALL types…ESPECIALLY if you are a person of color. Be sure to eventually “pay it forward” when you’re in a position of influence to help others within the industry.

Glad you got closer to your desired salary. A company that truly isn’t crooked/unethical should NEVER get angry for a job seeker’s attempt to negotiate salary…ESPECIALLY if there is evidence which merits it. Any company who gets upset or heaven forbid, withdraws an offer because of that…that is a red flag they are toxic and/or biased as to “who they pick and choose” to pay market value. The only potential downside is there are some places who will be more demanding of employees who they gave in and provided higher salary. Just go in there and give them your all and try to get acclimated with your new role and co-workers as quickly as possible. Good luck! You were able to secure a perm/FT position at a time the unemployment rate within our industry is easily close to 20%! :slight_smile:


I have found In negotiations With a company, they will pay you what you think your worth. Therefore it’s
So important to do your homework. If you lowball then you will get less. If you go the top of your/ their range and they want you 9x out of 10 they will get near your number. I’ve had both happen to me in the past and each time I took a paycut I was desperate for a job and lowballed myself. In this environment companies are taking advantage of employees desperation.

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