Veterans sometimes run into trouble with job offers and salary negotiations because they didn’t go through these processes while serving in the military. If you’re transitioning out of the military, it’s a good idea to understand the best practices for these steps before you receive an offer. The following tips can help you successfully navigate civilian job offers and the negotiation process so you will emerge with a compensation package you deserve.

Make Sure the Position is Right for You

Before considering a position’s salary and benefits be honest with yourself and decide whether the job and the company are a good fit for you. Liking the job and the organization should be your primary reasons for accepting an offer. If you know where you stand before you receive the offer, you’re less likely to be swayed by an impressive compensation package and settle for a job that’s a poor fit.

Decide What You Need Before the Offer

It’s easier to decide whether a salary is competitive and fair if you have a benchmark, so establish your salary needs before it’s time for an organization to extend an offer. Be sure to consider the cost of living in your town or city and research salaries for comparable positions in your region.

Know Whether to Negotiate

One of the most common questions that arises during the military-to-civilian transition is whether candidates should negotiate for better offers. The answer will vary depending on the situation, but it’s not wise to negotiate just for the sake of negotiating.

If you do choose to ask for something more, make sure you’re asking for things that are REALLY important to you, and remember that one of these four things will happen.

(1)  They will say “OK”…if they do, you should accept the offer. Do not negotiate unless you are prepared to say “YES” should they agree to your requests.

(2)  They will say “NO” and you will have to decide if you will take it or leave it. Of course, it’s okay to take some time to think about it within the deadline timeframe the company gave you when they made the offer.

(3)  They will meet your requests halfway, and you will have to decide if you will take it or leave it. Again, it’s fine to take some time to think about it within the deadline timeframe.

(4)  They will rescind the offer. This is always a possibility when you try to negotiate, which is why you should only negotiate when you know what you want from the company in order to make the offer an acceptable one for you.

Working with professional military recruiters can be especially beneficial at this point in the process because they will typically carry out negotiations with the company on your behalf before your offer is officially extended. These recruiters can work closely with you to ensure that you receive a fair and competitive compensation package.

Accept with Integrity

This can be a very stressful time in your life, but you should never feel pressured to take an offer. Once you do accept, it’s important to do so with integrity. Some candidates accept an offer while they’re in the middle of negotiations with a different company or they take the position, only to continue interviewing for other jobs.

This is very unprofessional (some would even call it unethical) and can burn bridges if the Hiring Manager remembers your name for the wrong reasons. The business world is smaller than you think.

The organization finalizing your offer is doing so in good faith, and won’t move forward with interviewing other candidates once you have accepted. You should give that organization the same respect and courtesy.

Are you a veteran with experience transitioning from military to civilian positions? Share your experiences on civilian job offers and negotiations in the comment section below.

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