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  3. How to write a counteroffer letter! (with copyable examples)
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How to write a counteroffer letter! (with copyable examples)

Artwork by: Martoz

  • What is a counteroffer, anyway?
  • Why should I write a counteroffer letter?
  • Benefits of writing a counteroffer letter
  • How do you determine your counter “ask”?
  • Important things to remember when drafting a counteroffer
  • What are the 4 parts of a counteroffer letter?
  • Template for a counteroffer letter
  • Examples of a counteroffer letter
  • What happens after you send a counteroffer letter?
  • Key takeaways

What is a counteroffer letter and how can it help you get the salary you want? This article will discuss when you should write one and how to make sure it’s professional and effective.

If a job offer sounds great but the salary is not to your liking, are you out of luck? Not at all! You probably wouldn’t hesitate to negotiate the cost of a new car or make a competitive bid at an auction, so why not make a counteroffer for your new position? If it’s done politely, professionally, and with an open mind, providing a counteroffer for your salary can be rewarding and reduce the chances of losing the job offer. 

If the new employer is willing to talk, great! And if you’ve followed our tips, you’ll show them you’re adaptable, reasonable, and open to finding common ground. Stay positive and emphasize that the job is important to you, and unless you have absolutely bonkers requests ("I'd like my company car to be a Ferrari”), you'll most likely be able to come to an agreement that works for all parties involved.

In this article, we’ll discuss the best way to write a counteroffer letter to get the salary you desire, including:

  • What is a counteroffer, and when do you need one?

  • What should be in your counteroffer letter?

  • Important things to remember

  • Examples and templates for counteroffer letters

  • What to do after you submit a counteroffer letter

What is a counteroffer, anyway?

If you're offered a new job but the salary doesn't work for you (it's not appropriate for your experience level, doesn't cover the cost of living in your particular city, etc.) you can propose to your potential employer a figure that is more in line with what you were looking for. Although you can potentially make your counteroffer in person or on the phone, the most common way to make your counteroffer is via a written letter or email. A counteroffer letter can be detailed in your requests, or it can simply be a request to further discuss your compensation. In the letter, you'll let them know you’re interested in the job, but you need further negotiation of the offer’s conditions and parameters.

Why should I write a counteroffer letter?

A good reason to write a counteroffer letter is when you simply aren't satisfied with the salary or the benefits package is lacking, but there are several reasons you might want to consider writing a counteroffer letter:

  • The salary is not in line with the industry or market

  • You have other job offers

  • The salary doesn’t match your skills or years of experience

  • The offered salary is lower than your current position

You want to create a succinct and practical counteroffer letter that solidly substantiates your request, which will result in your expectations being met and the job offer staying in play. Keep in mind, though, that smaller companies might not have as much "wiggle room" when it comes to salary, so consider that when creating your counteroffer.

Benefits of writing a counteroffer letter

Writing a letter instead of calling or meeting an employer in person has a few advantages. It allows you the opportunity to gather your data, and craft a solid, coherent request. Other reasons a letter might be your best option:

  • It creates a paper trail, which leaves less room for misunderstanding or ambiguity. All offers and statements are demonstrably evidenced in writing.

  • It shows off your writing skills and allows you to take the time to clearly and tactfully convey your requests.

  • It’s less stressful, especially if you tend to get flustered when negotiating in person.

How do you determine your counter “ask”?

Of course, salary is probably the first thing that comes to mind when deciding to make a counteroffer, but there are other areas to consider, too. You’ll want to take into account things like relocation costs (if you’d be moving out of state, for example), bonuses, PTO, or health insurance. And with more and more employees opting to work remotely, you can also offer to discuss your work hours, office location, or hybrid situations. 

You’ll also want to make sure you know your value as well as what the “typical” salary for your position is across the country as well as in the company offering you the job. An online salary calculator can provide appropriate information and help you decide what you can reasonably ask for as well as your overall professional worth.

Statistical Insight

Studies have shown that applicants often don't negotiate their salary offer, with 51% of male and 56% of female applicants being “under the impression that the salary was fixed” with no room for adjustment. And almost 10% of both genders replied that “salary was never discussed.”

Important things to remember when drafting a counteroffer

Writing a solid counteroffer letter involves more than just saying, “You need to pay me more, please.” You’ll need to take time to craft your letter, incorporating data and solid reasoning to make your point. You’re more likely to get the results you want (or are willing to settle for) by keeping the following in mind:

  • Use relevant facts and figures. Employers are more likely to respond positively if you back up your requests with clear reasoning. Incorporate your experience level, going rates, and cost of living into your requested compensation. If you make unreasonable demands, the employer probably won’t take you seriously.

  • Let them know if you have other offers in play. This may motivate an employer to “one up” the competition to maintain your interest in working for them.

  • Remind them of your skills, especially ones that might be more in demand and could potentially increase your value to the company.

  • Don’t be aggressive or antagonistic. You’re making requests, not demands, and the company has every right to say no. It’s okay to be firm and confident, but you don’t want the employer to feel cornered. 

  • Be polite and professional, and state your requests firmly and without an emotional component. Use something like “I need…” rather than “I’d really prefer…” And make sure you make it clear you are open to negotiation. You want to project confidence, not desperation.

  • Proofread, proofread, proofread. Nothing undercuts your intended message faster than typos or grammatical errors. Don’t just use a spellchecker — a second set of eyes on your letter will help avoid potential embarrassment before you hit the “send” button.

Statistical Insight

While everyone should know their worth in the workplace, it’s particularly important for women. For every dollar that an American man earns, American women, as a whole, earn only 82 cents. And it’s worse for women of color: While Asian women tend to earn slightly more than the average for women (90 cents), African American women earn 62 cents on the dollar, Native American women earn 57 cents on the dollar, and Hispanic or Latino American women earn 54 cents on the dollar. The key to closing this gap may be salary transparency, which helps illuminate pay gaps between otherwise similar workers, and encourages underpaid employees to renegotiate or move to more suitable (and better-paid) positions in their field.

What are the 4 parts of a counteroffer letter?

Before you sit down to write a counteroffer letter, you need to know what to include. Essentially, it’s a four-part structure:

  1. Express appreciation to the hiring manager for the initial offer

  2. Assert your issues with the offer and request the opportunity to continue the salary discussion. 

  3. Provide data to support your claim and communicate areas where you’re open for negotiation. Make it clear that you are flexible and willing to negotiate.

  4. Suggest a follow-up call, meeting, or written response to the counteroffer. Underscore the logical and practical nature of your appeal, and reaffirm your interest in the company.

If you send your request as an email, make sure you put your name and reason for contacting the company in your subject line — i.e., “John Doe — Job Offer.”

Expert Tip

Not sure how much more you should ask for? According to the book, "Fearless Salary Negotiation” by Josh Doody, the range you should consider for a counteroffer is between 10-20% of the original offer. As the author states, “On the low end, 10% is enough to make a counter worthwhile, but not enough to cause anyone any heartburn. On the high end, 20% is a pretty big difference…but it’s not so big that it will come across as excessive when used in the right situation.”

Template for a counteroffer letter

Once you've done your research and determined that you would like to request a counteroffer discussion from your potential employer, here is a template you can use to craft your letter.


Your name


Phone number

Email address


Full name of interviewer/recruiter/hiring manager

Title and Company name

Company address

Dear {hiring manager}:

In this first paragraph, restate your interest in the position and the reason you’re writing this letter.

The second paragraph should contain your request, as well as any data, facts, or figures to corroborate your reasoning.

Lastly, recap your interest and excitement about the position and ask for a call to action.

Yours truly,

Your name

Examples of a counteroffer letter

Now that you have a basic outline of a counteroffer letter, here is an example of what it might look like in practice.


Marcia Lengfelder

22 Main Street

Des Plaines, IL 60016


February 24, 2024

Arthur Householder

Director of Marketing, Sunrise Digital, Inc.

451 Green Street

Arlington Heights, IL 60004

Dear Mr. Householder,

Thank you for offering me the job of Marketing Supervisor at Sunrise Digital. I truly appreciate this opportunity and I believe that my eight years of experience in digital marketing and social media outreach will prove to be an asset to your team. I find your offer to be satisfactory but I have a few small changes to suggest as a counteroffer.

Your salary offer of $60,000 is generous, but based on my history of success and increasing company sales by 20% I would ask that you increase my base salary to $68,500. I would also like to request an additional three days of PTO and the option to work remotely two days a week. I have an extensive professional network and have the potential to bring new business to Sunrise Digital. These requests are in line with what other marketing companies of similar size offer their high-achieving employees with excellent performance histories.

I believe my background, education/certifications, and experience show that I am the best candidate for the position of Marketing Supervisor at Sunrise Digital, and I’m eager to be a part of your outstanding team of marketing professionals. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this offer in person.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours truly,

Marcia Lengfelder

What happens after you send a counteroffer letter?

Once you’ve hit the “send” button on your email or put an actual letter in the mail, you have some time to organize your thoughts and settle on any “deal breakers” you might have. Is there a salary figure that you won’t go below? Are there any additions to the benefits package that you can’t do without? Make sure you know what you’ll do if the employer can’t or won’t meet any of your requested terms.

There are four ways that the hiring manager can respond:

  • Agree to meet face-to-face to negotiate further

  • Say “yes” to any, all, or some of your requests

  • Decline any or all of your changes

  • Present a new counteroffer

With any of these, you’ll have to decide whether to accept their offer, submit a second counteroffer, or decline their offer (and the job) entirely. Whatever you decide to do, make sure to get everything in writing so there are no misunderstandings or miscommunications when you begin your new job. The bottom line?  Deciding whether or not to make a salary counteroffer is up to you. Sure, they may say no, but the best-case scenario? You get the job you want and a salary/benefits package that compensates you fairly. That’s never a bad thing.

Key takeaways

  1. A counteroffer letter is a proposal to your potential employer that is more in line with the salary you were looking for.

  2. Salary isn’t the only thing to consider. Think about relocation costs, bonuses, PTO, health insurance, or hybrid/remote work situations.

  3. Keep your counteroffer request concise, offer data that supports your counteroffer, and know what you will do if your offer is rejected.

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