There’s reason to celebrate receiving a job offer from another employer. But once your victory dance is done, you may feel some trepidation about needing to inform your boss that an outside offer is in your lap.

  • Step 1: Think About Your Goals and Devise a Strategy.
  • Step 2: Book Time on Your Supervisor's Calendar.
  • Step 3: Keep Your Tone Positive.
  • Step 4: Prepare for Your Counter Offer.
  • Step 5: Negotiate a Job Offer Into a Raise.

Step 1: Think About Your Goals and Devise a Strategy

Receiving an outside offer doesn’t necessarily mean that you will accept it and leave the company. Perhaps the offer came unsolicited and is an opportunity that you need to weigh against your current situation. Even if you interviewed for the job and are seriously considering the offer, you might not be clear yet on if you want to take the new position.

Think through your options to get clear on what your career goals are before you share the news with your manager. If you prefer to stay with your current company, you may be able to leverage the offer into a raise or a new internal opportunity, since it proves your value in the market. If you’re planning to accept the offer, then your next step will be to let your boss know that you’re resigning.

Step 2: Book Time on Your Supervisor’s Calendar

Once you’ve determined whether you’ll be accepting the offer or if you’re planning to parlay the offer into a discussion with your boss about your value in the market, then it’s time to schedule a meeting with your boss. If at all possible, this should be face-to-face rather than by phone, but can be done via videoconference if you work remotely.

You’ll want to provide at least two weeks’ notice to finalize and delegate your projects, plus train your replacement if applicable. Don’t feel obligated to share your reasons for leaving, or to reveal the name of the organization that wants to hire you, your new title or increased salary; be sure to express gratitude to your manager for the work experience that you’ve gained in your position. Let your boss know what your last day will be at the company.

Step 3: Keep Your Tone Positive

The way you go about explaining your new opportunity can set the tone for a positive experience, whether your goal is to make more money at your current employer or leave on a high note with a strong reference for your future career. Even if you’re excited to quit your job and move on, it’s important to avoid coming across as eager to be done with your current position.

It’s especially crucial to avoid expressing negativity about your current company, co-workers or boss, since you’ll want to keep the door open to a positive reference in the future. Instead, keep your message simple and straightforward, sharing that you’ve received an outside job offer and letting your boss know whether you plan to accept it or want to discuss the possibility of a raise.

Step 4: Prepare for a Counteroffer

It’s possible that once you share your news, your supervisor may suggest a counteroffer to try to hang onto you. Your boss may ask what your new salary is, and tempt you with a pay increase to stay in your current job.

Think about what you determined your career goals to be back in Step 1. If your goal was to leverage the job offer into a raise, then you’ll be thrilled to field a counteroffer. But if you are excited to move on and accept the new opportunity, you may opt to decline the counter offer even if it pays more than the new job.

Step 5: Negotiate the Job Offer Into a Raise

If you don’t receive a counteroffer but were hoping to leverage the external opportunity into better situation with your current employer, then you may need to up the ante. Come to the meeting you scheduled with your boss prepared with some research about salaries for your position and field.