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  • Negotiating Your Salary for the First Time

    Posted on 04/29/2021 10:00 AM

    No matter where you are in your college career, in the near future you will most likely come face to face with the person who will determine not only whether you get the career you applied for, but exactly how much you’ll get paid for it. As a young professional, knowing how to negotiate your salary is a skill that can make you thousands of extra dollars a year. However, it’s a skill that takes time, research, and practice. It may seem like a tricky skill to master, but by following a few helpful tips, you’ll be well on your way to being able to effectively convey and maximize your value as an employee in the eyes of your future employer.
    Note: Do not bring up salary related questions or negotiate until an offer is made.

    1. Research and prepare: In order to negotiate, first know the territory.

     It’s beneficial to have a range in mind when going into salary negotiations. To determine this range, resources such as Glassdoor and Payscale can be helpful for discovering the average salary for your desired position with your seniority and in your area, as figures can vary greatly. The range you come up with should be reasonable and based on your research. If you are just entering the workforce or have been unemployed for a while, your expected pay may be slightly lower in the range. However, you should still come up with a specific number near the top of your range to request as opposed to giving an arbitrary and unrealistic figure, as it tells your employer you’ve done your research and gives you sufficient room to compromise. Before going into negotiations, it’s helpful to practice multiple times with fellow professionals who can give you a sense of how you might come across to your employer. This will also help you feel more comfortable and prepared for when it comes time to negotiate your offer. The Career Center also offers resources including salary calculators, salary surveys from recent grads, and a cost of living calculator to compare salaries in different areas to help you further navigate information for salary negotiation and come up with your number.

    2. Don’t undersell yourself: Know your value.

     In order to get the salary, you deserve, you have to know what you deserve. Come up with evidence with specific examples of the value you’ve provided at your previous jobs. You may know what you’re worth, but what really matters in negotiations is being able to prove it with evidence. By knowing the value of your job experience, your skills gained from various courses, and the average range for the job, you’ll be well-equipped to craft an effective argument during negotiations. Create a comprehensive list of everything you offer to that specific company based on the job description and be prepared to discuss those things when negotiating your salary. In addition, you may find it helpful to speak to recruiters at similar jobs nearby to find out estimates of what salary and perks you might expect to be offered to you. Using these factors, come up with the lowest salary you would accept along with the specific number you plan to come in with, and do not go below that number in negotiations.

    3. Negotiate: Present your case.

    Before you start negotiating, make sure the offer is negotiable in the first place. It’s also helpful to ask how the offer was calculated so that you can gauge the fairness of the offer. Inquire about future raises and promotions in order to envision the upward momentum of your salary at the company. Then, present your number and confidently and clearly explain why you believe you deserve that amount. Showcase your evidence with specific examples of how you added value to your previous jobs and how you’ll do the same for their company. Make points about your salary wishes simultaneously, with explanations of why each is important. Don’t wait until they counter to add requests, or you risk coming across as unorganized or even greedy. If you’re uncertain about their offer, schedule another meeting and present your counteroffer a day or two later.

    4. Be prepared to compromise.

    During salary negotiations, ensure that your personality and likeability comes across by being understanding and thankful for the interview and the offer. Employers are much more likely to accept a higher counteroffer from someone they like and connect with. With that being said, expect some resistance to your offer and questions about why you believe you deserve your number, whether the company is your top choice, or perhaps inquiry into whether or not you’d accept the job tomorrow if it was offered to you. Be honest, but put your best foot forward when responding to these questions. Be willing to compromise within your range, but if the job offer is very clearly below what you deserve, don’t be afraid to walk away from the offer, especially if you have more promising options. If you do get the number you were asking for or close to it at the end of negotiations, make sure to get the offer in writing to make it official, and celebrate!

    5. Get the Benefits: Negotiate your perks.

     One of the most common mistakes when negotiating salaries is neglecting to mention benefits. Find out if benefits are negotiable at your chosen company, and ask about healthcare/dental benefits, university tuition reimbursement, mentoring, certifications, or even childcare. Hiring bonuses and relocation allowance if you are changing locations for your new job can also be good things to ask about to maximize your total salary package and recoup moving fees. Make sure that if you have special requests, whether it be hours or that you wish to work from home, that you make those requirements known during negotiations to avoid an unpleasant situation if you accept the offer while having misconceptions about their flexibility. If it’s very important to you, make it known to the person who can make it happen.
    By following these offer negotiation guidelines, you’ll be prepared to convince any future employer exactly why you deserve what you say you deserve. Take a deep breath, be prepared, and negotiate your offer!
    Career Center advisors can help review your offer and help you with negotiating your salary.


    Written by Analise Narine, Digital Marketing Intern, Career Center