If you’re like most graduates fresh out of college, you have an idea of how much money you need in your first job, but salary negotiation is a foreign concept. Little wonder it’s one of those things most college classes don’t teach.
First Things, First – Always Negotiate
If there’s one thing career advisors agree on, it’s salary negotiation, even in your first job. Studies show employees feel satisfaction if they at least tried to negotiate a higher salary than if they took whatever was offered. In addition, calculating what you need to make, needs to be part of your process.
Best Salary Negotiation Tips
We researched tips from Forbes to graduateland.com and came up with solid ideas on each step of the salary negotiation process.
- Stay positive, no matter what the outcome. If the offer is less than expected, remain positive as you discuss the details with your prospective employer. If a compromise is necessary, you still want the employer to see your positive side, not a whiney, complaining side.
- Don’t feel like you have to respond right away. Express gratitude for the offer, ask about benefits (acceptable on this first round) and say you would like a little time to think about the opportunity.
- If you haven’t already done so, research the salary range for the position in your market. This can vary so, if possible, ask people you know in your field to know what’s realistic. Then, pitch a little higher. Most employers appreciate someone who values their abilities.
- It’s all about the money or is it? It’s natural to place a lot of emphasis on salary when you’re just getting out of college. You’ve got loans to pay off, clothes to buy, and might even need a new car in the near future. It adds up.However, the whole package is a better focus. That means health, dental and vision insurance, and even retirement investment plans (yes, you should be thinking about this). Without these, you’re paying for high priced items out of pocket and that’s a real drain on any budget. Paid vacation is important, too. The initial excitement of a new job wears off at some point and you’ll need to recharge the batteries.
- Before you respond to the job offer at the agreed-upon time, make sure you know your own bottom line. Hopefully, you can work out an acceptable compromise, but if you can’t, you need to have a good idea how much the job means to you. Will you accept the original offer? Walk away? Those are tough questions that only you can answer.
By the way, one good thing about negotiating the best salary you can at the outset is that each raise thereafter will likely be a percentage of your base salary. Start with a solid offer early and you are much more likely to get paid better as you go along in your career. And those are the dollars that really add up!
Ready to calculate what you want? Check out our salary calculator tool.