New Graduates: Tips For Negotiating Your First Salary

May 07, 2016

New Graduates: Tips For Negotiating Your First Salary

It’s that time of year again, new college graduates entering the job market for the first time! It can be an exciting time; applying for your first job and watching the offers (hopefully) roll in. Hopefully you’ve already created a personal website and you’ll be the top candidate on an employers radar due to your excellent online presence. When that time comes, you’ll probably be called in for a final interview where the “negotiations” may take place. Here are some helpful tips to make sure you come out ahead in the salary negotiation process:

1. Know Your Value

It is imperative that you know what others in the same industry are being paid for the position you are pursuing. Use a site like Payscale to determine the recommend salary range for your position based on your geographic location. If you walk into a negotiation without a number in mind, you are at the mercy of an experience HR representative who could low-ball you on your true worth.

2. Make The First Move

Come right out and say it if you think the offer is low making sure to phrase it in a way that does not insult the hiring manager. Something along the lines of: “I’m really excited to join the team and become apart of this company but I’m concerned that the offer is a bit low compared to the market rate for this position”. If the hiring manager doesn’t want to budge on the number, it’s completely acceptable to request a day or two to consider the offer. This is a big decision you are making, ensure it’s something you will be happy with and feel like you are being compensated fairly.

3. But Don’t Make The First Move

We lied a little bit on that last point. Don’t make the very first move. The golden rule in negotiating, “the first person that says the number loses”. So while you should absolutely speak up if you have already been presented with the number, try and sit back and wait for the hiring manager to make the first offer. As an example, if you come right out and say $50k but the employer was planning to offer you $60k, you’ve obviously just lost the negotiation.

4. Consider A Range

When you are deciding on your target salary consider a range. This will give you some wiggle room in the negotiation and make it seem like you are more flexible. The majority of offers will come in at the bottom third of that range but in certain cases it can be higher. Employers want your morale to be high when starting a new job; it translates into harder work and a higher commitment to the position. If they offer you the bare minimum on your range, they know you are not going to be as excited as meeting you in the middle.

Have you had success negotiating a salary for a new position? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear about it!

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