Should You Negotiate Salary When It’s Your First Job Out of College?

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Negotiate Salary

Should You Negotiate Salary When It’s Your First Job Out of College?

When that phone call comes in and you hear the positive news from the employer: “We’d like to extend the job offer to you,” you may feel ecstatic! All the hard work put into job searching, from researching, resume writing, networking, to interviewing has come full circle. You have a job lined up and ready to go after graduation! But the fact is your work is not over – it’s time to negotiate!

Like any job offer to a professional, it needs careful evaluation. Salary needs to be considered and it may also be a point to negotiate. Many young professionals will allow the excitement of a job offer overshadow the finer details of the offer.

If you’ve done your research, you may already have a sense of what a fair (or good) salary looks like for the position. There are numerous sites to visit where salary information is posted based on job titles and even for specific employers. Review sites like GlassDoor, Salary.com and PayScale to help you assess the salary landscape for your job title and industry.

If the salary offer is not lining up with your expectations, don’t hesitate to negotiate and ask for more money – even if you’re a recent college grad or young professional with minimal experience.

Here are considerations to helping you negotiate the best salary:

  • Employers Generally Have Some Wiggle Room

    In general, employers have wiggle room for an increase in salary at the time of a job offer. Consider the job offer was extended to you because you’re the best candidate for the job and the employer has put in a lot of time and energy into the hiring process. The employer is not looking to lose a good candidate over a reasonable salary increase request. It’s also unlikely that an employer will retract the job offer because you chose to negotiate on the offer. Previous research by NerdWallet has indicated many employers are willing to increase an offer by five to 10 percent.

  • Give Yourself Extra Credit Where It’s Deserved

    Consider your overall package as a candidate. Do you have killer skills the employer values and/or qualifying internship experiences that bring more value to the table than other candidates? It’s a selling point and asking for a higher salary within reason is fair.

  • Your Next Chance at a Salary Increase May Be a Year Away

    When you negotiate salary, it comes easier at the time of a job offer. Once you’re on the job, typically salary won’t be up for review until your performance review or when you’re up for a new role. This base salary is also the stepping stone to your future raises, so you want to start out at a comfortable place.

  • Other Consideration

    When you’re just out of college trying to pave your way to greater independence and paying off college loans, salary may a huge factor, but it’s not the only factor to consider in evaluating the job offer. Negotiating salary may take on a different path. Perhaps there’s the opportunity to work remotely several times a week that can help you save on commuting, a free gym membership, or college tuition assistance to help you continue to grow in your career. Review the offer as an overall package and be flexible because salary is just one of the considerations.

Remember that most employers will expect some back-and-forth negotiating on the job offer. While research has shown most employers are willing to increase on the first salary offer, it’s up to you – the job candidate – to take the initiative and begin that discussion to negotiate the offer.

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