Salary Negotiation Tips for the New Grad

Salary Negotiation Tips for the New GradFor 2016 grads who are starting to see job offers roll in, congratulations! You have your first chance to learn an important lesson that even my four-year-old daughter has mastered: “Don’t ask, don’t get.”

A Salary.com survey found that a staggering 55 percent of respondents didn’t negotiate their salary at all in the past year, whether at a new or existing job. And first-timers are negotiating even less: 62 percent of new grads didn’t negotiate the salary for their first job, according to a survey by NerdWallet and Looksharp.

I get it. When a job offer comes in, you’re usually so elated to have a job that negotiating can be intimidating. And in some industries with large “classes” of campus recruits, negotiating an entry-level salary is a no-no (check with your university’s career services office to see if your offer falls into this category). But you might be surprised to know that many hiring managers expect it, and negotiating can add tens of thousands of dollars over your career, since every incremental raise you earn will be based on your previous salary.

Here are tips on asking for more in your first job (or even if you’re reading this as a seasoned pro)…

Do Some Homework to Know Your Value

“If you’re going to get the pay you deserve, it’s crucial to know the going rate for your position in your specific industry and in your geographic area. As I Will Teach You to Be Rich’s Ramit Sethi recently told PureWow, ‘If you walk into a salary negotiation without a number, you’re at the mercy of an experienced hiring manager who will simply control the conversation.’ You can do this by doing an online search on sites such as Payscale or Glassdoor, or by asking others in your field (ideally both men and women, to avoid falling victim to the gender pay gap).” —  Read more at The Muse.

Steal This Conversation Opener to Negotiate Your Salary

“One way to start the conversation is to say something like, ‘I’m really glad to get the offer and looking forward to joining your team, but it looks like the salary you offered is lower than the market rate for the area,’ [Abbey] Stauffer [general manager of education for NerdWallet] says. If the employer says no to the request, it’s okay to ask for a day or two to think about the offer, she adds. That might also give the company more time to find a way to improve the package.” —  Read more at The Washington Post.

Target a Range to Create Wiggle Room on Both Sides

“Once you determine what the job is worth competitively, you should offer a pay range instead of an exact number. This opens up room for discussion and shows the employer that you’re flexible. A range also ‘gives you a cushion,’ says [Dan] Martineau [founder of Martineau Recruiting Technology], in case your asking salary is too high. ‘Most companies will meet you in your range, even if it’s the bottom third of that range,’ he says. ‘Basically, if they want you, they don’t want to send the wrong message by not meeting you in that range.’” —  Read more at Business Insider.

Find Your Poker Face

“[Kelly] Mattice [vice president at recruitment firm The Execu|Search Group in New York City] also advises not showing your hand too soon. ‘There’s an old saying in the realm of negotiating that says, ‘The first person that says the number loses,’ she says. ‘Unless you’re prepared to lose a negotiation, wait until the employer presents you with a number first. If you open the negotiation with a suggestion of $50k, but your employer was willing to pay you $60k, you may have to settle for less than you could have made.’”  —  Read more at The Street.

Have you successfully negotiated your salary or other perks? I’d love to hear your best tip in the comments!

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

4 Responses to “Salary Negotiation Tips for the New Grad”

  1. Celeste

    An interesting topic! I agree with you that graduates should (as part of their preparation for the world of work) be mindful of the going rate in their industries. In my experience of working with grads, they usually accept what is offered. Looking back, that’s exactly what I did too. Learning to become comfortable to talk about money and insisting on your worth is such an essential skill.

    I’d like to add that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for time to think about it. Don’t feel pressure to respond to the offer immediately. If the thought of having the conversation right there and then is frightening, then ask to think about it. Try and respond within 24 hours though.

    Reply
    • Lindsey Pollak

      @Celeste – Thanks for another great comment. Asking for extra time is an excellent strategy for any tough decision! – Lindsey

      Reply
  2. Karnn Rana

    Back here in India, either professionals (especially millenials) do not know what their skill-set is worth or they find talking openly about money/numbers/salaries uncomfortable.
    This article addressed both issues.

    Cheers!
    Karnn

    Reply
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    […] takeaway: From the true cost of a college education to the importance of saving to salary negotiation, Gen Z will be focused on value vs. cost. The job of educators and managers will be to make sure […]

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