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Negotiate a Salary

Given an offer? Be polite and show respect, but ask for what you want

Salaries depend mainly on two things: the type of work and the geographical area. You can readily find the pay ranges for many jobs online (see more below). You could also contact your school's career services or placement office, since your school may have statistics on starting salaries from employers that have hired students from your school. If you've been offered a job, consider these tips on how to negotiate a salary you want.

  • First, know what you want and need to make. You do have budget to meet of living expenses, maybe student loans to repay also. Take these costs into account along with the cost of living for your city or town.
  • Don't jump the gun. Don't prematurely discuss salary until you have a clear vision of the job description and requirements or until the hiring employer mentions the topic.
  • Research the market. Make sure you research salaries before accepting any offer. Search AIE's Career Choices to learn what you might expect for a starting salary in your profession. And don't forget the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which can offer wage and salary data for many fields of work.
  • Know what benefits come with the offer. These can include health insurance, 401K, special employee discounts, reimbursement for education expenses, etc.
  • Back up your claim for wanting more. When you do negotiate, make sure you compile support. Research similar positions and the starting salary for these positions, and use this knowledge in your negotiations.
  • Don't automatically accept any offer. Ask for at least 24 hours to review the offer and think about it.


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