Starting Your Career
Salary and Benefits
Negotiating Your Salary
Every job search starts with the same goal – to get a paying job. But ask someone how much they want to be paid and you typically get hand-wringing silence. Determining your market value and being ready to answer the money question is a very important part of starting a career. With a little research and planning you’ll be ready to confidently negotiate the salary you want.
- First things first
Simply put, negotiating a job offer means asking for a higher salary or better benefits. Know ahead of time what you want and need to make. Prepare a budget that includes your living expenses, student loan repayments, and cost of living for your location. Note: You don’t share budget information with your potential employer. It serves as a guide for what you ask for.
- Wait your turn
Don’t discuss salary until you have a clear vision of the job description and requirements. It’s best to wait until the hiring employer mentions the topic. Some employers consider it off-putting to ask about the salary or benefits.
- Take your time
When you’re offered a job, ask for at least 24 hours to review and consider the offer. This is normal and the employer will understand. If you’re not sure if you should negotiate, check with your school’s career services center or a trusted adviser. But, be sure you follow-up with the employer within a couple of days or else they may think you don’t really want the job.
- If you want more money, you’ll have to ask
Most employers anticipate some level of negotiation. But remember, negotiation goes both ways. Not all employers will negotiate … they may have a good reason for their offer. If they’re unwilling to budge and you still want the job, consider asking for a salary review after six months. Then you’ll be able to lean on your performance to help justify more money.
- How to ask
It’s normal to be nervous or hesitant about negotiating. Remember – they chose you for the job. They don’t want to lose you now. Here’s one way to ask: “I think I would really enjoy working here. Based on my research, it seems that the salary range for this type of position is around [$XXX], and I was expecting your salary offer to be within that range, with my qualifications and/or my experience.“