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Negotiating A Salary Essay

1522 words - 7 pages

Negotiating A Salary
When people talk about school, they often contrast it with “the real world.” They say things like, “In the real world, there are no grades.” Or, “Sure, you’re book-smart. But wait until you’re out in the real world.” And they’re right, in a way. “The real world” can be scary, crazy different from the structured life of academia. One of the scariest parts about life after graduation? Negotiating a salary.
Sure, your life is going to change once you stop being a student and start being a grown-up with a career. But you should keep in mind that a salaried job is what you’re working toward while you’re in school. It’s what your coursework is ...view middle of the document...

What do you have to offer, other than good grades and an eagerness to learn?
Sure, recent grads lack the experience of people who’ve been out in “the real world” for a while. But there are ways that you can stand out even in your first salary negotiation. You’re internet-savvy, accustomed to doing research. So put those skills to use and come to your first salary negotiation prepared.
Remember that having a fresh perspective is an asset. Have you traveled? Are you from another country? Do you speak other languages? Come from a culturally diverse background? These are all extremely valuable skills for a new hire to have, things that will make your company even more successful in our globalizing economy. You can even use your non-academic life experiences as a way to justify some less-than-stellar grades and show that you have skills beyond what your transcript shows.
Asking for a Good Starting Salary
Do your research. There are plenty of sites where you can figure out what you should be making, salary-wise. They can be as simple as entering enter your location and job title, or they can incorporate your skills, experience, and education into their estimate of what you should be earning. (I’ve included some links at the bottom for you. Go nuts!)
Remember that your life experience counts for something, even if you don’t have much paid work experience. And you’re going to negotiate with the expectation that they won’t accept your opening bid. Overshoot by 10-20 percent and you’ll be more likely to meet them at your goal salary when you “compromise.” You might be a little embarrassed to ask for so much at first, but remember that negotiations are no place to be modest.
Have them give the first number and negotiate from there. They might surprise you with a generous opening offer. Even if their opening offer is generous, though, never accept that first offer. Always ask for 5-15 percent more.
You should not let new employers know what you’ve made in the past (if you’re lucky enough to have had previous jobs); make them pay you what they think you’re worth.
And if it’s your first salary negotiation at your first job (congrats on acing those interviews!), remember that the salary negotiation is the final hurdle, not a make-or-break discussion. No employer is going to rescind their original job offer if you ask for a starting salary that’s too high. And it’s always impressive to show that you’ve done your research and are willing to ask for what you deserve.
Asking for a Raise
Nobody is going to hand you your first raise—you have to ask for it! Try to take on as many responsibilities and tasks as you can while you’re still new. Not only is working hard a great way to learn, but it’ll give you hard evidence that you’re an asset. Which will come in handy when you ask for a raise that’s in the upper range of industry average.
Bosses are busy people—they have to do all their own work, plus...

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