Managing Money

5 Salary Negotiation Tips for Recent Graduates

August 20, 2015


Salary negotiation can be an intimidating thing if it is your first time. For many college seniors who will be graduating, salary negotiation will become a reality as they begin to vie for employment.

A wise man once said, “Your employer will attempt to leverage you as much as possible until you are in a position to leverage them.” The point being- a negotiation is about leverage and how much if it you can enforce. Recognizing this point is key. Here are some times to give you confidence going into a job negotiation and help you gain as much leverage as possible.

1) Know the field: Understand that a large part of salary negotiation is understanding what the job field will dictate. While you may think your skills are worth a certain number, the job market may indicate otherwise. Don’t get caught in a position where you are qualified for a position, but end up receiving way less than the labor market demonstrates. Don’t get caught in a situation where you ask for an unrealistic number either. Use a tool like PayScale in order to understand what your skill set currently demands on the open market. 

2) Be Confident: A large part of a negotiation is having a concept of your value and sticking to it. Just because the potential employer might think otherwise, doesn’t make them right. This doesn’t mean that you should be stubborn and unwilling to negotiate, just that if you think you have made a good evaluation of what the true value of your skill set is, you should not be willing to stray very far from it.

3) Be Honest: Don’t play games with the potential employer. If you are not interested in an offer, you should be forthcoming about it. If you are getting other offers, or you find other offers more entertaining etc. than let them know that. Honesty is a major part of creating leverage.

4) Don’t jump too soon: It is important to let the company you are applying for make the first move. By letting them state salary first, you get a sense for how much value the prospective position, and what you bring to the table. This should let you dictate the negotiations now that they have made this vital indication

5) Be willing to walk away: As any smart business leader will tell you, the trick to winning any negotiation is the willingness to walk away. This is where the power of your leverage comes from. By knowing that if a potential employer really wants you to work for them, you know if they don’t make the right offer or you are out the door. If you are too desperate and willing to accept a salary at any cost, the likelihood you allow yourself to be undervalued increases greatly.

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