Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

Two Minute Tips

Tips for negotiating a salary at a first job

July 6, 2020

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Over the past month of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans have lost their jobs or gone on furloughs, starring state unemployment benefits. Photo of dollar bills by Sharon McCutcheon via Unsplash.

Graduating is hard. Finding a job is hard. Living through a pandemic is hard. Combining all three of those aspects together may look like an impossible task. For those who are entering the job market, negotiating wages can seem scarier than it actually is. Here are four things to keep in mind before signing that contract.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short. After searching from a pool of candidates, the company has decided that you are the best fit for the role. They want you to join the team to bring your talents to the table and they also want to help you grow. Don’t let the company undermine your worth just because the job market is tough right now.

Research Normal Salaries for the Role. Just like it’s important to go into an interview prepared, it’s also important to go into any salary negotiation prepared. It’s a good idea to research what salaries are for entry-level positions are across the industry, so there is reasoning behind why you are brining a specific number to the table.

Factor in Non-Salary Benefits. What does health insurance look like? How is paid time off? Don’t forget about other entities like a company car. The number isn’t the end-all-be-all of what the company is offering with the role. Be sure to check all factors before deciding to even bring up salary negotiation.

Avoid Ultimatums. Ultimatums aren’t just bad when it comes to relationships. They’re often one-sided and focus only on the needs of the person who makes the ultimatum. For an employer, it reflects poorly on a prospective candidate and can lead to issues down the road. Also it’s important to keep in mind that just as easily as job offers can be sent out, they can also be rescinded.

So there you have it. While this isn’t supposed to be an exhaustive list, these are definitely important things to keep in mind before signing that all-important offer letter.

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