10 tips for negotiating your first job offer (and every one after that!)

So many college graduates are just grateful to get that first job offer that they miss one critical factor: You can negotiate your salary — even for your very first job!

  1. Do your research

You have to do your research — know the typical pay range for this position. What you need to know is not only the typical starting salary for this type of job but the salary range. Don’t just settle for the bottom entry point.

  1. Confidence is key

One of the most important things when it comes to applying for jobs and negotiating a salary is to have confidence. Believe in your experience, skills, and abilities. Confidence is something many of us struggle with, but it has no place at the negotiating table. If you don’t stand up and say – hey, I’m worth it! Who will?

And, what’s more, think about that hiring manager on the other side of the table. Do they want to hire someone who is unsure of themselves?

No. They want someone on their team who knows what they’re doing and is confident in the job they are doing. So, if you struggle with confidence, that is totally understandable, but check it at the door when you’re negotiating for your career.

  1. Be patient

It’s hard with your first job offer to not just jump up and down with excitement. But you have to be patient and let the interview and negotiation process occur at a pace that is comfortable for the hiring manager. Remember that you are asking them to give you money (a lot of it) every single year and you actually have no idea what they have on their plate right now besides negotiating with you so stay cool. Speak slowly. Ask thoughtful questions and answer thoughtfully and thoroughly.

And you should wait for the hiring manager to bring up compensation. Don’t expect this to happen on the first — or maybe even the second — meeting. But, whenever it is, you have to be ready for it.

  1. Know your worth

Everyone needs to know what the salary range is for the job they are applying for — otherwise, they may wind up getting too low an offer. This is especially crucial for women when you consider that women are paid 83 cents on the dollar for every dollar earned by men, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

  1. Go in prepared

Once you are armed with the starting salary and typical range, you have to be prepared for how you would negotiate.

  1. Consider the entire compensation package

And, when you’re negotiating for a full-time staff position, it’s generally more than just your salary.

There may be other benefits that add to your compensation package such as a signing bonus, annual bonus, paid time off, 401(k) matching, compensation for relocation expenses, free or discounted child care, parking and tuition reimbursement, just to name a few.

So, it’s always important to consider the whole package — salary plus benefits — when making your decision. You might find a job with a lower salary, but when you factor in the benefits, it’s worth more.

  1. It doesn’t hurt to ask

Remember: It never hurts to ask. Glassdoor also has a great piece of advice: Never apologize for asking for more.

  1. Practice makes perfect

You are negotiating for your future — your salary will dictate all kinds of things from where you live to what you can afford to buy and how much you save. So, don’t just wing it. Practice, practice, practice.

So, grab a roommate, friend, family member, career counselor or other advisor and ask them to role-play some different negotiation scenarios.

  1. Be flexible

Of course, there’s always the possibility that you get an offer for a job you love, but the salary isn’t where you want it to be. So, this is where you look to that overall compensation package and see if they are willing to be flexible on anything else — start date, job title, time off, bonus, etc.

  1. Convey your enthusiasm

And, of course, throughout the process, but especially when you are asking for more, be sure to convey “how excited you are about the opportunity itself,” Brennan said. That way, the company has “the motivation to hang in there with you and find an arrangement that will work better for you, if one can be found.”

It’s good to be specific about what you like about the company — this shows not only that you have done your homework but that you are a good fit in the company culture. And connect the dots: Be sure to discuss what you would bring to the table and why you would be an asset to the team and the company.

A summary from CNBC publication: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/04/09/10-tips-for-negotiating-your-first-job-offer-and-every-one-after-that.html

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