Salary Discussions For Fresh College Graduates

January 7th, 2009

Graduating from college can be a very exciting time. You are finally fulfilling the dream of starting the career opportunity for which you have been working so hard all those years.

However, reality may set in quickly if you cannot find the job option you are looking for or are not offered the salary you were expecting.

Most graduates have little – if any – experience actually working in their chosen profession, so that lack can make landing a related position even more difficult.

Consider Entry Level for a Start

You may need to start from the bottom at an entry level job while gradually working your way up the ladder. This can be a difficult emotional adjustment, but it may be the only means of initially getting your foot in the door of your preferred employers.

The challenges in that scenario are that you may not be paid what you think your skills and effort are worth, and there may well be a lot of competition for the very position you seek.

Salary Negotiation Limitations

As a recent graduate, unfortunately there is not a lot of room for negotiation of salary. This is because you do not bring a wealth of experience into the position, and you are still young.

You normally cannot negotiate effectively something for work you have never truly done before, while applicants with experience will be much better positioned to negotiate based on previous positions.

However, you still have the ability to figure out what you are worth. Depending on the type of degree you graduated with, you may be able to successfully request a higher salary based on your education alone.

Those with Advanced Degrees

Many graduates with Master Degrees or PhD’s are able to do just that based simply on the fact that they went further in school.

It is important that you not sell yourself short. You do not necessarily need to work for a small wage if you believe you are worth more. But you first need to research salary averages for your field of employment and general locale.

Don’t Respond out of Deperation

Many companies try to “lowball” prospective employees. However, armed with knowledge of average salaries in your specialty, you are better equipped to strike a bargain for your market value.

You do not need to feel compelled to take the first offer that is given to you, either. Salary for the most part is open to negotiation – within reason.

Again, since you do not have experience, you will likely be limited in your ability to negotiate a much higher salary, but even a small about above an initial offer is helpful.

Wait for the Job Offer

The most important rule of thumb about salary negotiation is that you avoid discussing salary until a formal offer has been extended for employment.

Doing so will first afford you the opportunity to understand the core and peripheral responsibilities of the position. That knowledge may help you during salary discussions.

Lastly, salary is not your only financial consideration. You need to weigh company benefits such as health insurance, dental insurance, and 401K plans as well.

Taking the entire package into account will help you better analyze whether you are being offered a good deal to start your new career.

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