Written by Cassandra Rudd
Salary negotiating is a crucial part of being offered a job and for those just entering the professional work force it can be a daunting task, if you do not do your research. There are ways to navigate through the world of salary negotiation with ease.
When it comes to salary negotiation the first thing to think about is surprisingly enough: yourself! Above anything else you have to know your worth. You know how much your contribution to the company is worth and what value to put on that, so be sure to take that into consideration when you choose a salary range to discuss.
To research jobs and what a good salary range would be for your position or area you can look online at: www.usajobs.gov or www.glassdoor.com. On these sites you can research your job title and/or your field of interest see what the hourly rate is at certain popular companies as well as what their salary range is typically. There are also sites like www.salary.com where a “salary calculator” can be helpful.
Always come prepared to the meeting. Once you have been offered a position, you know that salary negotiation will soon be on the table. If you are prepared with what you want to discuss, this will make things run more smoothly, and you will be more confident since you are prepared.
Have a salary range already chosen with which you would like to counter, do not choose an exact number. Some financial advisors and researchers suggest using an odd number is more effective in getting what you are asking for.
One thing to keep in mind: do not undersell yourself. Aim high with what you are asking for with your salary range, but do not go over the top, be realistic. It is important to strike the right balance. Based on your research and your skill level, you should know right about what your appropriate salary would be. You want to attempt to aim a little higher than that. Do not go over the top and ask for tens of thousands more a year, but make some adjustments so that the potential employer knows you are serious.
When negotiations begin do not go in for the kill, let the employer make the first offer. Once you have heard and understand their offer, you can counter. You do not want to come off as being too focused on the money in this sort of situation. When countering, you have to be educated about it. Just like when you are taking a test and you are unsure about a question; you make an educated guess based on what you know and have researched. It is the same thing with salary negotiations; make sure you have the data to back up your offer. Also, only counter one time. You do not want to make a war out of the meeting and put off your potential employer.
Although you might be nervous or anxious to get the negotiations started (or maybe over with), it is important to remain patient and know when the time is right to discuss the benefits package and negotiations. If you start discussing this subject too early, it could be off putting for your potential employer. Usually they will bring it up when they are ready.
The negotiations should not solely be focused on your salary for the year or how much you are getting paid per hour, other aspects of the benefits package are also important to take into consideration. Insurance (including: medical, dental, even life), 401K and pension plans, sick leave and vacation days, stock options, and even tuition reimbursement. Although the pay amount is usually the biggest focus, it is important to consider your benefits and what the company has to offer you. Salary.com has a great compiled checklist of what aspects of the benefits package to focus on other than your salary. Check it out at: http://www.salary.com/10-things-negotiate-non-salary/slide/8/
One thing that you should avoid doing when the subject of salary comes up is to just accept the first offer made to you without discussing it first. Negotiations should always be a part of the discussion. Although doing any kind of negotiating can be taxing on your emotions, try to keep the mood as positive as possible and keep your emotions in check. You are still trying to make a good impression here.
Consider all of your options and think about whether the company you are considering is really a place that you want to work. The monetary offerings may have a big pull in your decision, but you have to consider your happiness with your job. Think about your options, is this really the company you want to work for? Or are there others that you are interested in?
Salary negotiating may not seem like the easiest adventure to embark on, but at the end of the day it very well may pay off, literally and figuratively!
Cassandra Rudd is currently a junior double majoring in Psychology and English. She spends most of her time doing a lot of homework but also enjoys listening to hip-hop/rap music and spending time with her family and friends. She currently works on campus at the Office of Career Services as a Head Work Study and at the Academic Resource Center as a Writing Fellow. After graduating from Nichols, she is hoping to go to graduate school and pursue a career as a Forensic Psychologist and possibly work with the Federal Bureau of Prisons or the US Marshals. She says “You may be wondering why I am also an English major when I am going into the Psychology field, and the answer to that is simple: I love to read and write. I have always enjoyed both of these disciplines and they both can translate in any type of career field.” Writing blog entries connects her interests and work at Career Services and skills as a writer. The mission and purpose of this blog is to give students access to important career information no matter what their year, major or level of experience.