How to Negotiate Your First Salary

Negotiating your salary, benefits, and even holiday time is an acceptable, and sometimes expected, part of the hiring process. But what can you request and how much is too much (or too little). Fear not! We have a handy guide for figuring out when to negotiate, how to negotiate, and for what you can negotiate. Remember, the best thing you can do during the hiring process is come prepared with sound knowledge and a sense of your own self-worth. So without further ado, here are six ways to maximize the earning potential of your first job.

1.Target industries with vacancies

The first thing you can do to assure yourself a good salary is to target industries that are hiring, especially those that have many openings. If you stick with narrow fields of expertise, you’ll have a lot more competition and a lot less room to negotiate. Of course, some degree fields will already limit your job market, but many industries offer entry-level and graduate positions to applicants with all sorts of university degrees.

2. Have work experience

We all know that the job market is competitive and that you need to stand out from the other applicants. But one of the most important things you can do to improve your chances of finding a job and landing a big salary is to gain some experience before you enter the job market. Volunteer work, work-placement programs, and internships will all give you valuable experience that could boost your earning potential.

3. Don’t name the first number

Remember that interviewers and hiring agents are skilled negotiators and the dreaded salary question is a useful tool for weeding out candidates. If you can, avoid naming a salary number – too high and you may be discounted because you won’t be satisfied with what the employer is offering, too low and you may seem to lack confidence. Of course, if pressed, you may have to answer but try to name a range instead of a hard and fast number.

4. Know when you must negotiate…

Speaking of negotiation, once you have that all-important job offer, don’t be afraid to negotiate on salary and contract terms. In nearly every situation, negotiation is welcomed, and in some areas, it’s pretty much mandatory. This should go without saying if you’re applying for jobs in sales or marketing – the abilities to assess value and negotiate are essential qualities for such positions.

5. But start with something easier

Still, money is always a tough subject to broach, so don’t feel that you have to slam down a figure and start a bidding war. Approach the subject carefully and start by asking about (and negotiating) benefits, pension plans, holiday time, and other aspects of ‘total compensation.’ These can be a good way into the conversation about salary, but they will also be an important part of negotiating your final terms.

 

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