Salary Negotiation: Answering the Money Question for Beginners
The more money we can make, the better... right? But let's be realistic. You're fresh out of college. Don't expect to get paid the "big bucks" during your first or second job. In fact, if your financial situation affords it, go for the job that's going to provide you with the experience you need moving forward as opposed to the job giving out the largest paycheck.
For instance, I have no doubt that having CBS Radio Network on my resume when applying for my current position certainly caught my employer's eye. However, it's no secret that entry-level broadcasting jobs pay peanuts and provide little to no benefits. I recall sharing a ballpark figure of my salary with some my peers and hearing a response of, "Wow, I make more waitressing!"
Quite frankly, my peers are correct. It would have pleased my bank account a lot more if I took a waitress job or became a receptionist at a lucrative firm. But I knew that serving food and answering phones were not the skills that would eventually land me a great communications job. Recent college grads have to think BIG picture!
Nevertheless, we're not working for our health! Salary is certainly important. Here are a few tips that my mentors shared with me regarding potential salary negotiations or your first job.
- Do your homework. Research what others are getting paid in comparable positions to the one you are applying for.
- Get the employer to give a figure. If possible, it's always better to have the employer throw out a figure to avoid risking coming in too low OR too high.
- Don't push it! While I am not advocating that you be "taken advantage of," keep in mind that you would rather secure your position and seek a raise later, than lose out on an opportunity because you were asking for too much. Find a job that fits you well. As you excel, the money will come!
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