If you are like me, you might assume that most entry-level positions have a set pay for the job, and that’s what you will receive. This is probably true for most companies, however through my job search, I have found more and more companies that don’t have a set pay. Instead, they are open for discussion to decide on a fair pay. This is especially true in the business field, as I have noticed more and more entry level positions in the field are turning from hourly to salaried pay. With this change comes the increased need to know how to negotiate a salary, something very few college students know how to do.
The first thing to do with salary negotiations is PREPARE! There is nothing worse than answering, “What salary would be acceptable to you?” with “Umm”. This is why it is important to be prepared when negotiating a salary. You must have a salary goal in mind, but it is also a good idea to find the market value for the position and area you are applying too. One of the easiest ways to do this is by doing some research online at a website like Salary.com. Or, if you want specific salary information regarding UMD students, visit our Graduate Follow-Up Report. This will give you a basic understanding of what the current pay scale is like for people in this position. It will also help you to not over- or underestimate your salary, which will make you look unprepared. When answering salary questions, it is important to state what you feel would be an acceptable salary, but you must also remain flexible. Without flexibility, an employer may move on to another candidate who is more open to working with the employer to find a reasonable salary for both parties. Finally, it is also good to prepare a list of reasons of why you deserve the salary you are asking for. These reasons can be based on a combination of the research you have done as well as your skills and qualities that you can bring to the position.
The next thing to do with salary negotiations in PRACTICE! Practice with a friend, family member, or even a Career Counselor. This will help you work out the best ways of asking for your salary and defending the price you have named. It will also help you get rid of those dreaded “umms” and “ahhs”. This will make you sound much more confident in what you are saying.
Next comes Execution and Evaluation. Execution is when you are actually negotiating your salary with the employer. Remember your research, be confident in your skills and abilities, and be flexible. Then comes evaluation; this is when you evaluate how well your negotiation went. This is a crucial part because it shows you the areas that worked and, more importantly, shows you the areas that you need to improve on. Knowing what you need to improve on can help you work on those skills so that the next time you need to negotiate your salary, you can hopefully get the salary you want.
Salary negotiation is an important skill that not many students are taught. This is intended to be a very basic outline of how to negotiate a salary, and if you want more help, stop by Career Services and we would be more than willing to help you!
Remember: Prepare, Practice, Execute, and Evaluate!
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