|Martin Yate CPC
NY Times Bestseller
Professional Resume Services
You’ve got a cell phone bill, car insurance, and student loans of a magnitude calculated to stagger a third world nation. You’re just out of school and all you want to do is pay off your debts, move out of your parents’ basement, and start a life of your own. Then the impossible happens, through some mojo you didn’t know you possessed, you manage to trick some unsuspecting manager into offering you a job but the money’s a little less than you’d hoped for. Now what? Do you jump at their first offer or try to hold out for more? What’s reality in this alien professional world? How much bargaining power do you really have when you don’t have experience?
They want you, but like most new entrants into the professional workplace, you almost entirely lack experience, and you are
| For more advice for emerging professionals,
check out “Knock Em Dead Secrets & Strategies
For First Time Job Seekers” available on Amazon
being offered the job based entirely on an evaluation of your potential. According to Scott Keenan, a knowledgeable HR generalist and GenY blogger, “Most companies should have a pay scale where they assign you a fair wage based on the job and your qualifications.” Scott, like many career experts feels that you’re not in a strong negotiating position if you don’t have experience and you’re looking for someone to give you a start.
This is just your first job and your career is not going to be a sprint to the top; no matter what you are told, it is a marathon that will be run over many job changes and upwards of fifty years. Put in a proper perspective, the starting salary for this job is the least of your concerns; what’s much more important is the experience you will gain and the opportunities it will present. Sooner than you can imagine, two, three, four years are going to whiz by and you will be making your first strategic career move. Then, all of a sudden, money becomes much more negotiable. For now, there are only two steps to salary negotiations for your first job.
Open with, “If I understand the job correctly . . .” and then restate the responsibilities of the job and what you bring to the table in each area of responsibility, building into your explanation what you know about the role of the job within the department, any initial or special projects, and any special needs that have come to light in your conversations. Your goal is to demonstrate your thorough grasp of the job. You want the interviewer muttering, “Wow, she really gets it!” Your dialogue sounds something like this: “If I’m qualified for this job, which I am because of A, B, C, and D, I feel sure you’ll make me a fair offer. What is the salary range for this position?”
You may then be given a range, and if any part of that range intersects with your range (for more on determining your personal salary range, see Chapter 9 of Knock ’em Dead: Secrets & Strategies for First-Time Job Seekers), you reply, “Excellent! We certainly have something to talk about, because I was looking for between $xx,000 and $yyy,000. Obviously I’d like $yyy,000. How close do you think we can get?” or “That’s certainly something we can talk about. I’m looking for between $xx,000 and a maximum of $yyy,000. How much flexibility is there?”
If the interviewer declines your request and asks again how much you want, reply with your predetermined salary range, which maximizes the chances of finding a match with the employer’s financial parameters and minimizes the odds of you asking for too much or too little. After this, back off the salary question and address benefits and other questions.
Any more stress on the money question and you risk driving that employer into the arms of another equally qualified candidate. Remember, your first job is about getting your career started, not wringing every last penny out of salary negotiations. You should be more concerned with non-salary questions of fit and opportunity. You can find more advice on determining realistic ranges for yourself and questions to ask during final negotiations in Knock Em Dead – Secrets & Strategies For First-Time Job Seekers plus advice on how to start on the right foot, make the job secure and win promotions.