A Guide to Negotiating Your First Salary

By | December 5, 2015

A Guide To Negotiating Your First Salary

Going into your first job fresh out of college? You must be anxious about the prospect of negotiating your first salary and the non-salary benefits. With your first job offer, you must think about more than just the salary figure. It is important to know the range of benefits you are entitled to in various jobs. We’ll help you understand what to look for in the fine print.

If an employer is unable to meet your salary expectations, many of them are willing to offer alternate benefits to sweeten the deal.

A survey by Career Builder found that 45% of US workers aged 18 to 34 years don’t try to negotiate on their first job offer.

Here’s what you can do to negotiate your non-salary benefits.

  1. Look at the complete package. If the employer offers you a salary that doesn’t meet your expectations, consider negotiating some of these non-salary benefits:
  • Health Plans
  • Life Insurance
  • Retirement savings
  • Extended vacation time
  • Tuition or professional development reimbursement

The most common perks you may be able to negotiate are leave allowance. Career Builder’s survey revealed that 33% of employers surveyed said they were ready to offer a flexible schedule, while 19% said they would be prepared to give employees more vacation time.

  1. Be grateful, but take your time. Before beginning to negotiate, you must show your potential employer that you are grateful for the opportunity. Be sure not to be in a hurry, but take some time to decide on the offer. This would give you a chance to weigh the pros and cons of the benefits that are available including the base salary.
  2. Prioritize Your Perks. Decide which added perks would mean the most to you. If you’re right out of college, you might want to ask for tuition reimbursement for continuing education. If you know you’re planning to get married or in case you have travel plans, additional vacation time might be beneficial. But remember, unnecessary negotiation can have a negative impact on your future in the company.
  3. Ask. When you meet your prospective employer, it is important to have a clear sense of what you want and communicate these needs confidently. 
  1. Get the Deal in Writing. Once you’ve reached an agreement, ink the deal by getting the details in writing.   
  1. Plan Your Negotiation. Approach your negotiation in a tactful manner. Do remember, the negotiation is part of the first impression.
  1. Don’t Burn Your Bridges. If you reject an offer of employment, remain courteous and grateful for the opportunity. Thank your prospective employer for the offer and their time. Briefly explain why the terms of the job offer would not work for you. Don’t leave on a sour note.

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