Negotiating a Salary for an Entry-Level Position

March 18, 2019

For the recent college graduate, applying for jobs can be a tedious and tough process. After a person applies for a position, they have to go through the interview process and the employer measures their qualifications against the other applicants to determine if their skills and interests match the position and what the employer is looking for. Once the person is offered the position, one of the conversations that occurs is negotiating the salary for the new employee and for a recent college graduate with minimal experience, this can be a harrowing conversation. On one hand, the person does not want to be appear too over-confident with their inexperience in consideration, while on the other hand, the person does not want to get short-changed either. It is a workforce game, and the more prepared a person is for this conversation, the more luck they could have in future negotiation scenarios.


Photo: Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash 


One thing a new graduate should be aware of is that the negotiation talk is necessary, but also the way they go about it makes an impression. The person should approach any offer that is proffered with gratitude, even if the salary offer is lower than they initially expect, why? Even for an entry-level job, the person is justified in requesting some time to review the offer in writing before they make a decision either way. This method can be useful because it allows the person to determine if they agree with the amount or not.   


The person should not take a lot of time in considering the offer because the employer needs to give the job to someone at some point in the near future. When a person is contacted via phone or e-mail by the employer with an offer for the job, that is an opportunity to inquire about employee benefits and other perks on top of the salary. It is important for the person to understand the benefits and salary package because different jobs may have the dichotomy of great benefits to no benefits at all.


As far as the specifics of the benefit offer are concerned, they may include perks such as paid vacation time, a relocation package or signing bonus. These luxuries are not standard for an entry-level position, but someone who is aware of them may have a chance at negotiating to include them. When the person responds to an offer, they should be enthusiastic and ask for what they are looking for while being mindful of the employer’s perspective. This type of attitude can go a long way in establishing a positive rapport and shows a good sense of professionalism from the person. For instance, if the request is to increase the salary, the person should do some research to ensure that they are being reasonable when compared to the average salary for their field and position. It is acceptable for the person to show some drive in the negotiation process, but knowing what is appropriate is also a plus.The employer could potentially reach out with another offer and if the person conducts themselves improperly during the negotiation, it may turn the employer off to working with them. Having knowledge of the company, the position for which the salary is being negotiated and the tasks within the position are all aspects to know very well before the person makes a final decision to accept the job.


Overall, the salary negotiation process takes some practice and one can learn from prior errors in the process. The person’s reputation is at stake and going through the conversation multiple times in their career will improve their skills each time.   


Michael Westwood is a 25 year old college graduate from Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Independent of being a contributor to Step Up, he is looking to pursue a career in professional writing of some type. His hobbies include watching professional wrestling (e.g. WWE and other promotions) and watching select TV sitcoms from today's television (e.g. Big Bang Theory, The Goldbergs) and classic programs as well (e.g. Seinfeld, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond). He also has an ongoing online forum designed to inform people about the autism spectrum called "Ask Mike," which is part of an autism awareness group called All 4 Autism, which is based in Florence, South Carolina.



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