Young adults entering the workforce have one thing going against them and that is experience. But they have energy, drive, and motivation. These qualities make them very marketable in the job market. The one thing that is a consistently a big question for them is “How do I negotiate a fair salary?”
First of all, it is a good idea to have an idea as to what your expectations and needs are with regards to salary. Simply stated – what do you need to pay your bills and sustain your life? Figure out a budget for yourself and your family. Only you know what your financial obligations. You may need to eliminate some of the comforts you are accustomed to in order to accept a position that will benefit your future.
Do your homework. It is a good idea to research salary range for specific jobs. These ranges will change in different locations. This is a good conversation to have with friends and relatives and people within your sphere of influence. Contact recruiting firms and attend networking events. These are great sources for salary information.
Once you have determined what your specific needs are and what is the range of salary that is commensurate with your experience and education, then you are equipped to discuss salary with a prospective employer. It is recommended, however, that you discuss salary only when asked. Have your salary history available on a separate document just in case the potential employer asks for it. Always be honest because they are likely to ask for W-2s from previous jobs.
What do you do if the salary is less than you expected or less than you are able to work for? If it is lower, it is okay to say something like “It is less than I expected in terms of……” Also, do not hesitate to ask for time to think over the offer. Never turn down an offer immediately. The situation is always fluid. If they have room to be flexible they may be willing to offer more in fear of you rejecting the offer. If not, then it also gives you time to reflect back to your original budget and see if you can actually make this offer work.
Salary is important. It is your reward for earning your degree or accumulating valuable experience, but do not discount the significance of benefits, vacation, flex hours, location, work environment, and work-life balances. Your life at work is valuable. Never underestimate the value of your knowledge and worth.
Source: “Negotiating a Fair Salary in Today’s Job Market.” Opportunity Knocks. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.