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Top Recruiters Share How to Negotiate Salary – A Guide for Recent College Grads

After you’ve earned your college degree, your professional career journey begins. Developing a detailed plan and focused effort will be important during this exciting new chapter in your life. You will need to spend time crafting a concise resume that’s easy for hiring managers to follow and practice your interview skills, as these play a crucial role in receiving job offers.

After earning a job offer, negotiating the salary and benefits package may cause some anxiety, especially for new graduates with little experience in this field. With a potential recession looming, you must compete with a candidate pool containing new graduates and experienced professionals. This situation adds a measure of complexity to any salary negotiation process.

With a goal of being paid your true worth, consider these tips on salary negotiation provided by professional recruiters. Leveraging these useful insights can help to provide some of the necessary guidance to help you through a stressful process. If you would like additional help, consider connecting with an experienced job placement agency for additional advice.

Tips from Professional Recruiters

Any professional staffing agency employs experienced recruiters that are well-versed in salary negotiation. They also understand the influence of the current economic situation on this aspect of the job search. With a myriad of hopeful candidates vying for a few open positions, salaries trend lower as a result.

Having a collection of tips from experienced recruiters helps when negotiating your first salary out of school. Salary negotiation is not a commonly covered area of preparation, especially compared to resume writing and interview practice. The insights in this article will provide you with a measure of confidence whenever you receive that first offer.

Do Your Research

In addition to researching the company for the job you are interviewing for, you should also spend time analyzing the average salaries for the open position. Additionally, consider the Cost-Of-Living Adjustment (COLA) at the job’s location, as it influences the pay range of any offer. The COLA factor won’t matter as much for remote workers, as they don’t have the costs associated with commuting, such as gas, vehicle wear and tear, and commute times.

Websites like Indeed, Salary.com, and Glassdoor provide meaningful insights into average salaries based on position and location. Completing this research before you begin your job search provides you with the necessary information to identify the highest-paying positions in your field.

Additionally, having this research at the forefront of your mind helps you make a counteroffer. Remember that spending extra time on this research also improves your confidence level and gives you a better idea of what you should expect for compensation according to your skills and experience.

Highlight Your Strengths

New graduates typically lack the professional, real-world experience of someone already in the workforce. However, entry-level positions tend to be oriented toward those just beginning their career. Nevertheless, a challenging job market might result in you competing against experienced candidates for these opportunities. In this scenario, you should highlight your strengths and any relevant experience during the interview, which will also be helpful when negotiating your salary.

In addition to any relevant internship experience and strengths, make sure to highlight the soft skills companies want that go beyond your resume and college transcript. This could include strong communication skills, problem-solving, and an affinity for teamwork. Ultimately, businesses want to hire someone who all around makes a great fit. Your final salary agreement should reflect your experience, strengths, skills, and other attributes you can contribute to a company.

Be Flexible

Staying flexible but informed when negotiating a salary contributes to a successful outcome. Depending on the company’s size, culture, growth opportunities, benefits package, and other perks, salary may not be as important. Additionally, negotiating points where flexibility matters could include things such as a hybrid or remote working model, training programs, and professional development opportunities. These are all items you need to consider before accepting any offer.

Startup companies are a good example of a scenario you may encounter when weighing pros and cons and how that may impact your salary expectations. Startups may lack the financial resources to offer an average salary for your position, as many startups rely on venture capital for their operational expenses. However, you might be offered stock options, which may also end up being significantly higher than what you are targeting in salary. Additionally, they could offer a more exciting, tight-knit culture that you may be seeking.

Regardless, conducting research on the benefits, stock, and/or salary could result in a highly lucrative first job. Staying flexible on the pay range and focusing on issues that matter to you definitely helps; you might even negotiate better benefits in lieu of a higher salary.

Practice Your Negotiation Skills

The simple process of negotiating a salary causes many professionals some discomfort. Even if you are hesitant, it is important to advocate for yourself and remain confident during your job search.

We already talked about the importance of practicing your interview techniques as part of any job search. An important part of this work is spending some time practicing your negotiation skills.

Consider developing a salary pitch not too dissimilar to the proverbial elevator pitch. You will want something that quickly highlights your value to the company, focusing on both your hard and soft skills. Once again, your research into average salaries for the open position and company location will be useful when devising this pitch.

Work with the recruiter as a practice interviewer to spend time on salary negotiation. Remember, when partnering with a professional recruiter, they help you practice all aspects of a job interview. This includes salary negotiation!

Be Professional

Needless to say, keeping a professional attitude throughout your job search remains critical. For example, don’t let a lowball salary offer cause you to react in an unprofessional fashion. Always be polite, honest, and forthright when interviewing or negotiating over the phone or through email.

It is also important that you understand the differences between being confident and acting arrogant. When interviewing as a new graduate, try to focus on being a team player or any unique skills you may provide; don’t let any arrogance creep into the salary negotiation.

The negotiation process is one that depends on the give and take between both parties. Of course, you should always ask for your true worth, but stay open to improved benefits or stock options offered instead of a higher salary. Always taking a professional approach gives you the best chance of landing your first job after graduation.

Follow Up in Writing

The best practice when interviewing is to send a follow-up note after any opportunity. Taking a similar track when negotiating your salary provides you with another chance to show off your professionalism as well as your business writing skills. Be sure to use email as opposed to text messages for these communications.

Note that staying patient remains one of the most important aspects of professionalism when negotiating salaries. It may take some time for employers to give you an update during salary negotiations, and it is important to respect the needs of your potential new employer and their hiring manager.

You may also use these follow-up emails to ask for an update and a potential deadline for a company’s hiring decision. Additionally, these communications provide an opportunity to reiterate your interest and enthusiasm for their open position. If you are unsatisfied with the final offer for any job opportunity, don’t be afraid to respectfully decline and keep your options open for other opportunities.

Consider Joining the DAHL Grads Program

Any new graduate looking for help finding work may benefit from checking out the DAHL Grads Program. Leveraging our team of experienced professional recruiters as your own mentors helps you to stand ready to begin your career. This program provides help with resume writing, interviewing techniques, and salary negotiation.

Our support lasts throughout the beginning of your professional life and beyond. Best of all, these services come at no cost to you!

Let Your Recruiter Do the Negotiating for You by Partnering with a Professional Employment Agency

When searching for a top job placement agency, look no further than the team at Dahl Consulting. Let us help get your career off to the best possible start. We know a host of great companies looking for talented entry-level candidates. Connect with us soon to learn more!